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What makes a classic?

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mrsl
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What makes a classic?

Postby mrsl » April 25th, 2010, 4:38 pm

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Hi All:

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A few years ago in the old neighborhood (TCM city), we had a discussion of when a movie becomes a classic, and many (me, too), argued that 1960 was a fairly good year and anything newer was 'way too modern. My reasoning for this statement is, today is Al Pacino's 70th and Talia Shire's 64th birthday. I realized that someone who was born in 1974 (the year Godfather II was released), probably would not have seen Godfather II until around sometime between 1990 and 1994, at which time that viewer would be between 15 and 20 years old, watching a 20 year old movie. So that viewer would consider Godfather I, II, and III all classics I'm sure. Beyond the fact that they actually are classics, I used II because both Al and Talia are in it, and now 36 years later, both are considered ICONs just as my generations' icons are from the 40's and 50's.

I've always known in my head that each generation has it's own heroes, but in my heart, I couldn't accept that anyone new on the scene could be as good as, or better, than my heroes. I'm not a silent or foreign language film advocate, but I would rather watch an old black and white mystery than a new one in color. I think the reason for that is, I've seen so many films, of all genres, that the new ones are pretty much formulaic to me and I know what will happen before it does. However, those same mysteries are new to a younger person, and thus becomes new all over again. As Betty Bacall said, something like, 'whenever you see a movie for the first time, it is new'.

I recall seeing White Christmas, Singin' in the Rain, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, all on the big screen and it's a shame I was too young to fully appreciate the special things I was seeing. I'll bet the people at the Festival are overcome by Kelly, Reynolds, and O'Connor and how great they were. I'm terribly jealous of them and envious of their trips, but I know they will return home with a new understanding of the words super and amazing, two words that have become much too overused today.
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Anne


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MichiganJ
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Re: What makes a classic?

Postby MichiganJ » April 26th, 2010, 3:06 pm

mrsl wrote:A few years ago in the old neighborhood (TCM city), we had a discussion of when a movie becomes a classic, and many (me, too), argued that 1960 was a fairly good year and anything newer was 'way too modern.

It's interesting that you would try and settle on a specific year as a cut-off for when a film can be considered classic. If time is a factor in the definition of classic, surely since time marches on, the only way to ascribe a time measurement is by the film's age. While there is no agreement on the definition of "classic car", part of the definition seems to be that for a car to be considered classic is that it should be at least twenty years old. Perhaps 20-years would work for films as well, which would mean 1990 would be the cut-off for this year's qualifying class . Home Alone? Pretty Woman? Miller's Crossing? Of course if time is the only requirement for classic It would also mean The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, too.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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mrsl
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Re: What makes a classic?

Postby mrsl » April 26th, 2010, 4:04 pm

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We were in the middle of some sort of listing of favorite classics, and the question of a time cut off came up because we wondered if we should have parameters or not, like, age, color vs. b&w, sound, musical, etc.
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Anne


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MichiganJ
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Re: What makes a classic?

Postby MichiganJ » April 26th, 2010, 4:25 pm

I understand, and guess the question "What makes a classic?" is valid. I'm just noting that if age is a consideration, a hard-and-fast cut-off year isn't viable for the exact reasons you pointed out in your original posting. That's why I suggested using the age of the film as the time component.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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srowley75
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Re: What makes a classic?

Postby srowley75 » April 26th, 2010, 5:10 pm

It's any film with an appearance by Bess Flowers and/or Tor Johnson.

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MichiganJ
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Re: What makes a classic?

Postby MichiganJ » April 26th, 2010, 5:45 pm

srowley75 wrote:It's any film with an appearance by Bess Flowers and/or Tor Johnson.

I though that was understood.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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mrsl
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Re: What makes a classic?

Postby mrsl » April 27th, 2010, 4:19 pm

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Mr. Srowley:

Happy to agree with you if you would post a photo of both so I have some idea who they are. Unfortunately I've never heard of them, but remember, I do not watch silent films because I'm usually sewing or crocheting and cannot read sub-titles.

Also, you never answered my question as to who your Avatar is. Do you mind saying?
.
Anne


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srowley75
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Re: What makes a classic?

Postby srowley75 » April 27th, 2010, 7:01 pm

mrsl wrote:
Mr. Srowley:
Happy to agree with you if you would post a photo of both so I have some idea who they are.


Bess and Tor, together again for the first time:

ImageImage

Bess was known as "The Queen of the Extras" and appeared on screen more often than the MGM lion and the Production Code seal combined. While watching any given movie on TCM, it's sometimes fun to wait for crowd scenes to see if you can spot her wandering around, smiling politely and saying "rhubarb." She also holds the grand distinction of having appeared in more Academy-Award-winning Best Pictures than any other actor or actress.

Tor was a graduate of the Edward D. Wood Academy for the Performing Arts. What he lacked in range, he more than made up for in height, girth, and gentility. It was he who spoke the immortal line from The Unearthly: "Time for go to bed."

Click here to read more about Bess Flowers and here for more about Tor Johnson.

mrsl wrote:Unfortunately I've never heard of them


ImageImage

mrsl wrote:Also, you never answered my question as to who your Avatar is. Do you mind saying?


My avatar is another graduate of the prestigious Edward D. Wood school, The Amazing Criswell, prognosticator extraordinaire. He is renowned for his observation that "future events will affect you in the future." What he lacked in profundity he made up for in bombast.

You can see Criswell in action here and here.

-Stephen


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