You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Here's the place to talk about DVDs (or VHS) films and movies you have seen on television and recommend or don't recommend. Discuss actors and scores, too.

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dulcinea
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You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by dulcinea » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:10 pm

... if you don't know everything about it: the mores of the time when it was made, its value as a reflection of what was considered important and relevant in times of which the present day spectator has no living memory, and so forth.
THE SEVEN SAMURAI is playing now on TCM. I was reminded immediately of the time when that movie played on one of the commercial stations of PR. The host--usually very informed about all sorts of movie trivia--was in a pickle trying to explain the Kurosawa classic because he really had no knowledge of Japanese history.
That memory reminded me of a realisation I made years ago: movies can no longer be truly undertood if you don't know the facts behind each specific film creation. 'tis no longer enough to talk of GONE WITH THE WIND in terms of the outrageously ridiculous struggle of every leading lady of the time to land the role of Scarlett O'Hara; you also have to take into consideration things like the long controversy about whether Margaret Mitchell presented a genuinely accurate picture of Southern antebellum society, seeing, for ex, that her historical sources were all from the Confederate point of view, and that she did not consult even one single Unionist historical source.
You know all those action movies in which people like Steven Seagal do war against the drug and prostitution trades? Those movies may not be worthy of being considered as cinematic art, but in the future they will be valuable as documents of the kind of organised crime that the law had to fight in the first decade of the 21st century, pretty much in the same way that the gangster movies of the 30s are documents of the kind of crime of that period.
Shakespeare can no longer be read without commentary, as his period is now too remote for the people of this century to understand easily. Without commentary from art experts and historians, you cannot be expected to know why the Sistine Chapel ceiling includes pagan sibyls along with the OT prophets. The movies have been around for more than a century; you can be sure that the time will soon come in which Robert Osborne's introductions to classics as familiar as Fleming's THE WIZARD OF OZ will have become very scholarly and detailed lectures in which he will explain everything that is necessary to know in order to understand those classics. Believe it or not, there are people totally unfamiliar with the Oz books who actually think that Judy Garland's dream is the consequence of having dropped too much acid--and, of course, everybody who has read the books knows that Oz is no dream, but instead is very much a reality.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

HoustonDavid
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:01 am

As a very avid film collector and connoiseur of film classics, I agree with you Dulcinea. I have nearly
900 DVDs in my collection at this point and consider it important to research each film extensively as I
add it to my collection. I use a commercial program to document all the acquired data for each film in
my collection. I use the same product to document all of my music CDs as well. They have software for
collectors of many stripes and interests and their flexible products allow us OC types to document to our
hearts content.

Much research can be done on-line these days, which is a huge advantage, but I have probably 15 books
devoted to documenting the details of the art of film making. My collection is first and foremost based upon
those films I have personally enjoyed over my 72 years. Secondly it is based upon those films considered
classics by most film critics, and have been honored with their share of awards, expecially including the
Academy Awards and the American Film Institute Awards, as a measure of their quality.

I think it helps that I am old enough to have lived through the period of most "modern" films and know the
historic reality they intend to portray from personal experience. I also know how badly many films portray
the truth and reality of the times and characters they put on film. As a history buff, many of their mistakes
are too evident to this viewer. In many cases, the characters and the story of great movies, such as "Gone
With The Wind" overcome their portrayal of historic reality and we as film viewers largely forgive them their
short comings.

I consider the visual arts of film making and (some) television this nation's greatest contribution to Art of the
modern era. Film making was born here in the United States and has grown to be a part of most of the world's
cultures, which come back to us and tell us about places and people we can only dream of and watch on the
silver screen (as we used to say) and now on our large home screens. I feel privileged to have a growing collection
of some of the world's great art right here on my personal collection shelves.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

Brendan

Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by Brendan » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:17 am

Maybe that's why Hollywood churns out comic-books made into movies. How much context does one need for pure fantasy such as The Fantastic Four II: Rise of the Silver Surfer?

Don't tax the grey matter of the audience, no sir.

jbuck919
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:16 am

Well, it wouldn't be worth our attention if it were no more diverting than eating a hot dog, would it? While serious movie buffs put me to shame, I agree with Dulcinea and think it is a neat feature about film.

