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What Movie Do You Recommend To A Newcomer?


johnpressman
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Most young people, that is those in their 20's and 30's (and even 40's) have little knowledge of or interest in classic film.  I live in Los Angeles and you would be surprised at the number of film school graduates who know little or nothing of movies released before 1976.

 

I use "A Place In The Sun" as my starter movie, for both young men and women.  I tell them that this is a women's picture from a man's point of view.  What film do you use to (hopefully) inspire new viewers?

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It depends on whether it's a man or a woman, and what type of modern movies they like.

 

I got my niece The Long, Long Trailer for Christmas and she was really excited because she had just been watching I Love Lucy reruns.

 

I bought her father Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. It's funny because it's still all true today.

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I'd start with SINGIN' IN THE RAIN.

 

What's there not to like about it? This baby's got singin' and dancin' and comedy and wonderful visuals(and TAH DAH, it's EVEN in vivid and glorious TECHNICOLOR, and so it won't "hurt the little darlings' eyes" by havin' to watch a B&W movie...ah, but I digress) and good pacing, and it's even kind of a little history lesson about Hollywood during the changeover from silent to sound films TOO!

 

And so if they don't like THIS one, then there's probably NO hope for the darn whippersnappers!

 

(...did I mention all the wonderful signin' and dancin' in it?...oh, I did, huh...okay then, off with ya here and go find a DVD of this one to show to those young uninitiated out there!)

 

;)

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Most young people, that is those in their 20's and 30's (and even 40's) have little knowledge of or interest in classic film.  I live in Los Angeles and you would be surprised at the number of film school graduates who know little or nothing of movies released before 1976.

 

I use "A Place In The Sun" as my starter movie, for both young men and women.  I tell them that this is a women's picture from a man's point of view.  What film do you use to (hopefully) inspire new viewers?

 

I recommend The Adventure of Robin Hood since it is in color and is a period adventure film.    A period film can't be viewed as 'dated' unlike a film made in the 30s - 50s set in the current time period and adventure films are escapist entertainment and thus easier for most viewers to digest.

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Most young people, that is those in their 20's and 30's (and even 40's) have little knowledge of or interest in classic film.  I live in Los Angeles and you would be surprised at the number of film school graduates who know little or nothing of movies released before 1976.

 

I use "A Place In The Sun" as my starter movie, for both young men and women.  I tell them that this is a women's picture from a man's point of view.  What film do you use to (hopefully) inspire new viewers?

 

No offense, but I definitely wouldn't use A Place In The Sun. I'd want to use something a whole lot livelier.

 

I'd consider something by Wilder. Sabrina stars Audrey Hepburn, who is fairly well known today. I would probably choose Double Indemnity, which is a thriller but has a strong female lead and great dialogue -- which younger people may not be used to, if they only watch modern films.

 

Also if you're in L.A. you can use a film like DI to point out local geography -- IIRC the Stanwyck house in the Loz Feliz section is still standing.

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GONE WITH THE WIND 

 

Not a bad suggestion here, Jake. I've always liked this epic too!

 

But John, don't forget to be around those youngins while they're watchin' this one, and so you can constantly to tell 'em somethin' like, "Okay kids, now you have to remember this movie was made in 1939, and so don't forget all that stuff you're seein' about how the slaves so appreciated their being taken care of on those plantations is just a LITTLE different than how we think of the Antebellum South NOW days"!

 

LOL

 

(...yeah, remember to do THAT John, and I think this might be a great experience for 'em)

 

***edit to follow***

 

WAIT! Now that I think about this one again, I gotta say I'm not so sure those youngins might care for this flick, and EVEN if you did as I suggested here.

 

Ya see, I just remembered that GWTW is one long long movie, and you know what the attention span of the kids out there today is like, DONCHA???

