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 t 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 36): 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 712): 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 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, without Brando, Johnny Depp.
Ty Burr is the film critic for TheBoston 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.