Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confessions of a Classic Filmophile

I love old movies. I don’t know how it happened; I must have been flipping through the channels on my television one day and came across some wonderful old black and white film that captured my imagination as a child. Since that time, whenever it was, I have seen many films and marveled at how superior many of them are in comparison to those made today. Yes, we can see the advancements of special effects in many action films, but the quality of scripts, character development, and the overall attention to detail were so much better in the past, in my humble opinion. There are good independent films being made, and once in a while a mainstream film does get it right, but the latter doesn’t happen often enough.

I remember watching The Gladiator with Russell Crowe and being unimpressed. I saw better war scenes and gladiator battles in classics such as Spartacus, The Sign of the Cross, and The Fall of the Roman Empire. There were no computers back then to create special effects, such as filling a crowd scene with computer-generated people. The acting was also surprisingly better in these earlier movies, at least I think so. Most popular actors today really lack the personality, intelligence, and charisma of some of their great predecessors from Hollywood’s Golden Age, such as Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Sidney Poitier, and Audrey Hepburn, to name a few.

I almost feel sorry for people who don’t know how good and entertaining movies were, but I’m glad that I know. I have the TCM channel, the Internet, my local video store, and other resources to find and watch classic movies when I have time. I rarely go out to see new movies in the movie theaters, mostly because the prices are sky-high and I want to be sure that the ones I do choose to see are worth my money.

Am I a film snob? Maybe, but I just prefer good stories that can be about anything, as long as they are shot, acted, and directed well.

What are your thoughts on this subject?


sally said...

I don't think the actors nowadays are as bad as you say. Some that come to mind: Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Kate Winslet. These are actors and actresses that are able to play a wide range of parts.

People remember the great classic movies because they're classics; they remember the best ones. Just like people will look back on these times and point to a handful of films in each genre that stand out, but will forget about the rest.

Also, I think it's partly a numbers game. In the past, there were less movies made so it seems all the movies were wonderful, because making movies was expensive and only the best ideas came to fruition. Nowadays, dozens of movies come out each week. All you need is a good idea OR a following OR somebody to back you financially, and you've got a movie. So the percentage might be ridiculously low now compared to then, but the quality and quantity is likely the same.

Pauline Karakat said...

The actors of today that you mentioned, and numerous others, have the acting chops and the charisma---absolutely. All I'm saying is that some of the famous films of today do not have the same depth and quality as those made in the past. There are many exceptions to this statement, obviously: "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy is excellent overall, with great acting, directing, special effects, etc.

Everyone has their own opinions, and I have expressed my own. It comes from my knowledge of movies, because I have watched my share, and will continue to do so.

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