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'Old' Films - What do you think of them?

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I saw Metropolis last year for the first time in it's fully restored 2012 version with all new missing bits restored, there were only 1 or 2 sections that were replaced by cards. It was still 5/5 - it looks amazing even now, to think how old the film is is astonishing.

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I'll give 12 Angry Men a go to see if it can buck the trend. I'm trying to think of the oldest film I've see that I can honestly say I truly enjoyed. Maybe North By Northwest (1959)?

There is simply no conceivable way on earth you cannot enjoy 12 angry men. I would be absolutely amazed if it didn't jump straight into at least your top 100 favourite films.

For me Ace in the Hole is one of those movies that not only hasn't aged a jot, but actually feels completely cutting edge now because so many movies are watered down and formula. Double Indemnity is another too, which is so crystal clear head and shoulders above 99.9% of modern thrillers as to be beyond debate.

Of course there are darling movies which may not hold up due to dated SFX or hammy acting, but there are also films that feel incredibly brave and unconventional by todays watered down standards.

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Is it not? I assume you also go out of your way to invest your time in appreciating classical music, ancient literature, classic literature, classic plays, operas, ballet, the various eras of sculpture and painting, as well as classic film, then? Or are you marking out classic film as somehow more 'worthy' of appreciation, perchance?

People appreciate what they appreciate - arguing that people 'should' go out of their way to try and appreciate something because you happen to enjoy it is, well, a little snobbish.

People who profess a love of film but don't watch movies before 1960 are doing themselves a huge disservice. 13 of my top 25 movies of all time are from before 1960. That's not because i'm a film snob, it's because those 13 movies are more entertaining to watch than anything i've seen since.

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I don't agree with the assertion that modern audiences can't enjoy great films. Obviously some people won't like them, but I've seen enough old (sometimes really old) films play to popular audiences of mixed age groups and go down a storm. And I'm not talking about a bunch of fusty academics at the BFI clapping politely.

I remember going to a secret cinema once and the film was 'A night at the opera'. You could hear the palpable groan of disappointment by the audience when it came on. Quite a few couples walked straight out.

15 minutes later though and the whole audience was pissing themselves laughing and by the end there was huge applause and all this chanting of "wow, that was actually really good". Wanting to grab people by the scruff of the neck and go "Of course it's good you arsehole!".

I think a lot of times people have seen 1 or 2 classics they didn't get along with and they've decided from that that they don't like old films. But thats like having a mcdonalds hamburger and deciding you don't like beef.

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As to the general premise, I don't think the age of a film has much to do with it really (except insofar as it might relate to the age of the viewer). It's like anything else - you either love the form or don't. People who can only tolerate or put the 'effort' into throwaway formulaic stuff will not bother to seek out anything beyond some of what's currently offered up to them. On the other hand, if they crave more - a lot more - than that, they'll soon run out of current options and mine earlier eras, and their understanding of the form will grow and fuel itself, encouraging them to try further afield still. People who refuse to watch 'black and white' or 'silent' or 'subtitled' films have a limited palette - just like people who'll only read new best-selling novels, or listen to chart/radio/TV music in certain genres, they'll only go the the flicks or rent a DVD to see something that's within a small and familiar range. They like to be in a comfort zone, and don't relish the challenge of going outside it. Some people are the opposite.

All I really mean is that those people aren't 'against the past' as such - they'd be equally against anything that's new and challenging. They just stick to what's familiar. A massive generalisation, but so is the premise here. You're either a lover/buff, or you're not. Lovers/buffs are greedy and enthusiastic about the form and want to know more about it, to understand it better and be stretched by it. Passive consumers just want an easy hour or two.

Snobbery ftw.

I consider myself somewhat of a film snob, and definitely a lover of the form. I can watch most things from the cheesiest rom-com to slow, demanding arty stuff and get enjoyment out of it all. I can appreciate the expertise in the best examples of the medium and also love to pick apart the crappy/formulaic stuff that is shovelled out.

But I will very rarely watch an "old" film out of choice. 1960 seems to be a cut-off, and even then, hardly any sixties films do it for me.

So for me, it's not to do with being a casual film watcher who only enjoys the form at a surface level. I know what you mean by that, as it probably defines my relationship with music and food.

I've got nothing against black-and-white or subtitles. The Man Who Wasn't There, Volver, The Lives Of Other etc - all brilliant. It's not that. Fish Tank is one of my favourite films of the last decade - not exactly popcorn entertainment.

It's probably to do with what you grow up with, and how alien some older movie conventions seem to someone raised on Taxi Driver, Robocop, Goodfellas, Blade Runner, Reservour Dogs etc.

Tarantino is a movie lover, but his focus seems to be on output from the 70s onwards - trashy kung fu, violent westerns - that sort of thing. I'm sure as a film-maker he appreciates all the classics and loves to study how the medium has evolved. I'm not a film-maker, so seeing the formal breakthroughs in something like Citizen Kane isn't of much interest. It's very academic.

