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The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Togetherby Ty Burr
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Lists classic movies that parents can share with their children, featuring age-appropriate suggestions from toddlers to teenagers.
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.
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