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Why does the 70s and early to mid 80s look so grimy in movies, film and photographs?

Everything started to look cleaner starting in 1987 or so.

by Anonymousreply 9105/24/2020

New York movies from the 70s are grimy because New York was grimy.

by Anonymousreply 106/12/2018

Ronald Reagan cleaned everything up.

by Anonymousreply 206/12/2018

obviously op hasn't seen G's perm from the 1987 release Fatal Attraction.

by Anonymousreply 306/12/2018

Digital cleaned up the grainy analog.

by Anonymousreply 406/12/2018

I always thought this too. And people had sweaty skin and frizzy hair. I guess the products and diets changed. Or people just put forth more effort later to appear presentable. Everyone is so done over now. The 90s grunge was the last of the natural look.

I think the film/camera had something to do with it too. Old movies are usually really clear where you can see every pore or foggy or dingy.

by Anonymousreply 506/12/2018

[quote] obviously op hasn't seen G's perm from the 1987 release Fatal Attraction.

Or M’s ugly, alcoholic face in Ironweed.

by Anonymousreply 606/12/2018

Op here, for instance if you see 50s or early 60s movies, everything looks clean and gorgeous. And by the late 80s (I said 87 but could be 86 or 88/89) things started to look clean-ish. Example the ¨Southern¨ movies Crimes of the Heart and DL's fave, Steel Magnolias look pretty and clean with their pastel colors, etc. Even Working Girl looks way cleaner than other early/mid 80s movies.

by Anonymousreply 706/12/2018

Another example are Madonna's videos. Her 89 videos look clean, her Like a Virgin video looks grimy.

by Anonymousreply 806/12/2018

Because movies focused on glamour up until the 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, grittiness was where it was at.

by Anonymousreply 906/12/2018

r6 I was playing an alcoholic homeless person not a femme fatale plus you forgot to sign it G

by Anonymousreply 1006/12/2018

There was a cultural shift in the mid eighties. I started high school in 1982. Music was Van Halen and AC/DC. Something Everyone wore jeans and t shirts, not a lot of colour fashion wise. Around 1984 things changed. Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Wham - the whole eighties music scene exploded. Along with it came fluorescent colours, big hair, etc. Everything seemed to brighten up. I think it was a reaction to the grittiness of the 1970s.

by Anonymousreply 1106/12/2018

In the early 80s it was fake wood paneling, women wore dresses with wrapping paper patterns (a la Bobbi Mohan Cope from SNL) and had Dorothy Hamill haircuts. By '85, it was hot pink, shoulder pads, pastel furniture. A good example is the Drummond Residence from Diff'rent Strokes. Look at the set the design for the first seven seasons, then look at the remodeled version when it moved to ABC.

by Anonymousreply 1206/12/2018

Smoking, OP.

by Anonymousreply 1306/12/2018

Yes I noticed it too, the best examples are TV shoes that started in the late 70s/early 80s and how by 1985 they all looked "cleaner " and very pastel and neon but looked pretty grimy in the late 70s/early 80s

I'm talking about The Facts of Life, Dynasty, Knots Landing and Dallas as well both went through a HUGE change in their look in 1986, compare a 1986 episode to a 1981 episode and it's like 100 years passed

by Anonymousreply 1406/12/2018

Another good example is All That Jazz. Just look at the walls in that movie -- covered in a filthy layer of nicotine sludge

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by Anonymousreply 1506/12/2018

Today that space would be closed for numerous health & safety violations. All That Jazz RIP.

by Anonymousreply 1606/12/2018

Agree with r2. It was the Reagan Revolution.

by Anonymousreply 1706/12/2018

Well, everyone is noticing a cultural norm that goes far beyond the 1980s. The first few years of any decade have more to do stylistically and culturally with the previous decade than what the current decade becomes. The early sixties is 1950s culture but the late sixties is a very different experience related more to the early and mid 70s.

by Anonymousreply 1806/12/2018

Well the eighties were a time of great wealth so I guess TV and movies reflected that. This is almost unbelievable but in the late eighties you could get certificates of deposits for something like 12 percent interest.

I forget the exact figure but a childhood neighbor of mine who worked in the local bank at the time posted ads on facebook that she modeled for advertising some extraordinary rate like that. And no risk!!!

by Anonymousreply 1906/12/2018

Or you could get a boxer.

by Anonymousreply 2006/13/2018

Woe! People are completely misremembering when the "80s" happened.

The 1980s and the "cleaner" look that we all associated with that period actually started happening as early as 1979 with The Buggles (Video Killed the Radio Star and M (Pop Muzik). If you look up The Bangles performing "Vacation" from 1982 and The Human League's "Fascination" video from 1983, you'll see that the 1980s' more glamorous look was already underway.

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by Anonymousreply 2106/13/2018

^ You can even see how culture had already transitioned with this portrait of John Lennon before he died. He'd spent the bulk of the 70s looking like a scruffy hippie. This is what he looked like in 1980.

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by Anonymousreply 2206/13/2018

Bangles from 1982.

