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johnbabe

What is a Classic Film

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I know that TCM is trying to attract a wider audience, per se, but please do not call the James Bond flicks Classic, please do not put them in the class of Garbo, Crawford, Davis, Bogart, Stanwyck, Gable, Tracy and Hepburn! That is just TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much for this movie buff to consume without getting sick to its stomach........also, please do not play Woody Allen nonsense on this prestigous station! Keep up the main schedule, like this morning's for instance all those early talkies, they are great camp and fun to watch, also, please play some other films that are not in box sets of Garbo, Gable, etc.

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I sympathize. I suppose you could stretch the term "classic" to apply to some 1960's films because enough time has gone by to examine whether or not a film is universally accepted as a work of genius, like To Kill A Mockingbird, but generally when I think of the words *classic film* I tend to think of films from the 1920's through the 1940's first.

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Let's not be complete snobs about this. There are a lot of different ways the word can be defined. Generally, I think people just consider "older" movies, like pre-1965, to be classic. While I'd say this is definitely the "classic era", that doesn't mean that all the movies that come from the time are classics, and that doesn't mean that movies after that era can't be defined as classics.

 

There are a lot of movies that come from this classic era, some of them that are shown on TCM, that I wouldn't consider truly "classic" because they just aren't good. And there are many movies made after that era, some shown on TCM, some not, that should be considered classic, because they're very special films, that have done something unique, or that have truly stood a test of time.

 

A classic film isn't just an old movie. Like I said before, there are a lot of different things that can make a film a classic. I think the most important aspect is that it's managed to stand the test of time. This is what, naturally, makes so many of the films from this "classic era" considered classics. But there are also a lot of movies outside of that era that definitely fit the category. The Godfather, Raging Bull, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Taxi Driver, Blue Velvet. These films qualify as classics because they did something very special in the way they were made and in their themes, and after many years, these things still hold up as interesting elements, and the films still stand up as being wonderful.

 

Personally, I don't know how one can say that the James Bond films (at least the good ones like Dr. No, Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, etc) aren't classics. Whether you like them or not, their cultural impact is huge. That kind of cultural importance is enough to qualify a film as a classic. And, again, these are films that still stand up as wonderful pieces of entertainment.

 

I'd rather they show newer classics like Goldfinger or The Purple Rose of Cairo which are excellent movies, rather than junk like This Man Is Mine, which fits into the narrow idea of a "classic" movie just because of the year it was made.

 

Just because a movie was made in the 1930s or 1940s doesn't mean it's a true classic, and just because a film was made after the 1960s doesn't mean it's not. There are a lot of things that go into making a film classic, and the fact that the staff and programmers at TCM recognize this is a very good thing. It's wonderful that they aren't being completely closed minded and shutting out a huge amount of excellent films just because they don't fit into some incredibly narrow idea of what a "classic film" is supposed to be.

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I wouldn't call anyone a "snob" here just because they have a different opinion as to what is a classic film. I don't care for the James Bond films either. Then again I don't much care for anything past 1966, except for a handful of examples like What's Up, Doc or The Right Stuff. Modern films bore me to death.

 

>The Godfather, Raging Bull, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Taxi Driver, Blue Velvet

 

Have to say that I have absolutely no interest in seeing any of those films again. I think we can include in the definition of "classic" (which of course is subjective to a large extent) films that we like to watch over and over again because they have a timeless, universal, sympathetic, and often uplifting aura and quality about them. Too many modern films lack these qualities, to me at least. Too many modern films are crass and unappealing and unoriginal.

 

If you allow enough time to go by you can make a better determination as to what is truly a classic film. Maybe in 50 years people will remember a Slumdog Millionaire, but if I were a betting person I would wager they will still be watching Casablanca and forgetting all about Slumdog. ;)

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"Classic" is subjective. One might define it as any film made during the studio system (roughly, 1960 and prior). I, however, prefer films from 1945 & prior. I cannot call any film made during the 1970s and forward as "classic". If it were up to me, no post mid-60s titles would be shown on TCM. The sole exception might be some cheesy 70s exploitation flicks on TCM Underground. I would insist upon more pre-Codes and B-movies each month...and I would definitely eliminate "31 Days of Oscar". As if February wasn't dreary enough, only Academy award nominees are inflicted upon us each year.

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>"Classic" is subjective.

