Now that I was blogging about films anyway, I thought I’d mention my favorite older films, all of them from the black and white era. Sorted from oldest to youngest:
- Nosferatu (1922)
- The Great Dictator (1940)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- Casablanca (1942)
- Seven Samurai (1954)
- To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
All of these are classics, and most are part of our cultural heritage. Sadly, only Nosferatu is part of the public domain. It can be seen here on the Internet Archive. Others are still copyrighted, for example Seven Samurai will enter the public domain in Japan in 2036, 38 years after the death of Kurosawa. I don’t want to see copyright abolished because investments do need to be protected of course, but it would be more healthy if it would expire as soon as the individual author dies in the case of individual authorship, and maybe 50 years in the case of corporate authorship. It’s a shame that politicians have so far only been increasing copyright terms, probably under the influence of a powerful industry lobby.
Concerning the films, I think they are all highly recommended. What makes them truly great is that they still impress in the 21st century, despite their age. The Great Dictator is incredibly hilarious, while I have a lot of appreciation for the quality of other films, The Great Dictator was the most fun to watch. It’s also special because it was produced at a time when the scale and intensity of the Nazis’ crimes were not fully known. Since watching this film I want to watch Charlie Chaplin’s other films.