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by Anonymousreply 2306/13/2018

I remember the first time I saw the video to "One in a Lifetime" by The Talking Heads. It presented a brand new visual vocabulary I'd never seen before. I thought, "What the hell is this?" "This" turned out to be the 80s.

by Anonymousreply 2406/13/2018

r21 The 80s were not clean in movies and tv shows, you id... .

by Anonymousreply 2506/13/2018

It was the quality of the film.

I took a lot of photos of New York in the 70s and they look very beige.

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by Anonymousreply 2606/13/2018

Whereas 60s COLOR looks much better.

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by Anonymousreply 2706/13/2018

60s London

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by Anonymousreply 2806/13/2018

70s London

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by Anonymousreply 2906/13/2018

They've made the mistake of trying to BOOST 70s color in movies from the 70s and it looks peculiar...faces end up looking all pink and weird. They should leave it alone.

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by Anonymousreply 3006/13/2018

70s, decade of skank

by Anonymousreply 3106/14/2018

OP it's true.

I lived through the 70s and 80s and I remember thinking how ugly everything looked.

Look at 1960s game shows and TV series. The sharp slim suits and pleatless pants. The shift dresses. The bright clear colors and graphic black and white.

Look at the advertising in magazines like Life. Everything was clean, sharp and sophisticated looking.

But 10 years later it was bad hair cuts and crumpled clothes... everything looked cluttered.

"Midnight Cowboy" kind of harbored in the look you're talking about.

by Anonymousreply 3206/14/2018

[quote]I lived through the 70s and 80s and I remember thinking how ugly everything looked.

I thought that - but nothing came close to 2000-10. That was a TRULY ugly period.

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by Anonymousreply 3306/14/2018

and the pregnant women with the bare midrith?...gurl, please!

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by Anonymousreply 3406/14/2018

The earth tones didn't help matters.

by Anonymousreply 3506/14/2018

Cars are so ugly now...all look the same, equally as ugly and no color.

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by Anonymousreply 3606/14/2018

[quote]The earth tones didn't help matters.

Better than all that BLACK (2000-10), which is thankfully disappearing

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by Anonymousreply 3706/14/2018

[quote]Cars are so ugly now.

I completely disagree.

Auto design is the best now since the 1960s.

The worst period was the late 70s through the 1980s: padded vinyl roofs, "opera" windows, crushed velvet upholstery.

The 90s were horrible too with all of the plastic cladding and molded plastic interiors with velour upholstry.

Cars look so much better today... and finally interiors look good again.

by Anonymousreply 3806/14/2018

[quote][R21] The 80s were not clean in movies and tv shows, you id... .

I was responding to other comments in the thread, you stupid kid. Go crawl back to 4chan/YouTube. Adults are talking.

by Anonymousreply 3906/14/2018

I used to take the bus for the day from NJ to NYC in the late 70s and early 80s. When I'd come home, I'd blow my nose, and it was gritty black. It was a really dirty city back then.

by Anonymousreply 4006/14/2018

[quote] A good example is the Drummond Residence from Diff'rent Strokes. Look at the set the design for the first seven seasons, then look at the remodeled version when it moved to ABC.

You are truly endearing, R12.

by Anonymousreply 4106/14/2018

R33 That photo you posted was a niche way of dressing among a certain demographic.

But for the most part, there was no saving anyone in the 1970 and 80s.

by Anonymousreply 4206/14/2018

People, I repeat, misremembering when the transition between the "grimy"1970s and "cleaner" 1980s happened.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982.

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by Anonymousreply 4306/14/2018

It was a grimy time OP.

by Anonymousreply 4406/14/2018

I agree with those who was say it has something to do with the film. Maybe it was the way it was processed.

Something else I notice is the teeth. Look at the teeth then versus the teeth now. People used to have some fucked up grills.

by Anonymousreply 4506/14/2018

[quote]Something else I notice is the teeth. Look at the teeth then versus the teeth now. People used to have some fucked up grills.

Gurl, you could argue that the bleached shockers of today are just as fucked up.

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by Anonymousreply 4606/14/2018

I think now looks more run-down than the 70s

by Anonymousreply 4706/14/2018

[quote]Cars look so much better today... and finally interiors look good again.

You have horrible taste.

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by Anonymousreply 4806/14/2018

Yes, please link to a car that looks good. I think they stopped looking good in the 60s By the 90s-2000s they all looked terrible and indistinguishable.

by Anonymousreply 4906/14/2018


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by Anonymousreply 5006/14/2018

more '70s

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by Anonymousreply 5106/14/2018

DL loves the 70s

by Anonymousreply 5206/14/2018

Digital destroyed film.

by Anonymousreply 5306/14/2018

70s NY looked good.

by Anonymousreply 5406/14/2018

The problem with R26 & R29 is that the images are faded, not the cities.

Here's 1970s London

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by Anonymousreply 5506/14/2018

The film had a lot to do with it: Kodachrome was being phased out and replaced with Kodacolor and the dyes used then for both still and motion picture film proved to be less stable, degrading over time.