 

That's what I wrote in my post. :)

 

I agree with you to a large extent. However I do think enough time has gone by since the 1960's to include many of those films as classics, just far fewer compared to earlier films. To Kill A Mockingbird, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Born Free, many more. By 1968 when the Code was officially killed movies almost overnight turned seedier and crasser. I'll never forget my parents coming home from seeing Midnight Cowboy, with big scowls on their faces. "This was the worst movie we've ever seen!" I tried to ask, "Why didn't you like it?" but they clammed up (I would have been about 10 so it was appropriate they didn't answer me). :)

 

After that my parents hardly ever went to the movies for a night out. "There's nothing good to see." I pretty much took their word for it although I do remember seeing a few films in the 1970s (and thinking most were drags and I had wasted my hard earned babysitting and music teaching money).

 

The dawn of the VHS revolution was a blessing to old film buffs. They could finally stay home and watch classic movies on their own schedules.

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Yes, what makes a movie "classic" can be very subjective. It can mean different things to different people. Which is exactly why TCM shouldn't subscribe to any kind of narrow definition.

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> {quote:title=goldensilents wrote:}{quote}

> I wouldn't call anyone a "snob" here just because they have a different opinion as to what is a classic film. I don't care for the James Bond films either. Then again I don't much care for anything past 1966, except for a handful of examples like What's Up, Doc or The Right Stuff. Modern films bore me to death.

 

 

I'm not really calling anyone here a snob. I do, however, think that the "TCM shouldn't show these movies!" attitude is somewhat snobbish. It's not snobbish to have a different opinion of what makes a classic. Like I said, it's a subjective term that means different things to different people. However, the attitude that (a) a film can't possibly be defined as a classic because it doesn't fit your (and I don't mean "your" specifically, I'm speaking generally here) definition and (B) a television network shouldn't show certain movies just because those movies don't fit your (again, generally) criteria is a little snobbish.

 

Like I said, they show many movies on TCM that I don't consider classics. They show a lot of movies that I don't enjoy, that I don't like. So I just don't watch them. I know that I'm not the only person who watches TCM, and I know that not everyone who watches TCM has the same definition of what makes a movie a classic as I do. So I don't get upset or irritated when they show something I don't find interesting. For the most part, at least recently, TCM has been doing a very good job of having a very balanced schedule with a decent amount of pre-code, B-films, well known classics, more modern classics, etc. And that's what really makes the station so great. That it doesn't subscribe to any narrow view of what a classic is, and that it has something for everybody, no matter what their definition of "classic" is.

 

> {quote:title=goldensilents wrote:}{quote}

 

> Have to say that I have absolutely no interest in seeing any of those films again. I think we can include in the definition of "classic" (which of course is subjective to a large extent) films that we like to watch over and over again because they have a timeless, universal, sympathetic, and often uplifting aura and quality about them. Too many modern films lack these qualities, to me at least. Too many modern films are crass and unappealing and unoriginal.

 

 

There are a lot of movies they show on TCM that I have no interest in seeing again. So I just don't watch them when they're on. Like you said, "classic" is subjective. You even say here "to me at least". To a lot of people, those films have those qualities. These films can easily be considered classics. It's not like TCM is indiscriminately showing more "modern" films, from the 1970s or 1980s. It's not like they're airing Just One of the Guys or Silent Night, Deadly Night. They're showing films like Raging Bull or Annie Hall. There are plenty of films from these decades that have been long forgotten. Like them or not, there's a reason these films are still talked about while other films made at the same time aren't. These films are creatively made in very memorable ways, they remain influential (great romantic comedies like Secretary and Waitress probably wouldn't exist today without Annie Hall) and, most of all, they have themes that are universal and timeless. Whether one or two (or even 100) don't like the movie isn't the point. There are probably a lot of the 1920s-1950s films that are shown that a lot of people don't like. TCM's job isn't to make sure they're only showing films everyone likes. Their job is to show classics, in every form. And to do that, they need to not subscribe to a narrow and shallow definition of the word.

 

> {quote:title=goldensilents wrote:}{quote}

> If you allow enough time to go by you can make a better determination as to what is truly a classic film. Maybe in 50 years people will remember a Slumdog Millionaire, but if I were a betting person I would wager they will still be watching Casablanca and forgetting all about Slumdog. ;)

 

I'm not sure people would remember Slumdog Millionaire in 50 years either. Not because it's not a good movie, but I think that there's just something about it that might be a little too inaccessible as time goes by. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't movies being made today that won't be remembered fondly in 50 years, even as fondly as Casablanca. There are many movies from the past few decades that will be remembered then, because of how they're made and because of how universal their themes are. It's not like movie themes stopped being universal after the 1950s. Movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and No Country For Old Men will easily be remembered in 50 years, both because of how they're made and because of their themes. Even films I don't like at all, like Titanic, will be remembered. Would I put them on TCM right now? Absolutely not. But just because they were made after the 1950s doesn't mean they're not excellent movies, and it doesn't, by any means, mean they won't be remembered in the future. Just because you don't feel they're interesting, timeless, an universal, just because you don't like to watch them over and over, doesn't mean there aren't many, many people who don't, and many, many people who will feel they are in 50 years.

