The moving window

I go to the Laurel and Hardy page on Facebook (I am a fan of Stan and Ollie), and, amidst all the clips and pictures and snippets of information that only diehard fans such as myself would be interested in, there’s that perennial complaint: “Why don’t they show Laurel and Hardy films on television any more?” I may point out that we fans have these films on DVD anyway; but I stay quiet, because I know what the answers would be. First of all, they’ll say, it’s much more fun watching these films when they are being broadcast, as the knowledge that there are others around the country watching the film at the same time engenders a sense of community; and second, DVDs are for those who are already aficionados, so how are new generations to know these films if they aren’t shown?

Both these points can be answered. On the first point, given that we can now record programmes, and have facilities built into our smart-television sets to watch various programmes that we had missed, it is unlikely, even if these films were to be broadcast, that we’d all be watching them at the same time. And on the second point, if the new generations see an old black and white film being shown on television, they’d switch over immediately to some other channel that is showing the latest action-adventure-superhero-sciencefiction-fantasy-specialeffects spectacular. We fans may not like it, but, except for those whose parents made a point of showing them Laurel and Hardy films as they were growing up (and not even there), we have lost the new generations. If Laurel and Hardy films do survive, they will do so only as a minority interest. A very small minority interest.

Then I go to the Marx Brothers page, and I see exactly the same thing. Clips and pictures and snippets of information, and “Why oh why don’t they show Marx Brothers films on television? How are new generations ….” And so on.

And then I go to the Hammer horror page. (Yes, I am a fan of these films also.) And yet again, it’s the same story. People reminisce fondly about how they discovered these films in their childhood when they were shown on television, and lament that new generations are not given that opportunity.

I am not member of the Jimmy Cagney fan group, or of Hollywood film noir, or of Fred and Ginger films, or screwball comedies, or classic Hollywood musicals, etc. I love all of these, but one can’t join everything. But I am sure that if I were to look at the fan pages of these, I’d find  the same complaint. It all essentially boils down to “Why aren’t things as they were when I was growing up?”

I don’t mean to say that the people making these complaints are wrong. Indeed, I am very much on their side. I do believe, most fervently, that the mainstream Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s, and even in the 50s (although the rot was even then beginning to set in), are of a quality that mainstream Hollywood has very rarely matched since, and that it is indeed a grievous loss that these films have now dropped out of public consciousness. I too look back in misty-eyed nostalgia on those days when films such as The Maltese Falcon, Now Voyager, Top Hat, The Roaring Twenties, Wagonmaster, The Heiress, etc. – as well as a whole lot of lesser films that still seem to me better by far than the various masterpieces we are asked nowadays to admire – could be seen regularly on television. Now, of course, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this: indeed, I’d expect most people to disagree with me, and to give me a whole list of modern films I should be seeing to change my blinkered opinion. But let’s not get hung up on that. Whatever our views on the respective merits of modern mainstream movies as opposed to classic Hollywood movies, we may agree, I hope, that there was much of great value in those classic movies, that they deserve to be remembered, and that their steady disappearance from public consciousness is indeed something to be regretted.

I find myself regretting this particularly around Christmas time. Back in those days before satellite television, before even the advent of VHS video, television broadcasts of films were events: if you missed them, you didn’t get a chance to see them again. And every Christmas, there would be special seasons – seasons of Marx Brothers films, or of Humphrey Bogart films, or of Fred and Ginger, or screwball comedies, or whatever. Publication of Christmas television schedules was something fervently looked forward to, as was the careful marking with a felt-tip pen of all the films I just had to watch. That this is no longer the case, that these films – with a very small handful of exceptions – are no longer shown, seems to me (and to other old farts like myself) a loss of something precious. Even when our reason tells us otherwise, it is difficult to avoid feeling this sense of loss. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that entire generations have now grown up without knowing Laurel and Hardy; and further, that even if television channels were to start showing these films again, it would make not the slightest difference.

There is also the question of our perception of time. In 1975, say, when I was fifteen, A Night at the Opera and Bride of Frankenstein were forty years old; Spellbound and The Lost Weekend were thirty years old.  Now, in 2017, Star Wars and Saturday Night Fever are forty years old; Fatal Attraction and Lethal Weapon are thirty years old. People actually feel nostalgic now about films I still regard in my no doubt jaundiced mind as “modern rubbish”. So it’s not that old films aren’t shown any more: it’s more that what constitutes “old” has changed. The window of public interest, instead of expanding to take in more recent films without losing sight of what had gone before, has simply moved along with the years. And those films that precede the earlier end of this moving window effectively drop out of consideration.

