kids don't care

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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studs68

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kids don't care

PostSun Sep 24, 2017 11:14 am

I'm forced to give up my elective film history course for my 8th graders. Too many complaints on how boring, Chaplin, Chaney, 3 stooges, Laurel and Hardy is. Instead I'm forced to teach Middle Age History next year. Now whose boring.

I'm not saying all silent and B&W films were classic in fact many were junk, but it's the history, the story, the technique I was trying to preserve. Hell I even showed them the movie Full Metal Jacket, if that didn't get them, nothing will
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: kids don't care

PostSun Sep 24, 2017 2:08 pm

studs68 wrote:I'm forced to give up my elective film history course for my 8th graders. Too many complaints on how boring, Chaplin, Chaney, 3 stooges, Laurel and Hardy is. Instead I'm forced to teach Middle Age History next year. Now whose boring.

I'm not saying all silent and B&W films were classic in fact many were junk, but it's the history, the story, the technique I was trying to preserve. Hell I even showed them the movie Full Metal Jacket, if that didn't get them, nothing will


Back in the 1980s, I used to attend films which were shown at (as it was then) Portsmouth Polytechnic. Despite the films being part of the courses, attendance was sometimes pathetic, and a friend and I were disgusted when some cretins walked out before the climax of FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT as they didn't want to be late for or miss their tea!!
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Smari1989

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Re: kids don't care

PostSun Sep 24, 2017 2:34 pm

Always disheartening to hear stories like this, but if it's any consolation, I have many positive experiences from introducing youngsters to silent films as well. I recently learned my 10-year old nephew has turned into a big Chaplin-fan (to my delight). So, some kids do care -- but I also wish there were more who did.
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oldposterho

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Re: kids don't care

PostSun Sep 24, 2017 2:35 pm

Perhaps instead of the full feature it might be better to show them clips to try to entice the kids [wow, that doesn't sound right, but...] that find it at least palatable to see these old films? They would have at least have the knowledge that there are entertaining reasons to have a look at these antiques in spite of requiring an attention span greater than a YouTube fail video.

As an aside, I was a pretty precocious movie watcher as an 8th grader but Full Metal Jacket seems like a real stretch.
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: kids don't care

PostSun Sep 24, 2017 3:40 pm

I used to teach at the college level (and, no, the courses had nothing to do with film). My favorite actor is Humphrey Bogart. When I'd make allusions to a film he'd appeared in that I thought most would have at least heard of there was no problem in the first few years. By 2005 most of my students hadn't even heard of Bogart (considered by "historians" the most popular film actor in Hollywood of all time!!) or Cagney, let alone any silent stars - oh, maybe Chaplin. I learned then the reason why DVD releases were rare of certain things. It's astonishing how many students today won't even watch a black and white film. To them it's like doing something whole with only pieces - an impossible journey. I forgive them, but... Nevertheless, I understand what's going on. This blog-spot is genuinely esoteric, whether we'd like to think so or not... Then again, my favorite book title of all time was The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind - a book I actually read and thoroughly enjoyed, and have actually used in arguments about certain things regarding the poet Homer! Let's enjoy the silents while we can. Somebody in the future will, too, whether we like it or not, or all the other people in the world turn up their noses. Who knows, someone someday may write a glowing review of all the films of Muriel Ostriche which were found buried in some frozen wasteland. Most are unknown today, although she was a famous star at the time of Chaplin's rising fame. How many of us have even heard of her?
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Donald Binks

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Re: kids don't care

PostSun Sep 24, 2017 4:39 pm

How to get teenage children interested in silent pictures:

1. Only show them 30 second excerpts - as their attention span won't exceed this limit.
2. Put the films into a format that can best be watched on a mobile telephone screen.
3. Make sure the accompaniment consists of electric guitars and very loud drums performed by some famous group.
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Arndt

