Archive for March 2007

Lousy Movies

March 14, 2007

Over the weekend I watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Sabrina,” both classic movies from the 50s and both starring Audrey Hepburn. And what a joy. I didn’t have to use “Closed Captioning” or my earphones to understand and enjoy the dialog.

Today’s movies, in general, are made for teen agers because that is the group which still goes to theaters. On a recent survey conducted by http://www.webbeck.com 100% of those responding (all mature adults) had not been to a theater in over a year. Theaters have surround sound and it booms around you from all directions. It’s loud. And teens, if they haven’t ruined their hearing from riding in cars that vibrate from 16″ trunk speakers blaring rap crap, can hear the movie audio quite well. It’s not the same for adults with older ears.

Why is it that older movies have better audio than the material Hollywood now grinds out? One reason is that the actors and actresses were, for the most part, trained on the stage where their diction had to be clear and their voices loud enough to reach the back row. That’s also why most serious actors spend their hiatus time doing stage plays, and almost all of them if asked will state that the stage is their favorite medium.

If you watch the credits on older movies you will notice that the sound engineers get screen credit right up there with the directors and producers. Sound was just as important as the video, and carefuly controlled. Today, it seems, some kid throws up a microphone, the actors never having done stage performances without 10,000 watt amplifiers, mumble the dialog and one might as well give up on trying to hear what’s being said.

Audio appears to be unimportant to directors anymore. I suspect that the “draw” of J-lo or Ben Affleck (arguably the worst actor of this or any other century) is supposed to make up for the lack of audio quality control. So be it. I’m not required to watch anything that I don’t want to watch.

And, since I don’t go to theaters – look at the money I save on popcorn?