Saturday, May 03, 2008

yes, yes, I know...

We haven't had a post in over a week. Believe me, it has been one doozy of a week. With finals in a few of my classes coming through, it should lighten up just a bit. Meanwhile, when I can spare a little time, I've been watching films for review here on the Shelf.

Here are the upcoming reviews being written, written, or worked on by the staff here at The Shelf:
Forbidden Hollywood Vol. II
The Fall of the Roman Empire
Bette Davis Signature Collection Vol.3
Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Vol.3
Sabrina the Teenaged Witch the Complete Animated Series
What Not to Wear: Mom Makeovers
Trading Spaces: The Specials

And a couple more coming up - so stay tuned this week. We will also have a special post on Frank Sinatra and the goings on in May at TCM.

In the meantime- I've got a short polling question for all you Shelfers out there. I am finishing up a film studies class and I have been showing classic films to the class, which has been their first exposure to them. What film would you recommend for a first time viewer of classic films. The class has seen, among others, The Third Man, In the Heat of the Night (which they loved), Rio Bravo, The General (Keaton) and others. What are your picks? Please put your suggestions in the comments section of this post and we'll gather your picks for a future post on an introduction to classic films!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I've got to get busy writing - busy, busy, busy!


Anonymous said...

One I would start anyone with would have to be The Thin Man series.

Anonymous said...

While one would automatically think Casablanca or Citizen Kane, I think it's better to save those for later so they are really appreciated. Start with a genre they already like. I started my boyfriend with Abbott and Costello movies, since I knew he liked comedy. After a while he was enjoying more of them. I think some people just need to get over the black and white thing.

Anonymous said...

I'd go with The Adventures of Robin Hood. What better introduction then a classic sword fight between Errol Flynn and and Basil Rathbone?

Anonymous said...

For me the best start would be The Wizard of OZ- familiar enough for anyone to cut their teeth on.

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Laura said...

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is a good one because the comedy wins them over...I'm always amazed by how many young people haven't seen it yet.

THE SEARCHERS is up there with RIO BRAVO as a great Western choice... MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is good for just before school gets out for Christmas. :) I saw LOVE ME TONIGHT when auditing a college film class in high school, and the opening really blew me away. The great comedy also made it very engaging.

I second the vote for ROBIN HOOD. They just don't get any better, and the use of music in that film is amazing (maybe they can relate if you talk about how it influenced a score like STAR WARS).


My kids' friends have also responded favorably to THE THIN MAN. I don't think they realize how "cool" (well, other than the drinking, grin) the characters in "old" B&W movies can be. Also ties in if you want to discuss the Production Code since it was realized the summer the Code started being enforced.


Best wishes,

Bryan Summers said...

I would show them To Be Or Not To Be. I just showed that to my brothers and sisters in law, ages 7 - 18, and they loved it.

Ladytink_534 said...

I loved the animated Sabrina cartoons! Sorry I can't help out with your poll since I haven't seen any of those :(

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

This is an intriguing question, since it is predicated on the idea that none of your students have ever seen a classic film. Hard to imagine in this day of a zillion TV channels (and hard to imagine anyway for a classic film buff).

I suppose, as other commenters have suggested, that our first inclination is to get them used to the idea of black and white, or censorship issues, or give them a film which will either illustrate the history of the times, or else purposely avoid that so as to avoid having to explain the history of the times. Perhaps we interpret too much. I'd often thought that young people need to learn that their world is not THE world. Once you learn that, learning other stuff comes easier.

I think back on when we were kids watching Warner Bros. cartoons. They were rife with references to the era in which they were made, but we were ignorant of most of that and came to learn it very gradually, almost by osmosis. Perhaps we should just show good films to the newcomers and let them sort out their own obstacles to understanding. I think we must make clear first that watching a classic film is like time travel. You just have to accept things you don't quite understand. Eventually, you will understand.

Therefore, I would go with heavy hitters and let the chips fall where they may:
The Grapes of Wrath
My Man Godfrey
Mrs. Miniver
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
The Kid
Sullivan's Travels
Singin' In the Rain
Top Hat (or any Fred and Ginger)
42nd Street
The Lady Eve

Obviously, we could go on. Just hit them with strong stuff representative of different genres and let them learn to swim on their own.


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