Sunday, May 27, 2007

Putting on the Ritz!

Ah, there's some great stuff on YouTube!! Mel Brooks's 'Young Frankenstein' is one of my favourite film comedies - and, alas, one of the titles that I've never managed to find in all my many hours of haunting pirate DVD stores here in Beijing.

But at least I can enjoy this wonderfully silly scene, where young Dr Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) first introduces his creation (Peter Boyle) to the public.

I think I actually cried with laughter the first time I saw this, as a kid.


georg said...

"Oh sweet mystery of life, at last I found you...."

Never ever sing this unless you know your partner has seen this film.


LOL, it was wonderful.
I have come across the titles of some of the old movies you mention in your blog and don't know them and think to myself that they must be b&W and maybe even boring, but I guess I have been wrong.

Thank you,

Froog said...

Black & White does not equate to boring, young lady! nor "old" either, for that matter.

This film was made in the 1970s, but deliberately shot in B&W in homage to the classic Universal Studios horror films of the 1930s.

One of the most dispiriting moments in my life when,as a schoolteacher, I had set up a senior year film club, and was showing Dr Strangelove. One of the boys asked me as soon as it had started,"Sir, is it supposed to be in black & white?" Half an hour later, when I returned to check how they were getting on with it, nearly everyone had left. Young kids today!


I looked Dr Strangelove up and know of it, although I haven't watched it. The thing about younger generations not "getting" old movies, is not just the fact that B&W makes is very different to what they are used to, it's also the fact that many of the old movies do the thinking for you and don't leave much to the imagination. They are also to "slow". One scene can go on for ever, and the younger people are used to scenes changing every milisecond. Brains are just not structured in the same way as the generations before, and the attention spans are just different/shorter. Such short attention spans are not entertained by slow moving "stories".

But please don't categorise me in the same groups/generations; I can still appreciate (some) slow moving stuff, even in B&W. I guess I am maturing.

Froog said...

It's good to be able to appreciate different kinds of narrative experience, all kinds of different timespans and tempos in unfolding a story.

These ADD kids of today are missing out on 95% of the world's creative output, past and present. Whereas as we old fuddy-duddies, with our "out-of-date" wiring, can still appreciate pop videos, dumb action films, computer games, etc.

Strangelove probably does move quite slowly by the standards of some modern tastes, particularly in the scenes where we're following through the procedures for target selection and bomb run authorization aboard the B-52. But I think that's a deliberate and useful tension in delivering the story - the agonising contrast between the measured pace at which the military men must act and the shortage of the time they have left. When you watch this film, you are basically watching the end of the world unfold before your eyes, in a very documentary style, and more or less in 'real time' - and the clock seems to be running down far too quickly!!


Oh dear Froog, as you called them, the ADD kids or as some call them here "the f***ed up generation" will not ever begin to have the developed imagination and abstact thinking needed to begin to grasp what you are describing here -as something seen in the movie "Dr Strangelove". Then again, one should not generalize. Some parents still do spend a lot of time with their children, trying to teach them all they can, as well as sending them to better schools. But these are minority compared to the larger number.