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Old 22-04-2009, 12:16   #1
DanWilde1966
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Classic Films & Kids

In the past, I've sat in classrooms with kids and have brought up the subject of old movies. The predominant reaction recently as been: "Old? Black and white? Boring." They generally don't feel the need to sit through one first; if a pre-1980 (or even pre-2000) film comes on to the television, they say they switch over.

In the case of my daughter and I, I started her on movies as soon as she could squeak. From an early age, she could sit through something like Gone With the Wind without being "bored". The age of the film or its lack of technicolor was never a problem, and as she enters teenagedom, this hasn't changed.

If you have kids, have you watched classic movies with your kids, and if so have you had a similar experience to me? Have you sought to educate them early, to head-off later film prejudices? Which movies have gone down particularly well? For my sprog, Hitchcock, Wilder and many of Michael Curtiz's films are tops.
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Old 22-04-2009, 15:38   #2
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Yes. My son (he's 9) adores North by Northwest, the Lester-directed Musketeer movies, certain Ealing comedies, anything with the blessed touch of Ray Harryhausen, Michael Powell's The Thief of Baghdad, etc.

The predominance of fantasy movies isn't an accident, but I think that like anyone he loves anything with a good, fast-paced story and suspense. It doesn't matter totally how old a movie is, though in fairness he does need to be persuaded to watch some films that are over a certain age and won't contain lashings of CGI.
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Old 22-04-2009, 15:50   #3
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Haven't done enough really in that regard - though I have made sure they've grown up with Studio Ghibli films and only the better Western animations.

Did score a sucess with The Adventures of Robin Hood (on HD-DVD) so hopefully opening up the way for others.
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Old 23-04-2009, 19:55   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanWilde1966 View Post
In the past, I've sat in classrooms with kids and have brought up the subject of old movies. The predominant reaction recently as been: "Old? Black and white? Boring."

If you have kids, have you watched classic movies with your kids, and if so have you had a similar experience to me?
We don't have kids ourselves but my niece, now coming up to 15, is our godchild. Her mother is a classic (and modern) film buff and so Ramila got the opportunity to see & enjoy Laurel & Hardy, 3 stooges etc since she was quite young. Therefore, while the girl likes her Harry Potter,Spy Kids and Disney stuff, she is also able to enjoy movies like Rear Window, Gone With The Wind, Fourteen Hours, Charade etc. I am sure with a bit more maturity she can appreciate Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Harvey etc.
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Old 04-05-2009, 14:48   #5
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Kids play safe in their tastes now, afraid of straying from the herd. They like movies to do what it says on the tin - only it won't be a tin.

Might they grow up to appreciate the joys of ambiguity, the leisurely pleasures of existential masterpieces? Even the well-made conventions of classic Hollywood seem remote to them in a way they were not to us. Weren't our tastes also shaped early on? After all, I think many if not most of the movies we discuss in this forum are ones we encountered first on the box in days when everything was black and white but somehow richer.

I have seen black and white movies work well in the classroom: I was recently given Big Business to show in a drama lesson. Interestingly, whoever chose it hit upon one of the few Laurel & Hardy pictures in that big box where there was no colorized option. For most in that class, it was a first encounter with Stan and Ollie but a couple were immediately at home with them, "Is this the one where they . . . ?" Those would be the homes where the parents watch old movies still. Yet it took no time at all for the rest to acclimatize themselves to this very old comedy and pick up the rhythm of slow-burn destruction with all its ironic displays of good manners. They went on to improvise some very funny business of their own and a few grasped the importance of gradually increasing the tension by direct glances at the audience. Thank you, Mr Hardy! There were no complaints about how old or weird it all was.

I get the odd whinge that so-and-so's class got All Quiet on the Western Front or Mice & Men in colour so what's wrong with my copies? I try not to be too evangelical about it. What gets shown is what works best.

It is ironic that access to great old movies at pocket-money prices has never been easier but the kids would sooner gather at the expensive trough of predigested offal which is made for them. The gathering is probably more the point than the fare itself but it's a rare little piggy that goes off truffle-hunting now.

