Who Watches Old Movies Anymore?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BarryR, Sep 8, 2001.

  1. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    I'm not trying to sound ingenious with this question--I'm 45 (ouch), and grew up immersed with movies from the '30s through '60s on TV, and I have to remind myself that alot of younger people nowadays haven't this point of reference anymore. How many younger people actively seek out older films--never mind since 1970, I mean the veritable bedrock of Hollywood history? Used to be these films were plentiful on TV, and thankfully video has virtually everything ever released, no matter how obscure. I'd be curious to know who among you have more or less educated yourself on "classic Hollywood," or those who have pretty much consigned that era to cave painting relevancy. In some ways the upcoming CITIZEN KANE DVD release is a litmus test for those who may want to sample one of the most celebrated films from, uh, way back, and for those who don't care much about anything before 1980.
    [Edited last by BarryR on September 08, 2001 at 06:23 PM]
     
  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Rosebud, my friend.
    There are some of us out there (I myself being in my teens) who seek out good movies, regardless of their age. Because film's basic goal hasn't changed since the first camera was created by Thomas Edison in the 1880's, to tell a story. The way artists chose to tell their stories using film has changed greatly, but that is merely style, and a good film will always be good. A bad film will always be bad.
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    My DVD Collection
     
  3. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    That's encouraging to hear! I'm not necessarily cynical about a possible lack of awareness about our film heritage among younger people, but I realize it may take a bit more effort to strip away the layers of cinematic history for some who didn't have a virtually daily diet of b & w movies while growing up. It's a hazard of mine to take for granted that every other person under, say, 30 has absorbed the basic building blocks of classic films, or the many lesser known titles, directors, genres etc. that created an incredible mosaic over several decades. Sometimes in scanning DVD sites I almost feel as if an epoch of film is fading away from the radar, not helped by a certain studio's slow release of their catalog. [​IMG] I find it refreshing when film history newbies discover vintage films as a counterpoint to contemporary ones, and to find that many an earlier film can offer surprising panache and wit, still able to communicate with us today under their ostensibly dated b & w veneer. It may take some people some patience to adjust to older techniques and acting methods but there's so much to find, and I hope studios eventually serve their heritage generously on DVD.
    [Edited last by BarryR on September 08, 2001 at 08:36 PM]
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I do, especially when I can find them in the theaters. It was maddening, when I was going to college in Worcester, because there weren't many good video stores with much "classic" selection, and nothing ever played theatrically. Portland, Maine, was better, since the (now defunct) Keystone Theater made a point of playing classics every now and then. Ah, seeing The Maltese Falcon, The Trouble With Harry, and The African Queen on the big screen.
    Now, I live a quarter-mile away from the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, which is just bliss. [​IMG]
     
  5. Matt Vielkind

    Matt Vielkind Auditioning

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    I'm 15 years old and I am intriqued by movies made before the 80's and 70's even the 60's. Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Apocalypse Now even the horror classic Nosferatu. All of them are excellent. I do like a select few of newer movies mostly independent though. I do think that other teens my age should be exposed to such a high caliber of filmmaking. I'm the only person my age I know that reguarly watches AMC and TCM. I have tried to get my friends to watch Citizen Kane, but they refuse to because it's B&W. So I listen to them say how great Pearl Harbor was. I guerentee if they saw a movie like The Longest Day they would see that Pearl Harbor sucks.
     
  6. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    To Adam & Matt, from an old codger who still doesn't think of a movie made in the 60's as old: thank you.
    However I'm afraid that the comment that the purpose of movies (to tell a story) hasn't changed, may be wrong. I'm afraid too many current movies are just trying to dazzle the audience with FX bullshit. This coming from someone who grew up in the 50's and wished for more realistic effects in the sci-fi of that day.
    One of my favorite films from the 50's is 'Them'. Even as child, I thought the ants sucked. But the movie told a gangbusters story. They'll eventually remake it with great ants, and probably forget the story.
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  7. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I'm 18 and I absolutely love anything that has to do with film. [​IMG] My favorite directors are David Lean and John Ford. I'm seriously looking into going into the film industry in some form. Sadly many of my contempories forget that as Adam so clearly put it that film is a medium in which one tells stories, too many people i know see them as a temporary visceral thrill, nothing that can be seriously impactful. That said I've started a film club at my high school this year, hopefully i'll change some minds. with the schedule i've ptu together, I think i will. I've tried to put together three to four films from different periods in each genre, so it's 75 percent stuff made before 1975, and most of the modern stuff i tried to pick stuff they were not liekly to have seen.
    fyi here's my list
    significan advancement in visual effects
    King Kong
    2001: A space Odyssey
    The Abyss
    HIstorical Period (non war)
    How green was my Valley,
    A man for all seasons
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Stand By Me
    War
    Northwest Passage(not a perticular favoirte of mine, but my history teacher who is sponsering the club insisted i show it)
    Bridge over the River Kwai
    Paths of Glory
    Lawrence of Arabia
    Glory
    Literary Adaptation
    Great Expectations (1946)
    Ben-Hur
    Lord of the Flies (1963)
    Empire of the Sun
    Western
    High Noon
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
    Unforgiven
    Foreign
    Grand Illusion
    Seven Samurai
    The 400 blows
    Grave of the Fireflies
    Comedy
    modern Times
    Some Like it Hot
    Dr Strangelove
    Chasing Amy
    Crime
    Scarface (1932)
    Key Largo
    The Godfather
    L.A. Confidential
    [​IMG] I"m really excited about this year, i can't wait to get started [​IMG]
    that said i realize there's no hitchcock, i fully intended to show at least one thign (hopefully more) but making concessions and shuffling the schedule for what my teacher required we show and what i requireded we show, they somehow got bumped off.
    I dunno if I can squeeze in another week maybe i'l do a double feature for our final meeting... citizen kane and north by northwest.
    [​IMG]
    Adam
    [Edited last by Adam_S on September 08, 2001 at 10:53 PM]
     
