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Old 08-15-2016, 03:55 PM
Velocity Velocity is online now
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Would people from 50 or 100 years ago like today's movies?

On the one hand, today's movies have, of course, far better color and visual and special effects than the movies from 1966 or 1916.

On the other hand, today's movies are often sequels or remakes, and doubtlessly there are a lot of political or social messages that people from 1966 or 1916 would find objectionable.

Overall I would surmise yes - that people from 50 or 100 years ago would be impressed enough that they would like 2016's movies even if they were considered shallow storytelling or objectionable politically.


While we're at it, what do you think the movies from the year 2066 will have - special effects or cinematography wise - that today's movies don't? Holographic technology? Audio effects with sound waves designed to inspire particular emotions?
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:59 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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People 50-100 years ago were not hung up on colors or special effects. They'd like what was being done, but it wouldn't make or break a movie for them.

Sequels would only be an issue if they hadn't seen the original, nor would remakes.

I think the one thing that would disappoint them would be the lack of characterization and the sameness of the stories.
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:59 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is online now
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One of the things that I note today, as I watch films (or even TV shows) from the '50s and '60s, is just how slowly they seem to be paced, compared to modern productions. Given that, I suspect that viewers from that era would find modern films (particularly action films) to be extremely frenetic, with action sequences that are difficult to follow (lots of blur and "shaky-cam").
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:13 PM
xizor xizor is online now
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I also think people from the '60s and before would find the harsh language and visual imagery jarring and unsettling. Especially horror movie effects where nothing is left to the imagination.
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:19 PM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
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I'm from fifty years ago and there are vanishingly few films being released these days that I am interested in viewing, much less that I like.

And get off of my lawn.
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
One of the things that I note today, as I watch films (or even TV shows) from the '50s and '60s, is just how slowly they seem to be paced, compared to modern productions.
I heard a film critic talking about rewatching E.T. recently. He had wonderful memories about the film, but on rewatch was shocked by the slow pacing.

E.T. Was released in 1982!
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:48 PM
terentii terentii is offline
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I'm from fifty years ago and there are vanishingly few films being released these days that I am interested in viewing, much less that I like.

And get off of my lawn.
My thoughts exactly. I'm 61, and I grew up watching movies made in the '30s, '40s, and '50s (and some even in the '20s). They had things like storylines, plots, characterization, and intelligible dialogue that didn't go out of its way shock or offend. Neither were cracks in quality papered over with ludicrous computer-generated special effects.

Not every feature was Oscar material, but even the worst were better than most of the crap shown in cinemas today.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:08 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
On the one hand, today's movies have, of course, far better color and visual and special effects than the movies from 1966 or 1916.

On the other hand, today's movies are often sequels or remakes, and doubtlessly there are a lot of political or social messages that people from 1966 or 1916 would find objectionable.

Overall I would surmise yes - that people from 50 or 100 years ago would be impressed enough that they would like 2016's movies even if they were considered shallow storytelling or objectionable politically.
Er... you do understand that some of us actually are from "50 years ago" and remember the year 1966? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins were big-budget effects laden extravaganzas of the era but not exactly deep plots and stories. For that matter Wizard of Oz was the equivalent of its era, too.

And these days there are still movies produced that have no special effects, that rely solely on realistic plots and settings that have "deep" stories. And we still have comedies.

It's like asking if Shakespeare would be able to appreciate modern TV. Appreciate it? He'd probably be writing scripts for it.

Yes, some of the social stuff they might find objectionable (based on speaking with my parents and grandparents (my paternal grandmother was 16 years old 100 years ago and she was the youngest of my grands), people from 100 years ago were objecting 50 years ago about "modern lack of morals", just as people from 50 years ago like to bitch about today's "state of the world" but so what? And some of us weirdly liberal types 50 years ago are now enjoying a world much more in line with what we think it should be than when we were younger.

There were plenty of remakes in the 1960's. Earliest movies drew from classical literature, Shakespeare, legends like Robin Hood, and so forth for inspiration, remaking old stories.

