The Best Old Movies for Families
A Guide to Watching Together
By Ty Burr
(Anchor, Paperback, 9781400096862, 384pp.)
Publication Date: February 13, 2007
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If a child can watch Barney, can’t that same child also enjoy watching Charlie Chaplin or the Marx Brothers? And as they get older, wouldn’t they grow to like screwball comedies (His Girl Friday), women’s weepies (Imitation of Life), and westerns (The Searchers)? The answer is that they’ll follow because they’ll have learned that “old” does not necessarily mean “next channel, please.”
Here is an impassioned and eminently readable guide that introduces the delights of the golden age of movies. Ty Burr has come up with a winning prescription for children brought up on Hollywood junk food.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES (Ages 3—6): Fast-paced movies that are simple without being unsophisticated, plainspoken without being dumbed down. Singin’ in the Rain and Bringing Up Baby are perfect.
FOR THE ONES IN BETWEEN (Ages 7—12): “Killer stories,” placing easily grasped characters in situations that start simply and then throw curveballs. The African Queen and Some Like It Hot do the job well.
FOR THE OLDER ONES (Ages 13+): Burr recommends relating old movies to teens’ contemporary favorites: without Hitchcock, there could be no The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, without Brando, no Johnny Depp.
Ty Burr is the film critic for The Boston Globe, and the father of two. For over a decade he wrote about movies for Entertainment Weekly, and estimates he has seen 10,680 films.
“Every parent has asked for Ty Burr’s book. Every movie-mad child will steal it from the parents. This is a guide to classic movies for kids, written with verve, humor, and pep. A winner.”
—David Thomson, author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film
“A treasure, a delight, and quite possibly a marriage-saver as well. Ty Burr’s advice on when, how, and even why to share with our children the movies we cherish from our own youth is funny, hip, and wise. My ten-year-old stole the book right out of my hands.” —Julia Glass, National Book Award–Winning Author of Three Junes
“Terrific, necessary, and carried out with integrity, intelligence, sensitivity, and totally without condescension. Ty Burr's book can lead to a lot of pleasure–of the life-long kind.” —Peter Bogdanovich