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Time Capsule Movies (1 Viewer)

Alan Tully

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Yeah, films shot on location, where you can see how things were then. There's a little 1963 drama, The Small World of Sammy Lee, starring Anthony Newley, set in London's Soho area, & the opening titles is a slow pan around Soho, almost deserted, so it must have been early in the morning, so interesting to see those streets (that I know so well) back in 1963.

 

LouA

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If no one’s mentioned them yet , all of those post WW2 films showing the trials and tribulations of people who put everything on hold during the conflict and were trying to rebuild their lives right after the war ended. Best Years Of Our Lives is a good example.
 
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Douglas R

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Blow-up (1966) For portraying the major social changes of London in the “swinging” 1960s.
The Red Balloon (1953) Evocative timeless colour scenes of Paris as it was in the 1950s
Accident (1967) A portrait of Oxford and Englishness
Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) Capturing the look and feel of London suburbia well.
 

quantumsnoga

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Many I have, but many I don't. While not movies, the TravelTime shorts are great time capsules, even (or especially!) the US ones.

I think I'll add Weekend In Havana, and for a more modern time capsule Blake Edward's S.O.B. (a parody of "modern" (post golden era studio) film making).
 

Desslar

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A Star is Born (1937) - some classic late 30s Hollywood locations - Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood Bowl, Ambassador Hotel, Cafe Trocadero
Vertigo - late 50s San Francisco
Sunset Blvd - a few scenes of early 50s LA (including an old school drug store) plus a look behind the scenes at the studio
The Blob (1958) - late 50s small town Pennsylvania
 

BobO'Link

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Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Easy Rider (1969)
Network (1976)
The Odd Couple (1970)
 
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MartinP.

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1920s: It (1927; also agree with Speedy, mentioned above.)

1930s: Two depression era films I feel capture the mood, the time and place are Skippy (1931)
and Wild Boys of the Road (1933).

1940s: This is the Army (1943).

1950s: I've always felt that North by Northwest (1959) has that feel of a very specific period of time, a moment
when the '50s are about to change into the early '60s; like the past and present were jostling for space at
that time as to what came next. What was and what's to come. Complacent and yet restless at the same
time. You can somehow feel it in that time period. Like the song in West Side Story "Somethin's comin'.
Who knows?"


1960s: Head (1968); The Monkees. Midnight Cowboy (1969).

1970s: Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore has a great feeling for the time it's set, (1974).
So does The China Syndrome (1979).

1980s: Lost in America (1985). Parting Glances (1986). Wall Street (1987). Do the Right Thing (1989).
 

Walter Kittel

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1950s: I've always felt that North by Northwest (1959) has that feel of a very specific period of time, a moment
when the '50s are about to change into the early '60s; like the past and present were jostling for space at
that time as to what came next. What was and what's to come. Complacent and yet restless at the same
time. You can somehow feel it in that time period. Like the song in West Side Story "Somethin's comin'.
Who knows?"

Honestly, I never considered NxNW in those terms, but that feels like a very appropriate observation.


A few more contributions to the thread dealing with the paranoia of the early '70s...

The Parallax View - Excellent cinematography in this film and a strong sense of paranoia throughout the feature.
The Conversation - One of my favorite Gene Hackman performances is in this feature.
All The President's Men - Can't have a list of films dealing with political intrigue and paranoia without this title in the grouping.

- Walter.
 

battlebeast

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Oh, wow, what a fun idea!

Some of my picks would be:

The Black Camel (1931) Early Charlie Chan mystery set on, and filmed in, 1931 Hawaii with gorgeous shots of a pre-skyscraper Waikiki Beach and actually filmed, in part, in the lobby and public areas of the then five-year-old Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Buck Privates (1941) Abbott & Costello's first "service" comedy, a perfect time capsule of pre-war propaganda designed to ease the country into the idea of entering the war. In fact, I think I remember reading that a print of the movie was placed in a time capsule at some point (maybe in the Bob Furmanek/Ron Palumbo book?)

Marty (1955) Mid century, working class NYC aesthetic to maximum effect.

Where the Boys Are (1960) exemplifies that specific era of "spring break" right before it exploded (due, in no small part, to this movie!)

The World of Henry Orient (1964) I choose because the girls get to play in a far more innocent and innocuous New York City than I have ever known in my lifetime.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) always comes up as my absolute favorite San Francisco movie of the 1970's. It perfectly encapsulates the late 70's era SF, due in no small part to being completely shot on real locations throughout the city (the only soundstage used was for the finale.) It also helps immeasurably that Philip Kaufman takes the time to develop the characters into real people with real personalities so that we, the audience, are always aware of what they stand to lose.