 

Message was edited by: TheSlumsOfSoftFocus

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> {quote:title=TheSlumsOfSoftFocus wrote:}{quote}

> Yes, what makes a movie "classic" can be very subjective. It can mean different things to different people. Which is exactly why TCM shouldn't subscribe to any kind of narrow definition.

Well, the "Big Tent" approach is not working for me.

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Yes. I really do believe that the majority of people who tune into TCM prefer the older classic films. TCM has made a concerted effort to branch out and attract younger viewers by showing newer and newer films, but in doing so they risk alienating their base. Sticking silents and precodes for the most part in the "Graveyard Shift" or other inconvenient hours like early AM when people are getting ready for work or school is in many ways turning their backs on their base.

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> {quote:title=PrinceSaliano wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=TheSlumsOfSoftFocus wrote:}{quote}

> > Yes, what makes a movie "classic" can be very subjective. It can mean different things to different people. Which is exactly why TCM shouldn't subscribe to any kind of narrow definition.

> Well, the "Big Tent" approach is not working for me.

And you're not the only person who watched the channel.

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> {quote:title=goldensilents wrote:}{quote}

> Yes. I really do believe that the majority of people who tune into TCM prefer the older classic films. TCM has made a concerted effort to branch out and attract younger viewers by showing newer and newer films, but in doing so they risk alienating their base. Sticking silents and precodes for the most part in the "Graveyard Shift" or other inconvenient hours like early AM when people are getting ready for work or school is in many ways turning their backs on their base.

 

I do agree that they shouldn't be Graveyard Shifting the silents and the pre-codes. This was a BIG complaint I had about a year ago. But recently they've been doing a lot better with showing these movies at better times during the day, in the afternoon or even during prime time. They could still do a little better, but in the past year they've been doing a pretty good job of showing a lot of different types of classics, and at decent times.

 

I mean, we're getting Four's a Crowd today at noon. That's fantastic. A year ago, we wouldn't be seeing this movie until 3 in the morning.

 

Message was edited by: TheSlumsOfSoftFocus

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Perhaps they're doing a little better, but not much. This morning for instance they have Cabin in the Cotton (1933) airing in the Graveyard shift. It's typical of them. I'm not complaining for myself, I've seen it multiple times and I have my own copy. But everytime they hide these precode oldie gems in the Graveyard shift that means fewer new fans for the genre.

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the term Classic to me means it has been around for a long time, it is a standard by which others judge the quality of films or whatever subject it may be.

 

so, TCM should stick to it..........i was not privileged to have TCM on my Cable TV for 17 years, on Long Island in NY we did not have it.............so, we missed out all these years on watching the films they throw on the crazy hour shift, i.e. Camille on at 6 AM on a Sunday morning, or a great silent film on at 2 AM in the morning.................please stop playing 1960 films and up, i can see them any time, PLEASE live up to the Golden Age of Movies that you should represent.

 

please put Cary, Greta, Bette, Joan, Gary, Edward G and Bogart on at respectable times so that we can see them, on the big TV....also, please play more of their lesser known films, it would be a real treat to those who missed your earlier years.

 

Also, put some of them on the covers of your What's Playing, they are pretty good cover!

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a classic film is I Am Fugitive From a Chain Gang . that's all that needs to be said

 

Message was edited by: timothy17

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I think TCM pays diddlysquat attention to their boards and their suggest a movie feature. They're just here to make you think they care about your thoughts and feelings and wishes, but they don't. They obviously have people in charge who have made a decision to emphasize newer films over older classic films and there's nothing we can do about it. Just like AMC they think the more boring newer films will satisfy the mind numbed robots who like films from the 1970's on.

 

It's the same way with some of us who love classic foreign films as well. That's another category often ignored. They have their world cinema on once a week AFTER the silent offering and schedule it at 2am EST! Who the hell is awake at 2am except a few night owls?