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Sep 25, 2017 12:34 am

I teach 10- to 18-year old students English and History. For this academic year I offered a class in film restoration. We are trying to aid Munich film museum in the digital restoration of DOM NA TRUBNOY, DEVUSHKA S KOROBKOY and U SAMOGO SINEGO MORYA. This is a voluntary class. I have 22 volunteers, all aged 16.
I have introduced them to film history so far. Right now we are tackling the Russian Revolution. In November we are going down to Munich to be introduced to digital film restoration. After that we will see what we can achieve.
Watch this space.
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Battra92

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Sep 25, 2017 6:43 am

I know it's 10 years ago, but my dad used to teach such a class to elementary school kids and they loved the films he showed (Keaton, The Three Stooges, King Kong etc.) Maybe it's just the group of kids you had.
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Mitch Farish

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Sep 25, 2017 8:23 am

I believe there will always be a few who don't follow the beaten path and will look to studio era films as being special - even more special if they also love silents. The farther kids get from the generations that had personal contact with these films, the smaller the group will grow. When I was a kid, it was my father's generation from that era. He educated me about classic film, and we watched them together on TV. Now, it's the great-grandparents who are the connecting link. It's not the same as being able to share films with your Dad - classic movies were one of the few things he and I could agree on.
Last edited by Mitch Farish on Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:23 am, edited 3 times in total.
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greta de groat

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Sep 25, 2017 9:06 am

I have a friend who runs a film club at a private school, and he has a really good response from the kids. Of course he's got some particularly savvy ones, some of whom are children of Lucas employees. He tells me he showed Barrymore's transformation scene in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and had a kid come up to him afterward and say "gee, he looks like he did that in one shot."

Anyway, there are some kids who are interested.

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Sep 25, 2017 4:00 pm

Kids have a remarkable appreciation for some silent movie stars. At a "movie night" at our church social on a Saturday evening, a program of silent comedy shorts was presented with live piano accompaniment to a group of about 100, about 40 of which were kids way under 12. Everyone sat at 4-top tables. When The Cook with Arbuckle and Keaton was shown, the kids one by one got up while laughing and ran to gather right down in front of the 9x12 projection screen, sitting on the floor. They wanted to get closer to Fatty, and they were enraptured by him, picked up on every subtle comic nuance, roared with laughter, and were glued to the screen. They couldn't get enough of him . . . and they had no idea who he was. I hated for the movie to come to an end.
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Gary Newman

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Sep 25, 2017 5:35 pm

Get them before the age of reason, as the Jesuits used to say. I got both of my children into silent film at a very early age, and it has stuck into adulthood.
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MaryGH

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Sep 25, 2017 6:30 pm

The right approach is important.

Talk to the kids about someone like The Rock then slip in this:

Image

Then go from there.
Petition: Turner Enter./Warner Bros: Please digitalize Tom Tyler's FBO silent film westerns

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Peg of the PreCodes

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Re: kids don't care

PostTue Sep 26, 2017 4:54 pm

I'm not sure if anyone else reading this would regard this as good news, but Algie the Miner (Guy-Blache, 1912) is one of the requested fandoms for the 2017 Yuletide rare-fandom fanfiction exchange. (Yuletide is an annual challenge in which people can request fanfic or other fanworks for minor or previously nonexistant fandoms. The moderators attempt to match the requested fandoms and prompts with people willing to write fics or otherwise fulfill the prompts.) The specifically requested characters are Algie Allmore and Jim.

But this opens up possibilities in my (dirty little fangirl's) mind...Wings fix-it fic? Smart Money curtainfic?