The Ritz (1976), though a parody, gives us a slice of 1970's NYC gay bathhouse culture we'll never see gain.

Those great "New York City" movies of the 70's and early 80's that, if nothing else, embody that great feeling of the derelict, slightly seedy, slightly dangerous, but always exciting New York specific to that era. Too many to name them all but I'd give special mention to The French Connection (1971), Serpico (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Network (1976). The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), Can't Stop the Music (1980), and The Fan (1981)

The Breakfast Club (1985) The Gen X movie to end all! It came out when I was 17 and it was the movie everyone my age thought was speaking directly to each of us. If any movie is a time capsule of what an entire generation thought of themselves at a very specific time, it's this one.

What a fun idea this is! Thanks so much for suggesting it, George. I could probably go on and on but I think I've been long winded enough for now, lol!
Wow! You lived through the 1980s at a great age. Very jealous!
 

roxy1927

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Penelope. A not very good movie but it captures the very end of a glamourous New York that was about to take a sharp turn into the gritty NY of the 70s and 80s which I lived through every single day so I have no reason to revisit it. So many architectural wonders were destroyed during the mid 60s I can't help but think that that was a major reason for the collapse of midtown.
The opening and closing of On the Town capturing another glamourous NY of the 40s. Too bad most of the movie is a leaden studio bound musical with a typically bad Rogers Edens score except for when Gene Kelly and Vera Ellen dance to Bernstein practically fornicating on that ballet barre. I love the 360 shot of NY from the top of the RCA building where I used to have lunch before they put up that awful mesh or nets or whatever they are.
I'm glad people mentioned Speedy and Lonesome two wonderful films that when you see them with an audience it practically levitates seeing New York from the 20s coming back to life.

Funny Face steeped in a Technicolor VistaVision Paris in the 50s which you expect to find when you visit the city as a tourist but which is long gone.
Same with Rome in Roman Holiday.
Of course West Side Story with the opening overhead shot of Manhattan which Wise took from The Broadway Melody of 1929. You can even see the floor of the just destroyed Roxy.
The British and French new wave films of the late 50s and early 60s. I mean who wouldn't want to be in living in London and Paris during those years? How ironic are the points of those movies when they make those cities so appealing?
Come September and Bonjour Tristesse capturing the Italian and French Riviera before the overwhelming of tourists.
And I agree with those mentioning the California films of the early 60s.
The San Francisco of Bullitt.
And then there is Zabriskie Point of the late 60s capturing America with a surgeon's precision possible only by a great European film maker.
 
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Bob Graham

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Between the Lines - really captures Boston in the 70's
Alice's Restaurant - captures the bohemian culture of the late 60's, and also anticipates it's decline.
 

Desslar

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The Odd Couple (68) - New York City for bachelors
The Italian Job (69) - London and Turin, Italy by Mini
 

MartinP.

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For Los Angeles, I'm thinking of 1969's Model Shop. A lot of location footage and themes appropriate to that era. It opened in early 1969 so much of it was filmed in 1968.
 

Walter Kittel

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If we aren't limiting the discussion to strictly fictitious films, then documentaries and concert oriented films can certainly provide glimpses into specific times. A few that readily come to mind...

Jazz on a Summer Day (1959)
The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1966)
Don't Look Back (1967)
Monterey Pop (1968)
Woodstock (1970)
The Concert for Bangladesh (1972)
The Song Remains The Same (1976)
The Last Waltz (1978)

- Walter.
 

Will Krupp

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A few more contributions to the thread dealing with the paranoia of the early '70s...

The Parallax View - Excellent cinematography in this film and a strong sense of paranoia throughout the feature.
The Conversation - One of my favorite Gene Hackman performances is in this feature.
All The President's Men - Can't have a list of films dealing with political intrigue and paranoia without this title in the grouping.
Throw Three Days of the Condor into the mix and you've got yourself a deal, Walter! :)
 

Walter Kittel

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Throw Three Days of the Condor into the mix and you've got yourself a deal, Walter! :)

After posting those titles, the next day I realized that there was a serious omission in that group. :) Three Days of the Condor is a seriously good film and something I have revisited many times over the years. I always loved the 'matter of the fact' approach that Joubert took to his profession.

- Walter.
 

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