The melody of piano keys fill the air when this familiar phrase is uttered, “Play it again Sam. Play as Time Goes By.” All at once, we are drawn to Dooley Wilson's voice, which entrances us to sink into the sad yet mesmerizing love story of Humphry Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca.
The memory of Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale who follows the Yellow Brick Road in hopes of reaching the Emerald City and finding her way home is one most of us can share.
These are just a few examples of classic films of Hollywood's Gold Age which have clearly proven that decades after they were first released. Their ability to capture the hearts and minds of moviegoers around the world has not been lost. Unforgettable scenes that made us laugh; cry and quake in suspense have not been tarnished by overdone stunts and graphics.
However, tragically not all of them have been so lucky. Have producers and directors become obsessed with adding special effects and computer graphics to classic stories which in the end has turned them into what could best be described as a stunt devil circus act? Is this merely a way to cover up the bad acting that has completely obliterated famous lines and scenes?
Biblical times? Or a galaxy far away?
Charlton Heston's performance in Ben-Hur has become synonymous as a masterpiece of Hollywood's cinematography. Being that it's one of my favorite films, I was quite intrigued that a remake was in the mix. With John Huston's grandson, Jack Huston having the title role I really wanted to like the film and viewed it with an open mind. However, sadly, despite my best efforts, I could not ignore the fact that this moving story of faith, was hijacked by lengthy over the top action sequences. It bore a closer resemblance to the newest Transformers or Star Wars installment than a biblical epic.
The Sound of ... Never mind I need ice chips and a bucket quick!
Julie Andrews walking across a meadow in Austria welcoming us through the lyrics of “The Sound of Music” in the Rogers and Hammerstein masterpiece will never fail to take my breath away. Which is why during the holiday season of 2013, I could not contain my excitement that a remake of this beloved musical was going to be released.
It had been years since I watched a Broadway Show. Thus, my curiosity was further peaked upon finding out that this was not only going to be a brand-new take on the movie I loved but a live presentation as well.
Hope and warm fuzzy feelings in the pit of my stomach were quickly dashed instead, they tended to resemble a root canal without the aid of anesthetic. I was greeted by something that could best be described as an SNL skit which seemed to go on like a carousel that did not bring up feelings of happiness, rather the deep feeling of nausea and dizziness.
Carrie Underwood and those children were hiked up on whatever of Kool Aid, they were supplied with which made the presentation out to resemble a musical of the Stepford Wives. So many mixed emotions ran through me as the ending credits came across the screen.
Annoyance? That was pretty much as given. Then came the mind-numbing speechless trance that slowly took over. What on earth was that? It truly took my breath away and not in a good way! Fear came shortly after upon the realization that I might soon be seeing them flutter about in my sleep. Quite far off from the Sugar Plum Fairies I want to dance around in my head.
Whether it's Julie Andrews bringing joy and music into the home of a heart-broken sea captain and his seven children, in pre-Nazi Austria. Or the gut-wrenching sense of suspense that fills our hearts as Charlton Heston races against Stephen Boyd in the iconic chariot scene it can't be denied that no matter how many times we choose to indulge in these famous films they always keep us coming back for more.
Quality vs Quantity
The phrase “If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.” Applies to more than just life lessons we learn as children. Hollywood needs to take it to heart. Movies should not be created just so the producers and directors can keep themselves busy.
I used to think Hollywood was all about making a profit. Clearly, I was wrong. Has creating highly complicated computer generated special effects risen so high upon the priority ladder that the overly tweaked are what passes for productions these days? That seems to be the case.