“Movie Night”


The next evening the introductory events continued. We had experienced the sherry in the living room with the college president. Now we were huddled in the basement, sitting on the floor in front of a portable movie screen watching “On The Waterfront,” a 1954 Brando portrayal of longshoremen on the docks of New Jersey. Involving crime, love, and a Catholic priest, it was the first time I had been introduced to the idea of “film.”

I came from Oregon where we went to the movies. We enjoyed them for the scenery, the music, the plots and the actors(especially the handsome ones.) I had no concept of “film,” much less of an intellectual discussion after viewing a “film,” such as I was expected to take part in. I had no point of connection with the story, being unfamiliar with Catholic priests(I knew none,) longshoremen(my father a marine attorney represented the shipping lines), or organized crime(I had heard of it, but that was all.) I understood that the love story wasn’t the main point, though it was the only aspect I was familiar with having seen it in “movies” for years. I was almost literally struck dumb and said nothing. Girls around me dove into the cinematography, the direction, the point of view, etc. etc. etc. Me? I went back to my room, tucked myself into that upper bunk and went to sleep.

Something told me I wasn’t in Oregon any more!

24 thoughts on ““Movie Night”

  1. That realisation that you were so far from what was familiar to you must have hit hard. I can picture this scene vividly. Poor you. I hope things began to improve before too long!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A great post, Elizabeth. I am so enjoying your culture shock coming of age stories. Reminds me of my first cab ride, which happened to be in NYC. At least you didn’t cry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s a movie insight. Facing a health challenge it was suggested that we watch Hallmark Movies. They are low intensity and predictable. Still, years later I watch Hallmark Movies. Yes, they are predictable, five minutes in you know the story line. But they are easy and happy. I think we could all use some Hallmark Movie time.

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      1. I also believe it is a generational thing. We go to Real Art Ways and are among fellow grey heads. Years ago “artsy cinema” (quotes to denote raised nose and slack jaw) would have been attended be an array of university types and hippies.


  4. Reading about your move away from home amuses me (in a kind way). I couldn’t wait to leave home and having grown up just south of Bristol (in Somerset), in a village, I was desperate to spread my wings. Nottingham University, which I went to, was the furthest south of all the universities I applied to (Bristol is a superb university and if I’d had any sense I would have applied there, but I was that desperate to flee the nest…).

    Even so I remember that first week or so: everyone being new; wondering what clubs to join; making new friends, unaware that most of them would not last; writing letters to school friends to find out how they were getting on. No mobile phones, no internet, no email!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can imagine this was a shock for you, Elizabeth. I moved to Johannesburg [a big city] from a small town in the Western Cape at the end of my primary school years. My introduction to high school in Johannesburg was a huge shock for me and it took me months to settle down.

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