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Classics Sadly Falling on Deaf Ears
Blazing Westerns: Mel Brooks Spoofs the Western Genre
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Classics Sadly Falling on Deaf Ears

Classics Sadly Falling on Deaf Ears           

 

           “Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theatre,” Roman Polanski, director of the movie classics Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby, once said.

            Film is an art form that is truly magical. The moments that occur on the screen as filmed by the director and acted by the actors and actresses are truly moments that will make you forget you are watching a film. James Stewart’s out of breath stalemate speech as Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Gene Kelly’s beautiful dance and song sequence in the rain in Singin’ in the Rain (1952) are like moments lost in time just waiting to be uncovered.

                        “I like classic movies because they are timeless. All actors today have learned something from actors of yesterday. My favorite classic movie is My Fair Lady. Audrey Hepburn is stunning in her performance by transforming herself from this lower class woman to a sophisticated beauty. Rex Harrison also does an excellent job in brining out her true beauty. The movie’s theme is unique and that is the magic of classic movies, they always bring forth creativity that in some ways is lost in modern movies,” Aprille Hanson said.

The way Alfred Hitchcock moves the camera in such films as Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958) and David Lean captures the spacious desert in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) can truly take your breath away. These magnificent instances on films of the yesteryear seem to have been forgotten in an age full of computerized film.  

             Cinema today is filled with big budgeted, computer generated imagery that appeals to the masses of today’s youth. Hollywood essentially seems to be sacrificing creative genius for monetary increase. Days when films could be made simply be sticking actors into a single room where all of the plot is figured out like in Sidney Lumet’s classic 12 Angry Men (1957) appear to be long retired in Hollywood. Along with some of the ways of filmmaking, some cinematic genres have all but become extinct as well in current Hollywood. Film noir, westerns and musicals apparently have all run their course and have been replaced by extravagant and expensive blockbuster action movies. The blockbuster came about in Hollywood in the mid-1970s, during the same point when film auteurs like Martin Scorsese and Polanski were making a resurgence in films in the way that Hitchcock and Orson Welles had in the past. The blockbuster, which many first associated with Steven Spielberg’s 1975 smash Jaws, soon became a money making machine for Hollywood studios and films like Spielberg’s Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) as well as George Lucas’s Star Wars (1977) started to take place over typical Hollywood movies of the past like the ones directed by John Ford, John Huston, Billy Wilder and Frank Capra.

            While such films as Jaws and Star Wars are today consider classics, the truth remains that because of these films popularity and large profits in the mid to late ‘70s that Hollywood today still remains a business that relies off of the blockbuster system. Due to this blockbuster system film fans have become less and less apt to watch films that were created before the blockbuster period. Some fans will go as far as refusing to watch a film because it was filmed in black and white or during the silent era.        

                Despite the apparent unwillingness of much of today’s public to watch or enjoy classic movies there are those who enjoy them simply because they are unique and unlike anything in theatres today.

            “[My favorite classic is Modern Times,] it was during the talkies, but it was mostly silent, except for the sounds of the machines and the boss. The boss's speaking symbolized how the working class went unheard. [It’s] Charlie Chaplin’s best work. Chaplin showed you still didn’t need to speak in a movie,” Dustin Crawford said.

            Film is truly an amazing art form that should never be forgotten, but unfortunately the classic films that made cinema what it is today are falling on deaf ears and closed eyes. by Julian Spivey