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All that Masters of Cinema stuff on the previous page has got me thinking that the world needs a label like MoC that goes out of the way to release the definitive versions of films, with beautiful transfers and director-approved integration of deleted material only instead of releasing stuff like Metropolis and Touch of Evil, they do stuff like Event Horizon and Commando.

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People who profess a love of film but don't watch movies before 1960 are doing themselves a huge disservice. 13 of my top 25 movies of all time are from before 1960. That's not because i'm a film snob, it's because those 13 movies are more entertaining to watch than anything i've seen since.

Oh, certainly. It was just the implication that everyone - whether lovers of film or not - should invest the time to watch films of all eras that bothered me. 2 of my top 5 films are pre-'60s releases, and early film noir is one of my go-to "brain off, eyes open" genres to relax in front of; I just don't like the idea that everyone should invest themselves in film just because I happen to enjoy the medium, any more than I think everyone should be interested in computer games, or spend time to involve classic literature. People's interests are frequently divergent, and that's all for the good.

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I think it's more that we know that the people who read this folder, by and large, would get loads out of looking beyond current releaaes. It's so easy to do nowadays and the rewards are so great, that a bit of encouragement from the forum might be all someone needs to have a brilliant time with older movies. It's the Film/TV equivalent of telling people to play Dark Souls.

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When you go for an old film, I'd make sure to go for something lighter - I find that a lot of Hitchcock movies haven't aged well, in the sense that BECAUSE they pioneered a lot of what has become the suspense genre, they appear a bit too tame. Something like The Dictator, the Third Man or Cool Hand Luke will be easier to get into than something that is thought-provoking or beautiful art but harder to access (something like the Conversation or the Mirror) but that you must be prepared to give benefit of doubt.

At home when we watch a movie, once one of us start to lose interest in it we have a 15-minute rule. If I start to find the film boring, I'll go "my 15 minutes are counting now".. a lot of the time, the film will pick up before the time is up. We tend to give new movies a shorter timeout - so we turn newer movies off if both our counters reach 5-10 minutes and the film still hasn't recovered.

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Movies that people really noticed because they innovated might suffer the worst, something a bit like shesaid referenced- when 50 films a year essentially copy Hitchcock, if someone comes as a fresh viewer to a Hitchcock original, it's going to look like the same tired old cliché again.

Rambling a bit now, but I think some of what bugs me is just cultural. I recently re-watched the Battle of Britain, but this time, older and maybe a bit wiser, I was just too distracted by how 1960s it was in attitude. It didn't feel authentic after watching something like Band of Brothers. BoB may not be more authentic, I dunno, but if it wasn't, it fooled me better. Kelly's Heroes is still fun, but is even more obviously a 60s movie (though released in 70 I think? In the can by 69 though).

What made me notice this problem I have with the changing culture in film, was when I watched one of the Paranormal Activity sequels (yes, yes, I know...). It was supposedly footage of events in the 1980s, but the guy in it was such a millennial brotard, that it didn't feel at all genuine. Guys just didn't talk and act like that in the 80s. That film's inability to capture an era is a side point, but it made me think about what a millennial today would think of Breakfast Club, or Ferris Bueller; if they'd roll their eyes at how false these characters seem to be because they don't fit their own idea of normal behaviour.

So I wonder if I have a hard time with movies full of guys in suits and hats, saying, "Say, buddy! Whadayathink ya doin?" because it doesn't seem familiar enough.

But then I watch a brand new version of Much Ado About Nothing, and think it's brilliant. I think it might just be that I don't like the 40s and 50s much as decades.

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Not even stuff like Paths of Glory? I mean, that film is just dynamite to watch even now. Rebecca still packs such a wallop. The Lost Weekend feels fresh and daring.

To me the 40's is the absolute daddy of movies after the 70's. Studios pumping out really brave stuff. And even the big commercial films like Meet me in St Louis and The Philadelphia Story are just so much more watchable than todays films. I know what you mean about the change in our dialogue and mannerisms and stuff, but that only serves to make classic movies more anthropologically interesting. I remember watching Hitchcock's Frenzy and being fascinated by seeing old footage of Covent Garden

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I don't know. I was trying to think of my favourite film ever, and so far, Seven Samurai is the main contender. I don't speak Japanese or have any ingrained idea of how speech, mannerisms should be whether 1950s, current or 16thC, so that element isn't distracting for me.

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I fall under the category of being someone who, given an evening at home would be more likely to watch Battleship than a pre-1970 'classic'

Despite efforts to investigate this and find my thread of older films that suit my tastes I'm still yet to really connect with anything. Hitchcock's The Birds has probably come closest so far although I do get distracted by the many elements that have dated, it wouldn't even be a consideration in any of my top film lists.

I think my tastes in films rely a lot in the aesthetics of modern films and a mood or type that doesn't exist, I can watch Danny Boyle's Sunshine and get huge enjoyment in the world of the ship they're on and the way the cinematography tells the story, which is a satisfaction I haven't found in older movies.

I am continuing to try to see if my palate will adjust though and continue to pursue older pieces as I work as a director and want to make my own feature and feel that there's more useful information to be mined in older pieces that I can implement in my works.