But is that, one may ask, such a terrible thing? Well, yes, to me it is. And I emphasise – to me. I do not pretend to make any objective statement on this, as I am far too emotionally involved to be in any way objective. I can’t help but feel that tinge of sadness when I go through the Christmas television listings, and, apart from a predictable few titles (Casablanca, It’s a Wonderful Life, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz), there is no classic Hollywood film at all. It is as if an entire culture – and, to my mind a very substantial culture – has dropped out of our consciousness.

And so, on the various fan pages, we will go on lamenting the absence from television schedules of Laurel and Hardy, of the Marx Brothers, of the Warner Brothers gangster movies, of the MGM musicals, and so on. Until such a time when we, too, will drop out of the moving window, taking our memories with us.

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25 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jonathan on March 8, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    I can just about understand modern kids not liking the Marc Bros, Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton but to grow up without the antics of L&H (or T&J) seems very sad. I remember mentioning them to someone who must have been born around 1980 and they thought I was talking about the cartoons so maybe they’ve put people off the originals.

    BTW Haven’t some old b&w comedies been coloured recently?

    Reply

    • I never really got Keaton (personal blind spot, and nothing more) but Stan and Ollie, Marx Brothers, and Chaplin remain my gold standards for comedy. And yes, I think I agree: generations growing up without knowing Stan and Ollie does seem particularly sad.

      Many of the Laurel and Hardy films were colorised, but these colourised versions didn’t really attract too many ew fans, while people like myself preferred watching the original black and white prints. I think it’s more than just b&w/colour: the very style of film-making has changed, and, on the whole, modern generations tend not to like the older styles. This is why even if these old films were to be shown now, I don’t think it would make much difference: people used to modern film-making styles would simply switch over.

      Reply

      • Posted by Jonathan on March 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

        I think you’re right in saying it’s more than just a case of b&w/colour as I’ve seen people looking blankly at the screen and who obviously don’t get it but many people would just dismiss any film just because it’s b&w.

        I loved Harold Lloyd shorts as well. I grew up with the narrated versions which I suppose was a way to modernise them to an ’80s audience and one that I thought worked. I’ve been watching some Chaplin lately but still don’t like him as much as L&H etc.

      • Posted by jacabiya on March 16, 2017 at 11:47 am

        I had an unusual experience at my workplace where I found coworkers my age watching a clip in the web of the boxing fight in City Lights. They were laughing out loud, which I found interesting, plus the fact that they had never seen the film before nor knew Chaplin. I believe the silent movie comedy of Chaplin, Keaton, even L&H, is ageless and has no cultural boundaries.

      • Yes, I too like to think that their comedy is “ageless and has no cultural boundaries”, but I do wonder to what extent this is true. Comedy, like everything else, does date. True, I have seen productions of Shakespeare comedies getting big laughs in the theatre, but a lot of that is due to onstage business rather than the lines themselves.

        I was at a cinema showing of “City Lights” back in the 80s, and the entire audience was laughing all the way through. That boxing scene, especially, is just wonderful: physical comedy has never been better!

      • Posted by jacabiya on March 17, 2017 at 5:14 pm

        Silent films have a unique universal ageless appeal because, of course, they are silent. Comedy that relies in dialogue has a bigger challenge with today’s audiences and with people of other countries. I am no connoisseur of Laurel & Hardy (I grew up watching the 3 Stooges, Abbott & Costello and TV sitcoms), but understand they did both silent films and talkies. I just watched Way Out West 2 weeks ago at TCM, a wonderful film with memorable scenes, and it seems clear to me their physical visual comedy is more approachable to new audiences and people of the world than their dialogues. That’s why in my opinion Chaplin and Keaton stand the test of time better than the Marx brothers, whom I love, the former being more accessible and universal, the latter more limited and regional.

        Jose

      • Yes, I do take your point. It’s one of the reasons Chaplin was reluctant to move to talking pictures: he felt that, without language, he had a greater universal appeal.

        Laurel and Hardy made some fine silent films, but they really came into their own with sound. I watch their films regularly: unmitigated joy! I’ve long intended to write a post on Stan and Ollie, but am worried it will be little more than just gushing!

