12/16/08

How did you get into classic movies?

The poll is closed and the results are in. In answer to the above question, 8% of respondents got into classic movies thanks to school or a film class, 33% got started with recommendations from friends or family, and the majority (50%) found old movies on TV. That leaves another 8% that fell in love with classic movies some other way. (Yeah, that only adds up to 99%, but that's the numbers my poll gave me.)

This brings up other questions that can't be so easily gotten in a click-to-answer poll:

For those that found old movies on TV, what channel were you watching? TCM, AMC, or just a late-night showing of something classic?

For those who didn't find their answer on the poll, how did you discover classic movies? Video rental? Something else I haven't thought of?

For everyone: Was there one movie you can point to as being the first old movie you really got into? A movie that made you take notice and think, what other wonderful classics have I been missing?

As for me, I grew up watching old movies, so my answer would be family recommendations. But I've also benefited from video rentals and old movies on TV (especially TCM) for rounding out my classic movie knowledge. There are so many movies I have seen so many times since I was young that I can't remember my first reactions to them (Citizen Kane, Some Like it Hot, The Maltese Falcon) but there are a few that I remember discovering later, sometimes on my own, and loving the fact that I found them (The Hustler, Out of the Past, The Major and the Minor).

Whether you answered in the original poll or not, feel free to weigh in with your answers here.

7 comments:

David Bishop said...

My first "I think I might like old movies" movie was Casablanca. That was around Jr. High. I had seen classic films before then. I had seen Gone With the Wind around 5th grade and I grew up with The Wizard of Oz, but Casablanca was the one that made me think about classic movies. Not too long ago I was able to actually organize my thoughts well enough to write a 'review' on Casablanca for my blog even.

Nicole said...

My interest in old movies actually started with The Three Stooges shorts. I used to watch that on AMC with Leslie Nielsen hosting it each week. The first film that made me really go wow was "Guys and Dolls", I loved Frank Sinatra so I was drawn into seeing it. I didn't realize though that I would eventually love old movies so much. It started with AMC but once I found TCM, I couldn't get enough of it.

Genevieve said...

I was never really exposed to many older films when I was little except for the usuals...The Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life. When I was older, I started watching color films on TCM, mainly musicals. One day in high school, I taped You'll Never Get Rich just out of the blue and I became addicted to TCM and classic movies.

T.S. said...

This is an excellent question. If only I knew where to begin! I suppose I'd chalk up my father's love of old westerns as an influence. Certainly my mother's love of old sentimental films like The Wizard of Oz and It's a Wonderful Life had an impact on me. High school and college helped, too, with a greater exposure to classical cinema. Auteur theory and the study of the Hollywood studio system made me appreciate the brilliance accomplished under constraint. (And today, a kick-ass library at the public university where I teach and Turner Classic Movies help feed that addiction.) Plus there's statistical likelihoods: you're more likely to find a seriously good movie released in between 1950 and 1959 than you are to find in the local neighborhood multiplex this weekend because the ratio of old to new favors the old so much. This is not to say there aren't bad old movies, only that the good ones have risen to the top, so to speak.

But perhaps a simpler excuse for how I got into older films: I simply love black-and-white photography. It is crisp, clean, and still looking beautiful after all these years.

kassy said...

My Grandma got me started. I remember being very little and over at her house and being really scared because she wanted me to watch some movie called Giant with her; I was terrified at the thought of a giant monster. But I must have loved it because its still one of my favorites. Also AMC back in the day when there were no commercials and they showed actual classic movies, not the Rambo drek they show now.

Evangeline said...

I know that I've always been aware of classic Hollywood, via Marilyn Monroe, The Wizard of Oz, and Alfred Hitchcock, but it was abstract to me: I knew the movies were "old" but I had no clue about who and what "classic Hollywood" actually was. I adored Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn as a teen, and "knew" who Katharine Hepburn was, but it is only recently that I've discovered classic cinema as a genre in and of itself.

And I concur with kassy: pre-commercialized AMC was a channel I used to frequent in the '90s.

Anagramsci said...

hello Wendymoon!

I've arrived here on the crest of a surge in movie blog reading and like your writing quite a bit--this seemed like an excellent way to join in!

to the questions!

For those that found old movies on TV, what channel were you watching? TCM, AMC, or just a late-night showing of something classic?

I live in Montreal, which still doesn't have cable access to those wonderful specialty networks (not that we had cable at my place anyway!) Luckily, in the '80s, we did have midnightly showings of studio age films on BOTH of the American PBS stations (Burlington VT and Plattsburgh NY). It was an amazing time!

For everyone: Was there one movie you can point to as being the first old movie you really got into? A movie that made you take notice and think, what other wonderful classics have I been missing?

I can indeed remember exactly the film! It was Montgomery's The Lady in the Lake, and I was 11. I never slept in those days, and I would often sneak out into the living room to divert myself. I tuned in because of the Christmassy credits--but I stayed for the weirdo first-person camera experiment and the distinct and fascinating cadence of speech

the next night, I saw Kings Row--which sealed the deal (and convinced me to start drinking coffee--pretty much the only happy times in that film come at coffee time!)

Dave

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