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I fall under the category of being someone who, given an evening at home would be more likely to watch Battleship than a pre-1970 'classic'

Despite efforts to investigate this and find my thread of older films that suit my tastes I'm still yet to really connect with anything. Hitchcock's The Birds has probably come closest so far although I do get distracted by the many elements that have dated, it wouldn't even be a consideration in any of my top film lists.

I think my tastes in films rely a lot in the aesthetics of modern films and a mood or type that doesn't exist, I can watch Danny Boyle's Sunshine and get huge enjoyment in the world of the ship they're on and the way the cinematography tells the story, which is a satisfaction I haven't found in older movies.

I am continuing to try to see if my palate will adjust though and continue to pursue older pieces as I work as a director and want to make my own feature and feel that there's more useful information to be mined in older pieces that I can implement in my works.

How about:

Cat People (1942)

Don't Look Now (1973)

Rebecca (1940, also Hitchcock)

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I love old films but even I would say that Cat People is pretty dated. It's one of those "classic" films that supposedly invented something that went on to become a staple of the genre but it's hard to watch it without that "kitsch" sensibility now.

Polanski's early psychological horror films are good - Repulsion, The Tenant, Rosemary's Baby, all that.

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Rosemary's Baby is still a really powerful film. I watched Don't Look Now for the first time recently and enjoyed it but I wasn't blown away by it. Compared to something like Rosemary's Baby or The Wicker Man, I don't think it has aged as well.

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I love watching older classics with the like of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe and Hitchcock films but I noticed I don't have any films before 1950 apart from charlie chaplin collection or King Kong or Disney classics or Citizen Zane (Not sure which age). Some films are wonderful to watch and it doesn't age too badly while some films make you cringe because it is so old fashioned.

Another problems is there is not much promotion or talk about film stars or films before WWII Apart from Marlene Dietrich I couldn't name a female actress. If we talk about older screen legendary actress it is usually Audrey/Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor.

Plus in late 20-WWII film is learning how to use voices after moving from silent movies with music era. Maybe there should be a special recommendation topic for film before 1940 to enable the like of me and other to enjoy these unknown classics.

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Red River is a great film from the 1940's, off the top of my head there's It's A Wonderful Life, Rope, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, The Philadelphia Story, Casablanca, The Grapes of Wrath, The Third Man and many many others

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All that Masters of Cinema stuff on the previous page has got me thinking that the world needs a label like MoC that goes out of the way to release the definitive versions of films, with beautiful transfers and director-approved integration of deleted material only instead of releasing stuff like Metropolis and Touch of Evil, they do stuff like Event Horizon and Commando.

Criterion did an edition of Robocop back in the day.

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How about:

Cat People (1942)

Don't Look Now (1973)

Rebecca (1940, also Hitchcock)

I've seen Rebecca, I came away from that film satisfied, but getting to the end was tough going for me.

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I've seen Rebecca, I came away from that film satisfied, but getting to the end was tough going for me.

I know I always trot it out, but have you seen The Sweet Smell of Success? That film has not aged one single day. It's similar to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang if you liked that film. I reckon you'd find it totally pleasurable to watch and not even realise it's age

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I know I always trot it out, but have you seen The Sweet Smell of Success? That film has not aged one single day. It's similar to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang if you liked that film. I reckon you'd find it totally pleasurable to watch and not even realise it's age

I'll check that one out.

I intended to watch 12 Angry Men on Sunday and ended up watching Wreck-it Ralph, Trance, and Something's Gotta Give instead, I think that's the problem, my heart just isn't in it. But I think, if I keep watching them when I can I'll eventually aquire the taste.

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The problem is the mental barrier. You're saying to yourself "I need to watch this, it's a classic", as if it's homework. Fact is though, 12 angry men isn't homework, it's a completely gripping drama. After 10 mins you'll be fully engrossed

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Yeah, 12 Angry Men isn't just one of the "best" films of all time, it's one of the most enjoyable. Everyone I've shown it to has loved it. It's definitely worth watching (though, obviously, you have to be in the mood for a bit of drama).

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Try Invasion Of the Body Snatchers.

Admittedly I havnt seen it for a long while but i thought it was brilliant years ago.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049366/

Does Dr Strangelove count ? It is a flat out classic.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057012/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Oh and i bloody loved the creature from the black lagoon!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046876/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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I enjoy old films in quite a significant part because I find there to be an innocent charm about them. I've previously started a thread about it so I'll be brief, but as I get older I find myself less interested in sex/violence/swearing in films. And, as somebody else mentioned, we get to see a window of a world now long-gone. It's like that footage of London in the late 20s that somebody started a thread about - it's showing ordinary, mundane stuff (for the time) but many of us found it fascinating just because it showed us things that are a mystery to our modern times.

Strangely, I find I'm more tolerant of drama films from bygone days than I am of the modern era.

So yeah, I certainly enjoy old films and, yes, part of that is a snobbish reason of 'just because' I guess.

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