  2. Posted by Marita on March 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Isn’t it strange that films become ‘old and forgotten’? Paintings, sculptures, etc can be much, much older than the films you talked about and still be prized. The best music hasn’t got a sell-by-date and the same goes for literature. Or do you think these too will eventually drop out of the moving window?

    Reply

    • It’s an interesting point, and I don’t really know, to be honest. If we look at the novel, say, does the inclusion of modern and contemporary novels in our literary consciousness imply that older novel drop out? To some extent, I guess it does happen: it wasn’t that long ago that Charles Reade’s “The Cloister and the Hearth” was regarded as among the undisputed masterpieces if the English novel (Orwell acted it highly), and I don’t even think it’s in print these days. But the canons of literature (and of other art forms) do seem more stable than the canons of cinema – at least, as far as public awareness is concerned. I’m not sure why this should be so.

      Reply

  3. I think it’s sad that the window moves like that. I love watching old films all the way back the early days – and even though late 20th century stuff still seems new to me too, it doesn’t stop me loving the old stuff. I think people nowadays have less sense of history – to go with their feeble attention span….

    Reply

    • Perception of time is a strange thing, isn’t it? In the 70s, I regarded films such as “Casablanca” or “Destry Rides Again” as “old films”, but “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or “Dog Day Afternoon” as modern films, and it’s quite hard to come to terms with these latter films have now, in turn, become “old films” themselves.

      No doubt all this is as it should be. (I don’t think so – but I could be wrong.) But I can’t help feeling regretful all the same.

      Reply

      • Posted by jacabiya on March 16, 2017 at 11:40 am

        Titanic, which I didn’t like but was considered a major achievement in 1997, is now 20 years old, so most youngsters I guess see it as an old film. Even the Lord of the Rings series is closing in on becoming old. Time sure flies, even more so these days, it seems.

  4. Two comments:

    First, my daughter (whom I now share residence with her family) teaches film in the University English Department. She currently has one class in Adaptation that seems very interesting but she tends to concentrate on Noir and Hitchcock. It’s often interesting to watch a movie with her, either new or old: what she sees and comments on in a film is usually way ahead of me. Her go-to movie is Vertigo (part of her PhD thesis). I was amazed at all the thematic elements in that film which I had never noticed. Watch it closely.

    Second, I have about fifteen years on you and I am nostalgic for all those radio dramas and comedies we once huddled around the radio listening for squeaking doors or unseen pratfalls. Luckily, with internet radio I can find many stations that are dedicated to old-time radio: Johnny Dollar, Philip Marlow. Corliss Archer, Box 13, My Favorite Husband, Rocky Fortune, and the original versions of what later became television programs like Dragnet, Our Miss Brooks, Richard Diamond, Dr. Kildare, Jack Benny, Dangerous Assignment. I often drift off to sleep at night listening to Sam Spade.

    We didn’t get television until the late ’50s and I probably had already outgrown the nostalgia gene (nostalgia for Leave It to Beaver?). The only program I still remember fondly was Dobie Gillis: I was a big fan of Maynard G. Krebs.

    Oh, I have the bulk of the Marx Brothers on DVD but burned out on Gordo y Flako sixty years ago (and until recently never saw the humor in the Stooges). I’ll bet there is a streaming service on the internet where you can get a steady diet of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin … maybe even Laurel and Hardy.

    Reply

    • Hello Mike, I think I just missed out on the radio generation. The radio programmes broadcast here in U.K. were different from the ones broadcast in US, of course, but people slightly older than me still reminisce fondly about The Goon Show, Round the Horne, etc.

      I do have the complete Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin, and Marx Brothers on DVD, and watch them often. (Buster Keaton I never quite got, though I do try some of his films now and then to see if I have changed sufficiently to get it this time round.) But then, I am regarded as a bit of an eccentric for preferring these to the latest blockbusters on Netflix.

      It becomes very difficult to distinguish merely between nostalgia, and a genuine sense of loss. Of course there are many things I lived as a child, and which are therefore precious to me, that I wouldn’t expect modern generations to enjoy also. But, quite apart from the nostalgia, there seems to me that much that is of genuine value has also been pushed into the margins, and it is not just my nostalgia speaking when I say I find this regrettable.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Janet on March 9, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    My kids are both film buffs; one is a film minor at school. They connect with people over old books and old movies as shared tastes. It is true that many people have never seen a silent movie, but on the other hand I remember when the very, very early Disney channel played Chaplin’s surviving movies (which I copied on my big ol’ early VCR), my elderly aunt remarked that she never liked Chaplin–too slapstick–though that had been her era.

