kids don't care

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
studs68
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:05 am

kids don't care

Unread post by studs68 » Sun 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

earlytalkiebuffRob
Posts: 3466
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun 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!!

User avatar
Smari1989
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:14 am
Location: Norway

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Smari1989 » Sun 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.

User avatar
oldposterho
Posts: 618
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:05 am
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by oldposterho » Sun 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.

R Michael Pyle
Posts: 1749
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:10 pm

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Sun 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?

User avatar
Donald Binks
Posts: 3170
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Donald Binks » Sun 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.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

User avatar
Arndt
Posts: 1241
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Germany

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Arndt » Mon 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.
"The greatest cinematic experience is the human face and it seems to me that silent films can teach us to read it anew." - Wim Wenders

Battra92
Posts: 405
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:02 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Battra92 » Mon 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.

User avatar
Mitch Farish
Posts: 738
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:30 am
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Mitch Farish » Mon 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.

User avatar
greta de groat
Posts: 2149
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:06 am
Location: California
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by greta de groat » Mon 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.

greta
Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
http://www.stanford.edu/~gdegroat

User avatar
2 Reel
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 10:34 am
Location: Earth, for the time being

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by 2 Reel » Mon 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.
They call me "Dangerous Dal"

Gary Newman
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:36 pm
Location: White Plains, NY

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Gary Newman » Mon 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.

User avatar
MaryGH
Posts: 326
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 6:10 pm
Location: FL
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by MaryGH » Mon 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

http://bit.ly/2ueCvHe
---
Aventuras de Tom Tyler

http://triggertomblog.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Peg of the PreCodes
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:29 am
Location: Washington, DC
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Peg of the PreCodes » Tue 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.

User avatar
Donald Binks
Posts: 3170
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Donald Binks » Tue 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.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

User avatar
Mitch Farish
Posts: 738
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:30 am
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Mitch Farish » Tue 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.

User avatar
Red Bartlett
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:30 am

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Red Bartlett » Tue 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.

User avatar
maliejandra
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:32 pm
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by maliejandra » Wed 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.)

User avatar
Scoundrel
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:22 pm

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Scoundrel » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:25 am

There is quite an explosion in THE BLACK PIRATE.
" You can't take life too seriously...you'll never get out of it alive."


Blackhawk Films customer

#0266462

wich2
Posts: 1574
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:11 am

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by wich2 » Wed 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.

User avatar
Donald Binks
Posts: 3170
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu 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.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

User avatar
westegg
Posts: 1298
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:13 am

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by westegg » Thu 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:

User avatar
Peg of the PreCodes
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:29 am
Location: Washington, DC
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Peg of the PreCodes » Thu 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.

User avatar
westegg
Posts: 1298
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:13 am

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by westegg » Thu 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.

User avatar
Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:28 pm
Location: Born in L.A...NYC is 2nd home...Rustbelt is home base
Contact:

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:21 pm

OP...thanks for trying!

wich2
Posts: 1574
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:11 am

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by wich2 » Mon 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.

User avatar
Donald Binks
Posts: 3170
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon 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?
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

User avatar
EdibleCamphor
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:04 pm
Location: Little Old New York

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by EdibleCamphor » Mon 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.
Film Writer, Director, Actor, Historian, and Bespectacled Young Man.

Mr.Mycroft
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:44 pm

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by Mr.Mycroft » Mon 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.'

wich2
Posts: 1574
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:11 am

Re: kids don't care

Unread post by wich2 » Mon 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.)

-Craig

Post Reply