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lococardinal

Definition of B-movie

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I'm interested in the definition of pre-1960's movies. According to wikipedia, the B- movies were the 2nd feature, or lower billing at the movie theater. Is this the real or literal interpretation? I had also seen a comment casually made on a website that "Shock" with Vincent Price was a B-movie that became an A-movie (apparently because of Price). Would this possibly be because the movie jumped from being the 2nd feature to becoming the first? Did some movies back then jump from 2nd feature to 1st feature at the theaters due to popularity (thus become A-movies)? Or is it all just a loose reference pertaining to the budget of the movie?

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I believe that the party of the first party shall be known heretofore as the party of the first party, and the party of the second party shall be known as the party of the second party... oh wait, wrong question.

 

I wouldn't worry about it too much. These days a lot of movies, B-movie or not, are considered classics.

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I think B-movies were mostly defined by budget. However, running time could be a factor (under 75 minutes, perhaps). And stars were most definitely a factor.

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Several books I have on films state the following:

 

Most B-Movies have the same things in common; Think of them as a "B-Movie Berometer":

 

1. Poor sound quality and poorly timed audio/sound tracks.

2. Obviously fake, or very cheesy "Special Effects"

3. The "Stars" are not recognized actors, or even recognized as extras in other films.

4. The plot, or story line is poorly written or the movie literally has no point.

5. The acting it self is very poor; There is no suspension of disbelief.

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I would say those were good descriptions celluloidkid. Of course, there is sort of an even vaguer classification of movies that are referred to as "C" or "Z" movies. These would be the extremely low budget movies like "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Also, the term I think has changed at various times. During the pre-60's era, some of the stars started out in B-movies like John Wayne. They probably received a certain amount of stardom before moving up to the majors. They may tend to have somewhat well known actors as opposed to hiring someone who may fit a role they meet at the grocery store check-out stand like Ed Wood might have done. Also, many Film Noir movies were considered "B" movies. And of course many of them are noted to have very craftily done effects even if low-budget.

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

> Celluloidkid's list does not represent B-movies made by the major studios during the 30s & 40s.

 

I don't know what he said because I have him on ignore. But, yes, I would say any good definition would have to start with the B-movies made by the majors during the 30's - 40s.

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I remember an evening when TCM featured B movies. I don't remember the titles but they come across as what might be the originals. The movies aired were so obviously low budget and very short. Sometimes a whole movie might seem to take place in a hallway or just a few rooms. Others were slightly more elaborate. One of the directors featured was Bodine (first name Matthew?) who directed quite a few and achieved a reputation for specializing in them. This type of movie was obviously different that those that were referred to as "programmers," movies that were a second feature to accompany a main feature. I don't think programmers are necessarily considered B-movies though.

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In the studio era B-movies were low budget productions that were second bill in a double feature with an A- movie.

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

> In the studio era B-movies were low budget productions that were second bill in a double feature with an A- movie.

 

Sounds good enough to me.

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laffite, you're probably thinking of William Beaudine. I believe his nickname was "one-shot."

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>...you're probably thinking of William Beaudine. I believe his nickname was "one-shot."

 

Argh, how could I have misspelled his name, French no less. Thanks for the correction.

 

However, "one-shot" I believe refers to Van Dyke (first name escapes me). Actually I think it was "one take." Of course, most directors of the B movies were probably one-take directors for a different reason than Van Dyke. There wasn't enough money in the budget for more than one take, haha.

 

Thanks

 

Message was edited by: laffite

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