    There is a lot of film history that has disappeared, but that happened through fire, neglect, and the deterioration of reels–not because network television moved away from showing old movies as cheap programming. There are channels devoted to playing classic films and a new subscription streaming service for film snobs that sounds fabulous. You can spend big bucks buying Criterion dvds of painstakingly restored re-releases. There is a large loving audience for old films that doesn’t seem to be going away.

    What has mostly gone away is the use of old films as cheap and easy programming. True, fewer people are exposed to Laurel and Hardy as children, but like good music and good cheese, people don’t really need to develop a taste for good movies during their formative years. Stan and Laurel are just as funny, and I would argue even more funny, to adults. We forget, because in our day the old stuff was fobbed off on kids as after-school fodder, that old Hollywood didn’t make “children’s” movies.

    I think nostalgia is a deceptive coloring agent. I also fondly remember the Million Dollar Movie on television and the sense as a kid that anything black and white would probably be pretty good. We are all entitled to a happy back-in-the-day defense of our childhood’s cultural life, but it is a mistake to think that every generation should just be a repeat of our own. Discovery is beautiful at any age, and as Mike’s post illustrated, maturity gives us the ability to have a richer, deeper experience of all enduring cultural treasures.

    Reply

    • Hello Janet, I’m certainly not claiming that I am the only person who likes old films. Of course there are many others, and yes, there are special channels, streaming facilities, etc. to cater for us. What I am saying is that public awareness of classic Hollywood films has waned dramatically, and those of us who still take an interest in these films find ourselves very much in a minority niche. I don’t really see how this can be gainsaid.

      When I want to talk about the films I love, I have to go online, because the people I know face-to-face have not seen, and often haven’t even heard of, films such as, say, My Darling Clementine, Shane, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Bringing Up Baby, The Palm Beach Story, The Big Heat etc. These are not second rate films: these are among the very finest examples of classic Hollywood films; and yet, any mention of films such as these elicits merely blank stares. None of my colleagues under 40 has seen a single film by Laurel and Hardy, Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, or Charle Chaplin. And even many above 40 aren’t entirely sure – they may have seen one once, they can’t remember. Generations have now grown up without knowing Laurel and Hardy. When there are public polls of the “best movie ever” or “best comedy ever” or even the “best musicals ever”, classic Hollywood films barely get a look in, if at all. (There are results of many such polls on the net, and they all tell the same story.)

      Now, all of this is, no doubt, entirely unsurprising. Some may argue that this is as it should be, and that it’s actually a good thing we have moved on. I’d personally disagree with that, as I don’t think that any art form can thrive that forgets its past; but that debate is for another day. What does seem to me very conspicuous is that public awareness of the classic Hollywood films of the 30s, 40s and 50s has declined very dramatically, and that those of us who still love and value those films find ourselves in a distinct minority.

      In short, yes, I admit to being nostalgic, but I do think this is more to all this than just my nostalgia speaking: I do feel that many works of genuine value have been steadily sidelined, and many other works are virtually forgotten (there are several classic Hollywood films I can’t get even on DVD); and that, even if it is all inevitable, it is, at the very least, worth regretting.

      Reply

  6. I’m so aware nowadays of the things we’ve lost or are losing. Some if this is nostalgia – I enjoyed the blackouts of the early 1970s because it was something different (and we played a lot of card games by candlelight), but my parents were stressed out because of the shortages – but the biggest loss which is rarely commented on is the generational gulf which has opened up in our society as a result. When I was young, we watched on TV the films our parents had watched at the cinema, and there was a wealth of shared culture we could draw on. Since the advent of children-only TV channels, not to mention the availability of children’s films on video and DVD, youngsters have increasingly been brought up in ‘the bubble’, seeing very little of the ‘grown-ups’ culture. This has partly shaped and has been accelerated by new technology, which, while wonderful in being able to connect so many people worldwide, has made it far easier for people to disconnect from anything that doesn’t immediately grab them. There are other influences going on as well which are being commented on in our daily papers (for those of us who still read a print copy): I don’t want to get into those murky waters here, but I do want to endorse Himadri’s point about the importance of keeping alive the awareness of the great works of the past (in all fields of artistic endeavour) for both current and future generations (sorry if I’ve paraphrased you incorrectly). I’m not sure how that could even be achieved nowadays with technology almost forcing us towards a multiplicity of niches rather than a broader general acceptance of common ground, but the deepening old vs young rift needs to be addressed somehow, and shared cultural references, not to mention shared laughter and fun, are a good starting point.
    And thanks for another thought-provoking post, Himadri.