 

I don't even bother putting anything in the Suggest a Movie feature anymore. If I put "I'd like to see an Ozu film, you've never once played an Ozu film" anyone who might just read it (negligible more than likely) from TCM programming would say to themselves, "What's an Ozu? Is that a type of bird?" HAHAHA!!!!

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> {quote:title=goldensilents wrote:}{quote}

> I don't even bother putting anything in the Suggest a Movie feature anymore. If I put "I'd like to see an Ozu film, you've never once played an Ozu film" anyone who might just read it (negligible more than likely) from TCM programming would say to themselves, "What's an Ozu? Is that a type of bird?" HAHAHA!!!!

 

To be fair TCM has shown a couple of OZU films in the past; THERE WAS A FATHER (1942) and TOKYO STORY (1953). They have not shown any of the silents that were recently released by Criterion or the other titles that are available on DVD like A LATE SPRING (1949), EARLY SUMMER (1951),or

FLOATING WEEDS (1934 or the remake of 1959).

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Must have been awhile ago then for me to miss them.

 

Thank God for Criterion putting a whole slew of Ozu silents and soundies out. I am completely addicted and I will be going through withdrawal pains when I'm done with what's easily available.

 

I'd also love for them to broadcast some Naruse films. When A Woman Ascends The Stairs is a particular favorite of mine.

 

They play Rashomon from time to time, and a few newer Japanese films that lack the gentleness of the Ozu and Naruse classic films from the 1930's through the 1950's.

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About 6 or 7 years ago, TCM had Akira Kurosawa as "Director of the month" and ran some his early films like SANSHIRO SUGATA (1943), THE MEN WHO TREAD ON THE TIGER'S TAIL (1945), NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH [one of my favorite early Kurosawa films](1946), DRUNKEN ANGEL (1948), STRAY DOG (1949) and SCANDAL (1950). I believe that Criterion now has all of these available on DVD.

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I'm not as big a fan of Kurosawa as I am Ozu and Naruse. I especially like Ozu's gentle style and his emphasis on family dynamics.

 

I didn't get TCM until about 2003 or 2004, so I probably missed that. Neither was I enamoured of Japanese films back then, but I am now.

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I do think that TCM should play a wide variety of movies, but as far as the need to play more obscure ones for the people who have been watching for years, you're forgetting about 15 year olds like me who have only been watching for 2 years and still need to see a considerable amount of the major classics. I may be able to rent Citizen Kane or Casablanca, but guess what? TCM is pretty much free, and that's the best part.

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Ashley,

I'm glad someone who is 15 is at least taking the time to check out some of their film heritage.

Many people your age do not have the patience to watch older films, since the pace is slower than that of more modern films. I do hope that you are able to take some time to watch some of the pre-code and silent films that TCM does show from time to time, they're well worth it.

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*Sticking silents and precodes for the most part in the "Graveyard Shift" or other inconvenient hours like early AM when people are getting ready for work or school is in many ways turning their backs on their base.*

 

This isn't anything new by TCM. They have been putting these films on late at night (depending upon your time zone) since the beginning.

 

There are message boards and usenet groups, as well as this message board, archives around the web attesting to the fact that TCM has been doing this since they went on the air fifteen years ago.

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*I do think that TCM should play a wide variety of movies, but as far as the need to play more obscure ones for the people who have been watching for years, you're forgetting about 15 year olds like me who have only been watching for 2 years and still need to see a considerable amount of the major classics. I may be able to rent Citizen Kane or Casablanca, but guess what? TCM is pretty much free, and that's the best part.*

 

Ashley,

 

Welcome to the boards! You are the generation that many of us are passing the torch to in an effort to help keep classic film and its history going.

 

There was a resurgence of interest in classic films that began in the early 1960s and many of us of a particular age discovered these films on the *Million Dollar Movie* and other syndicated movie shows.

 

But we are also at an age where we are getting older and we have to realize that in order for classic films to live on, we must pass the torch to a newer generation.

 

In doing so, TCM becomes the natural partner because the channel understands the power and emotional pull that films have on our lives.

 

They also understand that for these films to live on, new generations must be exposed to them and they are trying to do just that.

 

TCM tries to program for both communities, those of us who discovered classic films when we were younger and love them and those that are just discovering them and love them.

 

They are trying to strike a balance between the two because we need to pass the torch to a new generation. Otherwise, the love of classic film dies with us and so would TCM.

 

And I doubt anyone here, regardless of age, really wants that.

 

And yes, Suggest a Movie works. So does participating in the TCM Programming Challenges.

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