Reason #1: No Objectionable Content – This is huge for me and my family and one of the main reasons that I watch as many old movies as I do. I don’t have to worry about massive amounts of swearing, gratuitous violence, or bedroom scenes (I mean, honestly, old movies make it seem like every married couple slept in separate beds). (There is an awesome website that filters stuff like that in modern movies, and my family uses quite often.) It’s so relaxing to watch a good film and not having to worry about fast-forwarding scenes or having one’s ears assaulted with profanity every minute. Plus, old movies prove that it’s possible to tell a great story without a bunch of inappropriate stuff that supposedly panders to the masses.
Reason #2: The Outfits – All those glorious, glamorous clothes that the heroines wear. All the guys wear suits, whether they’re lawyers or restaurant managers or hardened criminals. And it’s not just the main characters! Everyone in the background is dressed in the old clothes that Retro Girls tend to swoon over, ’cause it was just a way of life back then. The gloves, the hats, the high heels…ohhhhh, it’s wonderful.
Reason #3: “IN COLOR” – I don’t know if anyone shares my opinion on this, but there’s just something about the richness and glowiness of Technicolor that the color in modern films can’t match. All those swashbucklers with the crimson reds of pirates’ clothes and blues of cresting waves and lustrous jewels spilling out of hulking wooden chests. Period films where the soft candlelight reflects off the glossy silks and satins of ladies’ dresses. And Westerns, where you can almost taste the sandy, yellowish dust billowing up in the air and see the sun glinting off silvery spurs. (Black and white was awesome as well, though. Especially for all those war movies and film noirs.)
Reason #4: Manners of Days Gone By – Sort of goes with the clothes thing, as far as the time capsule angle is concerned. Men hold doors open for women, help them with their parcels, stand up when they enter a room, tip their hats, etc. People actually say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’. Can you imagine how awesome the world would be if that were the norm today?
Reason #5: The War Movies – Oh, I know it’s easy to be cynical about those old movies made during WWII (after all, so many of them are quite blatant propaganda), but there’s something about them that gives me a warm feeling inside. All that patriotism and optimism (after all, when many of those films were made, the final outcome of WWII was still up in the air) and just plain awesomeness. LOVE IT. The people who worked on those movies were all involved in the war to some degree or another and that lends an air of credibility and emotion that modern war films just can’t match, in my opinion.
Reason #6: Music – Those amazing soundtracks. The Best Years of Our Lives, The Magnificent Seven, Robin Hood (Errol Flynn version, of course), Casablanca, High Noon, Around the World in 80 Days, Laura…and those are just a few, a very few of my favorites. Composers actually made music back in those days, and most films had an excellent score. Of course, there are some modern movies soundtracks that I love (most of which, surprisingly, come from animated movies), but there are so many good films these days with forgettable scores. The richness of the old soundtracks never fails to stir my imagination.
Reason #7: The Actors And Actresses – Had to put them on the list, because it’s SO true. (Disclaimer: I’m fully aware of the fact that the people in old Hollywood were sometimes just as bad as modern actors and actresses today – I’m not excusing or ignoring that at all). There are a few modern actors and actresses that I like, but almost all of the people on my list come from the days of old Hollywood. Harrison Ford and Matt Damon are awesome, but I think I’ll always prefer Gregory Peck and Dana Andrews and Steve McQueen. And Audrey Hepburn will ALWAYS be my favorite actress. Everyone has their own preferences, and mine are firmly planted in the 40s and 50s (and, to some extent, the 60s). There’s a classiness about the old actors and actresses that hasn’t been matched since and I don’t think ever will be. And I think my heart belongs, at least for the moment, in another century.