    Reply

    • Hello Sheila, sorry about the late response.

      I was particularly struck by this:

      “When I was young, we watched on TV the films our parents had watched at the cinema, and there was a wealth of shared culture we could draw on.”

      I too remember watching old Hollywood films on television with my parents. Of course, the generation gap existed even then, and in one’s teenage years, it was virtually compulsory to rebel against one’s parents’ values. But it is strange how things stay with you. So many things I had thought I had rejected ended up staying with me.

      Shared cultures, and not merely across generations, and not merely in terms of old films, are becoming rare. When everything is so readily available, we all become far more ghettoised. I’m not sure whether the pros outweigh the cons in this respect. On the one hand, everyone can access whatever they want, which is surely a Good Thing. On the other, when we meet socially, we have nothing in common to talk about.

      It does seem to me that the past is being sidelined. When my generation grew up watching Laurel & Hardy films, Cagney gangster movies, etc., none of us ever said “this is before my time”. Maybe if there were channels showing contemporary films, we might have done; maybe we watched those old films because, with only three channels, we had no option but to see what was broadcast. I really don’t know.

      What I do know is that I feel a great sense of loss; I do feel that certain things are slipping out of public consciousness that deserve to be remembered. And while nostalgia undoubtedly has a part to play in this, I don’t think it’s purely nostalgia.

      Reply

  7. Posted by jacabiya on March 15, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    It seems like you are not blessed with having TCM (Turner Classic Movies) in your cable channel lineup, available at least in the United States and here in Puerto Rico (by the way, this is not a commercial). If you did you would be able to watch almost all classic Hollywood films like I do, also an old fart albeit a year younger, in high definition and original format and without commercial interruptions.

    Jose

    Reply

    • We do have TCM here, but I think their schedule is somewhat different from the one you get. Most of the films they show are from the 1990s/2000s, and the older films they show tend (with a few exceptions) not to be among the best.

      The mainstream channels, which, here in UK, are the BBC channels, ITV and Channel 4, have effectively forgotten about old Hollywood films. But, as I said, even if the mainstream channels were to start showing these films again, I don’t think it would raise awareness of these films, since most people would simply switch over: the only people watching these films are people like me, who know about them to begin with. It’s the general public awareness of these films that has disappeared, and I don’t know there’s any way of reviving that. I meet people who claim to be “cineastes” and “film buffs”, and yet, mention any film made before Star Wars, and they simply haven’t a clue.

      And it’s not just old films. Back in the 60s and 70s (yes, I know, I know…) BBC used to have a weekly slot where they used to show non-English-language films, both from the past and the present. They used to have documentaries about these directors. (There are entire listings of old BBC programmes here, so I know I’m not just imagining this.) It was thanks to the BBC that I came to know about Kurosawa, Bergman, Ozu, Eisenstein, etc.

      BBC won’t do anything like that now. Why is that, I wonder? What has changed?

      Reply

  8. Posted by alan on March 18, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    A couple of things:
    As usual you neglect to mention the filter of history, by the time you started watching the classic movies of the 30’s 40’s, and 50’s they were already past and you didn’t have to wade through the dross.
    My son likes Son’s of the Desert and Night at the Opera so it’s not impossible for the appeal to continue.
    As to ’50’s movies he did mention “The Girl Can’t Help It”, with Jayne Mansfield in the titular role, but I can’t quite fathom that the reason for that.
    The 1970’s did produce some classic movies that you have neglected to mention and there have been a few since then.
    A lot of the problem has been television plus audience specialisation – there has been some classic television.
    In short, I think you protest too much.

    Reply

    • I did not mention “the filter of history” because it was not relevant to the central thrust of my argument in this post. I am not arguing that mainstream Hollywood films of the 30s, 40s and 50s are superior to mainstream Hollywood films of recent decades. I certainly believe that to be the case (even with the filter of history applied), but I make it quite clear that this is not the point of this particular post. I tried to summarise the point of this particular post here:

      Whatever our views on the respective merits of modern mainstream movies as opposed to classic Hollywood movies, we may agree, I hope, that there was much of great value in those classic movies, that they deserve to be remembered, and that their steady disappearance from public consciousness is indeed something to be regretted.

      The question of whether older films are better than more recent films we may save for another day, I think.

