Seductive Power of Film

Over the weekend, The Good Man and I caught a double feature of The Asphalt Jungle and Niagara, both from the early 1950’s.

This was part of the Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco.

I love old movies, so a double header of Marilyn Monroe at the old Castro Theater was my kind of Sunday afternoon.

Ooh, the danger, the intrigue, the double crosses and bad outcomes!


But it was all the highball glasses of bourbon and endless chain-smoking on screen that left a lasting impression on me.

I mean, every character was lightin’ up for the course of both movies. And oh do they look like they are enjoying every single inhale.

And then they’d pour two fingers of whiskey and slug that back and the shoulders come down and a nice relaxed state falls into place. The booze and the smokes were like a separate character in the film!

Man. Did those actors make it look good.

No, I’m serious. Chalk it up to an addictive personality or someone who just enjoys really seductive things, but I’m not kidding. I wanted to leave the theater and go buy a pack of unfiltered Pall Malls so I could inhale and calm down and be as cool as a tall drink of water like Marilyn or Sterling Hayden.

And if I was gonna take a long drag off a cool smoke, well of course I’d need some single barrel whiskey in my hand to wash it all down while I plotted my revenge, or jewel heist, or how to off the bad guy.

Oh I’m so suggestible!

This must be why those advocacy groups get their chones in a bunch about all the smoking in films, huh?

Because everyone looks great in the films, and you don’t see the stained skin, the smokers hack or, eventually, the oxygen assisted breathing.

I mean, for a girl who lost many a family member to the perils of smoking, you’d think I’d be turned off by all of that.

But I wasn’t. I craved. I’m not even a former smoker, but oh, how I craved to leave a ruby red lipstick stain on a cigarette butt while some charming man lit a new one for me. All while I swayed across the screen with trouble on my mind.

Ah well, never fear, I didn’t engage in the smokes.

However, they were pouring small slugs of decent bourbon in the lobby between shows.

Sunday afternoon I had popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Vines and bourbon.

Whatta great day!!

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  • Elise

    I don't smoke any more, but I LOVED SMOKING when I did. It's why I smoked for three decades–it wasn't just an addiction, it was something I reeeally enjoyed.

    No cigs, no booze, no sugar or fat–I never get to have ANY fun any more. Sniff.

  • Lucky

    They've been re-running Miami Vice on some cable channel here. It's a new channel that seems to have no other redeeming qualities except an episode of Miami Vice, weeknights at 9. Now, I loved me some Miami Vice back in the '80s. But the thing that struck me the most this time around is how much Don Johnson smokes. In the office, on his boat, gratuitously, smoke after smoke after smoke. I'm thinking he's why I tried to be a smoker in my youth. I even owned a Zippo lighter. But I knew my mother would kill me, so I never really stuck with it.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Elise – I know, I know. Everything I like is bad for me. Then they'll show some 98 year old guy who smokes a pack a day, eats steak for every meal and never exercised a lick. I don't understand…..

    Lucky – Egad. Miami Vice. That one might actually be painful to watch again… Oh the suits and no socks and the dark lighting with the sheen of sweat on Don Johnson's brow. : shudder :

    I always wanted a Zippo lighter…. ALWAYS! But never really had a use for one. Hmm…..

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