I watch the way young people use the Internet and it is striking how there is no curiosity to explore beyond the first (usually sponsored) links that Google vomits up. The lack of confidence on display is probably a response to the dizzying amount of material out there. So, if a movie hasn't grabbed your clit within five minutes of meeting, it isn't being friendly enough. I wonder if they'll still respect them when they meet again at fifty?
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Old 04-05-2009, 18:45   #6
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Prejudice against black and white is taught and learned, not inherent. Five will get you ten that the parents of these kids who are intolerant of black and white films has installed that "old is bad, new is good" nonsense into them.
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Old 05-05-2009, 19:34   #7
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My two daughters seem to make no distinctions between B&W and color, animated or live action, letterboxed or full frame, etc. If something on screen interests them, they watch it. I have shown them Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Tarantula, and Laurel & Hardy films. They also watch Scooby Doo, Dora, and Disney princess movies. I'm hoping as the grew older they'll ditch the latter and stick with the former. My son is too young for TV, but I see no reason to think he'll be different. I agree with Jack Theakston - if the parents think it's OK to watch, the kids will too, at least until the age that the kids think their parents don't know anything.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:19   #8
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Similar to this I asked

http://www.thedvdforums.co.uk/forums...d.php?t=561135

the gist was my kids got through Some Like it Hot and once over the first bit didn't miss the colour! - the hard question was if it was so good why isn't there a remake?
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Old 07-05-2009, 16:15   #9
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Mine liked Watership Down and The Sound of Music, they are watching The Wizard of Oz this weekend
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Old 07-05-2009, 18:18   #10
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I was a a Silent Clowns evening with Paul Merton the other night and there were a few young children there. Normally I hate ambient noise, but there was a young girl sat behind me watching a silent Laurel and Hardy short and her laughter was infectious.
She was loving it and it made me think about the longevity of classic visual humour.

In a classroom setting, I teach A'level Film Studies in a college and although some pull their faces when we watch black and white films, the majority actually enjoy the older films we watch.

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Old 09-06-2009, 16:34   #11
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My nieces and nephews sit through the Universal horror and Marx Brothers movies without complaint. They will not watch any drama in black and white, unfortunately.

And they will not watch any of the Abbott & Costellos, which are my all-time favorite comedies from the Golden Age

But the boys will not watch "modern" classics - comedies that I'm trying to brainwash them into watching like Blazing Saddles and Fletch. The girls are more willing, but often lose interest after a while. It's frustrating for me!

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Old 10-06-2009, 13:58   #12
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My daughter is ploughing her way through a Carry On boxed set I've had on the shelf for ages. It has 18 movies in it and the 60s/70s cheesiness is quite appealling to her!
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Old 28-06-2009, 16:19   #13
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Kids should be allowed to watch what they want (as long as it's suitable of course) without being brainwashed by film buff parents.

Kids should be kids. And as much as I'm obsessed with film I won't be forcing my daughter to watch "The Big Sleep" while screaming "Turn that Jim Carrey **** off".

I found great films myself and I'm sure kids will if the desire is there. I was watching Taxi Driver/Casablanca/Goodfellas etc, when all my mates were watching "The Mask, and "Speed" (not that I didn't also). But then again I was depressed....

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Old 29-06-2009, 12:04   #14
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When I was growing up, I remember that most week nights, after coming from playing and waiting for dinner, so must have been 5.30 or so, BBC2 would have things on like Laurel & Hardy, Harold Lloyd etc. I also remember watching Charlie Chan, Chaplin, original King Kong and stuff. This was the early to mid 80s, so I guess the lack of other channels to watch must have been a factor, but I loved them, regardless of whether they were in B&W or not.
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Old 29-06-2009, 13:14   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris21 View Post
Kids should be allowed to watch what they want (as long as it's suitable of course) without being brainwashed by film buff parents.

Kids should be kids. And as much as I'm obsessed with film I won't be forcing my daughter to watch "The Big Sleep" while screaming "Turn that Jim Carrey **** off".

I found great films myself and I'm sure kids will if the desire is there. I was watching Taxi Driver/Casablanca/Goodfellas etc, when all my mates were watching "The Mask, and "Speed" (not that I didn't also). But then again I was depressed....

I introduced my godson to Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton films when he was five and he loved those. We then we moved on to the likes of I Married a Witch, A Night at the Opera, Topper and Some Like it Hot and we mix up classic films with age appropriate newer films. Nobody is forcing him to watch old films, but he now enjoys them as much as modern films.
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