Piece by Piece: the golden age


Brian Higgins

Staff reporter Madison Saviano explores hot topics and issues that students face in her weekly column Piece by Piece.

Madison Saviano, Staff Reporter

Isn’t it crazy that Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift’s music will eventually be considered “old?” In half a century or so, it’ll be up there with the Beach Boys and in another half, it might even be considered classic. Just think, the year will be 2120 and a hundred years will have passed. At the current pace of life, who knows what our present may be reduced to in the future’s eyes. 

A hundred years ago, who could have known how different life would soon become? It was 1920 then and popular culture consisted of flapper girls and silver screen pictures. When a movie was bold enough to include dialogue, it was referred to as a “talkie.” I wonder how the people from back then imagined that their reality would age. Did they anticipate how after only fifty years of introducing cinema, black and white movies would already be looked down upon? Did they realize how dramatic the advancements in production and color and sound would be? Probably not, and neither can we. 

Soon what we know of today will become the stuff that our grandchildren laugh in the future about and all the ways we live our lives will become old-fashioned. Does that mean that the popular culture of times past shouldn’t still be appreciated, though? I don’t think so, and that’s why I think we could all benefit from making a little room in our inventory for the movies, books, and past which our present so suddenly stemmed from. 

I’m mainly talking about old movies. Old books with their old English get enough applause as is, but old movies haven’t seemed to age so gracefully. I think this is where the charm comes from, though. The black and white or technicolor stills add a unique character that serves as a reminder of the fragility of time. I don’t know why it’s so mind-boggling to me that when I watch an old movie, I’m really watching a bunch of stills from a certain time period all stitched together. They’re like glimpses of another way of life and for this reason, they’re so enveloping! Some people can’t get past the grainy textures or the muffled sounds but I think this can be found interesting too. 

Since just the 1930s, a whole new realm of innovations has revolutionized the film industry. Not just live-action movies, but animated ones too. Just compare the most recent Toy Story to the first, which came out only 24 years later. The way that technology has made the 2-D shapes jump out of the screen and literally become 3-D is such a feat of wonder. Even if film noir isn’t your thing, I’m sure there is something underlying in old movies you can find to appreciate. 

I hope I’ve given you a new perspective on old things, old movies in particular, and I hope you now have the urge to explore them. If so, there are plenty of directions to point you in, but as long as you stay within the Golden Age, I’m sure whatever captures your attention will be great.