Thursday, September 22, 2011

Five Things You Like about Classic Films

JT Lynch photo

Back in the early days of this blog, we put our heads together and came up with lists of things about old movies we liked (and I can’t link to the post offhand because I can’t find it just now) -- that had nothing to do with great actors, directors, or quality of writing. Just the superficial stuff. Since it’s been a while, and since we have so many new readers, I’d like to play the game again. Give me five random examples of what you like about things you see in classic films. I’ll start. It’s my blog.

(Trumpet fanfare) --


1. Flipping calendar pages to mark the passage of time.

2. “Swell.”

3. “Darling.”

4. Candlestick telephones.

5. Wisecracking chorus girls.

Now you go.


Caftan Woman said...

Newsies shouting "Extra. Extra. Read all about the moider."

Trench coats. Okay. Alan Ladd in a trench coat.

Cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke that doesn't stink up the place because it's in a movie.

Iceboxes with an inexhaustible supply of cold turkey legs and full bottles of milk.

Singing cowboys.

Kevin said...


Suits, ties and fedoras

Spinning newspaper headlines

"Extra, extra"

Anonymous said...

Fast talking newspaper men!

LucieWickfield said...

What fun! Here we go:

1. Women in perms and hats.
2. Men in suits and fedoras.
3. Dancing at fancy restaurants, and the unique conversation that usually accompanies it.
4. Rotary-dial telephones
5. Manual typewriters

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Oh, these are great. Ditto the trench coats, and the manual typewriters, and the spinning newspaper headlines, and those fast-talking newsmen. Oh, and the ice boxes always filled with turkey legs and full bottles of milk. (Sigh of longing.)

policomic said...

1. Every nightclub has an incredibly elaborate floorshow
2. Unique and eccentric characters who only have a line or two
3. Creative euphemisms for things that could not be explicitly mentioned; dialogue that sometimes worked on two levels
4. Along the same lines, implied sex scenes (as not seen in Double Indemnity, Rear Window, many others). Not because I'm a prude, but because they give the adults in the audience some credit for being able to figure things out--it's the same kind of pleasure you get from getting an inside joke.
5. Grown-ups

Rich said...

1. Generic city street scene sets

2. Trenchcoats and fedoras

3. The Theremin in sci-fi/horror movie scores

4. The way totally random background people in a musical will suddenly start dancing with the lead characters as if it were all perfectly natural

5. Stereotypical Noo Yawk accents

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Oh, yeah. Policomic, I was just discussing that with someone the other day, that old movies had grownups in them, and today's movies feature adults behaving like adolescents.

Generic street scenes. You bet.

Laura said...

We got to use our imagination more. Less sex and gore but you always got the message and with a great amount of passion.

For example: People kept their clothes on and somehow it was so sexy (ex: "Baby Doll") I had to take a cold shower.

Today's movies don't have the class of classic movies. For example, (generally speaking) classic movies have less cussing & more intellect.

ClassicBecky said...

LOVE this!

1. Ocean waves rolling to show the passage of 50 years in 15 seconds (as in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir)

2. Beautiful hair and makeup that stay intact throughout jungle treks or being lost in a desert (as in - ALL the movies).

3. Plain girls with glasses, tightly wound hair buns, and no makeup taking off their glasses, shaking their hair loose and becoming goddesses.

4. Men in top hat and tails who act like real men and can hypnotize women with dance (ala the great Astaire).

5. Swashbuckling pirates who never really hurt anybody and have mesmerizing charm and perfectly fitted doublets and tights (who else? Errol Flynn!)

Really fun!

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Ah, plain girls, nice pirates, and ocean waves. Good stuff.

Laura said...

This is surprisingly hard! I especially like Caftan Woman's list (the icebox -- and Alan Ladd in a trenchcoat!), but they're all right on!

Here's my list:

Sleepers and dining cars on trains (and pretty much anything to do with train travel!)

Women going shopping and to church in hats and gloves (it's sure easier to get ready these days, but women looked so elegant in the movies...)

The *faces* - Ward Bond driving a taxi here, Irving Bacon filling up your gas tank there, Esther Dale answering the phone at the office

Milk delivered in bottles by milkmen (to fill those always-full fridges!)

Streamline Moderne sets

Java Bean Rush said...

1.Black & White = Instant transportation to a fantasy world.

2. Interesting opening credit sequences. Some were like their own little movie.

3. Obsolete jobs and products.

4. Peter Lawford

5. Peter Lawford speaking French.


Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Sleepers, faces, and obsolete jobs. Oh, yes, this is good.

Audrey said...

Drinking coffee out of a cup and saucer (I don't know why I like this!)
Strike-anywhere matches
Train rides
Separate beds for married couples
The fashion (hats, gloves, fedoras, petticoats, dressing gowns, dinner jackets, etc…)

Robby Cress said...

1. Men in hats: fedoras, apple caps, etc.
2. Classic Cars.
3. Actors/Actresses with real personality and magnetism: Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, Bogart, Bette Davis, etc.
4. Historic buildings.
5. Food and other house product labels - to see how brands have changed overtime.

Yvette said...

Great topic, Jacqueline!

Things I love about the classics:

1. The fashions for women and men.

2. The hair styles.

3) The telephones and even the phone booths.

4. The allure of black and white.

5) The music.

6) Train travel

7) The airplane jaunt shown with a dotted line on a map or globe of the world.

8) Clipper air ships.

9) The dancing.

10) The nightclubs.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Oh, yeah, cup and saucer, product labels, and that wonderful dotted line to show us where we're going. Trains seem to be very popular as well, I notice. Yay!

phillyrich said...

1. Plots that have a beginning, a middle and an end.

2. As above, a storyline you can understand--so that you're not saying "what is this" for the first 20 minutes.

3. Four letter words like "neat" and "gosh."

4. Characters suddenly bursting into song, and they're not psychotic.

5. The Capra-esque ability to believe in something--not the cynical views of do-nothings.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

I love "suddenly bursting into song, and they're not psychotic." Number 5 is great, too.

Grand Old Movies said...

1) dresses that show off women's bare backs (particularly in 30s movies)
2) men wearing hats (who wears a hat anymore?)
3) women wearing hats, and keeping them on when they're indoors (at restaurants, etc)
4) white-on-white sets
5) cars with running boards (and people standing on them, especially when the car moves)

nick said...

Love the hats that all the guys wear, too.

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