 

LOL...some more now

Edited by Dargo
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Since even to this day most kids have often seen THE WIZARD OF OZ,  any other "fantasy/adventure" flick from those times and since might work well.  But the tastes of the younger ones matter too.  Like, my daughter, just sitting down looking to pass the time watched THE ODD COUPLE with me one night.  And after Jack Lemmon's scene in the diner( "PHMWAH!") she was hooked!  But she always preferred comedies at that age( she was 9) , but still resisted black and white fare.  Until at an older age I showed her PAPER MOON.  THEN black and white movies became OK.  And as she got older, I suggested more sophisticated fare.  Another example---

 

She is still a HUGE "South Park" freak, and they once did an episode in which the internet went down all over the country, and people looking for a "connect" were traveling all over the country trying to find somewhere to get online.  They did it as a "send up" of THE GRAPES OF WRATH.  I pointed that out to her and loaned her my copy so she could understand why I  was laughing while watching it, and she now counts TGOW among her favorites.

 

She no longer resists or rejects older black and white movies.  And her sitting up with me and falling in love with the old BURNS AND ALLEN shows when she was 6 and 7 didn't hurt either.  Her older sister( by 3 years) was already OK with it since a friend of mine who was in the BLACKHAWK FILM SOCIETY came over when SHE was about 6 or 7 with his projector and a collection of 16mm LAUREL and HARDY prints.  She then took to watching old ABBOTT and COSTELLO flicks on a local station's Sunday matinees, and SHIRLEY TEMPLE movies too.

 

HOW you get younger folks to watch "classic" film kinda depends on WHEN you're trying to GET them to.  But, I also know plenty of people OLDER than me who really don't care for "classic" film either. 

 

 

Sepiatone

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As a young person, I figured I would add to this conversation lol. 

 

Personally, my parents raised me on films like "Sergeant York," "The Ten Commandments," "National Velvet," and "My Fair Lady." (I think I was the only 4 year old who knew who Audrey Hepburn was) I think from my parents showing me some older films while I was still a child, I was able to appreciate them more than some of my other friends. Going back to National Velvet, I have always had a great talent (if you will) for recognizing names/faces, so of course, when I first watched "Murder She Wrote" I thought, "That's Edwina Brown!" (aka Angela Lansbury) 

 

I have gotten several of my friends interested in older films, myself, which I am certainly very proud of. I have seen "Singin' in the Rain" about 16 times or so, within the past 2 years, as I generally introduce them to this one first (and they all have enjoyed it). With one friend in particular, I actually had her watch "The Bad Seed" (1956), and she definitely enjoyed it. I typically like to pick a movie that contains something they are interested in. I tried to show "The Women" (1939) to my cousin, but, alas, she didn't understand the wittiness and sophistication of it, and greatly preferred "Freaky Friday." Oh well, you win some and you lose some. 

 

My crowning achievement is that I got my little brother into watching "The Carol Burnett Show" and Gene Kelly's "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), and one of his favorite songs is "The Trolley Song" sung by Judy Garland (from Meet Me in St. Louis). I have found that young people typically look up to older people (even though they may not show it) and will acquiesce to watching movies they can tell the other person is passionate about (for the most part). 

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As a young person, I figured I would add to this conversation lol. 

 

Personally, my parents raised me on films like "Sergeant York," "The Ten Commandments," "National Velvet," and "My Fair Lady." (I think I was the only 4 year old who knew who Audrey Hepburn was) I think from my parents showing me some older films while I was still a child, I was able to appreciate them more than some of my other friends. Going back to National Velvet, I have always had a great talent (if you will) for recognizing names/faces, so of course, when I first watched "Murder She Wrote" I thought, "That's Edwina Brown!" (aka Angela Lansbury) 

 

I have gotten several of my friends interested in older films, myself, which I am certainly very proud of. I have seen "Singin' in the Rain" about 16 times or so, within the past 2 years, as I generally introduce them to this one first (and they all have enjoyed it). With one friend in particular, I actually had her watch "The Bad Seed" (1956), and she definitely enjoyed it. I typically like to pick a movie that contains something they are interested in. I tried to show "The Women" (1939) to my cousin, but, alas, she didn't understand the wittiness and sophistication of it, and greatly preferred "Freaky Friday." Oh well, you win some and you lose some. 

