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What Percentage of Your Favourite Films Are Wrapped Up In Childhood Nostalgia?


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Speaking for myself I must say that a very large number of my movie favourites are, indeed, films that I enjoyed on television as a kid.

It's always a particular joy, of course, when you think those films hold up well. But even in the case of many (not all) of those that don't stand the test of time so well when viewed through adult eyes I will still have a sentimental feel for the pleasure that they had once brought me as a young person.

Now I have seen any of a number of fine films made within the past 20 years or so. Yet I'm hard pressed that any of them have the same emotional pull for me as do those films that I enjoyed during those years that first introduced me to the movies and for the next ten or fifteen years or so beyond that, as well.

Among those that I adored as a kid that still excite me and I regard as all time favourites:

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I recall first watching this film as I sat on Dad's lap and covering my eyes with my hands (though peaking through my fingers, of course) whenever the Wolf Man appeared.

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Captain Blood. Aye, matey, ahoy and watch those sails fill with the breeze that will take us all to freedom! My love affair with anything Errol Flynn pretty well began with this pirate flick, which also made me a fan of swashbucklers in general.

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The Mark of Zorro. Another stylish swashbuckler that thrilled me (still does!) and had me writing a fan letter to Basil Rathbone.

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Lives of a Bengal Lancer. It's the British Empire at the Khyber Pass and an incredibly heroic Gary Cooper out to save that empire. Later I saw Gunga Din and The Four Feathers but my love of these kind of (politically dated and frequently racially insensitive) adventures began with countless views of this one on the TV.

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Treasure of the Sierra Madre. More adventure for my adventure loving young heart, though coupled this time with adult themes involving greed and human frailty. Bogart, Huston, Holt and that Gold Hat Bandit, saw them all as a kid, and continue to put this classic on again every few years. It still never fails to entertain me.

 

So how about other posters here? How much of a role does childhood nostalgia play for you when you come to choosing your film favourites today?

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 A significant percentage with tomorrow's star makes up my proverbial pie - including SOYLENT GREEN (1973). A General Discussions complaint somewhere about Charlton Heston being too old to play George Taylor in PLANET of the APES (1968) is simply "weightlessness": John Young established himself as the king of the two-manned missions when he was 50.5! (Unlike another astronaut "John", Young did not politick his way into a Shuttle seat.) Pretty sure a pair of then-cute Valley boys (read: superficial) didn't observe Heston's age after seeing THE OMEGA MAN (1971). Instead, they came home, picked up some  MATTEL guns and went looking for some imaginary dystopians to kill.th?id=OIP.SwJVUg6ZvympfIzkZ8s5hwHaD4&pid=Api&P=0&w=308&h=162

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Couldn't give you a percentage, but as many things I watched early on concerning the "tube" were old movies shown on Saturday matinees or Sunday showcases. And many of the old movies I still consider as some of my favorites  were flicks I saw as a tyke.  So, if I could give you a percentage, I imagine it'd be a fairly high number.

Sepiatone

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Interesting thread idea, Tom.  I'll have to give it some thought, but offhand, a couple that come to mind are  A Christmas Carol, aka Scrooge,  (the 1951 version),  and The Trouble with Angels.  The first because I have very happy memories of watching it with my family all through my childhood and teen years every year on Christmas Eve. My father in particular loved that movie and would often quote entire lines from it, as, by the time I was grown -up,  I did too.

The second film I saw when I was just the right age to see it, about 14, I think.  It had all the right ingredients, in the right proportions, for a great coming-of-age film for young girls.  It was funny, smart, moving, thoughtful, entertaining.  It had fine performances from Hayley Mills, June Harding, and of course Rosalind Russell.

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

....So how about other posters here? How much of a role does childhood nostalgia play for you when you come to choosing your film favourites today?

Well, it took me a while to figure this all out Tom, but with the help of my cellphone's calculator AND with a mind that's STILL as sharp as the proverbial tack with very little signs at all of an early onset of geriatric dementia, I've come up with a figure of 14.25 percent in my case.

;)

Now, perhaps chief among the movies which would be included within the aforementioned "14.25 percent" and that immediately sprang to my aforementioned "still sharp as the proverbial tack" mind would be what's become a Christmas perennial for many many others in the past few decades...It's a Wonderful Life.

