Summer Movies: Older Than You Think?

It’s summertime again, and that means movies with enormous budgets and (the studios hope) even more audience appeal. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and George Lucas’s Star Wars (in 1975 and 1977, respectively) are generally regarded as the films directly responsible for ushering in the summer blockbuster system. That already stretches back further than my memory goes.

Interestingly, though, I stumbled across a New York Times article from June 3rd, 1917 the other day that described a then-recent change in the theater business (that’s theater as in “the stage”). “There was a time,” the article begins, “when the managers of playhouses dedicated to the spoken drama looked upon the movie as something to be feared, a monster that would devour their profits and drive them out of business.”

(Note: The next part is paraphrased, as I now can’t pull up the article for some reason, and the Google cache version is badly garbled.)

“The movie looks different to the management now. It is no longer a thing to be dreaded, but something to be received with open arms. It is the theatre’s Summer lifesaver; instead of boarding up the approach to the lobby, it is now considered perfectly good form to put the chintzes on the seats, accept $1,000 a week as rent, and fumigate in the Fall when the movie horde has departed. Thus it happens that six of Manhattan’s best play-houses, on whose stages regular plays are presented in season, are invaded by the movies this week.”

So, if I understand correctly, there’s the summer, during which movies attract the big crowds, and then there’s the rest of the year which is reserved for the art-house types who come to see the stage productions, which are presumably considered more “high-brow.” Sound familiar? I thought that was rah-ther interesting.

Anyway, speaking of the upcoming movie season, in anticipation of the new Indiana Jones movie, here’s a really good essay from Aspect Ratio about Spielberg’s approach to film editing (scintillating!).

Next, here’s the new Dark Knight trailer. Definitely looking good.

And, finally, a trailer for Brideshead Revisited starring Emma Thompson, which looks very good. Enjoy.

~ by Jared on May 8, 2008.

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