highly valued old movies.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by arjen92, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level

    I was just wondering something about older movies.

    Whenever I watch a movie I check what mark it gets on IMDB. Some really old movies are pretty highly valued and the books I read about movies also think these old movies are great movies.

    I have the feeling though, that if those movies weren't created at that time (and movies still would have progressed the way they do now) and they would be showed now, they wouldn't get these high marks.

    So am I right that these movies have high marks because they were revolutionary/groundbreaking or very well/exceeding for their time, or are they actually fantastic movies that even today are better than most/all movies that come out.

    In case you're wondering what kind of "old movies" I'm talking about: Citizen Kane, 12 Angry men, Casablance, Rear Window etc.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. PenguinMac macrumors member

    May 21, 2010
    I have an extensive old movie collection recorded from Turner Classic Movies and stored on my Mac Mini which is connected as an HTPC to a 1080p television. Yes, some of them were groundbreaking, but most are simply excellent movies that people paid to see in a theater when they were new and are still very enjoyable now watched on a television. As they contain no special effects, the story and characters have to grab you and keep you watching, and a good movie has no problem doing that.

    That said, it helps to know something about the era in which they were made. Citizen Kane was a loose biography of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (his California mansion relocated to Florida for the movie), so knowing something about him is helpful. Casablanca was made after the fall of France to Germany in World War II, but before the United States entered the war, and is about the people trapped in a French colony that the Germans allowed to have some independence in spite of their defeat. So while the movie itself is excellent, some parts of it will seem peculiar if you don't know something about the time it was made. This will be true about many good old movies.

    IMDB is your friend in choosing an old movie to watch, and you should enjoy a well-rated old movie as much as a new one, but in a very different way - more emotion, less explosions!
  3. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    The quality of the actors has a lot to do with it, too. I'm a big Humphrey Bogart fan and he was perfect for the roles he performed. He owned film noir. It is a joy to see him in a movie as the character (and actor) around which everything revolves.

    Having said that, some roles (and movies) were so-so, and we don't 'remember' those films today.

    I think people like Harvey Keitel, Al Pacino and Brad Pitt fall into the category of brilliant actors whose best movies will long be remembered.
  4. Soura2112 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2008
    Movie buffs

    I agree with everyone, now just my two cents....

    The films you mentioned are groundbreaking in many ways. Actors who are now legends, stories based on major events or new ideas on the screen. Plus how these ideas were made into something different like Citizen Kane (one you mentioned) and why it's so special. but IMO and I'm sure others ithink ths, its the era of new cinematographers and directors, they changed movies forever. They used specific angles that are still used as today's standard. Almost every shot taken from the great films has been copied, where the placement of the camera really ment something, plus miss en scene (spelling, have not written that word since my college days). From a great western like Stagecoach to the Noir films so much greatness was directed thus creating the movies we see today.
    There was tiny bits of special effects, not much though, even Casablanca has a special effect with the plane at the end.
    The great actors made you believe the movie while the directors kept you in the film with new ways of shooting. It's hard to simply write a few words on why these films are important, I think Scorsese tells the stories of old movies thes best. It's sad kids don't understand how important these films were....until they take a class on film, even that doesn't always help. I'm only 33 but movies have been my life.
    Watch the original Psycho and the new Psycho, you will see the difference. Okay the new pyscho sucks, but pay attention to the camera angles.
    Hitchcock loved birds, so always look for birds in the scenes of all his movies...not just The Birds and Psycho. Though my favorite Hitchcock movies are North by Northwest, Rear Windiw and Vertigo, though that's just my top 3.

    Arjen pick up these movies you mentioned and watch them if you have time. First viewing is for enjoyment, then if you watch again notice what the camera is doing, and read about miss en scene, it all started back then and not just in those movies. There's hundreds of great movies from that sound period. Not saying anything bad about silent films. Again IMO a huge leap was taken when sound was put into movies, mainly movies starting around the late 30's to 50s changed movies forever. Also keep in mind the great foreign films of the time period, like the bicycle thief, not my favorite film but important.

    (very hard to write shortly about, cause I could write a thesis on the subject like many of you can.)
  5. idea_hamster macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2003
    NYC, or thereabouts
    Also, keep in mind that not all of these films were intended to be great.

    When Casablanca was shot, new movies came out every week and were shown along with a newsreel. The studios were not trying to make great films, but rather they were trying to simply churn out regular (what we would call "B") movies.

    Casablanca has endured, not due to greatness by design, but due to greatness in part by chance -- it was, in fact, well written, but the story also included a critical mass of appealing characters, actors and motifs to give it a timelessness that wasn't common to other films of the time.
  6. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    I remember reading that while they were well more than half-way through shooting Casablanca, they were still trying to figure out the best ending. Some of their ideas actually had the standard "happy ending" with Rick going off with Ilsa.

    In fact, I think the very last line "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." was supposedly an ad lib done on the set or even after filming.

    Amazing that it was "just another" Warner Bros. movie.

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