Old-school Movie Moments That Wouldn’t Work Now

Sometimes the old way is the best way. Maybe not for practical everyday purposes, but for effect and drama. We are thinking specifically of movies here and the creation of tension and drama and visual effects. In some ways it’s perhaps got a lot to do with why so many movies these days are either set in the past or in the future, where CGI effects and are employed. Here’s a quick look at a number of old-school actions that worked a charm in movies, and which quite simply wouldn’t work as well today. 

How about a smoke? 
There are so many movies in which the heroes or the anti-heroes smoke marijuana. The scenes, in movies like Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused, Pineapple Express and many others tend to feature scenes where blunts are rolled and lit and then enjoyed. Imagine instead the scene was shot using a weed vaporizer Australia or America or audiences anywhere in the world, would simply not find the scene halfway as convincing. 

Fax Machines 
There is something quite unique about the way a fax comes through. It is slow and deliberate and it makes for good, suspense laden viewing. Imagine if in the Usual Suspects the identikit of Keyser Söze, had arrived via email and not fax. It wouldn’t have changed the end of the movie but it would certainly have been a whole lot less suspenseful. There is something quite special about the way Chazz Palminteri tears off the paper once the transmission is over and has a look – it’s great cinema.   

The way we listen to music has changed a lot over the years. From the popping and crackling analogue sounds of an old gramophone record through tapes and compact disc, all the way through to flash drives and online playlists, music storage and consumption has changed massively. The modern way is wonderful from a practical perspective, but from a film perspective the atmosphere of a crackling gramophone record is something quite special. Image how different it would have sounded if Andy Dufresne had played a Maria Callas CD when he broadcast from the warden’s office in Shawshank redemption.  Or how dull it would have been if John Cusack had sent Ione Skye a flashdrive with Peter Gabriel’s Your Eyes instead of standing outside her window in the 1989 classic Say Anything?  

Time to make words 
The clacking of type writer keys and the old-world charm that it conveys is something that quite simply doesn’t translate to things like computers. Not only is it the noise of the keys, a typewriter also goes a long way to conveying a certain time and period. But even more so, it also speaks of a level of quality and permanence. Imagine how differently things would have turned out in Love Actually if Colin Firth had been typing his novel onto a computer. His words would never have ended up in the lake and his romance with the lovely Sienna Guillory might never have blossomed.