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Friday Flix: Old-Timers

April 8, 2011

Like most kids growing up, I never really cared much about black-and-white movies.  Basically anything made before the ’70s–or really anything before Star Wars–and I didn’t give a shit about it.

It wasn’t until after college when my palate became more sophisticated.  I was working on a story and on a whim decided my own character should like Ingrid Bergman movies, specifically “Casablanca.”  So then I thought I should actually watch said movie.  I bought it on VHS, which was cheaper than trying to rent the DVD back in those days–this is why you’re bankrupt, Blockbuster!–and as I watched it I thought, “This isn’t bad at all!”  Bogey is tough yet sensitive, Ingrid Bergman is smoking hot, and Claude Rains is funny as hell.  I barely noticed the lack of color.

Later I watched “Notorious,” which features Bergman, Rains, and Cary Grant and is directed by Hitchcock.  I liked that one even better, especially the scene near the end where Bergman’s character is ill and she goes to meet with her handler Cary Grant.  She’s too proud to admit she loves him, so she lets him think it’s a hangover.  Just some great romantic tension.

And that’s the point.  I thought old movies because they were old would be quaint and that they’d all have Disney-like morality.  But watching these and noir films like “Maltese Falcon” or “The Third Man,” I realized that maybe they didn’t have the cussing, nude scenes, and computer effects, but the stories were still there.  All of our “antihero” heroes like Batman and Wolverine just harken back to those old hardboiled detectives and cowboys.

So, just like your grandparents probably tell you (or as mine would if they weren’t dead except the one who’s just really senile) because something’s old doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Have you noticed something different about this week’s entries?  If not, I’ll clue you in on Monday.

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7 Comments
  1. Personally, I think that “old” movies have better stories by far than the majority of movies made in this era. Everything based on YA stories is complete garbage, most sci-fi is pmuch garbage (here’s to you SyFy Network and your movies), and even “Avatar” had a so-so story. I remember my roomie Dylan who was much younger than me playing WoW with me when I took a break to watch “Gone With The Wind”. He was all like, “You got to be fucking kidding me…” and I shrugged and said, “Give this movie a chance. I think you’ll like it.” Soon he stopped playing and was watching it with me and he actually loved the show. He said, “I can’t believe this movie is this good.”

    I love Casablanca, Arsenic and Old Lace, Charade, many Hitchcock Films, Citizen Kane is good but a bit artistically overdone for me to watch more than once a year…but yeah…movies made today that the teenagers consume in droves are for the most part, absolute dung heaps.

    • Though from the late ’50s through the ’70s there aren’t a lot of movies I like except for the first two “Godfathers,” “Rocky,” “North by Northwest,” “Psycho,” “Night of the Living Dead,” and probably a few other ones. Most movies from the ’80s and ’90s I like just for the nostalgia.

  2. I think part of the problem is that with drive-in movies and then television, movies became increasingly for teens and kids and less for adults, which has led to where everything has to be PG-13 and appeal to people under 16 to make the most money.

  3. STAR WARS REFERENCE!

    Sorry for shouting; I get excited about that.

    I like some old movies — I recall my mom loving “Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House” enough to make us kids watch it, and I thought it was funny. (Cary Grant is in it.) We watched some Preston Sturges’ movies in a college class of mine (“Humor In American Literature”, the class that also turned me on to Peter Benchley and Damon Runyon as writers)(everyone should read some Benchley) … where was I?

    A problem with some old movies, though, is that they’re so much a part of their times that they may not mean as much to us; when I watch some “classic” movies (The Godfather, Animal House spring to mind) I’m left sort of underwhelmed.

    I agree on Avatar, though: take away the awesome special effects and that movie would’ve gotten a C from most reviewers.

    • I was underwhelmed when I first saw “Caddyshack” all the way through a few years ago. It’s so tame by today’s raunchy comedy standards. The first two “Godfathers” are great though; Michael Corleone is so devious and evil.

      And if you get excited about Star Wars references, stay tuned for next Wednesday’s entry.

  4. I thought “The Birds” was great. That’s the only Hitchcock movie I’ve ever watched all the way through.

  5. Lisa Potts permalink

    Mom used to make me watch all the great old films on AMC (back when AMC really showed “classic” films) and most of them were wonderful. Hitchcock was a genius.

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