 

My crowning achievement is that I got my little brother into watching "The Carol Burnett Show" and Gene Kelly's "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), and one of his favorite songs is "The Trolley Song" sung by Judy Garland (from Meet Me in St. Louis). I have found that young people typically look up to older people (even though they may not show it) and will acquiesce to watching movies they can tell the other person is passionate about (for the most part). 

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No offense, but I definitely wouldn't use A Place In The Sun. I'd want to use something a whole lot livelier.

 

I'd consider something by Wilder. Sabrina stars Audrey Hepburn, who is fairly well known today. I would probably choose Double Indemnity, which is a thriller but has a strong female lead and great dialogue -- which younger people may not be used to, if they only watch modern films.

 

Also if you're in L.A. you can use a film like DI to point out local geography -- IIRC the Stanwyck house in the Loz Feliz section is still standing.

 

I agree about A Place In The Sun;   The character Clift plays is so 'confusing' he generates a lot of frustration for the audience.   While that was intentional it doesn't make for a good first experience (IMO).

 

Sabrina is a great choice but how many folks would view the Bogart \ Hepburn \ Holden film as 'just another remake!'.    :blink:

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Wow!  I didn't think I would have to defend my choice of "A Place In The Sun" as an introductory movie!  

 

When I mentioned young people, I meant those in their 20s to 40s.  I did indoctrinate my daughter at a young age.  Her husband was astonished when they played the TCM Classic Movie Game and she smoked all the other players with her knowledge of classic film. 

 

I chose "A Place In The Sun" because I felt that a young man could identify with Clift's character's striving to better himself, and, of course, young women could identify with either Elizabeth Taylor or Shelly Winters' character. APITS also contains the most romantic scene in movie history, I saw Alex Trebeck on "Jeopardy" repeat Liz's line; "tell Momma, tell Momma  all".

 

Sorry, but "GWTW" is not a good choice as an introductory film for many reasons, too long, too slow, too old-fashioned and with a racist message that would turn any young person off from classic films forever!  "The Bad Seed" and "Paper Moon" are excellent choices for adolescents.  I have made my Grandchildren watch both last summer during their visit.  I also think "Singing In The Rain" is too sappy for todays viewers.

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Wow!  I didn't think I would have to defend my choice of "A Place In The Sun" as an introductory movie!  

 

When I mentioned young people, I meant those in their 20s to 40s.  I did indoctrinate my daughter at a young age.  Her husband was astonished when they played the TCM Classic Movie Game and she smoked all the other players with her knowledge of classic film. 

 

I chose "A Place In The Sun" because I felt that a young man could identify with Clift's character's striving to better himself, and, of course, young women could identify with either Elizabeth Taylor or Shelly Winters' character. APITS also contains the most romantic scene in movie history, I saw Alex Trebeck on "Jeopardy" repeat Liz's line; "tell Momma, tell Momma  all".

 

Sorry, but "GWTW" is not a good choice as an introductory film for many reasons, too long, too slow, too old-fashioned and with a racist message that would turn any young person off from classic films forever!  "The Bad Seed" and "Paper Moon" are excellent choices for adolescents.  I have made my Grandchildren watch both last summer during their visit.  I also think "Singing In The Rain" is too sappy for todays viewers.

 

"Sappy"?! "SAPPY"???!!!

 

(...well then see if ever help YOU ever again in this thread of yours, Johnny baby!!!)

 

;)

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In the 20-40 year range you might pick "classic" movies that touch on topics that are still inherently relevant.  Political topics might still work.  I'd pick something like maybe ALL THE KING'S MEN or THE LAST HURRAH.

 

Or movies that touch upon human foibles and character failures.  Like ACE IN THE HOLE or INHERIT THE WIND. 

 

Or with stark portrayals of historic periods like ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT or the aforementioned THE GRAPES OF WRATH.

 

Some "screwball" comedies might also work depending on the interests of the individuals you're trying to persuade.  I really don't think there's ONE movie that's going to do the trick however, as your pick of A PLACE IN THE SUN, although a good movie, but one that many people, even those who like "classic" film, DON'T care for.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Wow!  I didn't think I would have to defend my choice of "A Place In The Sun" as an introductory movie!  

