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Doug Centers
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Posted: 12 January 2019 at 10:45am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Over the years, everyday movements and actions have been used in film to help bridge between dialogue or as a modest dramatic effect.
One I've always liked was the striking of a match. Whether off the side of a desk or the head of a statue or with the thumbnail or, my favorite, the back of a pant leg,most of those directors knew where to place it for the proper impact. Especially in Noir films of the day. I can practically smell the sulfur!

Can anyone think of some more nuances of past films that have disappeared?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 January 2019 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Dialing phones!

MST2K once wondered how many accumulated hours had been spent dialing phones.

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 January 2019 at 11:58am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Telephones used to play a huge role in the way in which stories played out. My favorite example of how this plays out differently now is a scene in FAHRENHEIT 451 where the hero finds his wife dying at their home and runs from room to room to track down the pill bottles, and in a funny depiction of what the future would be like, there is literally a phone in every room, sometimes two. Because who wants to be without a phone, right?

Cell phones changed the very nature of storytelling just as telephones themselves did before them. 

That may not be a nuance, however. How about all of the things that could be communicated with the adjustment of a hat brim or the manner in which a hat is removed or put back on? There was once an entire school of etiquette and interpersonal dynamics built around men's hats. See also: ties. 

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Doug Centers
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Posted: 12 January 2019 at 12:25pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Brian, hats were one of those I was thinking of! Place it high on your head and you show some levity. Pull the brim down over one eye with a hint of a smirk, before leaving the room and no words are needed.

Yes JB, rotary phones. How much tension can you build while a nervous hand tries dialing a phone?
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 12 January 2019 at 2:30pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Though smoking hasn't disappeared from film, I would contend that it is used far less than in the past, when it would often demonstrate much about a character. Nervousness, cold detachment, laconic poise, and so on.

Something that has gone very much out of the window (and for the best) was giving a hysterical woman a slap in the face in order to calm her down (mercilessly lampooned in Airplane! of course).
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Brandon Frye
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Posted: 13 January 2019 at 12:10pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The mixing of drinks was done quite a bit in both movies and TV as I recall. 

It may still be around but it's been awhile since I've seen the casual mixing of a cocktail over a conversation. 
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 13 January 2019 at 3:09pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Often I've had to look up a drink I'd never heard of before. The latest being the Gibson in which Cary Grant ordered in NORTH BY NORTHWEST .
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 13 January 2019 at 4:53pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Staying in the field of drinks: giving someone brandy, often from a beautifully cut crystal decanter, to help them after a shock was an old staple.

No one ever pours brandy from a bottle in the movies. They always have it decanted.
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 13 January 2019 at 9:38pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Not so much a nuance, but one thing that modern movies tend to lack is slower pacing. Many films nowadays are all about quick cutting and moving things along, presumably to appeal to the shorter attention spans of the modern viewer. Older movies often took their time at certain points and that allowed the viewer to absorb things better and appreciate things like the cinematography as well as helping to rachet up suspense levels more effectively. 
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 13 January 2019 at 10:41pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

'Text M for Murder' just doesn't seem to work as well...
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 14 January 2019 at 8:03am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I wonder if the brandy was decanted so that they were
not advertising a brand gratis?
Speaking of drinks, do people in real life have spirits
out on display, and casually drink them at any time of
day? (other than alcoholics!)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 January 2019 at 9:38am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

One of my wealthier friends has a custom built wine cellar that looks like a set from a James Bond film. Hundreds of bottles. But even he doesn’t have booze just standing around.
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