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Personal Statement:

How I Came to Love the Classics

by Patricia Goldberg, age 48

February 20, 2000

My name is Patricia Goldberg. I am 48 years old and I live in Israel on a kibbutz. I am French but I have been living here for 19 years now .

I grew up in France. I was eight years old when television came to our home. This was in 1959. At the beginning there was only news and a few game shows, but slowly French television started to show American movies and especially old ones. So me and my siblings grew up with American movies, and watching them was the thing I liked best.  I can say today that I still enjoy seeing them again and again.

The greatest punishment for me was not to be allowed to see a movie on TV. The films I liked then and the films I like now are very different. Then, and until the age of 14, I liked the movies actors that everyone liked for their good looks. Now, of course, I know better. Believe it or not, I never noticed Teresa Wright in my youth. I discovered her only when I saw "Shadow of a Doubt" again after many years.

Do not forget that on the French television and in the cinemas they translate all the movies into French.  So imagine Teresa Wright, Gene Tierney (whose voice is very special), Jean Arthur, James Stewart or even James Dean speaking French!!!! Its too terrible. Here in Israel all the films shown are in their original language.

Also do not forget that there were no video tapes until the '80s, so you could not see these films whenever you wanted you had to wait until they came on TV or in the theatres in town.

The classic actors I like best now are: Montgomery Clift, James Stewart, Marlon Brando, Teresa Wright, Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Vivien Leigh, Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis.

My favorite directors are Elia Kazan, William Wyler, Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsh,

I could see "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," "Casablanca," "The Best Years of Our Lives," "West Side Story," "Singin' In The Rain," "All About Eve," "The Apartment," "Ben-Hur," and "Waterloo Bridge" a hundred times. Ill never get tired of them. I am jealous of the people that have never seen these film and still have the opportunity to discover them for the first time. There are many other films I love, especially David Lean and Noel Coward's films together.

In Israel the classics are not as popular as they are in France because television came here very late (in the late '60s!), and people here did not have much money in the fifties to go to the movies as much as they wanted. Israel is a new country, so I do not have much opportunity to speak of the old films with people of my age or younger. Fortunately I have my family in France and we exchange our views on films each time we speak.

(Please send your comments about this article to its author, Patricia Goldberg, at )

© 2000 Patricia Goldberg

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