Movies as a history have been around for well over 100 years and there is a great history to it. Now I am not saying go out and rush around trying to find that Chronophotograph picture from 1878 which looks basically like the pictures we draw as kids of the boy running through the book. If you don’t know what I mean by this click this link to a video about it: https://youtu.be/Njl-uqnmBGA.
But yes go out and see a silent black and white movie starring the incomparable Charlie Chaplin, where you will see the beginnings of what were all genre of movie really. Watch an old black and white movie with sound one of my favourites that comes to mind is To Kill A Mockingbird with the great Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch or a Musical with Judy Garland, Elle Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra. Watch as these movies pop up into Technicolour with some of these very stars in them. The Rat Pack was also a huge influence on many of the movies of this era. And of course one cannot help but mention the many classic books brought to film including Wuthering Heights and Little Women, and despite the many adaptions done throughout the years none compares to my favorite the 1933 adaption starring Katharine Hepburn. Through this era movies grew.
They went from silent films with a pianist playing a set score for the film. To recorded sound tracks and effects played on a phonograph. The Jazz Singer was the first film presented with sound in it called a Talkie thus started the era of sound in film. This process invented by Eadweard Muybridge in 1888 was never used in movies because of how difficult the dubbing was to do with the film. It was therefore mostly used for news reals until The Jazz Singer.
Technicolour now that’s a trip I loved it, and the first time colour was used in movies. Some great movies were made with this genius new way of film. There are two that always stand out to me from this era of Movie Gone with the Wind starring Vivienne Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara and The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Hesston and Yul Brenner, missing out on seeing the beautiful acting in these movies and how well they were done without having CGI would be criminal. The Ten Commandments had the parting of the Red Sea, hail burning as fire and the moving parts of an entire ancient Egyptian city not to mention God as a burning bush. These are classics that most people of the current generation may not have even thought of. So many movies from the 40’s 50’s and 60’s are completely forgotten by many and that truly is a shame. Unless you take an acting class or film class you may never see or know some of them. Technicolor was something adapted from Britain’s Kinecolour first used in 1917. Technicolor was first used with Green and red hues until they could figure out how to add more colours to their process.
As the years went on colour became more and more true to what our eyes perceive. The sound in film developed as well to being integrated in the film and not recorded it dubbed after filming. With many technical advances films became more and more realistic and Genre’s of film began to multiply, so many exist now as humanity advanced it’s understanding of the world and humanity as a whole grew. So much so now we have Reality TV.
In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s the horror genre really took off with movies like Jaws and the Exorcist and a lesser known but just as terrifying The Omen another movie starring Gregory Peck. These movies did some amazing cinematography feats as well from Linda Blair climbing down the stairs backwards to the boy born of the beasts. Jaws movie score is still one that haunts your dreams but is so memorable. The birth of Star Wars and the Star Trek franchise and even larger more enthralling movie scores along with them. And without experiencing where these films began how can we truly appreciate the technologies we have today.
I hear the phrase remake so many times lately and sometimes it can get to be too much especially for those of us that have enjoyed watching all of these movies in their original condition. Preserving these movies by moving them to digital format is important. I would hate for generations to come to not know how film, cinema evolved over the years. Losing art is always hard. The technical advances afforded us by computers and technology is fantastic but if we don’t look to how that happened or who helped in bringing this art form to us, we can never truly know how wonderful things have become; wonderful techniques like 3D films, CGI technology, grand scores, and more than that the amazing actors and their performances of the past.
Lately I have seen information on a new CGI technique that could be used to put long dead artists into current films. While some may agree with this I have to say if you want to see James Dean in a movie watch Rebel Without a Cause or East of Eden. Yes special effects from 1955 are not what they are today but the acting and energy Dean put into these movies cannot be replicated by a computer. He had an amazing talent that cannot be replicated and it was so sad the way he died.
So YES see the films from our past. Let us know which ones you decide to see and how you felt about the entertainment of it all.