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Classic cinema - thoughts and questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Forostar, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    The last few years I have been getting more and more into older films. Older films? You mean, OLD films? Sounds boring doesn't it? Old is dull. Old is black and white. Old is slow.

    Unfortunately, many people nowadays suffer from these prejudiced thoughts.
    They appreciate current trends. Fast stuff. Easy stuff. Stuff that's now in the movie theater. All that's new is cool.

    Alright then, what's nice about older, let's say classic films? I'll try to explain my point of view.

    Earlier, I had never been so much into directors or actors. A film was good or not that good, regardless of the maker of this film. Until my wife introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock. He was the master of suspense and many of his ideas and techniques have been admired and later used by others. The tension he created is amazing!

    Together we watched a Hitchcock-film, then another one... and suddenly I realized that it was mighty interesting to discover more and more of his work. It's like getting into the discography of Iron Maiden. :)

    At the same time more things were happening. In films sometimes you can be impressed by a certain role or actor for the first time. I started liking people like Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Gregory Peck. I had to know what other films they did - what kind of genres etc. Like this, I got into a genre of which I wasn't aware of that much.:

    Film noir --> From wikipedia: Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe Hollywood crime dramas that set their protagonists in a world perceived as inherently corrupt and unsympathetic. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression.  Way more info --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_noir

    My favorite elements in films are good stories / scripts, tension, the earlier mentioned suspense. A film for me has to be exciting, giving the anxious feeling of uncertainty about what is about to happen. In real life such feelings are terrible, but in film! The film noir genre fits excellent with these demands :)

    The best tool to explore films is imo The International Movie Database:


    I checked some ratings and saw that the director Kurusawa has many high ratings. After the first film (Seven Samurai) I had to see more of this fantastic creator! His biggest strength is the way of telling a story, how real it looks.

    The last years I saw many old films (from "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920) till let's say the fifties/sixties).
    The forties and fifties are probably my favorite decades.


    So what's my point:

    Everyone could look back. There's a whole world left to be discovered. For everyone his / her own taste.

    I also have some questions:

    1. What are your favorite films?
    2. Do you also appreciate older films? Which ones?
    3. Do you have favorite directors?
    4. Do you have favorite actors?
    5. Which genres do you prefer?

    Cheers and thanks for reading / answering. :)

    This next list consists of my favorite films (not in order):

    The Grapes Of Wrath
    12 Angry Men
    Rear Window
    Shadow Of A Doubt
    Dial M For Murder
    North By Northwest
    Strangers On A Train
    The Wrong Man
    Seven Samurai
    Throne of Blood
    The Hidden Fortress
    Guns Of Navarone
    The Longest Day
    Ben Hur
    The Lord Of The Rings trilogy
    The Woman In The Window
    Double Indemnity
    The Third Man
    Sunset Blvd.
    Das Boot
    The Big Sleep
    White Heat
    The Maltese Falcon
    The Killing
    The Set-Up
    Anatomy Of A Murder
    Where The Sidewalk Ends
    Brute Force
    Sudden Fear
    Odds Against Tomorrow
    Gentleman's Agreement
    High Sierra
    The Gunfighter
    Hangmen Also Die
    They Drive By Night
    In A Lonely Place
    High Noon
    The Name Of The Rose
    Paths Of Glory
    To Kill A Mocking Bird
  2. SneakySneaky

    SneakySneaky Trooper

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Forostar,  great thread.  When I was younger I thought that old films were boring.  Now,  I just love them.  I prefer black and white films,  rather than color films (ok so the Matrix wouldn't work in BnW).  I appreciate it when diectors want to do films in black and white (Good Night And Good Luck,  for example,  though I still haven't had the chnce to watch it).  But I hated the pervert Sin City (it had style though).  I love Hitchcock's films too. 

    Now,  let me awnser your questions.
    1.  a.  The Lord Of The Rings, part 3
    b.  Marnie
    c.  It's a wonderful life
    d.  Pirates of The Carribbean
    e.  Robin Hood Men in Tights
    f.  The Wrong man
    g.  The Name Of The Rose
    to name but a few

    2.  I do appreciate older films,  which ones?  too many to name.
    3.  I suppose Hitchcock
    4.  Ian Mckellen,  Tom Hanks,  Johny Depp
    5.  Adventures,  comedies,  dramas,  bloodless thrillers ( rare in these days )
    That's all I can think of.
  3. XoRRoX

    XoRRoX Invader

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    I did also began to watch old movies - it started when i saw Where Eagles Dare cheap on the internet. Then i was hooked - especially with old war movies. Richard Burton is also my favourite actor now.

