HOLLYWOOD—I was never a fan of old Hollywood cinema. I thought because of technology it was outdated and just not up with the times of current filmmaking. However, in recent years I’ve come to the conclusion that if Hollywood returned to its golden ages of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, audiences would be delivered movies that are indeed classics; unforgettable films to be adored and studied for years to come.
I will argue I was first introduced to this classic troupe of cinema during my undergraduate studies in college. From there, it became apparent that filmmaking back then was all about the story and I’ve sensed that critical motif has vanished from current moviemaking. It’s more about visual theatrics or throwing something out there that has never been seen before, and not caring about the rest.
The notion of the development of characters and allowing the narrative to guide the spectator throughout the movie no longer exists. I mean I recently watched “The Defiant Ones” starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis and it was amazing. This was a flick that tackled race relations far before the recent explosion that we have seen. I compared Poitier’s performance to his stellar work in the movie “In the Heat of the Night.” This actor’s presence alongside Rod Steiger was fantastic. I’m still baffled by the fact that Poitier was not nominated in the Best Actor race alongside his co-star.
It was like I was on a Poitier train, because I later watched “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” alongside the great Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. That movie was all about race relations, but at its core it was about parents attempting to control their children’s decisions in life. Another piece of classic cinema that doesn’t get all the accolades it deserves.
I recently got the chance to watch a glimpse of the musical “Funny Girl,” which I heard was one of the greats, but because of timing and just the sheer difficulty of finding the flick on Blu-ray made things challenging to say the least. Now this is what you call a musical, the songs seemed to be intertwined with the narrative, not the narrative being intertwined with the songs. Flicks like “Bullitt” run circles around the typical detective thriller and car chase. What that movie did with editing and one of the greatest car chases every witnessed on the big screen runs circles around movies today. FYI, this flick was released in the late 60s.
In addition, the thriller “Wait Until Dark” totally opened my eyes to the notion of crafting edge of your seat suspense. In addition, it showed me what a terrific actress Audrey Hepburn was. I mean that woman carried that movie from start to finish and it was a thrill-a-minute to watch. I can’t cap things off without discussing the 1967 classic “Bonnie and Clyde” which gave audiences Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
It was also an introduction to the classic heist thriller and showcased a level of violence that hadn’t really been seen in the cinematic arena before. Dunaway is indeed a sensational actress, just look at her work in the fantastic “Network” which proved that acting was at its best and how an ensemble can truly carry a movie. I almost feel like the introduction of color in the cinematic universe, hurt the creative spark to some degree. I want to see the return of black and white cinema, the notion that actors emerged themselves so deep into their roles you forget all about their persona. T
he stories were so unique, so enthralling that you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen. I’m starting to realize that as a filmmaker I don’t have to be engrossed with the times of the present, but I should focus on bringing back the elements that made cinema America’s favorite pastime; bigger and bolder is not always better; sometimes, the script and the right cast is all it takes to deliver a movie that will be remembered and talked about for days, weeks, months, years and decades to come.