Posts Tagged ‘old’
My dad believes modern Hollywood could never film anything as subdued as the bus scene in It Happened One Night, and I can personally disagree.
Modern Hollywood, he argues, would make it a music video. Where this singing is relatively rough, modern Hollywood would add more than a touch of gloss. Every hair would be gelled into place; every singer would be professional, noodling their way up and down the melody without regard for pitch or intonation.
That’s the style these days, he’d argue. Americans just don’t do that anymore. Evoking Yogi Berra, he might even add that old movies are a thing of the past. I’d agree if I didn’t have anecdotal evidence that disproves that.
This week, members that veteran’s band I’m in started in on a classic call-and-answer called “Bill Grogan’s Goat” toward the end of our post-rehearsal dinner. We sang along, at first tentatively. Who sings in public, anymore?
We did. “Bicycle Built for Two” and “Man on the Flying Trapeze” later, we sped on from song to song, not that our tempo was anything to brag about. Said one clarinetist:
That was the prettiest dirge we sang all night.
Merry, sober serenades aren’t all that much a thing of the past. We were a more-or-less regular group, and we were just waiting for the check to come in, after the diner had closed for everyone else.
I belted Sinatra and Buble alike, depending on your perspective, and I can personally attest that it was a hell of a lot of fun and that there was no hint of embarrassment.
Most notably, there was a remarkable age parity; there were plenty of young timers taking the lead, even if this group was full of old-timers. These supposedly long-dead traditions will be around for some time longer.
At least until next week, I hope.
Old and young aren’t as different as I had thought, as recent personal observation attests.
Some members of a local veteran band cool down with some late-night eating after each weekly practice. Because I just joined the band this week, they didn’t know me well enough to not invite me — ha, ha — but invited me they did.
At least a full quarter of this band voted against Wendell Wilkie in 1944, another third has seen more than three times my 21 years and most of the rest hit puberty before my parents met. In other words, the band skews between relatively old and hellaold. Yet had their conversations been transcribed and rearranged, tonight’s dinner could have been credibly performed by a representative mix of teenagers.
The subject of the evening: We were kicked out of our rehearsal hall when the President of some association with control over it walked calmly in during practice and told our director that we had been reminded several times that we were not allowed to park in the alley because of the potential fire hazard.
As with teenagers, there was unrealistic whining bolstered by insight into the band that only a band member would have.
Why did Mr. President approach our director? He isn’t the head of our organization.
As with teenagers, there was fallacy.
This doesn’t make any sense. We aren’t the only ones who park in that alley.
As with teenagers, there was cattiness.
Well, actually, he didn’t yell at us. He kept his voice down, and I could tell by the way he announced that he was in AUSA, also, that it was all he could do not to cry.
As with teenagers, there was gossip.
I heard that in the letter they gave us, it says that someone asked one of our members had been asked to move his car, and that person said back, “Tow me.”
As with teenagers, there was implausible denial.
“Tow me?” That doesn’t sound like any of our people.
By my count, and from one practice, I could tell that “Tow me,” is the exactly the statement that at least four band members — one first trumpet, two clarinet, one tenor sax — in that band room would have said.
More over, getting kicked out of the veteran’s hall was a convoluted situation, and nobody really understood it, but they would only admit to it in their dramatic and accusatory tones of voice. Just like teenagers.
However much perspective changes over time, and whatever it is that experience adds to the human equation, just about everyone past adolescence has a teenage personality.
It’s been a long few years since the last time I saw an Akira Kurosawa film, and I had forgotten how much I love them. Today, Sanjûrô reminded me.
Leading man Toshiro Mifune and Kurosawa were a high-quality, prolific team, and definitely one of the better combinations of actor and director in the history of film, not to mention one of my personal favorites. In my book, this coupling is eclipsed only by the Johnny Depp and Tim Burton team, and that’s mostly because I have a twisted sense of style. Great movies like that are few and far between.
It would be too easy to say that they don’t make movies like Sanjûrô anymore, and I’m not convinced that it’s altogether all that accurate, either. In an age when critics love to chastize Hollywood for cashing in on the blockbuster by churning out sequels, we forget that cheap cash-ins are nothing new. Sanjûrô is itself a sort of sequel to an earlier movie, and is, in my humble opinion, superior to Yojimbo, its antecedent.
Deep in the glory days of Hollywood — i.e., the mid-1940s — it was no accident for whole casts to get reunited for the cheap cash-in. After the surprise success of Casablanca, the studio powers that were got Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Laurie and Claude Reins back together for an astoundingly poor flick titled Passage to Marseille within a year of Casablanca’s release. Naturally, the only reason Marseille has withstood the test of time rather than fade into obscurity, like so many other B-list-quality films with A-list-quality casts, is that it’s a carbon copy of the Casablanca cast.
The film industry has just about always worshipped at the throne of the almighty dollar — and yen, and rupee — and to say that it was any different back in the glory days is to fall victim to your grandparents’ nostalgia.
I hope nobody disagrees, partly because I really want to enjoy all 152 minutes of The Dark Knight and partly because I know that few of those minutes could compare to a Kurosawa film.