    My favourite films are:

    1. The Longest Day (Brilliant, just brilliant)
    2. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (Burton's finest acting with Elizabeth Taylor)
    3. Where Eagles Dare (a classic!)

    I mostly prefer old was movies. But also dramas

    I don't have a favourtie director, but Richard Burton is my favourite actor. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, The Spy who came in from the cold, Absolution etc.
  4. Albie

    Albie Keeping an open eye on the Weeping Angels.

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Regretfully, I am slightly uncultured when it comes to movies. I have the full DVD collection of Bond & Star Trek movies and I love almost all of the Schwarzenegger movies and have most of them on some form of media. In short, I'm a sucker for the action movie. A lot of Spielberg movies I love too. This is not to say that I don't appreciate other types of movie, or even older movies.

    I don't generally look to watch a movie because it has actor x or directed by y, if it intrigues me I'll watch it.
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Great topic; I could talk hours about films.
    What I like about old films is that they are very technical. Directors and actors were working with a comparatively new medium, and until, say, the sixties, they were still discovering all the possibilities with it. A film was still considered to be more like a stage play than a realistic image of the world. Therefore, old films sometimes seem very unrealistic and, well, acted. On the other hand, you can closely examine dramaturgic techniques this way. A prime example would be Fritz Lang's M. Here, we have a director who was used to doing silent films now for the first time using sound. Lang plays a lot with it. If you pay attention during the film, you will also notice that there are no side noises; everything is concentrated  on dialogues. But what is more notorious is that Lang's villain is instantly recognisable by a melody he keeps whistling.
    Funnily enough, there's only one parallel to that I can draw on the top of my head- Darth Vader and his breath. Which is also an interesting example as for how contemporary film makers keep being influenced by the 'old' films.

    But, let's go on to answer your questions first.

    That's a good question. While I am very interested in film theory, I'm not necessarily a cineast, so my favourite films are all basic stuff. Raiders Of The Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Gladiator, King Kong (the original 1933 one) and all that kind of stuff spring to mind... I'm really a Hollywood kid.

    Lots. I really enjoy the work of Fritz Lang, and basically old(er) Hollywood stuff (i.e. up to the sixties); I can't really name many. Maybe I'll think of some as time goes by...

    None that I'd worship. Some directors whose works never failed to impress me are Kurosawa, Leone, Hitchcock... I can't really say.

    Same as above, really. Some contemporary actors I'd say I really enjoy watching are Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Jean Reno and Sean Connery; some non-contemporary ones would be Laurence Olivier and Peter Ustinov.

    People tend to ask me, and I usually end up listing half the spectrum. It really depends on my mood. You won't get me interested in romantic films or martial arts... other than that, I suppose I enjoy horror, sci fi, action, adventure and thrillers.

    If Forostar had me pick films from his list, those would be the ones:

    As I said, maybe I'll list some films I like a lot later on.
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Good topic.  I agree that older films are usually better than newer films but we must be careful not to wear our rose-tinted glasses ;)  Some older films are really terrible... we build up a nostalgic view of the golden age of cinema because we forget the poor films which never get shown again.

    1. What are your favorite films?
    - "Tadpole"
    - "The Shawshank Redemption"
    - "The Omen"
    - "Damien: The Omen 2"
    - "The Omen 3: The Final Conflict"
    - "The Omen 4: The Awakening"
    - "Spinal Tap"
    - "Psycho"
    - "The Unforgiven"
    - "For a few Dollars More"
    - "A Fistful of Dollars"
    - "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
    - "Rambo"
    - "The Godfather"
    - "The Godfather 2"

