Classic Film 'Conventions' That You Enjoy

rich_d

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This thread is to discuss conventions or 'devices' used in older films that you enjoy. By conventions, I mean any kind of device whether it be visual or audio that you've noticed in multiple films.
One that I always liked is the convention of showing Nightclub entrances or Nightclub signs in lights - one after the other - to get the point across that the characters went to the clubs like the El Morocco along with other before transitioning to the next scene.
Another convention is the showing of a map or globe with some sort of broad line highlighting the path of travel as used in Casablanca and From Russia With Love among others.
What Classic Movie conventions do you enjoy?
 

Walter Kittel

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A few that come to mind from film noir and suspense films are:
Tilted angles in compositions to indicate chaos, disarray, or panic.
Shadows of grills or bars on characters, especially faces hinting at confinement or a character being trapped in an untenable situation. Also the use of windows and door ways as framing devices to communicate entrapment.
For Westerns I always like shots that pull back to infinity to reveal the seemingly endless nature of the landscape. ( For instance, the pull back in Dances with Wolves from the wagon in the sea of grass.)
- Walter.
 

MatthewA

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I've always liked the way they actually used to show people's correspondence on screen (i.e. the letters Scarlett receives in Gone with the Wind) so the audience could read it, rather than having it read to them.
 

Dave B Ferris

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I'm not sure if this qualifies as a convention per se; however, I like the way some of my favorite "classic" directors had their own stock companies - to cite two examples, "The John Ford Stock Company" and "The Preston Sturges Stock Company".
 

Robin9

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A convention I like and one that was borrowed from 99% of novels is that the heroine is always very good-looking! Far better looking than the girls you see at your place of work or at the local supermarket!. A most pleasing convention.
 

Walter Kittel

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A convention I like and one that was borrowed from 99% of novels is that the heroine is always very good-looking! Far better looking than the girls you see at your place of work or at the local supermarket!. A most pleasing convention.
Don't forget that they become even more stunning when they remove their glasses. :)
- Walter.
 

Charles Smith

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Walter Kittel said:
Don't forget that they become even more stunning when they remove their glasses.
- Walter.
...and let down their hair!
 

Michael Elliott

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Dave B Ferris said:
I'm not sure if this qualifies as a convention per se; however, I like the way some of my favorite "classic" directors had their own stock companies - to cite two examples, "The John Ford Stock Company" and "The Preston Sturges Stock Company".
This is something I've always enjoyed as well. It's a lot of fun going through a director's career and just seeing the various ways that he used certain character actors. The John Ford/John Carradine is one of my favorites. It's also fun seeing a stock company appear in so many ways. I love the early Griffith films because one film might have Pickford and Barrymore playing the leads where in the next film they're just extras in the background.
Again, I'm not sure if this counts but I love watching Warner movies from the 30s and seeing the various ways character actors were used in a variety of parts. The good thing about those days is that now legends like Bogart can be seen in such a wide variety of roles. The "factory" machine is just so much fun today because of how many stars there were and how many parts you could see them in. Hell, even those Bobby Jones "Golf" specials have so many legends to see.
 

Johnny Angell

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This is a convention that is still in wide use: the bad guys are lousy shots. They've got machine guns firing hundreds of bullets and still miss. The good guy fires one shot, on the target!
 

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