I like the screwball comedies from the 30’s, war stories from the 40’s. But the movies from the 50’s have a gothic quality; there’s a woman in a black sheath and pearls, whose only purpose is to walk to the door when the doorbell rings.
“Yes,” she says as she opens the door. And it’s never a question.
And then, touching her pearls, she says, “She’s not here,” or “We haven’t seen him,” or “I’m sorry I can’t help you.”
I think she’s the daughter of a 30’s movie, a lighter time -- the Boston granny in diamonds and sequins who spent a lifetime on the staircase, listening for another doorbell, until she could say, “Smithers, tell them I’m not in.”
But in the 50’s gothic, she must sit in her chair, three steps from the door, and wait her whole life for the doorbell to ring. Day after day, she must put on her slip, slip on the sheath, wait for the bell, until someone will ask so she can say no.