  8. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    Let me say something as a qualified teen of today!
    Too many of the new movies today, just plain suck. While the 90's overall were actually pretty good, I just can't stand it how recently everything is just becoming uninspired, cheap re-issues of old ideas, (How many sequals were released this year? Okay, how about remakes? Musketeer? Anyone?) or even worse, "comedies" which do little more than gross you out beyond belief and re-tell the same sex joke over and over again. It seems that hollywood today is heavily dumbing down every little detail as to make sure every movie is able to be understood by the impossibly stupid, stripped of any miniscule sexual references and gore as to meet a PG rating, and have everything gone over with a fine tooth comb to make sure it doesn't offend any minorities other than the white-anglo heterosexual american males.
    Most people seem to have this belief that the kids of today can't stand many old movies made before 1999, (Just check out the DVD selection at Wal-Mart) and that we only like MTV style edited, fast paced and basic storylines like we have today. Instead of horror movies like Jaws and Alien where we see very little of the actual threat, today's horror films are so over the top and in your face, (yet censored for a PG rating) that we just come away unfazed because "they tried too hard". Blair Witch Project was a good break from this fare. Too bad no one realized why it suceeded.
    And then there's Hollywood's awful trend towards "Gross-out humour." Some of the filmmakers seem to be caught into a race to see who can be as gross as possible. Some kids seem to get a good kick out of this, but for me, I never, ever want to even look at Tomcats again because the sight of Spoiler:someone eating a cancerous testicle is just horrifying, not to mention totally insensitive.
    Honestly people, many of us teenagers actually prefer older movies. In this day and age where B-movie scripts are given A-movie budgets, it's kind of nice to see movies where they had little more than an actual story to keep the viewer's interest. Or also a time when certain SFX techniques were still in their infancy. I just finished watching Dune for the first time, and the SFX were actually quite stunning as I thought to myself, "they could do this, in 1984?".
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  10. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Most teens I know are not familiar with older films - one teenager I work with didn't even know who the Creature from the Black Lagoon was! [​IMG] I also have to say that as more and more contemporary films pander to the lowest common denominator, I find myself buying more "classic" films for want of a good time. The Criterion editions of Sullivan's Travels and My Man Godfrey were terrific. And Columbia's His Girl Friday and Lost Horizon discs are among my favorites. I can't wait for Bringing Up Baby, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and White Heat to be released...
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    He thought on homeland, the big timber, the air thin and chill all the year long. Tulip poplars so big through the trunk they put you in mind of locomotives set on end. He thought of getting home and building him a cabin on Cold Mountain so high that not a soul but the nighthawks passing across the clouds in autumn could hear his sad cry. Of living a life so quiet he would not need ears. And if Ada would go with him, there might be the hope, so far off in the distance he did not even really see it, that in time his despair might be honed off to a point so fine and thin that it would be nearly the same as vanishing.
    -- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
    [Edited last by SteveGon on September 08, 2001 at 11:28 PM]
     
  11. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I'm 19 and I feel...for the most part...that I'm lost in a sea of weekend movie fans, that don't appreciate the classics. I judge a film on it's merits, and more often then not...older films are great. I credit my appreciation of older films mainly to growing up with a father that liked classics, my favorite movie was It's a Wonderful Life as a child, when other kids my age were going nuts over Rambo. Now I find myself glued to AMC in the middle of the night, and I'm able to see the classics that I already appreciate, or the ones that I haven't seen yet. For example I've always wanyed to see Gentleman's Agreement, and finally about a month ago it came on at 4 in the morning...woo hoo. I for one will be purchasing Citizen Cane and hopefully other great classics.
     