You see, I still quite clearly remember the day I happened upon this then in the public domain film one warm late December afternoon (remember, my formative years were spent in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, so hence the warmth) and after returning home from my junior high school's last day of class before its two weeks closure for the holiday season. This would have been in the mid-1960s. A local L.A. television station was showing it as one of their afternoon matinee features.

I remember I would become more and more mesmerized by it as its story unfolded. 

(...and so, over these many many years, this movie has always held a special place in my heart, and of which time has failed to diminish)

 

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In my case, very few. My family rarely went to the movies, and when we did, like as not we'd get there in the middle, stay to the end, and then watch from the beginning until "Oh, this is where we came in." I have no idea why people did this. I did discover a lot of classic film stars on TV--one source was Checkmate, which had incredible guest stars--and I loved eventually getting to see the films these people were famous for. My true movie mania didn't begin until college.

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I went to the movies a lot as a kid, but my favorite movies were made and released when I was a young adult. I do have nostalgia about a lot of films though and will watch if they pop up on TCM. I was a kid in the fifties & sixties so in no particular order I watched beach party movies, Elvis movies, those movies for which Ray Harryhausen did the stop motion animation and sometimes Other types of movies. I wasn’t into the creature features although I watch them now. I watched the Andy Hardy & Henry Aldrich movies on tv on Saturday afternoons sometimes. Abbott & Costello films were pretty popular but I can honestly say I now don’t find them particularly funny. 

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I'm a little surprised that childhood nostalgia doesn't play a bigger role in the selection of film favourites for many of you than it does. I was impressed, though, that the precise computer-like mind of one was able to calculate that exactly 14.25% of his favs are from childhood viewings.

I have a friend who, like me, is an Errol Flynn fan and said that he prefers Against All Flags, one of the actor's last swashbucklers, made when he was starting to look a little tired, to Captain Blood. Against All Flags over Captain Blood, you've got to be kidding me, I thought. But then he explained that he saw Against All Flags a lot as a kid and only saw Captain Blood for the first time some years later. Ah, I said, you saw Against All Flags as a kid. Say no more. Childhood nostalgia strikes again.

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Just to let you know that I, unlike many here, it seems, still have the call to many of my childhood favourites for viewing sessions today, here are some more that made me either laugh or cheer when I was a wee tot and can still get a sentimental reaction out of me today:

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The Three Stooges, as long as it's a Curly. When Curly is showing an infant's frustration as he tries to eat clam soup with a live clam in it I still find myself breaking up.

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Bing and Bob in any of their '40s Road comedies. These two had great chemistry and a sense of spontaneity when they were together that still engages me.

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They Drive By Night. I saw this truck driving melodrama a lot on TV as a kid and fell head over heels in love with Ann Sheridan. The lady still knocks me out in this film, as well as most of her other films made during the '40s.

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Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. Unsophisticated, to put it mildly, were the sands-and-sex wartime epics with Maria Montez in glorious Technicolor. Of course they are corny as heck but they still have a pull on the child in me. May a thousand fleas from a camel invade your home if you don't agree with me.

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Jimmy Cagney as Cody Jarrett. Even as a kid I guess I knew a great actor when I saw one, and the film has a drive in its tale of a psychotic hood spiralling out of control that pulls me in for a repeat viewing every few years.

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, TomJH said:

...Jimmy Cagney as Cody Jarrett. Even as a kid I guess I knew a great actor when I saw one, and the film has a drive in its tale of a psychotic hood spiralling out of control that pulls me in for a repeat viewing every few years.

 

And STILL to this very day, has never forgiven Edmund O'Brien for grabbing that 30.06 with a scope, firing off a shot with it, and uttering the line, "What's holding him up?!"!

(...ain't that right, Tom) ;)

LOL

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1 minute ago, Dargo said:

And STILL to this very day, hasn't forgiven Edmund O'Brien for grabbing that 30.06 with a scope, firing off a shot with it, and uttering the line, "What's holding him up?!"!

(...ain't that right, Tom) ;)

LOL

Edmond O'Brien was a rat's rat doing that to a man, psychotic or not, who befriended him. Look, I know that O'Brien is one of the "good guys" and we're better off without Cody. But it seems to me his annoyance that Cody wouldn't stay down after he shot him and his "What's holding him up?" comment make him one cold blooded bastard.