 

When I mentioned young people, I meant those in their 20s to 40s.  I did indoctrinate my daughter at a young age.  Her husband was astonished when they played the TCM Classic Movie Game and she smoked all the other players with her knowledge of classic film. 

 

I chose "A Place In The Sun" because I felt that a young man could identify with Clift's character's striving to better himself, and, of course, young women could identify with either Elizabeth Taylor or Shelly Winters' character. APITS also contains the most romantic scene in movie history, I saw Alex Trebeck on "Jeopardy" repeat Liz's line; "tell Momma, tell Momma  all".

 

Sorry, but "GWTW" is not a good choice as an introductory film for many reasons, too long, too slow, too old-fashioned and with a racist message that would turn any young person off from classic films forever!  "The Bad Seed" and "Paper Moon" are excellent choices for adolescents.  I have made my Grandchildren watch both last summer during their visit.  I also think "Singing In The Rain" is too sappy for todays viewers.

 

Sorry if you felt that you needed to defend your choice based on our comments.    While you make a gallant attempt I'm not convinced.

 

The character Clift plays in APITS isn't likeable and is such a wimp I just don't see this as the type of male lead I would recommend to someone seeing there first 'classic' (studio-era) film.     Yes the character is complex and that makes the film interesting but to me one's movie viewing has to evolve before being exposed to such a character. 

 

Take that boat scene where he just sits there;   I would rather see a Cagney type character that would have said 'hey,  catch this rock' or a Gary Cooper type that would have made an attempt to save her.

 

Same with the court room scenes;  Since he was willing to get the juice why not just say 'of course I killed her,,,,, didn't you see Liz's figure!!!'.

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Most young people, that is those in their 20's and 30's (and even 40's) have little knowledge of or interest in classic film.  I live in Los Angeles and you would be surprised at the number of film school graduates who know little or nothing of movies released before 1976.

 

I use "A Place In The Sun" as my starter movie, for both young men and women.  I tell them that this is a women's picture from a man's point of view.  What film do you use to (hopefully) inspire new viewers?

 

Hi John. I didn't grow up in Los Angeles, but I went to film school at the University of Southern California in the mid-90s. And I can assure you that we did receive a comprehensive education in Hollywood narrative filmmaking (silent and sound); in international cinema (again silent and sound); in television; and in what was then the new field of digital media. I'm sure the curriculum at USC is just as good now as it was then. Plus, we were exposed to all kinds of lectures from retired directors and screenwriters, plus visits from top working directors who would screen their upcoming films for us, often before they even finished the final edits. So it was very, very wide-ranging and we did not leave that program of study as ignoramuses. 

 

Fellow poster lzcutter attended USC a decade or two earlier than I did and she seemed to indicate the film school education she received was just as good.

 

But in regards to your original question-- a good book to get is 'The Best Old Movies for Families' by critic Ty Burr. The chapters are arranged by genre, and the titles he recommends have an age range attached to them (which is slightly subjective but still helpful). After he's done discussing the film, he gives a list of related films that would appeal to the same type of audience.

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When I mentioned young people, I meant those in their 20s to 40s.  I did indoctrinate my daughter at a young age.  Her husband was astonished when they played the TCM Classic Movie Game and she smoked all the other players with her knowledge of classic film.

 

Sorry, but "GWTW" is not a good choice as an introductory film for many reasons, too long, too slow, too old-fashioned and with a racist message that would turn any young person off from classic films forever!  "The Bad Seed" and "Paper Moon" are excellent choices for adolescents.  I have made my Grandchildren watch both last summer during their visit.  I also think "Singing In The Rain" is too sappy for todays viewers.

In the mid nineties TCM was launched and its first movie to showcase was Gone with the Wind. Truly one of the greatest movies ever made. We live in a moronic age.

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Hey John! Don't look now, but it seems Jake is even more upset about you discountin' his suggestion of GWTW than I am that you poo-pooed MY suggestion of SITR!