Basically, some of the details will be different but overall movies - or whatever else comes along - won't be that different than what we have today.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:20 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
One of the things that I note today, as I watch films (or even TV shows) from the '50s and '60s, is just how slowly they seem to be paced, compared to modern productions. Given that, I suspect that viewers from that era would find modern films (particularly action films) to be extremely frenetic, with action sequences that are difficult to follow (lots of blur and "shaky-cam").
I watched "the Matrix" at the theatre with my then 75 year old dad, and this is exactly how he felt.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:41 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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I think it would have a lot to do with individual people and what they are looking for in the movies in the first place. My dad is a HUGE science and technology person, so the advances in special effects have indeed made a big impact on his enjoyment of films over the years. I'm pretty confident that if you sat my 1966 college sophomore dad down, and showed him this year's film that best showcased special effects, he'd freak out and love it. Heck, I think he would have still watched Star Wars if the entire 121 minutes was footage of the Star Destroyer slowly filling the screen.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:42 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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In every era of movies, there have been a few really good ones, and many more bad ones. Decades later, we forget the bad ones, remember the few good ones, and assume that the ones we remembered were representative of the era.

This is also true of every other artistic medium.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:45 PM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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The whole slew of action/special effects movies apparently aimed at teenage boys strikes me as a complete waste of time and money, but then there were plenty of movies from 50 years that would probably have had the same effect on me then.

The audience of the 1930s for movies of that time like His Girl Friday might struggle to find something they like today, perhaps. (Incidentally, maybe that was an outlier in its time, but I was struck not only by the fact that it featured a strong female lead whose professional status wasn't in question and unrelated to any romantic entanglements, but also by the way the dialogue got faster and faster as the plot became more frenetic but you could still hear every word clearly articulated - naturalistic acting has a lot to answer for).
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:55 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
I think the one thing that would disappoint them would be the lack of characterization and the sameness of the stories.
I'd question that. I think there's a "test of time" factor - we tend to remember the best movies from decades past. But the reality was the average movie was more formulaic back in the studio days.
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
One of the things that I note today, as I watch films (or even TV shows) from the '50s and '60s, is just how slowly they seem to be paced, compared to modern productions. Given that, I suspect that viewers from that era would find modern films (particularly action films) to be extremely frenetic, with action sequences that are difficult to follow (lots of blur and "shaky-cam").
This, on the other hand, I fully agree with. If you watch a movie that's a few decades old, you'll be struck by how slow paced it seems and how static the camera shots are. So I'm sure somebody from that era seeing a modern movie would have the opposite impression and would find the modern movie too frenetic to watch.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:14 PM
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yeah I'll look forward to plugging a movie into my hip-port a couple decades down the road.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:19 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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I think another big change that viewers from fifty years ago would notice is the massive expansion of screen credits. I just checked Hawaii, which was one of the top mainstream movies from 1966 - its end credits ran for a total of forty-eight seconds and listed twenty-seven names.
  #16  
Old 08-15-2016, 06:38 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In every era of movies, there have been a few really good ones, and many more bad ones. Decades later, we forget the bad ones, remember the few good ones, and assume that the ones we remembered were representative of the era.

This is also true of every other artistic medium.
It's called "Sturgeon's Law", actually - 90% of everything is bullshit. It's just that down line we only remember the 10% that's not bullshit.

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I think another big change that viewers from fifty years ago would notice is the massive expansion of screen credits. I just checked Hawaii, which was one of the top mainstream movies from 1966 - its end credits ran for a total of forty-eight seconds and listed twenty-seven names.
If I recall Star Wars was the movie that started crediting everyone down to the coffee-fetching assistant intern.

Last edited by Broomstick; 08-15-2016 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:50 PM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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The first thing that came to mind is that movies won't be the same, important medium in 50 years - they will be a niche offering, competing with VR video games, VR storytelling in a YouTube sort of way (i.e., a content platform where folks can upload their own content); Augmented Reality entertainment pieces; TV serializations and limited series, etc.

I think movies in 50 years will be so specialized to do things that only a movie format can do, that people will only think of movies as being able to do that one thing - i.e., some new form of IMAX or special effects requiring a movie space or something.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:55 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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I think another big change that viewers from fifty years ago would notice is the massive expansion of screen credits. I just checked Hawaii, which was one of the top mainstream movies from 1966 - its end credits ran for a total of forty-eight seconds and listed twenty-seven names.
When the credits went to the end of the movie, the pressure to keep them short (and avoid boring the audience) mostly went away, since most people don't bother to watch them.

