Kid Friendly Black and White Movies

I’ve written previously about the ever-increasing extremes movies are reaching to blow the audience out of their seats – with the nearly ubiquitous recent appearence of 3D, IMAX screenings and mind-blowing CGI animation.

There’s nothing inherently bad about how Hollywood is bringing more to the movie experience except there’s a risk that our children’s threshold for entertainment will be so amped-up they’ll not be able to appreciate less nuclear-powered eye candy. Ultimately the story has to reign supreme.

That was the big ding on Avatar. Despite the off-the-chart never seen before animation and visual experience – the story itself was nothing but a rehash of Pocahontas – which is a really good story in and of itself.

And there are a lot of amazing unforgettable stories collecting dust in the Classics section of Blockbuster (or virtual dust in the catalogs on NetFlix) that deserve to be watched. So what better way to emphasize the importance of really really good story telling than to see them unfold in glorious black and white. No Dolby or THX. No HD. No spine tingling eye-searing computer generated animation… just simple classic stories told in a simple voice and style. 

Here’s a list of ten classics good for any kid over six or seven. We’ve only been through two of them (Casablanca and Pride of the Yankees – which my eight year old loved – partly because it’s about baseball/Lou Gehrig) but I’m committed to getting through them as part of my son’s education.

Safety Last – 1923 w/ Harold Lloyd
Mr. Deeds goes to Town – 1936 w/ Gary Cooper
You Can’t Take it With You – 1938 w/ James Stewart
Boys Town – 1938 w/ Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – 1939 w/ James Stewart
The Pride of the Yankees – 1942 w/ Gary Cooper
Casablanca – 1942 w/ Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman
Bells of St. Marys – 1945 w/ Bing Crosby
Christmas in Connecticut – 1945 w/ Barbara Stanwyck
It’s a Wonderful Life – 1946 w/ James Stewart

One Response

  1. I took my 8 year old to a screening of Chaplin’s Modern Times and he LOVED it. He asked a lot of questions about the industrial and depression era themes (“what’s a communist?”), but he laughed and laughed at Chaplin’s antics. He loves his big budget eye candy but it didn’t seem to detract from his enjoyment of a (semi) silent comedy.

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