One of the greatest things about not having to get up so early in the morning anymore is that I can stay up late and watch movies. I love ‘em. Always have. But it occurred to me last night as I was watching one of my favorite films, that I wasn’t actually watching it.
Let me explain. As soon as I flip on the TV, I’ve developed the habit of putting my laptop on my… well, my lap! Anyway before the opening credits are done rolling, I find myself “Googling” the movie, one of it’s actors, whatever.
Case in point: Last night I turned the TV on and caught the last two-thirds of the original Pink Panther starring Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau and David Niven as the jewel theif, Sir Charles Lytton. Within two minutes I was entering “Pink Panther” to get some background.
I learned that the movie had been written as a vehicle for David Niven… but when the director, Blake Edwards (the late husband of Julie Andrews), saw how funny Peter Sellers was, he switched gears and added a lot more scenes featuring Sellers.
As the movie continued to play, I googled “Peter Sellers” and found out that he was incredibly angry when he didn’t win an Academy Award for his three roles (The President, a British Air Force Officer, and a Nazi scientist) in “Dr. Strangelove”.
Back on the TV, there was a scene playing featuring David Niven. I remembered something about his first wife dying tragically, so I went back to the laptop and headed over to Wikipedia. It was all there. “After a whirlwind two-week romance in 1940, Niven married Primula Susan Rollo, the aristocratic daughter of a British lawyer. The couple had two sons, David Jr. and Jamie. Primula, whom he called Primmie, died at age 28, only six weeks after moving to the U.S., of a fractured skull and brain lacerations from an accidental fall in the home of actor Tyrone Power. While playing a home-party version of “hide and seek”, she walked through a door believing it led to a closet, instead, it led to a stone staircase to the basement.”
Clicking over to IMDB.com (the Internet Movie Database) I learned that Niven was so devastated by his wife’s death, that he attempted suicide and was helped through the period by his good friend Clark Gable, who had lost his wife Carole Lombard in a plane crash. (She’d been on a tour of the U.S. promoting the sale of War Bonds during WWII).
Some of the movies I’ve “watched” and then Googled the stars names are:
- Meryl Streep, Russell Crowe, Robert Mitchum, Angelina Jolie, Jimmy Stewart, Burt Lancaster, Bette Davis, George Clooney, Steve Martin (never saw his version of the Pink Panther), Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, Laurel & Hardy, and that great actor from Beverly Hills Cop III, Dick Purtan. (My non-award winning 11-second voice-over role). And the list goes on…
We’ve come a long way since “The World Book Encyclopedia”, card catalogs, and the Dewey Decimal System. We can now find out about just about anything, or anyone, in an instant. Which is pretty amazing!
I will admit, however, that using the computer and the Internet while watching a movie can take away from certain little things, like say… the plot!
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you right back here Monday morning!