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Was the initial run of a film all an actor could expect?


btsdca
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Hi folks,

 

Something I've wanted to ask an expert, and I figure there may be many here.

 

 

Do you think that, prior to the introduction of UHF television stations, film actors and makers ever thought that their efforts would last and be seen longer than their initial run? I know some films were rereleased after a time, and some, like the Disney movies would do so for decades. But how about the 99% of films we now call classics and can recite the dialog?

 

 

I've been involved in live theater for years and know the actors' and crews' thoughts on the fleeting glory of a performance. How about Clark Gable? Do you know if he knew “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” would be quoted 70 years after its release?

 

Thank you for your thoughts.

 

 

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By the late 1930s, studios were re-releasing pre-codes (which, because of the production code, often meant recutting then re-releasing). So early on in the sound era, performers were already seeing evidence that older films were having second and third runs in movie theatres. When something like THE PUBLIC ENEMY became an instant classic, cast and crew could rest assured that it would have a long life.

 

The one major catch was when a classic like SHOW BOAT was bought by another studio with plans for a remake. Then, in that case, the earlier versions were hidden away from the public so as not to compete with the newer version.

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I imagine the advent of television, and the eventual showing of earlier movies on the"newfangled" medium took them ALL by surprise. If many of them could come back and see things like video tape cassettes and DVDs, AND TCM, they would be truly amazed! It all is beyond what their wildest dreams were. And that people living two or more generations after they've died are STILL watching their movies would be a thrilling realization.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Every now and then Agee, in the late 1940s, is reviewing something like SAFETY LAST, which was made twenty years earlier. So I think by this time, they were accustomed to classic film re-runs. I am sure there were other early silent stars who were popular before Harold Lloyd that were already getting retrospectives.

 

Often we look at these films from the 1930s and 1940s and we think they define an early era of motion pictures, but we have to realize that when Bogart and Cagney and Davis came around, they were a second or third generation of film stars, and people at that time were looking at Mary Pickford and her contemporaries the way we look at Bogart now.

 

Nostalgia is a funny game sometimes. The only way we can 'beat it' is to do a broader historical overview.

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