  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    2/3 of my DVD collection is pre-1980 stuff....and I only have 6 movies (plus 5 made-for TV DVD's of the 90's) on DVD from the last 10 years.
    I love older films mainly because of the charm and intelligence of them. Many modern films are insulting to me because they revert to dumbed down humor or ultra-violence.
    Perhaps it's a good thing movies aren't made as well as there were during the 1930's through the 1960's. The average family can enjoy American Pie 2 while sophisticated film buffs can sit down at home to enjoy It Happened One Night.
    I'll tell you one thing...nothing is more digusting than hearing a drive-in theater full of laughter during American Pie 2. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
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    P.S.: There's no P.S.
     
  13. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    I read somewhere once that the best special effects in movies are two people talking--and that I think has alot to do with the gulf that separates many an old movie from the new. The "thrill ride" movie is valid enough in any era, but I think of late it's become the whole brainwashed idea for what moviegoing is all about! Sensation, noise, split second edits all conspire to dazzle but leave nothing afterwards. Good older films take an astonishing amount of time setting up character and mood and plot, and with luck it creates a memorable impression that can be revisited time and again. The success of THE OTHERS this summer (which I saw in a theater full of attentive teens!)is a reminder that there's still an audience for this kind of craftsmanship. And don't even get me started on comedy! Somehow comedy has been equated with grossout factors, which to me is light years from what I absorbed growing up with the likes of Abbott & Costello, for instance. I'm heartened by the reaction here of those who genuinely want more cinematic substance in their diet, and find it among the vast legacy of movies going back to silent days. As for the latter, anyone who is able to catch the Kevin Brownlow 1980 documentary series HOLLYWOOD, produced by Thames Television, will get a first rate introduction into how exciting the silent movie years actually were. Meanwhile, keep looking for more good stuff that Wal-Mart ignores!
     
  14. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Unfortunately, the teens who post here are unlikely to be typical of current teen movie taste. I'm doing my part though. By the time my son is 14 years old (he's currently 14 months old), he'll have been exposed to all kinds of movies from all kinds of eras. [​IMG]
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    13-time NBA world champion Lakers: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001
     
  15. Heinz W

    Heinz W Second Unit

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    quote: I mean look at 2001. That was made in the mid 70's,[/quote]
    Actually 2001 was released in 1968.
    I'm not a fan of old movies, per se, but a fan of good films from any era. I happen to believe that films in general were better written and less likely to treat the audience as morons up til about 1980 or so. That doesn't mean that I think no good films were made after 1980 because there were. There were also stinkers made prior to that date. But as a general rule screenplays and dialogue were better in 'the old days'.
    Perhaps this is just a reflection of the dumbing down of our society at large. I don't understand why the studios feel they must cater only to their perceived notions of what the public wants; ie. mindless, simple films for an ADD/ADHD afflicted teens who'll lose interest if the film holds any shot longer than 15 seconds. And absolutely, spending 1% of a films budget on the screenplay and 80% on FX and CGI does not help matters!
    In any event, I must say that the following movies are among my most wanted on DVD; some have been announced, others not.
    Rebecca- Criterion
    Sahara
    Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
    Lifeboat
    Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Citizen Kane
    All of those titles are B&W oldies, but damn good films! [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Heinz W on September 09, 2001 at 10:09 AM]
     
  16. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  17. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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  18. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    I agree that studios squander alot of talent and money aiming low and copying formulas to death rather than betting on originality; even eons ago this was not uncommon, but so much was churned out back then that just about every kind of audience was catered to consistently. Meanwhile, Turner Classic Movies maintains its sometimes lonely vigil! [​IMG]
     
  19. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Let's not idealize the period per se and forget that many, many bad movies from the pre-1990 period are totally, and deservedly so, forgotten. But then, it wasn't Barry's point, of course, that all older movies were better....
    Let's not forget that only the Home Video market (both, sell and rent) allows us to view so many of these classic movies. If it weren't for VHS, LD and DVD, we would have to abide our time and wait for small movie theatres in our neighbourhood to show the occasional classic film.
    Cees
     
  20. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    Correct, Cees--ironically, I think I had more of a crash course in film history via VHS, cable and laser in the '80s and early '90s than with alot of the stuff I saw on network TV! Now it's DVD's turn to be an even more definitive resource.
    I agree too that an enormous amount of forgettable stuff was done even in nickleodeon days. [​IMG] But what's good should always be available and at least be given a chance to be enjoyed anew.
    [Edited last by BarryR on September 09, 2001 at 02:47 PM]
     

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