    2. Do you also appreciate older films? Which ones?
    Are the "Spaghetti Westerns" older films?

    3. Do you have favorite directors?
    Sergio Leone

    4. Do you have favorite actors?
    Clint Eastwood
    Marilyn Monroe :wub:

    5. Which genres do you prefer?

    6. Any films you don't like? (A conor special)
    The "Star Wars" films.
    The "Lord of the Rings" films.
  7. Onhell

    Onhell Mexican Revolutionary

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Having somewhat older parents than my peers (my mom is the age of most peoples grandma hehe) I've always seen older movies and I've never thought of them as "boring" or "uncool" quite the opposite. From "My Fair Lady" with Audry Hepburn, to 1940's Mexican cinema or even the Seventh Seal, that gem of Swedish cinema with our friend Father Merin, I mean, Max Von Sydow. Like Perun I could spend hours/days/enternity talking about movies. But I won't. I like everything and anything, sometimes I even enjoy the ocasional "bad" movie or the "so bad it's good" ( SNAKES ON A PLANE!!!). I LOVE the Horror/Terror/suspense genre which is FULL of "crappy" movies but my favorites are 1970's futuristic movies. So no real favorite actor, though I admit an actor will make me see a movie I would otherwise pass up (Johnny Depp, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Angelina Jolie, Scarlette Johansen, etc.) No real favorite director. But plenty of favorite movies. Toping the list is The Exorcist, LOVE the movie, LOVE the book, hands down my favorite movie, Soylent Green, Network, Planet of the Apes (the original) and Rollerball (the original) are also favorites of mine. Of "new" movies Seven is the only one that really jumps out at the moment, but there are others... mostly comedies.
  8. Shadow

    Shadow Deluxe Edition Staff Member

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    I think Perun brings up some interesting points about how early film-makers were still discovering the possibilities of cinema. However, I wouldn't say this has in any way stopped, only moved on. Where people previously experimented with sound, camera angles and so on, modern film-makers experiment with computer animations and visual effects on a scale that for long was impossible. The Lord of the Rings films, for instance, couldn't possibly have been made in their current form in the fifties. There just wasn't technology for it.

    Computer technology has increased the possibilities of cinema enormously, for good and bad. For while it's now possible to realistically depict more things than ever before, the story inevitably suffers from over-emphasis on visual effects. Film-makers have so much fun creating and enhancing the effects they completely forget about good scripts, acting and directing - in short, the things I like the most about older films. While I'm sure the obsession with computer graphics is very much a passing phase, it always annoys me when a film that could have been great is spoiled by mindless action scenes (Revenge of the Sith, anyone?).

    What are your favourite films?

    For some reason, whenever someone asks me this I can never come up with any. Life of Brian, of course, and the other Monty Python films, A Fish Called Wanda, The Godfather, Dr. Strangelove and many more.

    Do you also appreciate older films? Which ones?

    I love a lot of older films. Like Forostar, I like the classic film noir a lot, since unlike most similar new films they rely more on good scripts and direction to create tension than flashy effects. Would a film like The Maltese Falcon, which is really nothing but conversation, be made today? I don't think so. I also like lot of older comedy, like Chaplin or the Marx Brothers, as well as anything else that's good.

    Do you have favourite directors/actors?

    Not really. While of course there are directors and actors I appreciate more than others I've never thought of it in terms of favourites.

    Which genres do you prefer?

    Like I said earlier, anything that's good, although I'm partial towards good comedy and film noir-like dramas. There are good and bad films in every genre. Never been too into horror or war films but that's largely because I've never seen a lot.
  9. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    I enjoyed reading all your reactions! Very interesting.

    @Shadow - hooking in your view on the age of visualization-madness ->> Looking at current films, I am not a big horror movie fan. The more blood and the more special effects, the more impressive the maker thinks his product is.
    Some old horror movies I like a lot. Simply because there was more emphasis on suspense and good scripts. The things we do NOT see or know were also interesting and important for the makers (and naturally the audience).

    @SneakySneaky: The Wrong Man is probably the most film noirish movie Hitchcock ever made. This scene in which Fonda's face matches with the real criminal is genious !

    @XoRRoX: "The Longest Day" was shown to my class when I was in the final year of primary school! It probably got me into war films and even started my interest for war history (and naturally this 6-6-1944 event itself). Back then I didn't realize that the cast was huge, so now this is a funny extra element when seeing the film more often (it's long as hell though hehe!) Let's hope Maiden do justice to this topic.

    @Perun: Interesting analysis on M. When I saw it I was so busy with the story (the very much ahead of time message: "Don't tread people like beasts, they also have human sides and should not be condemned/killed to soon) that I didn't pay attention to this aspect. Next time I will though! :)

    @Conor: Spaghetti-westerns could indeed be categorized as old :)
    Most of them were made in the sixties and seventies. I like "Once Upon A Time In The West" a lot. The music of course, but also the evil Fonda (people were shocked when they saw that he was the gangleader who was involved in killing a family plus children). Also the close-up on Bronsons eyes is memorable for being the closest close-up ever done.
  10. Shadow

    Shadow Deluxe Edition Staff Member

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    I remember seeing some documentary about the making of a number of famous movies. One of the films debated was Jaws. Originally, Spielberg and crew had planned to use a mechanic shark (which looked absolutely ridiculous!) in all the scenes, but it was simply impossible to make it work. The actors remembered arriving on the set and someone from the crew working by the water would say "the shark is not working, the shark is not working" through the speakers, or alternatively, "the shark is working - uh, no, the shark is not working".

