Reflections on the Golden Screen

The Silver Screen

Reflections On The Silver Screen
 
 
 
 

At their worst, films can be misleading, gratuitously violent, formulaic or  just plain boring.  At their best they can be  inspirational, uplifting and even life-changing.  The same can be said of books and most if not every other art form that comes to mind.  When discussing art forms, film posters are an art form in their own right although sadly ignored or taken for granted.
Like it or not, film and the cinema have had arguably the most influence on the formation of opinion and thought of the Western world to date than any other medium.  Even television has never had the same influence.  The qualification to date is because that influence is fast fading in a world of multi-media over-exposure and the cinema is becoming something of a minority and even cult pastime.  The reason is of course that it is difficult to motivate oneself to "go to the pictures" when the pictures now come to you in your own home.  However, even though the local Cinema is becoming an endangered species it is reasonable to assume that it will not vanish altogether, given the attachments of aficionados and others who simply like the big screen and the experience itself.
 
In the Golden Age of Cinema from the 20's to the 70's people flocked to see the events that previously had only been available via books or newspapers.  The Cinema brought them alive and gave flesh to the bones - the Wild West was never wilder, the Jungle was never more savage, love was never lovelier.  The only trouble was that most interpretations of history and events and novels were wildly distorted, leaning always toward the lurid and the dramatic and just like everyone else I loved every minute of it.  I believed that the only good Injun was a dead Injun, the good guy always gets the girl and tigers lived in the jungles of Africa along with Indian elephants and coconut trees.  I even believed that General Custer was one of the good guys.
 
Even from the few examples given above it can be seen that the power of the cinema to twist historical events and characters into the completely fictitious and unrecognizable can never be underestimated and the Hollywood myth-makers never hesitated  to follow the dictum " If the lie is more interesting then print the lie".  However, their motives were simply to put more bums on seats and they never gave a thought to impressionable minds who may have swallowed their tales as historical fact, just as I did when I was a lot younger.  At the other end of the scale is Leni Riefenstahl whose representations of a Nazism akin to Norse mythology purposely shaped the thinking of a whole generation in Germany.  I could go on with this but basically it is a subject in its own right and although it pops up here and there further on in this narrative I will stop in order not to overstate my case.
 It is not meant to be an encyclopaedic coverage of every film in every genre - I haven't enough lifetimes for that  - rather it is my take on films which I have enjoyed for one reason or another; I don't see any point or get any pleasure from  criticising films which are after all the best efforts of Directors, actors and innummerable backroom staff
 
Incidentally, the domain name for this site is "takeoneinplease" and there's a reason for that; my cinema-going days began at a very young age when there was a cinema on every corner.  My particular favourite was a local cinema called The Cameo in Liverpool which was always said to be cursed because it was at one time a Church - given that there were several serious fires and a fatal shooting over the years there may have been something in that.  However, the "Take One In" title derives from the time when little kids whose parents were too busy (or too broke)  to take them to the movies would stand outside the brightly-lit foyer and beg any adult to "take one in please " and usually if the adult consented then half-a-dozen other kids appeared out of the shadows with the same request resulting in many adults having very large adopted families for the evening.  It was a practice which would give the PC brigade apoplexy and would never be tolerated today but that's how things were in those days and I never heard of any of the street Arabs coming to any harm.

Feel like commenting on any of the films featured.  Perhaps the text has inspired you to watch a particular movie.  Intelligent and insightful comments welcome on:
greatfilms@takeoneinplease.com