Do you maintain that actors/actresses in Hollywood's yesteryears were far more talented than
current actors/actresses? Why? Why not?
In fact I tend to think past audiences were less into "realism".
A lot of the old black and white movies had "choppy dialogue" or spoke in a "cadence" that was unnatural to how people (actually) speak. Facial expressions were often (over exaggerated) as was body movement in reaction to things taking place.
Later on actors begin to focus on what is called "Method Acting" which is essentially striving to be as (realistic and natural) as possible.
For instance today if someone is shot in a movie they actually bleed.
The goal was to not "go over the top" with outward emotion but instead draw the viewer in with what is going on behind the eyes and within the mind of the character using more "subtle" gestures.
I would put Meryl Streep or Daniel Day Lewis up against any of the actors from the "golden era" believing they are better actors.
Nevertheless I still do find old black & white movies enjoyable.
Like in any form of art it's hard to be objective, so the old Latin is still valid: "De gustibus non disputabant est" (Tastes are not to be discussed). Being an old-timer I remember how those times were different, not only their artistic expression.
So film was depicting the spirit of that time, which was more romantic. For example, love scenes boiled down to a discrete kiss usually at the end of a movie - as opposed to nowadays partners who hardly had time to ask for each other's name jumping in bed in the first 5 minutes into the movie.
Well, old taboos about sex and nakedness of human body got lost in the dusty movie archives. I don't know if that's good or bad, but somehow I still like something to be left to the imagination.
I would not call myself competent to compare the acting performance of these two eras, mostly because those oldies coincided with the time of my youth, so much of my dearest memories are tied to those actors and actresses.
Except for movie critics, the quality of acting may not even be all that important - but it's your personal favorites among the stars. If you are a fan of Clint Eastwood's or Sylvester Stallone's action movies, then you couldn't care less how they are "acting", but how many bad guys they kill in the first 10 minutes. If nobody gets killed, then their acting sucks, "they are not being themselves".
Sometimes it's a bad script that no good acting can save, and popcorn gets a stale taste soon after the movie started. I guess there would be too much to analyze there, but to round it up - as for entertainment I prefer new movies, while the old ones are just filled with a sentiment of memories. So each have their own charm.
Hi Grace Marguerite Williams! How's it going?
You ask an interesting question about actors and actresses from different era. I see you have a picture of (Tyrone Power?) there. I am a big fan of film noir, myself.
I think the question is a little like comparing professional athletes and sports teams from different eras. Commentators are always ranking pro basketball players, for example, both as individual players and as teams.
People might say: Who is better, today's Golden State Warriors or Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, when they won those six NBA titles? On one level we think the answer is "obvious."
But one thing we must always keep in mind is that those teams, from different eras, played and play under different sets of rules. NBA basketball in the 1990s and 1980s was more physical because more physical play was allowed by the rules and the officials.
The other thing commentators say is that the Warriors are "changing the game," in the way they play "small," and all that. These commentators say that with the Warriors exquisite ball handling ability and general shooting ability (even three-point shooting), the opposition is actually forced to "go small," as it were to compete. If you leave too many "bigs" in there, the Warriors will just make them look clumsy and flat-footed with their superior speed, and all that.
Now, if we could transport these Warriors back in time to the era of Michael Jordan's Bulls' heyday, then the Bulls' size advantage combined with the more permissive, rougher rules, would probably go a long way to offset what the Warriors like to do.
Similarly, the actors of from the Golden Age of black-and-white films and today's actors functioned and function under different parameters and rules. In Tyrone Powers' day, it was the age of the so-called "studio system," which among other things, provided more ongoing "professional development" on an "in-house" basis.
Also, movies and actors of the black and white era were much more influenced by the theater. Before movies became their own thing, so to speak, they tended to more generally incorporate the techniques and visual style of stage plays, which everybody, then, was most familiar with.
If you really break it down, you would see that there are many, many differences between the way actors go about their work today, than how they went about it in the 1950s, say. Would Tom Cruise be as big a star in 1950 as he is today?
Hard to say without isolating the variables.
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