Greetings Hoogly fans! As I was curled up on my sofa the other day, laid low by a nasty little cold, I flicked through the TV channels and came across a lovely old black and white film called Since You Went Away, a 1944 American flick about a family dealing with those they love being sent away to war. As I sipped my Hoogly Tea, I instantly relaxed as the opening credits rolled, with a fireplace framed in shot, the names of the cast members drifting upwards as the orchestral piece swelled and built to crescendo. I felt a comforting veil of tranquillity fall over me as the film began, the characters communicating with such lovely manners, eloquence and naïve enthusiasm. As the plot played out, there were moving sequences of loss and grief, as well as romance, humour and slapstick, all held together by sweeping violins, cellos and trumpets.
The world the film evoked was so pure and perfect—I was struck by a strange sensation of longing or nostalgia for a time gone by, even though I was born nearly forty years after the film was made. Here, in black and white, was somewhere safe. A retreat from the complexities and pace of modern life. A window into a simpler time, when emotions seemed somehow sharper, when love and loss seemed magnified and bigger than life itself. Which, for a wartime film, was almost certainly the case. Those watching Since You Went Away would’ve been experiencing all the same anxieties, insecurities and loss as the characters in the film. Watching it play out on the big screen, however, may have gone some way to dispelling their emotions: knowing that they weren’t alone, that others were going through similar trials and that by pulling together they might just emerge unscathed on the other side….
…See how easy it is to be swept up in the wave of sentiment?! Gotta love the golden oldies!
After the film finished, it dawned on me just how Hoogly the old black and white movies really are. Our ethos is all about feeling calm and cosy, and making a regular habit of filling your life with the things you love. Watching these classics is like slipping on a comfy pair of pyjamas and socks: soft, reassuring and relaxing. You know exactly what you’re going to get. They demand nothing from you, and you have to give nothing in return. This is Hygge in a nutshell. And once the film is over—simply find another one and do it all again!
And if you can’t decide on a film, here are some Hoogly recommendations:
- Wuthering Heights (1939) A dark, brooding interpretation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel set in the Yorkshire Moors starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Full of passion, obsession, love and tragedy, this beautiful film is complimented by a rousing score that stays with you long after the end credits. Best enjoyed with Around the Fire Oolong Tea, a cosy combination of smoky tea leaves and warming spices, licked by flames of safflower and crushed chilli—sure you get you through any stormy night on the Moors!
- Brief Encounter (1945) An atmospheric romance starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, following a married woman’s chance encounter with a doctor at a train station, which leads to an affair. Full of clipped English accents and repressed emotion, this stunning film explores complex moral issues and has one of the most masterfully constructed final scenes of all time. Woven together by Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto number 2, this is definitely best enjoyed with traditional English Breakfast black tea—simple, but full of hidden depths.
- Casablanca (1942) Arguably the greatest film of all time, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. An American expatriate runs a bar in Casablanca and comes into possession of documents that allow free travel across German-occupied Europe. When his former love Ilsa arrives with her resistance hero husband, she demands the papers, but Rick and Ilsa have unfinished business. With a timeless score, memorable lines and career-best performances, this is a treasure to be enjoyed time and again. Best served with Chocolate Brownie black tea, a wonderfully rich and unapologetically decadent treat that just gets better with each sip!
So, there we are—from Hygge to Hollywood and back again, all you need for complete tranquillity and cosiness is a black and white film and a mug of Hoogly tea!
Written by Chris Bedford.