If a child can watch Barney , can’t that same child also enjoy watching Charlie Chaplin or the Marx Brothers? And as they get older, wouldn’t they grow to like screwball comedies ( His Girl Friday ), women’s weepies ( Imitation of Life ), and westerns ( The Searchers )? The answer is that they’ll follow because they’ll have learned that “old” does not necessarily mean “next channel, please.”
Here is an impassioned and eminently readable guide that introduces the delights of the golden age of movies. Ty Burr has come up with a winning prescription for children brought up on Hollywood junk food.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES (Ages 3—6): Fast-paced movies that are simple without being unsophisticated, plainspoken without being dumbed down. Singin’ in the Rain and Bringing Up Baby are perfect.
FOR THE ONES IN BETWEEN (Ages 7—12): “Killer stories,” placing easily grasped characters in situations that start simply and then throw curveballs. The African Queen and Some Like It Hot do the job well.
FOR THE OLDER ONES (Ages 13+): Burr recommends relating old movies to teens’ contemporary favorites: without Hitchcock, there could be no The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, without Brando, no Johnny Depp.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Best Old Movies for Families|
|Release Date: 12-10-2008|
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The Best Old Movies for Families
I KNEW WE had passed some twisted point of no return when Eliza announced that she wanted to have a Katharine Hepburn party. With a screening of Bringing Up Baby. For her ninth birthday.
My wife, Lori, and I tried to dissuade her. Maybe our daughter could gladly sit through a fifth viewing of the screwball comedy classic, but how many of her schoolmates would make it through their first, conditioned as they were to color, brightness, Shrek? Eliza was unmoved: It was her birthday, and she argued convincingly for the constitutional right to choose her own party theme.
So out the invitations went, featuring a photo of Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story that Eliza personally cut out and pasted on. And in came the phone calls from the parents. To my chagrin, most of them were convinced that her father the fancy-pants movie critic had put her up to it (on a stack of the collected works of Wong Kar-Wai, I did no such thing), but their more pressing concern, which we shared, was that their child would get bored, wander off, play with knives. My wife and I assured them we were laying out a table next to the screening room, filled with books and pencil-based activities to divert those kids oppressed by the very notion of black-and-white cinematography.
The books were never opened, the pencils never used. We took a half-hour intermission for cake, but when I asked if the group was ready to restart the movie, there was a unanimous roar of assent, and we picked up again with that marvelous forest-of-Arden sequence where Kate, playing flibbertigibbet heiress Susan Vance, leads Cary Grant's nerd zoologist David Huxley through the nighttime wilds of Greenwich, Connecti...