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Old 07-06-2023, 12:16 PM
 
21,557 posts, read 9,180,607 times
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So in the early days of movies/TV, etc, there used to be a happy ending. The main characters almost always won.

I noticed in the 70's, that all changed. Sometimes, the twist ending was that evil won out. My husband and I were watching a 70's movie last night that involved a massive conspiracy. About 2/3 the way through, I told him that based on the time the movie was made, I am going to predict that the bad guys won. And I was right. I don't want to give away the movie name in case you choose to see it. But has anyone else ever noticed this? I think it was more in movies than it was TV. Your hero had to win in TV even in the 70's.

Examples of dystopian movies:

Soylent Green
China Syndrome


Can you give more? I am too young to remember some of the plots. I remember some titles but not sure what they were about.
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Old 07-07-2023, 10:35 AM
 
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Oh, there are any number of them. "Easy Rider" "Brewster McCloud" - I could name dozens, not including the horror films of the era.

What you are noting came about because of two watershed rulings from the courts.

The first was when Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" was declared protected free speech as art. It used words that were in common usage, but not allowed previously in writing.

The second was in response to a little foreign film called "I Am Curious, Yellow." I remember standing in line to see it in NYC. The fellow who took my money was someone I would later work for, along with Roger Corman.

Dirty Movies had always existed, but deep in the shadows, and only for dirty old men. This movie was mainstreamed to all, and it had the temerity to show a naked white woman's breast (not an uncommon thing in Sweden). The film itself was part of an exposition of Swedish culture, along with another "I Am Curious, Blue." The Swedish flag is predominantly yellow and blue. As a movie it was meh, and best understood by Swedes, but it was made outside of the massive censorship of the Hollywood machine.

Again, the ruling was that it was art and protected free speech. It meant the end of the absolute power of the Catholic Church in Boston, and the erosion of censorship attempts across the country. Prior to that, an owner or manager of a theatre who showed a film that didn't conform could be fined and thrown in jail.

Part of the Hayes code and the unwritten aftermath was that no film could end with the bad guys winning. You can see the effect of that if you watch the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." You will note that the end seems somehow disjointed. A closer look shows where the original film ended at a powerful moment, but a sanitized ending was tacked on.

After "IAC:Y" all the shackles and limitations were off, and there was a burst of creativity from writers and directors that had either been hobbled before or just never bothered to make pap. There were some truly bad films, but there were also some greats. It was, by just about any standard, the greatest decade of creative cinema in the U.S..

The creation of the MPAA code eventually stifled a lot of it, but that is another era.
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Old 07-07-2023, 11:22 AM
 
21,557 posts, read 9,180,607 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Oh, there are any number of them. "Easy Rider" "Brewster McCloud" - I could name dozens, not including the horror films of the era.

What you are noting came about because of two watershed rulings from the courts.

The first was when Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" was declared protected free speech as art. It used words that were in common usage, but not allowed previously in writing.

The second was in response to a little foreign film called "I Am Curious, Yellow." I remember standing in line to see it in NYC. The fellow who took my money was someone I would later work for, along with Roger Corman.

Dirty Movies had always existed, but deep in the shadows, and only for dirty old men. This movie was mainstreamed to all, and it had the temerity to show a naked white woman's breast (not an uncommon thing in Sweden). The film itself was part of an exposition of Swedish culture, along with another "I Am Curious, Blue." The Swedish flag is predominantly yellow and blue. As a movie it was meh, and best understood by Swedes, but it was made outside of the massive censorship of the Hollywood machine.

Again, the ruling was that it was art and protected free speech. It meant the end of the absolute power of the Catholic Church in Boston, and the erosion of censorship attempts across the country. Prior to that, an owner or manager of a theatre who showed a film that didn't conform could be fined and thrown in jail.

Part of the Hayes code and the unwritten aftermath was that no film could end with the bad guys winning. You can see the effect of that if you watch the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." You will note that the end seems somehow disjointed. A closer look shows where the original film ended at a powerful moment, but a sanitized ending was tacked on.

After "IAC:Y" all the shackles and limitations were off, and there was a burst of creativity from writers and directors that had either been hobbled before or just never bothered to make pap. There were some truly bad films, but there were also some greats. It was, by just about any standard, the greatest decade of creative cinema in the U.S..

The creation of the MPAA code eventually stifled a lot of it, but that is another era.
Hmm...I just thought it was a combination of Cold War era, Kennedy assassination conspiracy stuff and the space age. That man could lose control of the outcomes.
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Old 07-07-2023, 03:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grlzrl View Post
Hmm...I just thought it was a combination of Cold War era, Kennedy assassination conspiracy stuff and the space age. That man could lose control of the outcomes.
Nope. Those didn't have much of a part, if any. Kennedy's assassination was in '63, and by the 1970s was old news. Cold War peaked during Kennedy's time and we were on into implementation of civil rights and Vietnam by '69. Space age again pre-dated and the moon landings were quickly no longer news.

However, the end of "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a hidden dystopia. The end of the book has the star child looking down at the nuclear blasts on Earth. Whether they were caused by politics on Earth or the star child is left ambiguous. The ending was abandoned in the film, and "2010" could not have been made had that timeline existed.

The shift in movies was all about the end of heavy censorship. I was there in the thick of it.
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Old 07-28-2023, 06:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Nope. Those didn't have much of a part, if any. Kennedy's assassination was in '63, and by the 1970s was old news. Cold War peaked during Kennedy's time and we were on into implementation of civil rights and Vietnam by '69. Space age again pre-dated and the moon landings were quickly no longer news.

