Something is going on.
As a classic movie fan for over 20 years, I have noticed a slow yet steady progression of period piece films and television shows emerging. Originally I felt that my holier-than-thou, “I know who Vincente Minnelli is and you don’t,” attitude was simply a reflection of what was going on in my environment. Maybe I watch too many classic films and that is the reason why they are within my awareness, I thought. However, this was dispelled last Sunday night at the stellar Oscar celebration/fundraiser held by Red River Theatres in Concord.
The evening was choreographed with the flawless orchestrations of the Tall Granite Big Band. Swanky sounds of Glen Miller, Nat King Cole, and the like filled the air. The O Steaks and Seafood restaurant, full to capacity, served delectable appetizers to standing room-only patrons. The dance floor was packed with glamorous women and meticulously dressed men, all in the best of spirits, varying in age, intertwined in an evening of elegance, proving once again that music unites us. The gracious Red River staff’s excitement matched those of their guests, adding to the mood of the captivating affair.
Part of me stood back in observance and slight disbelief. At least one-third of the crowd were between the ages of 25-35, and to this end, I believe my past suspicions may be correct. Are we just looking for a reason to dress up? That was more the likely story, until a hipster walked past me and my immediate thought was — there “is” a shift happening. . . slow and steady, but a shift, nonetheless.
Period pieces have been – and will always be – a part of our entertainment. However in the past 10 years or so, what was once enjoyed by a dimly-lit subculture seems to be coalescing into consciousness of the mainstream.
Let’s have a look at the evidence, shall we?
The Shape of Water takes best picture at the 2018 Oscars, not to mention the nominations and wins in previous years for movies such as La La Land, Midnight in Paris, The Great Gatsby, and The Artist, to name a few.
A little over 10 years ago, a bubbling of television series started scattering through the ether. Most were unsuccessful — not so much for their quality, but for the lack of viewers. Period film pieces have always had enough strength to stand on their own, however, television series have not. Personally, I felt this shift (at least TV-wise) really began with the hugely successful series Boardwalk Empire. Finally, a sustainable period series with all the bells and whistles impeccably executed, that offered a tantalizing glimpse to the “regular” world of what classic movie fans have been faithful devotees of for years, opening doors of exploration for various period piece series such as Vinyl, starring Bobby Cannavale (I am still upset Vinyl was cancelled and subsequently I have been holding a silent boycott of HBO. Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger, please pitch Amazon, or just make the movie . . . we didn’t even get to see your depiction of Studio 54).
Currently, Amazon seems to have given a fair outlet to such shows including, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, starring Rachel Brosnahan, a 1950s-era binge-worthy, superbly-written, feel-good comedy. “Z” the Beginning of Everything, starring Christina Ricci, the 1920s story of Zelda Fitzgerald, complete with gush-worthy sets, The Last Tycoon, starring Matt Bomer, a failed attempt at depicting the glory years and inner-workings of Hollywood, but nonetheless a feast for the eyes. Even Disney’s Beauty and the Beast summons the spirit of Busby Berkeley, Singing in the Rain and Cabaret in its delightful “Be Our Guest” sequence.
Simultaneously, Lin Manuel Miranda, famed creator of the Broadway breakout smash hits The Heights and Hamilton, explodes onto the scene, adding to the latest musical fodder and demanding a millennial generation — which had little if any concern for the self-contained audience of the Broadway musical — stand at attention.
Swing Dancing, ballroom dancing, (thank you Dancing with the Stars) and not to mention the growing subculture of “Time Warp” individuals, couples and families, who literally create their world to reflect their ideal era, are slowly yet steadily on the upswing. This creates the convergence of a three-fold chord allowing an interesting introduction to the classic film genre. Purely based off of the response, it seems we just might have a resurgence of … dare I say … class.
Constance Cherise is a multi-passionate entrepreneur. She is a classic movie-lover, empowerment coach, foodie, Disco “everything” fanatic, aspiring writer and artist. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.