Sunday, September 21, 2008

All Passion Spent

I don’t feel that I have written anything of much depth lately, and I’m not sure this post is going to alter my track record, but I wanted to write about something that struck me today as I watched a movie that I had never seen.

It prompted me to ask the question: “Did people actually treat each other with such respect and civility? Also, have our language skills i.e. vocabulary, elocution, general verbal delivery in conversation, changed that much?

I watched a movie today that to say it is obscure is probably an understatement especially here in the United States.

It is called “All Passion Spent”.

We are members of NetFlix, and because of that I have the luxury of really reading and studying about a movie before I order it. This was one of them. Now I will readily admit to liking English Movies: Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, 84 Charing Cross Road, Howards End, The Remains of the Day, Becoming Jane, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, etc. so I consider myself up on a good many of them.

I won’t tell you what the movie was about, Rog declined to watch it, because he knew he would fall asleep:). That aside, the thing that struck me in this movie and the others I watch were:

1) The time that was taken in greeting someone hello, and bidding someone farewell. It was considered discourteous to blunder into a room, or leave to quickly before the proper courtesies were paid to the host or hostess. We hosted a party for our S.S. class on Sat. night and peoples practices of arriving and departing our home were worlds apart from the care that was taken in that ere.

2) The care given to expressing oneself. I’m sure people spoke hastily in those days as they do now, but I can’t think that it was the norm that it is now. The proper wording of thoughts so beautifully delivered. Now this is where you say, that is the writer’s job, but I find people write in the style they speak most of the time, so those writers wrote in the style they spoke and were spoken to. It was reflected in their work.

3) The language over all. Vocabulary, delivery, all so different from now, I don’t know if it is because I am a woman who likes romances, (mind you only certain ones), but I find one of the things I like about these kind of movies is the language, it sounds intelligent, well read, informed, and shows self control. (and no it isn't just the English Accent) Roger and I both find when we watch movies like that, we have to listen more carefully, and pay sharper attention.

I know life was far from perfect in those days, and many of the stories feature the aristocracy, or moneyed folk who were educated, and “well breed”. Either way, I wish sometimes we would slow down and take the time to really think about what we are saying to others, and how we address people, and listen to ourselves speak. I think it would inspire us. I think it would make us kinder. I think it would change us.

2 comments:

  1. When I watched the HBO miniseries, "John Adams," I was struck by the care in conversation, and that even when John & Abigail were visibly angry with one another, their words were respectful, though passionate in expressing their feelings. The language was less intimate than it is now, but I think it conveyed emotion better than our constant "confessional" style. I also note this in a few precious letters that remain from my great-grandparents.
    We have fallen a long way from "You remain always in my highest esteem" to "Yo, dog, you rock."

    You remain always in my highest esteem,

    Shiuvaun

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  2. I'm always struck by similar thoughts when I watch movies from this era. It certainly seems like more time was taken to do certain things well.

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