    Well, the film had to be shot anyway. So Spielberg decided that you should never actually see the shark until the end, just sense it. Instead of seeing a stupid-looking mechanic shark throw itself over the actors, you just saw someone suddenly getting dragged underwater or seen from the approaching shark's perspective, which made the shark infinitely more menacing and scary. I don't think it would have become the classic it has if they hadn't done it this way.

  11. Onhell

    Onhell Mexican Revolutionary

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Spielberg reportedly fired the people that made the shark and sure enough had to change his tactics. The first Aliens movie was the same way, not that it had a cheap creature, but the fact that you barely see the creature througout the movie made it very suspenseful. I agree some movies benefit from Special effects and others don't. I personally liked Revenge of the Sith, it seemed cramed, but I still enjoyed it a lot. To me Jurasic Park is the best example of AWESOME CGI while Resident Evil and Hellboy are good examples of VERY cheap CGI ruining a movie, granted they weren't that great to begin with, but still the obviously fake creatures made it less enjoyable for me.
  12. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    What a coincidence you talk about Jaws. Yesterday I have seen "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", which can be seen as influential for Jaws and other underwater-monster films. ;)

    I was reading some trivia on this (there is a LOT of trivia on the database!) and this is a funny one:

    "Steven Spielberg also called the shark "the great white turd" when he really got frustrated with the troublesome animatronic fish."
  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Great topic and excellent opening post. :ok:

    I love films and I'm quite sad that my hectic life-style prevents me from enjoying them as much as I used to. I've seen many many films, some famous old ones too, and I must admit that I tend to forget stories so I can watch them again and again.

    Generally, I prefer French, British, German and Scandinavian cinematography, to Italian and Spanish. I also like a good Hollywood production, if it is a bit thought-provoking or ‘intelligently’ fun. All in all, I love films for the atmosphere they create, for how they make me feel, or think.

    There are only two films that I didn’t finish watching and left the cinema – ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ (I won the tickets) and ‘Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma’ (too crude for my stomach). I even have a few ‘film sins’, such as ‘Dirty Dancing’ :-[, that have to do with my growing up as a girl in this civilization.

    1. What are your favorite films?
    Some of my favourite titles, off the top of my head: ’21 Grams’, ‘Seven’, ‘Fatal Attraction’, ‘Breaking The Waves’ and many more.

    2. Do you also appreciate older films? Which ones?
    I like black-and-white Ingmar Bergman films, Hitchcock, very old surrealist films as well as many European 60s films.

    3. Do you have favorite directors?
    Usually I like Bergman, Truffault, Soderbergh, Lynch, Szabo and many more.

    4. Do you have favorite actors?
    Sean Penn, Al Pacino and many more.

    5. Which genres do you prefer?
    I love the new film noir – ‘Memento’, ‘LA Confidential’. I enjoy a nice thriller, as well as a bit of psychology and mystery.
  14. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Recently I saw Dark Passage (1947), a film starring Humphrey Bogart.

    Very interesting for its first person viewing perspective. The first third of the film is shown literal through the eyes of an innocent man, falsely condemned to prison. He escapes and after that we follow him in this exciting "on the run" film.

    Also, I bought two films on DVD the other day, both starring Toshirô Mifune.:

    -Samurai Assassin (1965) --> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059673/

    -Samurai Rebellion (1967) --> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061847/

    I love Mifune's way of acting, I guess he's the most expressive actor who has ever lived. So many movies left to track down! ;)
  15. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    1. What are your favorite films?
    Gladiator, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dead Poets Society, A Beautiful Mind, The Secret Garden, Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version), Sense and Sensibility, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Keeping Mum, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Wit.
    2. Do you also appreciate older films? Which ones?
    Oh yes, certainly, my favorite there would be Some Like it Hot, as well as A Roman Holiday, Psycho, 12 Angry Men and Rear Window.
    3. Do you have favorite directors?
    Not really, although anything by Hitchcock is bound to be good.
    4. Do you have favorite actors?
    Let me see: Ian McKellen, Russell Crowe, Richard Harris,Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Cate Blanchett.
    5. Which genres do you prefer?
    Comedy (mostly british), Dramas...that's all I can think of.
  16. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Last week I saw a film by legendary Russian director Sergei M. Eisenstein, called Aleksandr Nevskyi.


