How I feel about “old” movies


When somebody namedrops me a title on a movie, asking me if I wanna watch it ,- or if a professor writes down a title in a syllabus, I usually google it, just to enlighten myself of how many minutes of snacking I gotta do, how long I have to sit still and what I should expect from the movie.

If the movie happens to be from before the 21st century, I’d have to do more research to decide whether it will be a joyful screening or a torturing sit-through. I am very piggy with my movies, I admit that, but I guess it comes with the interest in producing movies myself. The more you are aware of cinematic opportunities, the higher standard you will more likely have (I guess).

Of course the genre, the age of production, the cover photo and whatnot wont solely scare me away, but I do very often know if I’ll like a movie or not before I even get to the first frame. And old movies normally aren’t my favorite ones, if you know what I mean by an “old” movie.

Let’s leave out silent films. I hope I don’t offend anybody, but those just aren’t my cup of tea. Chaplin and the other goofballs wont make my day, but moving a little more forward in time, possibilities of my acknowledgement will rise.

Color in films was not a given thing until the end of the 20th. century, so until then aesthetics was created solely with lights and setting. There was no such thing as color symbolism and separating day from night was a lot harder, as well as telling apart the genres right away. 

Fun fact. As a kid I believed that the world had no colors back in the ‘black and white’-days. It made no sense to me that there would be colors, but no cameras able to capture them. So I honestly thought, that real life colors were invented later on, around the 70’s maybe, – you know, wheh the movies started to be anything else but black and white. I think it might be the reason why I still have trouble watching black and white movies.

Let me namedrop you one series of films without colors that I actually like; Far til Fire is a series of Danish family movies from somewhere between the 1960’s-1980’s. I watch them repeatedly with a smile on my face and not worry too much about the missing colors, but again I have to say that I am a bigger fan of bit more saturation and hue. 

I just gotta say, that as color was added, old cinematography found its way into my heart. 

The gray-haired films for me peeked in the 80’s with Point Break, Youngblood and the Outsiders. Looking beyond the denim era, the heavy hairstyles and the still very dramatic acting, there was something about the storytelling that seemed to stand out to those modern Hollywood movies. Not all movies were like others, the plot wasn’t the same and you couldn’t tell the ending just by looking at its cover image. 80’s movies were good. Natural, realistic and well-told. They were original, and that’s one thing that the newer Hollywood movies can’t really compete with anymore.

A lot of classics were produced in the late 80’s: E.T. The Breakfast Club, Aliens and Starwars. Of course, at lot of fantastic films were created afterwards, but the 21st. century was the end of what I would call “old” movies and the beginning of a whole new way of film producing. 

The other day we watched a movie from the 1950’s (that’s pretty damn old), and let me be honest with you, that was what I would call a torturing sit-through. But I do acknowledge that fact, that knowing the history of films (no matter preference) is important if you want to work in the business. That ought to be my biggest motivation for taking Global Cinema Studies this semester, and if watching a few less amazing “old” movies will give me the right insight, turn down the lights and press play.


2 thoughts on “How I feel about “old” movies

  1. What helps me getting into “old” movies is trying to relate to the audience at the time. Many of the techniques and styles had never been seen before. No matter how corny or unrealistic they may seem to us today, at one point THAT was technology and innovation. Imagine an audience being peaked and awed from something that we may take for granted today. Pretty amazing stuff! There is something to be said about paying homage to the past, I’ve found myself greatly surprised at what modern cinema has lost and what we have grown from. Hopefully there will be an old film that will peak your interest!


  2. I’m happy that you opened up “old” movies a bit! I do understand your trouble with black-and-white films. For some reason, those films always make me a bit tired and sometimes even give me a headache. I think it’s because it takes a bit more concentration and attention to understand what you’re seeing and to distinguish certain things, since you don’t have the contrasts of colors to help with that. At the same time, this is something that amazes me. It must have been much harder for filmmakers at the time to create visually pleasing images and get enough contrasts to separate elements in the frame. The lighting techniques for black-and-white must have been completely different from what filmmakers do today. Same goes for silent film, how admirable is it that filmmakers were able to tell a story without any spoken narrative, with no dialogue! Anyway, everyone has a different taste, but I do hope that you will come across some “old” movies that you will appreciate!


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