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Trends in Film Making?


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Were there more obvious "trends" in film making AFTER the 1940's, or is it that I NOTICED them more?



Like in the '50's, there was a tendency to use tons of "extras" in epic movies, or jazzier big band type music?



Or in the '60's, "cool jazz" was used in many a movie score?



The '60's also brought in more experimental camera techniques? Or the overuse of the harpsichord in the mid-'60's to almost the '70's?



WAS it a late '60's to late '70's "trend" to use grainier film stock in many movies?



Inquiring minds want to know...






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I think there were trend changes just about every decade. Music, clothes, screenplay and directing style changes, lighting changes. For example, many crime films of the 1930s eventually became noir type films of the 1940s with lighting and other changes.


Regarding that jazz music of the 50s and 60s, I really hate it, mainly because it was so over-used, even for horror films that did not have any "jazz" story-lines.


Anyway, would you like for us to list some of the changes we notice, or what?

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Some genres become more trendy or less trendy during a given decade. Even though the Tarzan movies had been around for years, there seems to be an explosion of jungle-themed or safari movies in the mid-50s, spilling over into the following decade.


In the 60s, perhaps because American auteurs had been inspired by the French New Wave, we get a series of art films that are marketed to the mainstream. Maybe the best example of this is LADYBUG LADYBUG, a United Artists release, that uses kids to tell a story about bomb shelters and a false alarm about a nuclear attack. We would never have seen a picture like this in U.S. movie houses before the Cuban missile crisis.


Technicolor musicals are also interesting to look at in this regard. They were hugely in vogue in the late 1920s with the advent of sound, then they nosedive in popularity after the production code, only to find new life in the 1940s and 1950s, before tapering off again. Nostalgic musicals, if we can call them that, appeared in the 70s and 80s in the form of GREASE and ANNIE, and there have been more modern hits (usually remakes) like MOULIN ROUGE and CHICAGO.

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>Anyway, would you like for us to list some of the changes we notice, or what?


That's what I just did. I mentioned three trends that I noticed. I wouldn't really classify them as trends, as much as they are phases in cinematic production. Often, these styles of filmmaking are recycled or adapted to newer forms with advances in technology.


Things like clothing (unless it's a costume drama set in a historical period), make-up, hair, automobiles and home furnishings denote trends in manufacturing. These add to a film's look, but they do not have to make a film seem less trendy or more trendy, unless fashion is the subject of the movie.


The subject of the thread is 'Trends in Film Making,' not 'Film Making About Trends.'

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In the mid to late ‘60s, long, silly titles were in vogue:






*Dr. Stangelove: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb* (1964)



*Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines* (1965)



*The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming* (1966)



*The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck* (1967)



*Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad* (1967)



*Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?* (1969)



*Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies* (1969)







In the 1990s and 2000s, it was fashionable for movie titles to begin with a present participle (gerund phrase):






*Boxing Helena* (1993)



*Killing Zoe* (1994)



*Leaving Las Vegas* (1995)



*Feeling Minnesota* (1996)



*Chasing Amy* (1997)



*Saving Private Ryan* (1998)



*Being John Malkovich* (1999)



*Drowning Mona* (2000)



*Finding Nemo* (2003)



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Yes, I'm back. And YES, I DID wish for all to list the trends they've noticed. Like how so many Italian "mafia" movies came out after *The Godfather* . Or how many "British Invasion" rock groups-as-stars movies popped up after *A Hard Day's Night* ( the DAVE CLARK FIVE'S *Catch Us If You Can* being the only worthwile one).



Did someone mention "Period Pictures"? THAT went through a sort of trend back in the '70's or so. "Rogue Cops" movies( *The French Connection, The Seven-Ups* for example).



So far, although the replies are still few, nobody seems to have derailed the topic. So KEEP 'EM COMING!






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Well, of course, wide-screen films became a fad in the 1950s, that never went away. I hated them. I lived in several small towns in the 1950s, and their small theaters could not show wide-screen films properly because they could not install new wide screens.


