This year, I recorded all James Bond movies, Dutch television broadcasted during the summer month, ranging from the ones starring Sean Connery tot present day Daniel Craig.
Often when I watch old movies, I think of how, were I a student studying sociology in this day and age,- I would write a paper on how movies reflect the culturally conditioned values and convictions of the time in which they were made.
Last Saturday I watched Live and Let Die, the 8th Bond movie,- I looked that up in case I ever end up in Pointless- made in 1973, featuring a still very young looking Roger Moore.
One of the things I loved about it, was the understated violence. Bond caught on a island surrounded by crocodiles, threatened to get eaten. The trouble they went through those days to get someone killed. In today’s movies they just slam somebody’s head on a pencil like in Batman, which brings me to a totally different example of changing times.
I was hardly a teenager when the first Batman series with Adam West was broadcasted on television. For those who weren’t there yet: the producers would flash words over the screen during fighting scenes, saying ‘pow’ or ‘bam’ , pictured like in the original comic books.
Nowadays, 40+ years later, I refuse to watch the Batman movies because I literally can’t stand looking at them. The violence in my opinion goes way beyond any border of normalcy. I wasn’t surprised when the premiere of the Batman movie Dark Knight attracted horrific violence; the movie itself shows nothing but.
Same goes for video games and the present day horror movies. I find them gruesome and sickening, created by sick minds.
In Hitchcock’s days, violence had an intricate story to back it up. Nowadays it’s merely the violence itself; with the story hardly important.
To me it very much reflects what I see as degeneration of our culture, in a society that gets tougher and harder to live in.
But, having said that, I realize my grandparents felt the sixties were tough, Elvis was evil and young couples living together simply not done,so question is, are times really getting so much tougher and decadent or am I growing older and coping in a different way, because I was brought up in a different day.
I sincerely hope it is the latter and that there is good reason for values changing. Like a tree cannot overlook the quality of the forest; one person in society can not be the judge of which times were better than others. One would have to be an observer to see the truth of what is real and then, one can even wonder if movies would still the best reflection of what society is like.
Suppose a capsule, containing all James Bond Movies would be shot into space and land lightyears from here on some inhabited planet. I wonder what Aliens would think of life as we know it.
Ingrid Schippers, 03-10-2016
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This blog is featured as spoken end note of the Dutchbuzz edition of 4 October 2016 and can be listened to on The Hague FM from 10.00 tot 11.00 pm or on the Dutchbuzz podcast of 4 October 2016
or click on the link below, for the slightly abridged version