~Let's be gay about it!~
This is what it's all about. This is the stuff that feeds my soul. This is the cream in my coffee, the salt in my stew, the starch in my collar and the lace in my shoe. This is what I love.
Picture this. It's 6 am and the TV is turned to Turner Classic Movies. A lion roars on the screen and some jazz music follows opening up to the title sequence. It's a film from the early 1930's. Part comedy, party drama, light-hearted with a moral. It could be naughty, it could be sweet, it could be a wonderful mixture of both.
This is my absolute favorite type of film and Queen Norma Shearer happened to make several of them, including Let Us Be Gay (1930). Now before you snicker, "gay" here means jovial and carefree. When the title character of the movie finds her husband is cheating on her and divorces him, taking their three children with her, she decides to be gay, without a care in the world. Norma Shearer transforms from a plain jane to a celebrated beauty. What amazes me is the plain jane version of Norma Shearer. I did a doubletake when I saw her. Stripped of any make-up, donning thread-bare duds, glasses and a homely haircut, this vision of her contrasts greatly from the glamorous Norma that most of us are familiar with. I admire Norma for her willingness to do strip down like this. She does the same in Marie Antoinette (1938).
Films like Let Us Be Gay don't take themselves seriously. They are perfect 1 to 1-1/2 hour vehicles in which audiences escape into someone else's life. Whether they be rich or poor, the unique characters are what drive the story. The industry was still transitioning into talkies from many years of producing silent films, so the movies from the early '30s are oddly quiet. I find this quite refreshing. The takes are sometimes long and lingering, a total opposite of what is found in our present ADD culture. These films are not difficult to watch and most are quite entertaining. This is my favorite type of film and what a pleasure it was to have seen the obscure classic Let Us Be Gay!