Ahh, yeah, I guess you could say I still haven't forgiven him, Dargo. Even as I kid I knew there was something about O'Brien in this film I just didn't like.

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14 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Edmond O'Brien was a rat's rat doing that to a man, psychotic or not, who befriended him. Look, I know that O'Brien is one of the "good guys" and we're better off without Cody. But it seems to me his annoyance that Cody wouldn't stay down after he shot him and his "What's holding him up?" comment make him one cold blooded bastard.

Ahh, yeah, I guess you could say I still haven't forgiven him, Dargo. Even as I kid I knew there was something about O'Brien in this film I just didn't like.

Well, as I might've told ya before here Tom, once he shoots the train engineer in cold blood and I think a couple of others in that hold-up, and then later how he shots the dude he had put in the trunk of that car, to MY way of thinkin', all bets were OFF when it came to how Cody Jarrett should be treated.

(...BUT, if you wanna continue being sympathetic to the guy, that's certainly your prerogative...and there's no denyin' that Cagney's performance in this movie is so well drawn, that he IS able to elicit a bit of that emotion from almost any audience that'll watch this movie)

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And now, another movie has come to mind which I've always held in high regard since my first viewing of it as a teenager in the '60s. But in this case, because it did such a terrific job of spooking the hell out of me back then...

 

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22 minutes ago, Dargo said:

And now, another movie has come to mind which I've always held in high regard since my first viewing of it as a teenager in the '60s. But in this case, because it did such a terrific job of spooking the hell out of me back then...

 

 

Yup, The Haunting's a good one. And there was no Bond around to help Moneypenny.

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When I was a kid, TV stations on Thanksgiving would always put a 3-hour family movie on for families sitting down and working off their L-tryptophane, and, more importantly, so that the network staff could have the evening off.  

Some remember Sound of Music, some remember Home Alone or E.T....And although I will, with some reservations, watch Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory any other night of the year, I under no circumstances will watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on any of the other 364 days.  It's heresy.

(And back when the Friday after wasn't Black yet, and we all sat around snacking on cold turkey and leftover appetizers and watching the first Christmas movies, thanks to NYC stations, that was National March of the Wooden Soldiers Day.  😁 )

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I watched so many old movies on Saturday afternoon TV matinees with my Dad, so my memories of old films are inextricably intertwined with memories of him.  However, our TV reception wasn't great, so he sent me to my grandmother's (they had a better signal) to watch The Adventures of Robin Hood for the first time.  I must admit that it was love at first sight -- I fell for Errol and Olivia and hard.    Then,  when we got a stronger signal through cable, one station had the complete Warner's library.  I saw Captain Blood for the first time on the same night that The Partridge Family aired, but recognized that David Cassidy was pretty pallid stuff compared to Errol.  I later remember Dad and I both crying while watching Humphrey Bogart fall helplessly down the rocks during High Sierra.   It wasn't long before I had all the dialogue from Casablanca memorized.  During school vacations, he'd let us stay up late and watch Fred Astaire movies on the late show.     I was a rather bookish and unpopular girl who was picked on at school, so my home and these films were a refuge for me.  

Toward the end of his life, Dad told me stories of his own father taking him "downtown" to run errands, and Dad would be tugging on his father's hand, dropping hints every time they passed a movie theater, especially if the movie was a Western or a swashbuckler.   If Dad was lucky, all his hints and begging would work, and he would get to see a matinee and then eat a hamburger at a diner.  He said he felt like a little king whenever this happened.  Amazing the simple things that can bring a child contentment. 

 My brother talks about taking his daughter to see live stage productions in New York City  and taking her to a fancy restaurant, and she seems rather blase about the whole thing, but my brother and I felt that watching a movie either at home (while eating air-popped popcorn) or in a theater with my Dad (followed by ice cream at Friendly's) as being the highlight of our week.

I have some fondness for the movies that were popular during my youth -- Butch Cassidy, The Sting, The Way We Were (I was a big Redford fan), and I was kind of reliving some of that the other night watching those two kids in A Little Romance.   I think I first saw Butch Cassidy at a drive-in with my family.   

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How could I forget? Tarzan! And by that I mean Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan!

These jungle epics came on TV all the time on Saturday afternoons when I was a kid and I still get a kick out of them, even if they aren't great works of art. Maybe particularly because they have no illusions of being great works of art.

