Readers of TGB have been quite diligent in coming up with additions to the ElderMovie List. There are eleven new ones this week, including one documentary and the list now numbers 86. The earliest are two from 1952 - Ikuru and Umberto D.
I’m tempted to say that having come up with such an impressive list, we cannot any longer complain about filmmakers ignoring elders. And those who do make movies about old people or include them as major characters do so realistically and without cheap jokes.
But counting from the 1950s, this list averages only a little more than 14 films per year and there is no telling how many others present elders as gratuitously goofy, demented and silly or stupid. Nevertheless, I am surprised and pleased with how many we have come up with.
Only a handful are unavailable on DVD or tape. If you are looking for any of those, try eBay or a Google search. My brother found a 1951 favorite of ours (not an ElderMovie), You Never Can Tell starring Dick Powell, from a private collector.
However did we get by in life before the internet? Or before video and DVD?
I’m currently reading Gore Vidal’s new memoir, Point to Point Navigation, and as he notes about going to the movies when he was a kid in Washington, D.C. in the 1930s, we saw movies only once in those days and perhaps we watched then with deeper concentration than now knowing that when the theater run was over, we would not see them again. And if we missed a movie in the theater, there wasn’t a second chance.
Even after the advent of television, for many years we could view movies only at the whim and on the timetable of a television station, and not our own. Today, we can find most of the films we want to look at, but I’m still waiting for the time when all movies are always available for instant download to our television sets or computers and we can do away with DVDs, Netflix and other hard copies.
Please continue to send along any other films you find – old and new - that fit the ElderMovie category. This is a valuable list you’ve all helped to create and it would please the librarian in my soul to keep it as complete and up to date as possible.