On a more prosaic note, has anyone tried recommending the Fairbanks swashbucklers to fans of modern action movies? Given how popular movies these days sacrifice dialogue, plot, and sheer comprehension to spectacle, I would think that The Three Musketeers or The Black Pirate might appeal to this fanbase.
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Donald Binks

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Re: kids don't care

PostTue Sep 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Here's a comment Nigel Bruce made in the 1940's regarding the Sherlock Holmes pictures he was making with Basil Rathbone:

"To begin with, Basil and I were much opposed to the modernising of these stories but the producer, Howard Benedict, pointed out to us that the majority of youngsters who would see our pictures were accustomed to the fast-moving action of gangster pictures, and that expecting machine guns, police sirens, cars travelling at 80 miles an hour and dialogue such as 'Put em up bud', they would be bored with the magnifying glass, the hansom cabs, the cobblestones and the slow tempo of an era they never knew and a way of life with which they were completely unfamiliar."

It appears the problems of "getting through" have been with us for quite a while.
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Mitch Farish

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Re: kids don't care

PostTue Sep 26, 2017 9:48 pm

Peg of the PreCodes wrote:On a more prosaic note, has anyone tried recommending the Fairbanks swashbucklers to fans of modern action movies? Given how popular movies these days sacrifice dialogue, plot, and sheer comprehension to spectacle, I would think that The Three Musketeers or The Black Pirate might appeal to this fanbase.


It would seem to be a natural fit - and without CGI. But kids used to CGI making the impossible seem real might be disappointed. My wife's not a fan of the silents, but she does like Chaplin and Fairbanks. I think they have some cross-over appeal.
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Red Bartlett

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Re: kids don't care

PostTue Sep 26, 2017 10:29 pm

studs68 wrote:I'm forced to give up my elective film history course for my 8th graders. Too many complaints on how boring, Chaplin, Chaney, 3 stooges, Laurel and Hardy is. Instead I'm forced to teach Middle Age History next year. Now whose boring.

I'm not saying all silent and B&W films were classic in fact many were junk, but it's the history, the story, the technique I was trying to preserve. Hell I even showed them the movie Full Metal Jacket, if that didn't get them, nothing will

Hmm. What did you do wrong? :wink: Kidding. Sorry to hear that.

I have children as well as great enthusiasm and passion for my hobbies... but still there's a limit. And, brother, 8th grade is well beyond the wall. Kids are great at that age, don't get me wrong -- willing to understand -- but they've got well-formed opinions about the world.

Honestly, I'd say it had nothing to do with boring.
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maliejandra

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Re: kids don't care

PostWed Sep 27, 2017 6:01 am

Peg of the PreCodes wrote:On a more prosaic note, has anyone tried recommending the Fairbanks swashbucklers to fans of modern action movies? Given how popular movies these days sacrifice dialogue, plot, and sheer comprehension to spectacle, I would think that The Three Musketeers or The Black Pirate might appeal to this fanbase.


Not the same thing at all. Fans of fantasy might be into these films, but there are no explosions and therefore don't equate to modern action films. (I've tried this angle on my husband-- no dice.)
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Re: kids don't care

PostWed Sep 27, 2017 7:25 am

There is quite an explosion in THE BLACK PIRATE.
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wich2

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Re: kids don't care

PostWed Sep 27, 2017 7:57 pm

Donald Binks wrote:Here's a comment Nigel Bruce made in the 1940's regarding the Sherlock Holmes pictures he was making with Basil Rathbone:

"To begin with, Basil and I were much opposed to the modernising of these stories..."

It appears the problems of "getting through" have been with us for quite a while.


A.C.D. himself modernized Sherl into the present himself, though - he and Dr. John use automobiles and telephones in later tales.
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Donald Binks

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Re: kids don't care

PostThu Sep 28, 2017 3:49 am

wich2 wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:Here's a comment Nigel Bruce made in the 1940's regarding the Sherlock Holmes pictures he was making with Basil Rathbone:

"To begin with, Basil and I were much opposed to the modernising of these stories..."

It appears the problems of "getting through" have been with us for quite a while.


A.C.D. himself modernized Sherl into the present himself, though - he and Dr. John use automobiles and telephones in later tales.


