James Stewart was born today in 1908. A truly iconic actor and, on the whole, maker of great films – think Harvey, think It’s a Wonderful Life. Thankfully – as yet – no one has had the “great” idea of remaking them. (They did remake Rear Window though for some bizarre reason. Thankfully it flopped and can be pretty much forgotten about alongside remakes of things like Psycho, Sergeant Bilko and the Lady Killers.)
I watched these kind of films with my nan on a Sunday afternoon in her council flat when I was a young lad. She sort of fancied Gregory Peck – but that’s a different story. Some of these old films were total shite but others – like the ones mentioned – just took my breath away. Think seeing North by Northwest aged about ten and suddenly understanding what suspense was.
And I remember seeing Harvey really clearly. It’s a classic. And rightly so. (My kids don’t like it – it doesn’t go flash, bang, wallop enough or have frequent recaps in case your goldfish brain forgot what it was about and no one like Beyonce pops up in the middle of it to sell you Coca Cola. Oh well, it’s there loss…..)
Stewart’s character is a man who frequents bars and appreciates the joy of slowly watching the world go by accompanied by his imaginary rabbit Harvey (a pooka) – everyone else thinks he’s a nutter when, actually, he’s the only sane one among them. (you can watch James – and Harvey – in tip top form (and in a bar) HERE.
This is a state familiar to wine drinkers who are frequently the only voice of truth and reason in the room. So, in honour of James, his super films and all of our imaginary friends (and my long gone nan), lets get stupidly drunk and watch some old black and white movies.
A quote: “There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it…. Prevention is better than cure.” ~Thomas Love Peacock, Melincourt, 1817