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Do You Avoid Old Movies/Shows Cuz of Antiquated Production?


applcin

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This question struck me today as I was on Amazon reading some reviews of a tv movie/DVD release of a production I saw on tv as a child, "The House Without A Christmas Tree", starring Jason Robards. It was done on videotape and had a sort of "soap opera feel" to it, visually. The reviewers who loved it in their childhoods when it was broadcast during the 70s, of course, gave it great reviews, but some of the folks who just saw it for the first time, thought the production looked tacky. They seemed to expect modern-day effects or gloss or they brought an expectation of modern-day production values with them into watching it and were disappointed.

So, I wonder...do you not bother watching very old movies or tv shows because they're not as "slickly" produced or you think the effects are too cheesy?

For myself, I grew up on reruns and old movies at the same time I was watching current productions, so I appreciated each for what it had to offer. I mean, I wasn't expecting Charlie Chaplin films of the teens and twenties to be talkies or shown in color because I knew such things that didn't exist at the time and I appreciated the films for what they were and the time in which they were made. I don't think old black and white movies have to undergo colorization for me to enjoy them.

Just thought it kind of sad the idea that people would think simplicity of production, which is sometimes just the limits of what existed at the time, somehow equates to low overall quality.

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Not at all! And so funny that you should ask, I was JUST watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents on YouTube thinking how charming and classy it looked (of course it was b&w film). And those reviews hurt me, geesh, glad I was born when I was. But I enjoy the look and feel of I, Claudius or the PBS production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Jessica Lange, Tommy Lee Jones, and Kim Stanley. I think we're "blessed" as soap fans because we don't immediately see tape as "cheap" rather than cozy and intimate.

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This question struck me today as I was on Amazon reading some reviews of a tv movie/DVD release of a production I saw on tv as a child, "The House Without A Christmas Tree", starring Jason Robards. It was done on videotape and had a sort of "soap opera feel" to it, visually. The reviewers who loved it in their childhoods when it was broadcast during the 70s, of course, gave it great reviews, but some of the folks who just saw it for the first time, thought the production looked tacky. They seemed to expect modern-day effects or gloss or they brought an expectation of modern-day production values with them into watching it and were disappointed.

So, I wonder...do you not bother watching very old movies or tv shows because they're not as "slickly" produced or you think the effects are too cheesy?

For myself, I grew up on reruns and old movies at the same time I was watching current productions, so I appreciated each for what it had to offer. I mean, I wasn't expecting Charlie Chaplin films of the teens and twenties to be talkies or shown in color because I knew such things that didn't exist at the time and I appreciated the films for what they were and the time in which they were made. I don't think old black and white movies have to undergo colorization for me to enjoy them.

Just thought it kind of sad the idea that people would think simplicity of production, which is sometimes just the limits of what existed at the time, somehow equates to low overall quality.

I think there is a difference btw old and shlockily produced. Dark Shadows was produced with cardboard and scotch tape, but something like the Dick Van Dyke show seems to have been produced with an eye to quality. Old movies tend to be directed more artistically than modern movies anyway in my opinion. Maybe it was the more depth of field, or technicolor, or the shooting styles of the time, but there is no way the HBO version of MILDRED PIERCE can possibly look as good as the opening film noir sequence of the original.

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I tend to be more interested in movies which seem rougher around the edges. I also have a certain fondness for the style of a certain era -- the early 30s, or the late 60s/early 70s. I am not fond of a lot of the content of late 60s/early 70s films (as Pauline Kael called them, the "sick soul of America" movies), but I love the way they are filmed, grainy yet also beautiful in their own way, a more offbeat way, filtered but not with the typical Hollywood filter. They seem alive. They seem like the sun going down.

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I tend to be more interested in movies which seem rougher around the edges. I also have a certain fondness for the style of a certain era -- the early 30s, or the late 60s/early 70s. I am not fond of a lot of the content of late 60s/early 70s films (as Pauline Kael called them, the "sick soul of America" movies), but I love the way they are filmed, grainy yet also beautiful in their own way, a more offbeat way, filtered but not with the typical Hollywood filter. They seem alive. They seem like the sun going down.

This made me think of "Fiddler On The Roof" and Norman Jewison commenting that he covered the camera with a nylon stocking through the whole film as to make it look simpler, earthier.

Even my favorite show of all time...Star Trek. I see younger folks who prefer the spin-offs, refer to the slicker special effects vs. the so-called "cheesiness" of the original's effects. I guess it's a matter of perspective (or just age!) but when I first laid eyes on the ST reruns in the early 70s, I thought it looked unlike anything I had ever seen before, certainly better than, say, another 60s scifi show, Lost In Space, which I also loved. Yeah, things may have been made out of cardboard or plywood but I thought the innovative ideas, the details, the mere presence of things that had yet to exist for real--desktop computers, medical scanners, small handheld communication devices and computer pads--was wonderful. I was like, wow, this stuff is cool, even if they are fake! And I don't really understand the significant difference of quality between a guy in a rubber Gorn suit vs. a guy in a metallic Borg suit.

You would think, with so many productions and avenues available now (via cable, dvds, Netflix, online, etc.) that people would take advantage of such an expansive library but it seems harder now to engage younger generations in things beyond their lifetimes, heck, sometimes beyond the last few years, unless their parents have a fondness for it and share it with their kids early on. Shows like the Rankin-Bass Christmas productions (ex: Rudolph) feature an outdated technique of stop-motion, but they continue to be shown and capture new generations.

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I'd never turn away from something because of its aesthetics. I actually like becoming acquainted with different styles.