Well, I don't wish to be pedantic, but motor cars and telephones did come about during the 1880's/1890's which is the generally accepted period of the adventures of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Sir Arthur conked out in 1930 so he would not have envisaged the times of the bulk of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce pictures.
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westegg

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Re: kids don't care

PostThu Sep 28, 2017 6:25 am

Catering to kids nowadays know no bounds. The upcoming "My Little Pony" gets a PG for "mild action." Would Keaton's "The General" rate a PG-13 by comparison? :lol:
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Peg of the PreCodes

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Re: kids don't care

PostThu Sep 28, 2017 7:24 am

westegg wrote:Catering to kids nowadays know no bounds. The upcoming "My Little Pony" gets a PG for "mild action." Would Keaton's "The General" rate a PG-13 by comparison? :lol:


That may be a case of the studio wanting to avoid a G rating, which is assumed to be boxoffice poison. (Although MLP does have a prominent following among grownups. The more extreme sections of this fandom strike even this aging fangirl as bizarre, but it probably is a case of outliers getting the spotlight.)

As for The General, the current MPAA is perceived to be a hardliner on sex and profanity, and comparatively lax on violence. It'll be on TCM next week; I may revisit it next week just to see what rating it gets.
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westegg

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Re: kids don't care

PostThu Sep 28, 2017 8:54 am

I would think TCM would give it a TV-G rating.

The G rating has been horribly disrespected as boxoffice poison, and the current MPAA gives in to studio marketing. I mean, c'mon! :?

Anyway, MLP: The Movie got a proper U rating in Great Britain.
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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Oct 02, 2017 4:21 pm

OP...thanks for trying!
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wich2

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Oct 02, 2017 4:52 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
wich2 wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:Sir Arthur conked out in 1930 so he would not have envisaged the times of the bulk of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce pictures.


...but he wrote Holmes stories into the 1920s, and set them up until the Great War.
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Donald Binks

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Oct 02, 2017 5:06 pm

wich2 wrote:
...but he wrote Holmes stories into the 1920s, and set them up until the Great War.


Full marks for being persistent - but the 1920's are not the 1940's are they?
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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Oct 02, 2017 6:46 pm

Strange that 8th graders acted so negatively to Chaplin! Chaney's not really a surprise, though. I'm a ninth grader myself, and I showed a 16mm print of The Freshman at my twelfth birthday party two years ago, and my friends acted very positively. During the final football game in the film they were chanting "SKILLS, SKILLS, SKILLS!" and they were cheering and everything. And these weren't my "film friends" or anything, it was just a pretty good gathering of kids in my 7th grade class. I would recommend showing them the last two reels of Safety Last and then ask if they want to see more. Don't even be afraid to do some poorly done "reverse psychology". Just tell them "Oh, yeah, they're black and white and quite boring. We'll turn them off soon enough, I'm not sure how much you guys can handle.". Then hit them with the safety last sequence and their minds will be blown.
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Mr.Mycroft

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Oct 02, 2017 8:18 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
wich2 wrote:
...but he wrote Holmes stories into the 1920s, and set them up until the Great War.


Full marks for being persistent - but the 1920's are not the 1940's are they?


No, but you must remember that the first adaptations to actually place the characters back into the Victorian period were... the two Fox films with Rathbone & Bruce. The character remained more or less contemporaneous with the times in which the films were made, Eille Norwood, Clive Brook, Arthur Wontner, etc were never 'in period.'
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wich2

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Re: kids don't care

PostMon Oct 02, 2017 9:10 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
wich2 wrote:
...but he wrote Holmes stories into the 1920s, and set them up until the Great War.


Full marks for being persistent - but the 1920's are not the 1940's are they?


No, they're not - your point being? And persistent (in the service of accuracy) is more productive than pedantic, yes?

Do you really think that if Doyle had lived longer, and continued to create Holmes stories, he wouldn't have kept them in the present - as he always generally had?

(In fact, he also saluted the '20s Stoll series of films with Norwood, that presented the stories as in - you guessed it! - the present.)

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