Last edited by iamthewalrus(:3=; 08-15-2016 at 06:56 PM.
  #19  
Old 08-15-2016, 07:09 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In every era of movies, there have been a few really good ones, and many more bad ones. Decades later, we forget the bad ones, remember the few good ones, and assume that the ones we remembered were representative of the era.

This is also true of every other artistic medium.
Exactly. The studios used to crank out crap faster than you can say MGM.

If you want slow pacing today, just watch a Terrence Malick film.

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  #20  
Old 08-15-2016, 07:42 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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The first thing that came to mind is that movies won't be the same, important medium in 50 years - they will be a niche offering, competing with VR video games, VR storytelling in a YouTube sort of way (i.e., a content platform where folks can upload their own content); Augmented Reality entertainment pieces; TV serializations and limited series, etc.

I think movies in 50 years will be so specialized to do things that only a movie format can do, that people will only think of movies as being able to do that one thing - i.e., some new form of IMAX or special effects requiring a movie space or something.
I bet that in 50 years the format of audio plus 2D visual will still be the standard format for entertainment. No smell-o-vision. No Virtual Reality. No 5D. No strapping yourself into a chair to get shaken around and vibrated.

Sure, movies will look different and people will have different expectations and there won't be any need to go to a movie theater unless you really need to see the movie with 200 of your closest friends.

But the only major sensory upgrades to movies in the last 100 years were sound and color. All the other things were fads that didn't work. Sure, things will look sharper and sounds will be clearer. But the other stuff like 3D doesn't add very much to the movie/TV experience.

I mean, maybe you'll watch a movie on a headset, or (God forbid) have the image scanned directly onto your retina. But it will still look like a movie.

Yeah, you could have a virtual reality experience. But it would be a game or an environment, not a movie. Sure, you could have a thing where you wander around an environment and interact with the various characters you meet, we have that already, it's called World of Warcraft.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:05 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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When the credits went to the end of the movie, the pressure to keep them short (and avoid boring the audience) mostly went away, since most people don't bother to watch them.
You would have thought there would be some resistance from the theaters. They're always pushing for turnaround time - how many showings of a movie can they pack into an evening? When you're charging a flat ticket price per movie, there's a 200% advantage between showing four 85-minute movies and two 240-minute movies.

The studios were already pushing up against this with the average run time of movies increasing (in 1930, the average run time was just 90 minutes; in 1950, it was 105 minutes; in 1970, 112 minutes; in 2015, 130 minutes). End credit sequences that run for five minutes or more adds to the problem.
  #22  
Old 08-15-2016, 08:07 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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I can't help wondering what Tolkien himself, and his original readers, would have thought of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:10 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Well, we've got some people around here old enough to be "original readers", or close to it - maybe we could ask them?

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  #24  
Old 08-15-2016, 08:14 PM
purplehearingaid purplehearingaid is offline
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I'm from fifty years ago and there are vanishingly few films being released these days that I am interested in viewing, much less that I like.

And get off of my lawn.
You still have a lawn ? Our is all brown from the drought ! I am from 69 year ago and I love black white movies a lot better . I feel the actors had to carry the movie and didn't have all the special effects to pull the movie off.
I hate it when a classic b/w movie been spoiled by being colorize !
  #25  
Old 08-15-2016, 08:37 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is online now
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
If you watch a movie that's a few decades old, you'll be struck by how slow paced it seems and how static the camera shots are.
An example of this which I've remembered since I first posted:

There's a scene near the end of Bullitt (1968), in the police station. Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) and the other cops are gathered around a telecopier (essentially, a fax machine -- very novel technology for that time), watching it print out. The scene lasts the better part of a minute -- as the printer works, there's no dialogue, just tense looks, and the sound of the machine. I can't picture this scene lasting more than a few moments today.

https://youtu.be/nQGAaCSFlJI?t=26
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:41 PM
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Heck, I'm from fifty years ago. I like movies from before my time and those being made now.

Looking forward to next week's release of Ben-Hur. I read the book. Saw the silent movie version, and the 1950 version with Charlton Heston. It's going to be interesting seeing what parts of the plot from the book are included/excluded, or what's totally invented. I expect more CGI effects of course.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:15 PM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
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With all due respect to you 60+ dopers, I think you're way underestimating the effect of gradual familiarisation in getting you used to the very different styles of movie-making that's used today as opposed to the 60's.

