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Salutes for appealing to the 'grown-up' set

February 06, 2008|Korky Vann | Special to the Hartford Courant

"I want to be alone."

"We'll always have Paris."

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Recognize these quotes? Many of us do -- despite its being 76 years since Greta Garbo delivered her unforgettable line in the film "Grand Hotel," 66 years since lovers Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman parted ways in "Casablanca" and 69 years since Clark Gable rebuffed Vivien Leigh in "Gone With the Wind."

The iconic statements, all from Oscar-winning movies, are permanent fixtures of pop culture. For moviegoers old enough to remember the golden years of the silver screen, classic film dialogue offers a connection to the past, says film historian Jeanine Basinger, chairwoman of the film studies program at Wesleyan University in central Connecticut.

"Watching old movies is like unpacking the trunk in the attic," says Basinger, 72. "They . . . remind you of who you were and where you were when you first saw them."

"In the 'old days,' . . . going to the movies was a spectacularly impressive occasion. . . . You sat in the dark and watched something bigger than life," says Basinger.

These days, many older Americans prefer to watch movies at home. A 2006 survey by Pew Research revealed that 67% of respondents 65 and older "never" or "hardly ever" go to movie theaters, and 75% of those surveyed preferred to watch movies at home.

For movie fans who still prefer the big-screen experience, this year marks the 80th year of the Academy Awards -- and AARP's seventh annual Movies for Grownups Awards.

Nominees for the AARP awards are chosen on the basis of their appeal to older audiences. Winners receive La Chaise d'Or (the Golden Chair), a trophy in the shape of a vintage theater.

This year, "The Savages" received the award for best movie for grown-ups, while best actor 50 and older went to Chris Cooper for "Breach." Julie Christie picked up the award for best actress 50 and older for "Away From Her," and Tom Wilkinson took honors for best supporting actor 50 and older for his performance in "Michael Clayton."

Ruby Dee won best supporting actress 50 and older for her role in "American Gangster," and Tony Gilroy won the best director older than 50 award for "Michael Clayton."

As the oldest supporting actor nominee in Oscar history for "Into the Wild," Hal Holbrook received the lifetime achievement award.

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