Sunday, July 4, 2010

with liberty and film viewing freedom for all

For Americans, Independence Day is a celebration of our many freedoms, with liberty and unlimited amounts of grilled food for all. It produces both feelings of pride and, for some, a platform to discuss what we can do better, and where we have failed. It's two parts "God Bless America," one part Will Durant.

In this holiday, and in the classic community, there's something of a yearning for the past, for the 'good old days,' a pang of regret at Frank Sinatra's assertion [in relation to this fred astaire/eleanor powell dance number] that we'll never see the likes of this again.

And though I do believe that things go in cycles, and we may see things like it again, he's absolutely right.

So where's the silver lining? I was reminded of this by something Kendra posted on her tumblr earlier in relation to the blight that is the Twilight franchise. Sorry those that like it, I just... don't get it. I've been invited out to two of the three films and I don't regret the time, I regret my contribution to their box office. I love the atmosphere of a big theater, but not when I'm paying $12 for a film that should be paying damages for brain cell loss.

Instead of being forced to watch this headache for a film fix, we now have the option to get a netflix account or go to a local movie store (or a library, even) where we have a host of incredible films, past and present, at the tips of our slimy green monster claws. I couldn't bring myself to say 'tip of our fingertips,' so, this works, right?

Even though I sometimes get a bit sad about the fact that many of the people I most admire are no longer walking around this topsy turvy earth, and there are certain values in life and in films that I find lacking in todays crop (though for me there's also a lot of greatness, as well), we have some truly incredible advantages in our access to film from all time periods and countries (well, except for lost films. sorry silent fans!) We don't have to wait for them to be re-released, or as my father had to contend with growing up in the middle of nowhere midwest, having to wait several years for a film to come to town because the local theatre owners were too cheap to pay money for first run films.

I suppose it could be argued that this practically unlimited, anytime anywhere access sort of cheapens the magic of it all (I'd be really interested in hearing some opinions on this) but much like independence day, with the positives and negatives that are brought up, it is nonetheless something to be celebrated.

Note: The picture accompanying this post really has absolutely nothing to do with independence day considering it's Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr going on a ridiculous day trip to Tijuana (if you're not sold on Beloved Infidel yet, I pity the fool) but it seemed festive and it's also one of the most ridiculous[ly amazing] scenes I've ever seen for pure randomosity. And that is also something to be celebrated.


  1. Though I'm not American, Happy Independence Day all the same!

    Nostalgia for the days of classic Hollywood however, I do understand. Can't help thinking that mainstream films today can't reach the class, wit and grand sets of yesteryear. But I think most of all, there's no longer the level of enthusiasm and love for the motion picture that was there in its heyday. But I hope like you say that things will come full circle.

    Agreed that the access we have to old and obscure films today is great - being able to discover films that got buried over the years or weren't box office hits is a kind of consolation. And it's great that there's a wide classic community on the internet appreciating the classics and keeping the legacy of classic stars and directors alive.

    Anyway, great, insightful entry!

  2. thanks very much, and thanks for the great comment!

    The only time there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm behind a film is when there's a great amount of fandom behind it i.e. harry potter, twilight, batman. I wonder if people in the 30s and 40s felt that they grew with the Charles' as I grew up with Harry Potter. Also in addition to the accessibility factor, most of us aren't able to watch films in those gorgeous old movie palaces, which really do heighten the experience.

    here's hoping! and yes, thank goodness there is an outlet to discuss all of the marvelous films of old.