Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Old Movies

Movies are time capsules. And this is especially true of second-rate movies. With great movies an element of timelessness enters in, but with second-rate movies you drift a little apart from the people and their situation and notice what they're wearing and how they decorate their homes- and what the weather was doing on that particular day and what the posters in the streets are advertising and how attitudes to race and class and gender- all those shifting things- are betrayed by what is said and not said, done and not done. The things outside the makers' conscious control- the things of that time that they took for granted and hardly thought about- bleed through the text and- because the text is not all that engaging- become the true subject of the film. There's been a murder and the police are investigating and there's a lot of footage of them walking and driving around London. It's 1959 and the thing that grabs you most is how bad the air quality is....
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