And the need to contextualize will only become more demanding. Everything before cell phones and the Internet is already costume drama.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

smitty1931
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by smitty1931 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:10 am

I find it interesting that the only "Art Form" invented in America is the Western.

karlhenning
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by karlhenning » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:56 am

smitty1931 wrote:I find it interesting that the only "Art Form" invented in America is the Western.
Jazz?

Cheers,
~Karl
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HoustonDavid
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by HoustonDavid » Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:38 pm

smitty1931 wrote:I find it interesting that the only "Art Form" invented in America is the Western.
karlhenning wrote:Jazz?
HoustonDavid wrote:I consider the visual arts of film making and (some) television this nation's greatest contribution to Art of the
modern era. Film making was born here in the United States and has grown to be a part of most of the world's
cultures, which come back to us and tell us about places and people we can only dream of and watch on the
silver screen (as we used to say) and now on our large home screens. I feel privileged to have a growing collection
of some of the world's great art right here on my personal collection shelves.
I don't know whether you were being funny, sarcastic, or serious Smitty, but I think the above quotes
belie your finding. I certainly agree with Karl that Jazz ranks right up there (and I have a rather good
collection of Jazz music), but I think, overall, film is the Art form the United States will be remembered
for (including Westerns, of course). It is now world-wide, but it originated here.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

DavidRoss
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by DavidRoss » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:40 am

smitty1931 wrote:I find it interesting that the only "Art Form" invented in America is the Western.
:?: Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas suggest otherwise.
HoustonDavid wrote: film is the Art form the United States will be remembered for (including Westerns, of course). It is now world-wide, but it originated here.
:?: The Lumiere brothers in France are usually credited as the first film-makers.

As for the OP: Like nearly everything else in life, Dulcinea, what you get out of it depends largely on what you bring to it. Nothing new about that.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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dulcinea
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by dulcinea » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:05 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
smitty1931 wrote:I find it interesting that the only "Art Form" invented in America is the Western.
:?: Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas suggest otherwise.
HoustonDavid wrote: film is the Art form the United States will be remembered for (including Westerns, of course). It is now world-wide, but it originated here.
:?: The Lumiere brothers in France are usually credited as the first film-makers.

As for the OP: Like nearly everything else in life, Dulcinea, what you get out of it depends largely on what you bring to it. Nothing new about that.
If you don't know what is behind Manet's OLYMPIA, all you see is a nude woman with a less than friendly expression. If you are totally ignorant about the 1861-65 War--practically every country in the world has had at least one civil war; nothing unique about the war between Lincoln and Davis--, all you'll see in GWTW will be women dressed in fashions that don't look comfortable at all; the point of the story will be totally lost on you.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

HoustonDavid
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Re: You Can No Longer Appreciate A Classic Movie ...

Post by HoustonDavid » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:33 pm

David, I sorta agree with you. Wikipedia says:

The Lumière Brothers were not the only ones to claim the title of the first cinematographers. The scientific chronophotography devices developed by Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne-Jules Marey and Ottomar Anschütz in the 1880s were able to produce moving photographs, as was Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope, premiered in 1891. Since 1892, the projected drawings of Émile Reynaud's Théâtre Optique were attracting Paris crowds to the Museé Grevin. Louis Le Prince had been shooting moving picture sequences on paper film as soon as 1888, but had never performed a public demonstration. Max and Emil Skladanowsky, inventors of the Bioskope, had offered projected moving images to a paying public one month earlier (November 1, 1895, in Berlin). Nevertheless, film historians consider the Grand Café screening to be the true birth of the cinema as a commercial medium, because the Skladanowsky brothers' screening used an extremely impractical dual system motion picture projector that was immediately supplanted by the Lumiere cinematographe.

Although the Lumière brothers were not the first inventors to develop techniques to create motion pictures, they are often credited as one of the first inventors of Cinema as a mass medium, and are among the first who understood how to use it. By comparison, it is argued that Thomas Edison may have meant his invention as a game or distraction for rich people, not as a movie to be seen in public.

Obviously Thomas Edison beat them to it (1891), but it might have been for different reasons. I do think the United
States pushed the development of what most considered a novelty, to a true art form, earlier than most if not
everybody. Nobody has pushed it further or faster, although the rest of the world can certainly be considered
equal partners now, as they are with most other art forms.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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