 

(...although of course the main difference here is that I only think SOME aspects of and people in modern society seem a little out of touch sometimes, and whereas Jake seems to think ALL of it is "moronic"!!!) ;)

 

LOL

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Okay HERE'S a suggestion for a movie you might show to those classic film uninitiated in your sphere, John.

 

Now listen up here. You're gonna have preface the showing of this one to those youngins that it's in, OH NO, B&W, but once you get 'em settled down and ready to accept this, I'm SURE they're going to become engrossed in the goings-on of Robert Mitchum's character in what many consider one of the best if not THE best film noirs ever...OUT OF THE PAST.

 

And dude, if THIS one doesn't get those kids(and yeah yeah, I know...you were talkin' about people as old as 40 here, but seein' as how I'm turnin' 65 next month, ANYBODY under 50 is now a freakin' "kid" to ME) to start gettin' a little more into classic films, then as I said earlier about that Gene Kelly musical, there's no damn hope for 'em!!!

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Zero Hour!

(just kidding)

 

in no particular order, just some of the earlier movies I collected:

Edison The Man (1940)

The Woman In The Window (1944)

In The Good Old Summertime (1949)

The Thin Man [hexalogy]

His Girl Friday

Wild, Wild Planet (1965) [italian Sci-Fi - Gamma I Quadrilogy]

Casablanca

The Major and The Minor (1942)

You Can't Take It With You (1938)

The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

The More the Merrier (1943)

Sullivan's Travels (1941)

 

Those are just some of the highlights from about the first 150 movies I collected

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Zero Hour!

 

Just, of course, if they've never previously watched AIRPLANE.

 

(...'cause after having first watched the 1980 parody of your suggested title here MCOH,  I found it a bit difficult to take ZERO HOUR! as seriously as I should have later on and once I got around to that one)

 

Edit:

Ah, I see you later added "just kidding" to your suggestion here, MCOH.

;)

 

(...ya know, I was kind'a wonderin' if you were)

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     In regards to the movie 'SINGIN' IN THE RAIN' (1952) I cannot regard the comment that it's "sappy" as anything but stupid.  Come on.  The romance angle of the film between Gene and Debbie is hardly the main plot of SINGIN' and I don't see how it's all mushy and nausea-inducing, anyway.  In 1951, the musical release 'AN AMERICAN IN PARIS' had more of a focus on romance to go with the music.  I wonder if that's supposed to be 'sappy', too?  Can't show that to a 30-year old!  → See, there's trees blooming everywhere in Paris dripping sap all over the picture so that one's a 'no-go'!  And would 1954's BRIGADOON be a sap-a-doodle movie as well?  Them Scottish highlands are just fulla treacly, sticky stuff, aren't they?            

 

     You want sappy?  Watch 1973's "Breezy".  I kinda like the movie, but the ending is sappy as hell.  Or watch 1933's FEMALE with Ruth Chatterton driving like a mad woman to catch up with George Brent -- even though he really wasn't very nice to her and put her down constantly.  That's why I don't like FEMALE.  Too sappy with Ruth giving up all for George and getting so little in return!  

-----------------------------

     I couldn't pick GWTW as an "introductory" classic because it's so long.  Not because of any racist "message".  I've never thought of GWTW as a "message film".  I would never show 'Lawrence of Arabia' for the same reason were I trying to introduce someone to the joys of classic movies.    (If I were going to introduce someone to a David Lean epic I'd select 1984's "A PASSAGE TO INDIA" easily over "Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago" or the 1970 Lean movie whose title escapes me at the moment but which is a long film).  

-------------------------------

      I'd show 1932's CARNIVAL BOAT.  It's short (62 minutes) and contains action and romance (but not like FEMALE where the woman has to be 'tamed') and is a pleasant way to spend an hour.  With William Boyd, Ginger Rogers, Hobart Bosworth, Fred Kohler.      

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Just, of course, if they've never previously watched AIRPLANE.

 

(...'cause after having first watched the 1980 parody of your suggested title here MCOH,  I found it a bit difficult to take ZERO HOUR! as seriously as I should have later on and once I got around to that one)

 

I guess I should have asked how young the viewer is.  It was too funny for me too.  I updated my post with more.

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