Monday, August 24, 2009

Old Movies or New?

Now I know there are winners and losers in both categories, and the new stands on the shoulders of the old. But really, the worlds are so far apart in so many ways. This is a topic which could be an ongoing thing.

This weekend I saw Notorious at a screening with a group called "Art on Life" I've attended a couple of times this summer. This is a Hitchcock film, and I believe it was made in 1946. Hitchcock could also be his own blog category, but right now I would just love to hear your opinions about old films verses new films. Which are better and why?

Craft comes to mind when I think about older films. The old studio system was flawed in many ways, but they knew how to crank out a movie with factory-like precision, and when the studios recognized the great directors and let them have more say over the films they were creating, a truly artistically-crafted product was the end result.

Anyone seen Notorious? Ingrid Bergman, Carey Grant and Claude Raines are more subtle than many actors of the day. Looking at a film like this is always bizarre for me, because like someone at our meeting said, it's like watching Shakespeare. It takes a while before I can find the rhythm, but once I was there, I was hooked.

Hitchcock crafted his story, his dialogue, his shots, his MacGuffin, all with the skill of a master. At one point, at a scene change, a champagne bottle fades into a lamp shade, and the little decoration at the top of the lamp is in the shape of a key, something which plays a major part in the story.

Though movies like GI Joe and Transformerz certainly require a visual craft, is it the same? The recent remounting of Star Trek was an example, I believe, of a well-crafted movie all around, visually appealing, with a well-developed story which also managed to stay true to the original canon.

Just some thoughts- I hope to get into other comparisons and contrasts in follow-up posts. I would love to hear some opinions!

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