So they showed all wide-screen films LETTERBOXED on their regular 4:3 screens. And as a kid and teenager, I thought it was idiotic to mask off the top and bottom of the film image.

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Widescreen films were suppose to be Hollywood's answer to television which was killing the movie business, but in a lot of cases it speeded up the demise of small town theaters.


As you pointed out, Fred, many were just too small to have a wider screen often because fire exits were required on each side of the screen. Some did try to show them on their existing screens, but the public was not stupid, they knew the difference and when given a chance would drive to a neighboring city to see a film on a giant screen as opposed to a smaller one in their own hometown.


I don't think there's any question that widescreen would have come into existence sooner or later, but back in the early 1950's theaters may have been better served if the studios had put their money into bigger and better films and not just bigger screens.





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I've been in a lot of mall theaters that have short wide screens since all films are wide-screen today.


These screens are generally smaller than big-theater screens in the 1950s. They are about as wide as the old screens, but they are shorter, top to bottom. So we are seeing a smaller picture than we saw in large theaters in the 1950s. We are seeing cropped screens in malls today and they are showing cropped films and calling them "wide screen".

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I remember theaters that had emergency exit doors on both sides of the screen, and they could not cover up those doors with a wider screen.


Also, there were large theaters that still used their stage area, so they used a 4:3 screen that could be rolled up, but they could not install a wide screen unless they closed off their stage. Many theaters rented their stage for local stage plays, so they continued to show wide screen films on their old 4:3 screen, letterboxed.

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I don't remember the details, but there use to be a formula that was used to determine how big a screen should be. It had to do with many things including the length and width of the auditorium, the projection "throw" from the booth to the screen and what would be considered the optimum amount of light needed on the screen to have a properly lit picture.


In the old days, this worked very well, but in the late 1960's when the old movie palaces were cut up into shoebox sized multiplexes those formulas were often tossed out and either the owners would go with a smaller picture in order to use less powerful and cheaper projection lamps or wanted the biggest screen that could be fitted in even if it resulted in a flat and dull picture, again because they didn't want to go with the more costly lamps.


At least today, as theaters convert from film to digital projection, the studios are again requiring certain standards as to screen size and brightness. From my experience, it seems that the trend is to go with bigger, properly lit screens.



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And Mark, another trend these days is "3D". Even older movies are being reworked and re-released in 3D. This isn't always appealing nor of any use to some people, like my daughter, who has a rare type of astigmatism that makes it impossible for her to notice the effect.






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A lot of people have issues with 3-D. I don't know how it is in other parts of the country, but around here when a 3-D film plays at one of the multiplexes usually a 2-D version is shown on one of the other screens too. From what I've heard, the 2-D version usually draws very well, sometimes outdrawing the 3-D. Of course, some of that could be due to the fact that there's a $4.00 surcharge for 3-D films.


As for reworking older films in 3-D, I haven't seen one yet. I'm curious to see JURASSIC PARK in 3-D, but I'll wait until it hits our local 2nd-run theater that only charges three bucks.


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I don't know exactly how it's done, but remember most movies aren't shot on film anymore. Everything is shot with digital cameras and computer edited. Amazing things can be done that way. :)


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I love that list of "wordy" titles....two of my favorites:

Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living & Became Mixed Up Zombies


Effect of Gamma Rays On Man-On-The-Moon Marigolds


To get back to film trends-


The 70's gave us the flapper throwback with several films that take place in the roaring 20's-

Bonnie & Clyde

The Big Party

Paper Moon (b&w)

come to mind, with many others I'm sure someone can add.


I also notice starting in the late 50's going into the 60's a plethora of mentally ill or alcoholic charactors in long wordy films. It's as if "unstability" became a national fascination.

I immediately think of Liz Taylor & Paul Newman as beautiful but "flawed" charactors.


Was there also a "trend" in filmmaking (preWW1) of depicting (esp NYC) the industrial turn of-the-century? Just recently I watched:

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

The Strawberry Blonde

Chicken Every Sunday

I Remember Mama

And I don't care if I never see another gentle period piece ever again!

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