Just off the top of my head - fast pace, incredibly quick cutting from scene to scene, "shaky cam", casual use of flashbacks with very little prompting or framing, and worst of all, people talking over the top of each other all the time - I think audiences from the 60's would find all that deeply unsettling and confusing, and hate it. There's a language of film, and we all speak it, but there's been a lot of linguistic drift in the last 50 years. And lets not even talk about 1916!

Just think of how much angst there was over Hi Res film in the Hobbit ... and that was a really trivial change. But the internet went crazy over that, people were calling it 'unwatchable' - try showing the Blair Witch Project to someone who's last experience of film was Casablanca or Rear Window.

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Old 08-15-2016, 11:59 PM
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I'm sure Hitler would've liked Human Centipede.

American History X?
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:50 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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With all due respect to you 60+ dopers, I think you're way underestimating the effect of gradual familiarisation in getting you used to the very different styles of movie-making that's used today as opposed to the 60's.

Just off the top of my head - fast pace, incredibly quick cutting from scene to scene, "shaky cam", casual use of flashbacks with very little prompting or framing, and worst of all, people talking over the top of each other all the time - I think audiences from the 60's would find all that deeply unsettling and confusing, and hate it. There's a language of film, and we all speak it, but there's been a lot of linguistic drift in the last 50 years. And lets not even talk about 1916!

Just think of how much angst there was over Hi Res film in the Hobbit ... and that was a really trivial change. But the internet went crazy over that, people were calling it 'unwatchable' - try showing the Blair Witch Project to someone who's last experience of film was Casablanca or Rear Window.
This is what came to mind for me. We've been trained to see the modern movie style. But that just means the people transported to the future would have to watch a lot of movies to catch up to us.
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:56 AM
PastTense PastTense is online now
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The people of that age would be upset by the vulgarity of modern movies--ranging from the vulgar language, urinating in the bathroom, the sex (sex in that era was inferred, not shown).
  #31  
Old 08-16-2016, 01:16 AM
Ellis Dee Ellis Dee is offline
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Just the other day I was thinking about how cool it would be to show someone from before motion pictures existed Jurassic Park (not world; the original) on a nice home theater system today. Figure what, 50" HDTV with a soundbar and subwoofer? They'd lose their minds.

Jurassic Park is a particularly good example because its moments of discovery are paced slowly, like back in the day. (Not as mind-numbingly tedious as, say, 2001: A Space Odyssey, but not full of obnoxious jump cuts and shaky cam.)

EDIT: Actually, maybe not the best example. The pacing is good, but the inevitable "What's DNA? What's a computer?" would probably be too distracting.

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The first thing that came to mind is that movies won't be the same, important medium in 50 years - they will be a niche offering, competing with VR video games, VR storytelling in a YouTube sort of way (i.e., a content platform where folks can upload their own content); Augmented Reality entertainment pieces; TV serializations and limited series, etc.
This reminds me of all those people back in early 2010 (while Avatar ws making a gazillion dollars) arguing on this very board how 3D was the new color; all movies would move to 3D just like all movies went to color. You don't see many people making that argument anymore, and similarly, I don't see any intrinsic value to putting a movie into a VR setting. (Videogames, sure, definitely. But a static story? No point.)

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 08-16-2016 at 01:18 AM.
  #32  
Old 08-16-2016, 03:45 AM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is online now
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When watching old movies we have some knowledge of the past that helps us understand them. People from the past would have no knowledge of the future. There are changes in societal attitudes that would be incomprehensible to someone from 1916.

Take Eye in the Sky, for example. I'd think someone from 100 years ago would find it completely unbelievable that two major world powers would worry about killing two noncombatants in a war. Or consider The Forty Year Old Virgin - the attitudes about women, relationships and sexuality are so different from how people thought in 1916 that I'd think someone from that era would be both appalled and confused.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:05 AM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
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(sex in that era was inferred, not shown).
Unless you're watching a porno, sex is still inferred, not shown (OK, with a few exceptions). It's just inferred a bit more explicitly.
  #34  
Old 08-16-2016, 04:58 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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There are lots of artistic developments in movie-making styles that I do not like at all, and there are lots that I like very much. And there are some I've gotten used to without really noticing they were happening.