      My point is that general public awareness of films from the past is very much on the wane, and that, as a consequence, much that deserves to be remembered is being forgotten. I concede that this may well be expected, and is not anything too surprising. It may even be that this is a Good Thing (although, naturally, I’d strongly dispute that). What I am expressing here is a sadness, a personal sadness, that this should be so. So in what way am I protesting too much? Is it unreasonable of me to express my personal sadness that things that are of value to me are disappearing from view?

      And of course I am not claiming that I am the only one who loves these old films. Neither am I saying that no-one of the younger generation loves these films. Your son obviously loves Laurel and Hardy, and that’s wonderful. I am saying that the declining awareness of these films is a general trend, and that I, personally, find that sad. And I don’t see why my expressing this view is “protesting too much”. Should I keep my own feelings to myself because entertaining such feelings places me in a minority?

      As for the films of the 70s – well, yes, that was my era, and I love a great many of the mainstream Hollywood films made between the late 60s to the mid 70s. I’ve said as much in another post on this blog. But once again, this is not what this particular post is about.

      Reply

      • Posted by jacabiya on March 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

        I’m with you, Himadri. When the discussion comes about the need of art, or any other human endeavor for that matter, to remember its past and the need of history in its development, and the so-called progress that negates it, you will find me and I believe most everyone on your side.

        On the subject of nostalgia, there is another personal aspect: two nights ago I saw The Quiet Man and remembered it as one of my father’s favorite films. I can relate with him as a 25 year old young man in 1952, his view on life, his dreams. He loved macho, action, honor films all his life. He nicknamed one of my brothers Shane, another Ricky for Rocky of Somebody Up There Likes Me. I wasn’t even born yet, but watching these films creates a special connection with my late father. One fond memory I have is when he took my brother and I to watch a triple feature (hopefully someone here had the joy of this experience) of Charles Bronson’s films: Death Wish (with a strong rape scene that shocked me), Breakout and one of my favorite, Mr. Majestyk (it may have been 4 films, actually, the great Hard Times may have been in there too). I was about 13. I also fondly remember watching with him those emblematic 70’s TV detective series (Kojak, Barretta, McCloud) and later the A-team. So no, nostalgia, not the one that says that all things past were better but the one that says that we must remember, is not a bad thing: it is actually beautiful and necessary in order to understand who we are, where we come and where we are going. And I share your sadness.

        Jose

        PD: BTW, you really need to get TCM, the US version, if you can.

      • Yes, I do feel that the past is important in all sorts of ways, and that we often short-change it. I often hear that it’s a bad thing to “live in the past”, but I am not entirely sure what is meant by that. If “living in the past” refers to an obsession with the past without due consideration for the present or the future, then yes, we may agree that is not desirable. But we mustn’t, I think, turn our back on the past. On a personal level, we are all products of our past: it is our past experiences that, for better or for worse, have made us what we are, and, unless we are self-hating, this past is to be cherished. And from a wider perspective, I do feel that all arts are built upon past achievements: even those artistic movements that delighted in being revolutionary turn out, in retrospect, to owe more to past achievements than is usually acknowledged. I do not think any art can flourish if it loses touch with its past.

        My parents loved old Hollywood films, and we used to watch them together as a family. I didn’t like them all at the time. My parents particularly loved Bette Davis, and films such as The Little Foxes, Jezebel, Now Voyager, etc., were great favourites of theirs. I didn’t like these films at the time, but watching those films does, in a way, bring me a bit closer to my late father.

        A great many things are, without doubt, better in modern times: the medical treatment I received during my recent illness,for instance, and which, without exaggeration, saved my life, would have been out of the question a mere thirty or so years ago. But sometimes, things from the past that are of value do wane, or disappear altogether, and, just as it is important to make an effort to preserve against the ravages of time places or buildngs of particular beauty or of historic interest, so it is equally important, I think, to make an effort to try to help preserve those films or books that are in danger of being forgotten. For not everything that is forgotten deserves to be forgotten.

        Cheers for now, Himadri

      • Posted by jacabiya on March 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        PD 2 Last night they ran an interview on TCM with Robert Osborne, their host who died just last week. He discusses how Hollywood’s golden age, their stars and great films, were mostly forgotten in the 60’s and 70’s in the United States, mainly I conclude from the cultural revolution in those years. He talked about how stars like Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck and Bette Davis were mostly forgotten then. Happily, a new interest has grown in the past 20 years. I believe this would be a great topic of discussion for future essays.

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