I adore old movies. The rhythm of the dialogue, the fact that everyone, from the doorman to the butler, looks their very best in suits and hats and gloves, it all suggests a care and an attention to detail that’s markedly lacking today.
Not that I’m one of these ‘everything old is better than everything new.’ Not at all. One big critique of old films, for instance, there are rarely any black characters, aside from maids and musicians, but that’s simply a sign of the times, and not something one should hold against a film or that should necessarily detract from its message.
In The Razor’s Edge starring Tyrone Powers and Gene Tierney, the message seems to support difference. Power’s Larry Darrell is a war veteran who’s life altering experience there leads him on an unconvential path, one divergent from the traditional office gig/money making road his fiance, Tierney’s Isabel Bradley wants him to take.
He travels the world learning all he can, experiencing life and seeking spirital enlightenment, which he ultimately finds. She remains in the safe world of her privileged upbringing only to watch her wealthy husband lose all his money in the crash and suffer a nervous breakdown.
It’s a fabulous film, one I could relate to, and one I’m sure many of you can relate to as well. As a writer, unless you’re a big name, someone always wants you to stop dreaming, or to focus on your job, or to stop wasting time with that fluff and just make money. I have nothing against making money, but I don’t want it just to have it. I want money so I can be free. Free of punching a clock, free of making jokes that are taken the wrong way on a job simply because I’m in the wrong place, a place where I can’t wholly be myself.
I want money so I can sit on my fat ass all day and write stories full of angst and love and humor. So I can pay bills and taxes and fulfill my ‘traditional’ adult obligations, but not by sitting in an office, having my personality and spirit slowly stifled until I turn bitter, and angry, or worse, boring and constantly talking about what might have been had I had the sack to make an effort to do something others considered strange. Writing, and self-publishing is not strange. Not at all. There are so many writer’s out there, taking a chance, hanging a shingle and working to get their babies ready so that you can read them.
There was no happy ending in The Razor’s Edge. It actually leaves you on a very contemplative note, but the idea that someone can be happy with less, providing what that person does have is of substance, is a lesson we can all learn from.
I love stories like that.