When the motion picture industry first began, there were certain rules and codes intact which censored certain things like nudity. When the famous actress of the golden age appeared, Mae West, she shifted the Hollywood landscape and it more acceptable for films to become slightly more risqué. Even with the newfound freedom to express and delve deeper into character relationships with one another. However, these romantic relationships took a back seat to the human interaction between characters and how their individual lives intertwined with one another.

Screenplays were more developed

If you were to compare a movie like “Roman Holiday” to one of today’s contemporary romance films, something that would immediately stand out is the pacing of the films. Back in the 1950’s, really took their time in how they developed characters and gave each film a specific sense of place.

Before the main characters (portrayed by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck) even meet, the film establishes the Ann wants to know what it is like to be a normal person as she only knows what it is like to be royal. As the film plays out, the characters spend much of it speaking to each other and even when Peck’s character has the chance to potentially get in bed with the crown princess, he thinks against it.

There was a certain humility and restraint to these movies which made them endearing. A movie can still be romantic and slightly erotic without either character ever having to take their clothes off. Screenwriters like the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo trusted their audiences to fill in the blanks and use their imaginations when determine character intent.

Sex is no longer used to move the plot forward

Not that I am a prude but when movies and television shows have naked men and women having sex with each other at the drop of a hat, what does that say about the world in which we live in? Movies of yesteryear used to show the intricacies of falling in love in much more subtle manner.

The characters would meet and then go through a real process of getting to know one another.

In contemporary films, the movie often begins with the protagonists waking up in bed together and wondering how they get there. The screenwriting and depth of storytelling has regressed in Hollywood. It is a sad reality because while movies about male strippers may make a lot of money, those are not the films that will stand the test of time. Hollywood needs to go back to the drawing board and learn from those that came before them.