I would say people from different eras could get used to modern movies as easily as most of us have, but it would take time and maybe some careful cherry-picking of specific films to ease the transition. If all they knew was "Birth of a Nation" and then instantly saw "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeaquel" it would be too jarring. On the other hand going from Ben Hur to Star Wars The Force Awakens would be a lot easier to deal with.

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Old 08-16-2016, 08:56 AM
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I think few people from 1966 or 1916 would be comfortable with the gratuitous violence and especially the seemingly consequence-free taking of human life. James Bond's 00 license was a big big deal, because it suggested that the good guys sanctioned assassination, and that normal structures of law could be suspended. Now Modern Bond films don't roll titles without at least a dozen baddies dying.

In fact because both goodies and baddies kill each other in large nos, and often innocents as well, they have to introduce a range of other plot elements (or appeal to audience prejudice) to justify us taking the right side. Olden-day movie buffs would probably find the moral ambivalence unsettling as entertainment.
  #36  
Old 08-16-2016, 09:13 AM
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Well, Alejandro Jodorowsky was already making films, 50 years ago, so...at least one person back then wouldn't be swooning from the vapors from all the shocking content and special effects. 'Probably think you were holding back, actually.

Ted V. Mikels and Irwin Allen were around then, too. So, at least another couple of people you probably could have gotten interested in Sharknado without too much trouble.

Actually, go back only 48 years, and there's seemingly a healthy audience for quite a bit of contemporary tougher cinematic fair that I can think of—explained to no small degree, I'm sure, by the fact that this is when the the MPAA Ratings System officially went into effect. But in any case, for all the societal and cultural drives behind it, I don't think that those moviegoers just sprang en masse into existence fully formed during Tet.

...and, hell, 100 years ago? First movie with a nude scene by a major star. "A long time ago" has this odd way of catching up with the present.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:05 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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And these days there are still movies produced that have no special effects, that rely solely on realistic plots and settings that have "deep" stories. And we still have comedies.
I get the impression that even non-comic book drama films use CGI and other special effects, even if they don't make it obvious.

And I have a DVD version of Citizen Kane with a commentary track by Roger Ebert. He mentions at one point about the large number of special effects in the movie. They're just not the sort of special effects a modern audience is used to.
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(sex in that era was inferred, not shown).
Unless you're watching a porno, sex is still inferred, not shown (OK, with a few exceptions). It's just inferred a bit more explicitly.
As a couple of examples, at the end of North by Northwest, as I remember, Cary Grant invites Eva Marie Saint to join him in the upper berth in the train compartment. The next and final shot is an overhead one of the train entering a tunnel. Also, in The African Queen, Bogart's character and Katharine Hepburn's missionary character aren't getting along, but they apparently get over their issues, as in the morning, she is puttering about the boat with a big smile on her face.

In both cases, sex is inferred (or is it implied?).
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:26 AM
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Implied on their part, inferred on yours.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:47 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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...It's like asking if Shakespeare would be able to appreciate modern TV. Appreciate it? He'd probably be writing scripts for it....
Rod Serling beat you to the punch(line): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ba...Twilight_Zone)

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Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
The first thing that came to mind is that movies won't be the same, important medium in 50 years - they will be a niche offering, competing with VR video games, VR storytelling in a YouTube sort of way (i.e., a content platform where folks can upload their own content); Augmented Reality entertainment pieces; TV serializations and limited series, etc.

I think movies in 50 years will be so specialized to do things that only a movie format can do, that people will only think of movies as being able to do that one thing - i.e., some new form of IMAX or special effects requiring a movie space or something.
I suspect you're right. Makes me think of the "feelies" from Brave New World. Jacking directly into the brain's visual cortex or pleasure center would be compelling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
The people of that age would be upset by the vulgarity of modern movies--ranging from the vulgar language, urinating in the bathroom, the sex (sex in that era was inferred, not shown).
Many people, yes, but there's been an audience for sex and violence since Ur and Babylon. A lot of moviegoers from the past would be unable to believe their good luck when presented with the better R- and X-rated fare from 2016.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
...I would say people from different eras could get used to modern movies as easily as most of us have, but it would take time and maybe some careful cherry-picking of specific films to ease the transition. If all they knew was "Birth of a Nation" and then instantly saw "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeaquel" it would be too jarring. On the other hand going from Ben Hur to Star Wars The Force Awakens would be a lot easier to deal with.
Makes sense to me.
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