Johnny may not have gotten too may Oscar nominations but he looked great in a loin cloth and could really swing on that vine. He also had a way with animals (he would meet them to become acquainted with them before the cameras rolled) and was never injured by any of them (unlike Ron Ely in the Tarzan TV series).

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Most agree that the MGM series of the '30s, with Maureen O'Sullivan was the best, in particularly the pre-code Tarzan and His Mate (from which that posted picture is taken). But I also enjoyed the later RKO efforts of the mid to late '40s with a somewhat chunkier Johnny and always had a soft spot for Brenda Joyce's Jane.

I vaguely recall Maureen O'Sullivan appearing on some TV talk show years later (Mike Douglas?) and regarding Cheetah as a nasty little brute. She also said that Cheetah (I guess there were a few Cheetahs, actually) literally got aroused by Johnny so they had to be careful not to photograph him from the waist down, at times. I guess this is one of the problems you have when you're a hunky guy in a loin cloth, a turned on monkey following you around.

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I saw this at the movie theater, when I was in grade school, and I still love it. It had such an impact on me, that years later, on my first trip to Europe, I flew to Edinburgh as my first destination.

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Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

 

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18 hours ago, TomJH said:

Just to let you know that I, unlike many here, it seems, still have the call to many of my childhood favourites for viewing sessions today, here are some more that made me either laugh or cheer when I was a wee tot and can still get a sentimental reaction out of me today:

ThreeStooges.jpg

The Three Stooges, as long as it's a Curly. When Curly is showing an infant's frustration as he tries to eat clam soup with a live clam in it I still find myself breaking up.

 

Y'know.....

I got more enjoyment out of watching The Three Stooges when I WAS a kid than I ever did past the age of 12 or so.  I haven't bothered with them since. The only nostalgia they hold for me is the same nostalgia I get from the nostalgia of once believing Chinese people all had magical powers. :rolleyes:

Sepiatone

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50 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

 

Y'know.....

I got more enjoyment out of watching The Three Stooges when I WAS a kid than I ever did past the age of 12 or so.  I haven't bothered with them since. The only nostalgia they hold for me is the same nostalgia I get from the nostalgia of once believing Chinese people all had magical powers. :rolleyes:

Sepiatone

Lemme guess here, Sepia. And THIS belief was borne in you after watching that Tony Randall Dr. Lao flick when you were a kid, right?!  ;)

(...or at least maybe reinforced it, anyway)

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Can't give a percentage but but my childhood memories mostly are  Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman.  Vincent Price films.  "Black Sunday" where that mask scared me so bad I thought it was a wide eyed gorilla like creature. (I was 7 at the time).

Jerry Lewis, WC Fields, Little Rascals, Andy Clyde, 3 Stooges films

 

 

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1 hour ago, hamradio said:

Can't give a percentage but but my childhood memories mostly are  Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman.  Vincent Price films.  "Black Sunday" where that mask scared my so bad I thought it was a wide eyed gorilla like creature. (I was 7 at the time).

Jerry Lewis, WC Fields, Little Rascals, Andy Clyde, 3 Stooges films

 

 

I was definitely into the Universal horror monsters, as well, and still on occasion put them on. This year I've watched the first four Frankenstein films they made, along with Son of Dracula. Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man was a particular favourite of mine as a kid, prompting a fan letter to him. Unlike Rathbone, he replied.

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1 hour ago, hamradio said:

Can't give a percentage but but my childhood memories mostly are  Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman.  Vincent Price films.  "Black Sunday" where that mask scared my so bad I thought it was a wide eyed gorilla like creature. (I was 7 at the time).

Jerry Lewis, WC Fields, Little Rascals, Andy Clyde, 3 Stooges films

 

 

Curious how you (or anyone else)  were able to view those 30s and 40s horror films when you were a child.      Of course there were T.V. stations that would show "old movies" but my parents didn't watch those stations much and often these stations showed those films either during the day or late at night (i.e. past prime time).      Thus my childhood viewing experience only included movies my parents took me to the theater to see during the late 60s and those were mostly Disney films like The Jungle Book.

Of course I have lot of childhood memories of T.V. shows I would watch with my siblings during the late 60s.

I have no memories of viewing any films from the 30s - 50s while I was a child.    I didn't start viewing films from those decades  until I was in my early 20s and discovered Bogie from my mom's boyfriend.

 

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