The talk of the old Christmas movie and Hitchcock Presents made me think of how The Twilight Zone did a few episodes on tape because of budget cuts or something and how most fans think that those are subpar episodes because they "lack the depth of filmed episodes" or some other nonsense. I flove the taped episodes of TZ and wish they'd done more. I love the soapy atmosphere, the shadowy figures, the "closer" feeling you get from tape. "Lateness of the Hour" is one of the best TZ episodes ever, IMO, and tape helped it.

I love the general look/feel of movies from the late 60s on through the 70s. There's just something moody about it all that I can't help but find appealing.

Re: Star Trek. I think TOS is lucky because it, for whatever reason, looks phenomenal, color-wise. Those shows from that era have this bright sense of color, and it's across the genres. I'm so used to most soap clips/episodes from before the late 70s being in poor quality, but there's that CBS promo from 1968 that is just crystal clear and very lush. Everything -- not just soaps -- lacks color nowadays, especially primetime.

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I also like the taped episodes -- at first I was jarred by them but they somehow seem more real, they add to the atmosphere.

Ultimately people of every generation will find and enjoy old material. It's not cool or hip but will get attention from those who don't care about pop culture trends. Everything now is both splintered and homogenized, so everything is shown, but is blanded down. At least the options are out there if people want to see them.

I agree about the lack of color now. That started getting worse and worse with the drama series of the 80s and it's continued ever since. One of the reasons I was drawn to LA Law when I was young was the sunlight streaming in through the windows at Mackenzie Bracken, and all the scenes in the early episodes which took place as the sun was setting. It really added to the feel of the show. Far more than a lot of shows now which think turning down the lights means everything is edgy. Bullsh!t. It just means everyone looks the same and come across like that Joe Versus the Volcano office scene.

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I'd never turn away from something because of its aesthetics. I actually like becoming acquainted with different styles.

The talk of the old Christmas movie and Hitchcock Presents made me think of how The Twilight Zone did a few episodes on tape because of budget cuts or something and how most fans think that those are subpar episodes because they "lack the depth of filmed episodes" or some other nonsense. I flove the taped episodes of TZ and wish they'd done more. I love the soapy atmosphere, the shadowy figures, the "closer" feeling you get from tape. "Lateness of the Hour" is one of the best TZ episodes ever, IMO, and tape helped it.

I love the general look/feel of movies from the late 60s on through the 70s. There's just something moody about it all that I can't help but find appealing.

Re: Star Trek. I think TOS is lucky because it, for whatever reason, looks phenomenal, color-wise. Those shows from that era have this bright sense of color, and it's across the genres. I'm so used to most soap clips/episodes from before the late 70s being in poor quality, but there's that CBS promo from 1968 that is just crystal clear and very lush. Everything -- not just soaps -- lacks color nowadays, especially primetime.

I think part of that was color being relatively new. You didn't really get a LARGE amount of color prime time shows until 1966. And when the medium was new like that, shows wanted to take full advantage of that by using bright colors in costumes and sets. It seemed to continue for all of the 70's. Lots of color was lost with the virtual dissapearance of the lighted cyclorama, which played such a prominent role in all variety shows of the 60's and 70's. and of course, as time went on from late 60's through early 70's, many video tricks and various lenses were employed that made TV and movie production so exciting. things such as multiple image lenses, slitscreen photography, and the most ubiquitous of all, chroma key. But when done right, it just looks plain COOL an far more interesting than the stagnation of production styles you see today:

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Re: Star Trek. I think TOS is lucky because it, for whatever reason, looks phenomenal, color-wise. Those shows from that era have this bright sense of color, and it's across the genres. I'm so used to most soap clips/episodes from before the late 70s being in poor quality, but there's that CBS promo from 1968 that is just crystal clear and very lush. Everything -- not just soaps -- lacks color nowadays, especially primetime.

Star Trek is one of the best looking shows ever. The colors were amazing and the uniforms and all these green and red planets and aliens...it just blows everything out of the water except possible Adam West's Batman, which also looks amazing 45 years later.

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Star Trek is one of the best looking shows ever. The colors were amazing and the uniforms and all these green and red planets and aliens...it just blows everything out of the water except possible Adam West's Batman, which also looks amazing 45 years later.

I noticed it with Bonanza as well. Very vivid colors.

Ironically, for me with Star Trek, I fell in love with it as a 6 year-old watching reruns on a black and white tv. I didn't see the show in color until my late teens and I was very struck by the bright colors. I was used to b & w in general (and rabbit-ears reception quality or lack thereof!) so I actually saw a lot of things first in b & w and later on in color. LOL, it was a surprise to me to find out that Johnny Mathis was black because he looked white on my old tv! :P

I think one of the differences is that back then, there weren't really big expectations from productions visually. Like alphanguy said, color was new and people weren't really "spoiled" on effects and such. I think the younger generations now are just so used to modern-day productions, and not really exposed to older stuff, that they look at everything through a 21st-century tunnel of expectation and judge things as lacking if they don't fit the same mode.

BTW, here's a clip of the "The House Without A Christmas Tree", of which the production critiques on Amazon started me on this topic! I've always had a soft spot for it because I had long pigtails like Addie at that age, too. :D

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I guess it's the soap/PBS/theatre-on-tape fan in me, but if I flipped by that I would immediately stop and watch. :D

Like everyone's said, color was new and a VERY big deal (I got a sense of that when they used to air old Disney stuff on weekend afternoons and there was the full-screen kaleidoscope with a chorus singing, "♫Colorrrr!... Colorrrr!♫), we take stuff like that for granted today. My great-grandparents were the ones on the block who always had the newest technology first, they were the first in their neighborhood to have a color TV and that was a real badge of honor back then. My dad still talks about these plastic screens you could buy that fit over your b&w screen, they had a stripe of red, blue, and yellow and I guess made you feel like you were watching in color. :lol:

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