Thursday, May 05, 2016

Just an Idle Thought

Today I was reading something by Fred Blosser about music of Ennio Morricone, and it occurred to me that we don't experience movies the way we used to.  I'm sure I've mentioned before that when I was a college student in Austin throughout most of the 1960s, the two downtown theaters (the State and the Paramount) would show their regular features on Sunday evening and follow those with sneak previews of a new movie.  

In those days there wasn't a lot of hype about movies.  We might've read a review of the movie we intended to see, but that was about all the information we'd have about it.  We'd know nothing at all about the sneak preview, so we'd have no expectations.  Can anybody experience a movie like that now?  I doubt it.  We start hearing about them as soon as there's a director attached, and after that the hype builds.  Sure, there are some independent productions or throwaway movies that we might not know about, but that's not the same.  

So you have to imagine me and Judy sitting in the theater in our preferred seat (first row in the balcony) when, say, A Fistful of Dollars comes on the screen.  And when we hear that music.  It's safe to say that we hadn't heard or seen anything quite like those two things, and it was great.  When I went to the college the next day, half the big bullpen office full of graduate students was talking about the movie.  There was an excitement about it that's impossible to imagine now, I think.  People get excited about new movies, sure, but not in the same way as we did about something different and unexpected.

Have I mentioned that I miss the old days?

10 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Amen.

We used to get sneak previews on Friday nights. Sadly, most were crappy Elvis movies but occasionally you'd get something more worthwhile.

Deb said...

Many moons ago, at one of the revival theaters in L.A., they had an evening billed as "a five-hour orgy of coming attractions" which was nothing but trailers of movies both great ("Psycho") and not so much ("Hello Down There"). Needless to say, your humble servant was there for the entire 300 minutes. Great fun!

George said...

Morricone's music to THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY was constantly in my head after I saw the movie. Great music makes movies better.

Richard Robinson said...

George is absolutely right. Now I need to drop everything and go listen to some film scores.

Max Allan Collins said...

TV used to be more of a surprise, too. Because everyone was watching those three channels (and we only had two until junior high -- ABC was the latecomer), some show that debuted would have knocked everybody out and be the talk of the halls. I remember how hard THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES hit.

The Desilu Playhouse production of THE UNTOUCHABLES caused so much stir that a series soon followed (the initial production was not a pilot). The original show was a two-parter and everybody waa awhirl with it after Part One, wondering who this villain Al Capone was and how scary it looked like he'd be. He was scary -- Neville Brand! And soon people were calling me "Big Al"....

Bill Crider said...

Being much older than you, I was watching THE UNTOUCHABLES when I was in college. Nobody had a TV set in the dorm, but there was one in a small basement room for communal use. Three of us would go down every week for our dose of violence. Loved it.

Dan said...

I've written elsewhere before on the thrill of seeing a great movie before you know it's great. My treasured memories include OUT OF THE PAST, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (at a late-night drive-in!)and THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER.

Cap'n Bob said...

I remember our newspapers would hype the movies by showing copies of the posters, scaled way down, of course. That doesn't happen now.

Todd Mason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Mason said...

And newspaper-specific ads, particularly for drive-in fodder (I certainly remember the ads for I DRINK YOUR BLOOD/I EAT YOUR SKIN and SNUFF). gone for a while, I think...along with the majority of drive-ins.