    After Pskov had been invaded by the crusading Livonian Knights, the Novgorod authorities sent for Alexander. In spring of 1241 he returned from his exile, gathered an army, and drove out the invaders. Alexander and his men stood up against the Livonian heavy cavalry led by the Magister of the Order, Hermann, brother of Albert of Buxhoeveden. Nevsky faced the enemy on the ice of the Lake Chudskoe and crushed the Livonian Knights during the Battle on Lake Chudskoe on April 5, 1242.


    Again I found out how much inspiration George Lucas took from old films. The highly stylized costumes are carefully designed to make the Teutonic Knights and their footmen seem to be inhuman robots. This theme George Lucas would pick up in Star Wars, as well as the imagery of the Emperor, who is clearly derived from the evil black-robed monk.

  17. Powergirl81

    Powergirl81 Trooper

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Great topic! Here's my 2 cents:

    My favorite movies (no particular order)
    1. Lord Of the Rings trilogy
    2. Star Wars-I like the originals better than the prequels, but all 6 are good
    3. Harry Potter-all
    4. Indiana Jones trilogy
    5. Spaceballs
    6. Star Trek-all, I'd say Wrath Of Khan is the best one
    7. The Secret Garden
    8. Spies Like Us
    9. The Net
    10. Speed
    11. The Crow
    12. Trading Places
    13. Scarface
    14. Austin Powers flicks
    15. St. Helens-Art Carney is the old man in the old house who won't move when the town is ordered to evacuate (hard to find, but it's killer! Made in 1981, right after the eruption-look it up online)
    16. The Atomic Bomb Movie-narrated by William Shatner, of course!  :D
    17. The Matrix trilogy
    18. Robin Hood Men In Tights
    19. National Lampoon's Vacation movies (up to Vegas Vacation...it's not NL without Chevy Chase)
    20. Clear and Present Danger
    21. Hollywood Knights
    22. The Manhattan Project-the one about the college kids making the nuke...John Lithgow

    Older films? If older is like...from the 1950s-60s...
    The Ten Commandments
    For A Few Dollars More
    Wizard Of Oz

    Directors? Seems obvious..Steven Spielberg and George Lucas

    Al Pacino
    Tom Hanks
    Chevy Chase
    Dan Aykroyd
    Clint Eastwood
    Harrison Ford
    Partick Stewart
    William Shatner
    Mike Myers
    Mel Brooks
    Keanu Reeves
    Dennis Hopper

    Comedy, drama, romance, action, sci-fi...I'm not one for horror flicks like my husband is
  18. Metal_made

    Metal_made Trooper

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Hello there, it's been a while since I last came to the forum.  Anyway let's get to the point.

    I am a big fan of horror movies, specially zombies, I am what you would call a zombiephile, I just love the living dead. 

    So one of my favourite movies is Night Of The Living Dead by George A. Romero which is black and white and has no amazing and stylish, but still it manages to scare me, and it brings the tension and the suspense which is rare now.

    I just don't get it, why such movies were able to create all that without all the new things, one would think, that with better Special Effects, the movies should be even more awesome, but IMO it seems to go all the other way around.  I don't like to think that the art is not anymore what it used to be, something to transmit ideas, feelings... But now, it seems like money sits down in the director chair and makes the movies.

    There is some new good stuff, but all that I pointed out, everyday comes out less and less.
  19. char_da_harlot

    char_da_harlot Trooper

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    I love black and white films.  Hitchcock was brillant.  His work still being replicated today.  I see "Hichcock" eveywhere in modern films.  

    I also like director Billy Wilder.  Double Indemnity is one of my favorite B/W.  I love Barbara Stanwyck :yey:  She was and always will be my all time fave.

    When I was growing up (3 brothers 2 sisters) my Dad made us watch almost every John Wayne film.  And not to mention every b/w war film ever made.  Sands of Iwo Jima and True Grit are some of my best John Wayne films.

    One movie worth mentioning is "On The Waterfront" Featuring the great Elia Kazan-director. And it stars Eva Marie Saint. (she was in North by Northwest also)

    Lately however I have really been into "Pedro Almodovar" films.  They remind me of black and white but in color. Here are some titles in english that I have seen.  Volver, All About My Mother, Bad Education and The Flower of My Secret.  I'm dying to see "Matador"  And yes they are in subtitles for those of you who don't speak spanish.  Hitchcock definitely inspired this director with all due respect. :ok:
  20. Albie

    Albie Keeping an open eye on the Weeping Angels.

    Re: Classic cinema / current cinema - thoughts and questions

    Not only how he inspired a load of film-makers, but the cameo role in a film acted by the director that he made famous has been copied enough times - John Landis and Peter Howitt always seem to do this in their films, for example.

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