However, the end of "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a hidden dystopia. The end of the book has the star child looking down at the nuclear blasts on Earth. Whether they were caused by politics on Earth or the star child is left ambiguous. The ending was abandoned in the film, and "2010" could not have been made had that timeline existed.

The shift in movies was all about the end of heavy censorship. I was there in the thick of it.
Ironic, given the censorship happening now.
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Old 07-28-2023, 11:45 AM
 
23,509 posts, read 69,890,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grlzrl View Post
Ironic, given the censorship happening now.
It is a cycle. The earliest pre-code films were tame. They got more racy, and Hayes and the church stepped in. Hayes then went unsaid but enforced for years, until the court rulings. Things got racy again, until the MPAA gained traction. The 1990s had more foreign film again for a while, and after the WTC event, film became more conservative. There are no clear dates of changes, as films take time to get made and can be in the can for years, but although there are always exceptions, there is a broad cycle of permissive/restrictive.
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Old 08-20-2023, 08:12 PM
 
15,444 posts, read 15,425,363 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grlzrl View Post
So in the early days of movies/TV, etc, there used to be a happy ending. The main characters almost always won.

I noticed in the 70's, that all changed. Sometimes, the twist ending was that evil won out. My husband and I were watching a 70's movie last night that involved a massive conspiracy. About 2/3 the way through, I told him that based on the time the movie was made, I am going to predict that the bad guys won. And I was right. I don't want to give away the movie name in case you choose to see it. But has anyone else ever noticed this? I think it was more in movies than it was TV. Your hero had to win in TV even in the 70's.

Examples of dystopian movies:

Soylent Green
China Syndrome

Can you give more? I am too young to remember some of the plots. I remember some titles but not sure what they were about.
Actually, I don't think you're correct about movies.

It seems to me that in earlier movies there were quite a lot of unhappy endings - Harriet Craig's husband walks out on her, Charlotte Vale will never get to marry the man she loves, Marguerite Gautier dies, the Joad family meets with disaster, kindly Christopher Cross ends horribly, the loving elderly couple part forever in Make Way For Tomorrow.

However, in the 1960s, it's true that the Hays censorship code was abandoned, and it was no longer "required" that the good guys win in the end or the the girl's purity is respected and rewarded. I agree that you can usually tell whether it will be a happy or sad ending, but that's partly because there are a lot of other clues along the way, in the writing, the music, and all that.

In general, though, Americans tend to opt for happy endings.
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Old 08-20-2023, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Southern MN
11,900 posts, read 8,218,690 times
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I'm noticing more movies these days where the ending is left ambiguous and up to the viewer. I understand that in some cases there are multiple endings shot as well.

I don't know how or why it is decided to use one over the other. It could be for art's sake but I'm tempted to think it's for profit. Just in case.

I find myself a bit frustrated by happy-ever-after endings. Complex characters, as their real-life counterparts, are so much more interesting.

I do remember a surge of anti-hero movies but off the top of my head can't list the era or names. One - "Blondie," in the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone. Not such a good guy but certainly a more appealing bad guy than Angel Eyes or the craven Tuco.

Did we cheer for Bonnie and Clyde of the eponymous film? Yeah, maybe a little.

And anti-heroes seem commonplace now.

The horror genre held on to the good girl is the survivor theme much longer than expected but that trope has also been discarded.
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Old 08-25-2023, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Hickville USA
5,865 posts, read 3,744,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
I'm noticing more movies these days where the ending is left ambiguous and up to the viewer. I understand that in some cases there are multiple endings shot as well.
The movie I remember the most for an ambiguous ending is "Unfaithful". Not the first one I've seen, it's just the only one I can think of right now. I still don't think I like ambiguous endings.
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Old 08-27-2023, 03:12 PM
 
463 posts, read 174,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
I'm noticing more movies these days where the ending is left ambiguous and up to the viewer. I understand that in some cases there are multiple endings shot as well.
Unconventional premises and endings have been in utility for years by creatives. More are written for films than the average Joe or Josie knows (or cares), but the studios often enforce sweeping changes to maximize profits. We must be thankful for the ones that get squeezed out via the pores of the Machine and pave the way for more attempts.

The "good guy/girl wins" trope isn't exactly tired, but new ways must be depicted to sell it. If a villain is silly or comical, the outcome isn't gratifying.

Two great fairly recent examples where the good guys don't win: No Country for Old Men and Hell or High Water. The former is based on a novel Cormac McCarthy and adapted by the Coen brothers. The latter was penned by Taylor Sheridan, who is one of the industry's busiest and more successful showrunners today, responsible for Sicario, Wind River, Yellowstone and Tulsa King.

From 2002-2008, the FX cable network aired a series inspired by true events called The Shield. The storylines revolved around a band of Los Angeles cops gone rogue. By the series' end, the leader of the group (played by Michael Chiklis, who won an Emmy for the role), called the Strike Team, had ratted out his cohorts to save his own hide. The final scene demonstrated he hadn't changed one bit. The Shield was an exceptionally well-written show populated by some of the finest actors in the industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
And anti-heroes seem commonplace now.
Thank Snake Plissken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
The horror genre held on to the good girl is the survivor theme much longer than expected but that trope has also been discarded.
That's mainly a trope in the slasher subgenre.
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