When I first moved to the city I hit the public libraries around town mostly for books. In those days I often read a book a day.
These days I sometimes watch a movie a day, thanks to the library’s liberal borrowing policy of allowing card holders to borrow as many dvd’s as they can carry. You can also reserve highly popular movies and the library will give you a call when they’re ready to be picked up.
Their film collection is also rich in many hard to find foreign films. And old films. What a treat: suddenly spotting films on their shelves I haven’t seen since I was a child – films I’ve never forgotten. One such find last week was “Leave Her to Heaven” starring Gene Tierney as a pathologically jealous woman who kills off anyone standing between her and her husband’s attention. There’s a daring, unforgettable scene in it with Tierney in dark glasses cooly sitting in a boat watching her husband’s disabled brother flounder in lake water and drown. I discovered Martin Scorsese was also impressed by that scene when I heard him eloquently describe it in an interview about movies that strongly moved him. Much more powerful in the original black and white version, the film has unfortunately been colorized.
Every New York City neighborhood contains one, sometimes two libraries. Their film selections are of course limited because of size. The great Big Daddy collections, where you can browse many shelves for ages, can be found at the Mid Manhattan branch at 41st and Fifth and the public library at Lincoln Center.
If you’re a film aficionado and still haven’t checked out our public library’s impressive movie collections, you’re missing out on a very sweet entertaining deal.
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