Classic Movies Are Alive and Well
What are classic movies? I would define them as any films produced before 1970. Admittedly, other critics would be less generous in their parameters. Some would see 1920 as a starting point, 1950 or 1960 as the finish line.
Whichever period you define, however, you invariably attract reactions of surprise. Many of your friends and relatives are even inclined to regard you as an eccentric, whereas in point of fact your fascination with old movies is shared not by thousands or tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands, but by millions of people all over the world.
It has taken some time for DVD distributors to wake up to the fact that old movies are alive and well. British manufacturers were especially slow off the mark, but they are now making rapid strides to catch up with their past neglect.
British book publishers, of course, have still not woken up, but their American colleagues have been publishing books on vintage movies since the 1970s. Nor are their readers confined to older generations like me who prefer reading their books on a printed page rather than handling an electronic device.
An examination of the bestselling books in Amazon's Kindle Store in the Movies and Video Guides and Reviews category on August 21, 2010, revealed that Roger Ebert's two books on "The Great Movies" respectively hold the first and second positions. Manny Farber's collection of film criticism is also selling extremely well. It is listed fifth; Ty Burr's fascinating guide to "The Best Old Movies for Families" is number twelve; Francois Truffaut's essential "The Movies in My Life" ranks thirteenth in terms of sales; while my own book, "Award-Winning Films of the 1930s" is number seventeen.
Yes! Classic movies are most certainly alive and well.