Part of the grittiness - apart from fashion which in the 1970's was execrable - was air pollution: cities were filthy back then and while California started working on smog caused by auto emissions in the 1960's, it wasn't until the 1970's that unleaded fuel and catalytic converters were introduced nationwide and it took a while to get the bulk of the older, more polluting cars off the roads. Likewise with not-so-clean coal: it took time to introduce the smokestack scrubbers and get utilities to use less-polluting grades of oil and coal to fire generating plants.

I agree about the cars. While there are some decent designs now, too many recent vehicles look they have cow-catchers in front and weird sharp lines and creases on the sides.

As for what's better now or worse, some places do look more run-down. These are places that are more run-down economically and socially - the Rust Belt, hollowed-out big cities like Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, etc., and a lot of small/rural towns that look abandoned. Other places look far better, NYC and DC being two of the most noticeably different. In the 1970's there were slums on Capitol Hill and in Hell's Kitchen and Alphabet City. No more. Baltimore and parts of Chicago, otoh, still look like shit

by Anonymousreply 5606/14/2018

[quote]Yes, please link to a car that looks good.

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by Anonymousreply 5706/14/2018


by Anonymousreply 5806/14/2018

This is the same car in 1986

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by Anonymousreply 5906/14/2018

I agree that the 70s were about gritty realism in film - then the 80s were the bubblegum fantasy of wealth. Reflects the politics and realities of the time - 70s were accepting and dealing with poverty and the social causes of crime, 80s were about ignoring poverty and throwing people in jail.

by Anonymousreply 6006/14/2018

Cadillac 1986

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by Anonymousreply 6106/14/2018

That is awful, R61.

by Anonymousreply 6206/14/2018

Cadillac 2018

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by Anonymousreply 6306/14/2018

That's HORRIBLE, R63.

1975 >

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by Anonymousreply 6406/14/2018

1975 again.

Stuff of dreams.

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by Anonymousreply 6506/14/2018

Don't remind me, R61. I inherited Dad's 1986 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance when I died. It was an absolute piece of shit, cost a fortune to maintain, and looked like leather-upholstered whorehouse inside. I got rid of it ASAP

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by Anonymousreply 6606/14/2018

R65= Superfly

by Anonymousreply 6706/14/2018

R66, when "he" died, that is...

by Anonymousreply 6806/14/2018

Lincoln 2018

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by Anonymousreply 6906/14/2018

What's the bullshit today with the dreary colors?

I love my car but it's black...even the inner wheels are black. When I bought it, I had a choice of two colors, black and black.

by Anonymousreply 7006/14/2018

[quote]Lincoln 2018

Looks like every car on the road individuality.

by Anonymousreply 7106/14/2018

Lincoln 1986 (R65 will love it)

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by Anonymousreply 7206/14/2018

There was a lot of pollution then.

by Anonymousreply 7306/14/2018

That's especially nasty. Anyway - I like the look of 70s American cars. Not THAT.

by Anonymousreply 7406/14/2018

R72 The Lincoln is amazingly similar, actually, right down to the oh-so-clarsy "Opera Lights" on the B-pillar and the fake wire wheels.

by Anonymousreply 7506/14/2018

Cars are much better designed today, even the inexpensive Hondas and Hyundais. Those old Cadillacs from the 70s looked as sexy as Jeeps.

by Anonymousreply 7606/14/2018

[quote]DL loves the 70s

The two fit perfectly.

by Anonymousreply 7706/14/2018

While back in the 1960's, they made some amazingly beautiful automobiles.

My first, in 1966, was one of these. Not because a 16 year old would buy one, but because my Mom couldn't stand it and gave it to me in order to get my father to buy her something smaller. It had two four-barrel carburetors and got about 12 mpg on the highway, but no one cared: gas was 25 cents a gallon.

There were two sets of seatbelts in the front: one each for the driver and one passenger. I could get 8 or 9 kids in it, though, so everyone else was on their own. It was gorgeous, but when stuff started to break, it stayed broken because I couldn't afford to fix it.

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by Anonymousreply 7806/14/2018

No cute cars like this anymore

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by Anonymousreply 7906/14/2018

'90s Grunge and filming in Canada sucked most color right back out. There for a few years every project filmed in Canada had three colors: gray, black and steel blue. And I respectfully disagree that actors are looking better these days. They're so plain and blah.

by Anonymousreply 8006/14/2018

[quote]While back in the 1960's, they made some amazingly beautiful automobiles.

[quote]No cute cars like this anymore

The 1960s was the height of automobile least as far as looks went.

But that XKE had no safety equipment.

Today cars have a level of safety for passengers that could not be imagined 50 years ago.

What is amazing to me is that manufacturers have today found a way to combine style and safety.

That XKE is beautiful... but the 2018 Jaquar F type looks pretty darn good too.

In the 80s you would not have seen a design this nice:

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by Anonymousreply 8106/14/2018

[quote]No cute cars like this anymore

I'd be fine with this.

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by Anonymousreply 8206/14/2018

Back in the 60s and 70s, Soho lofts were pretty cheap... artists were taking up residence because of the lower costs. Today, they're worth millions $$$$.

by Anonymousreply 8306/14/2018

I lived in a tatty (do you use the word tatty in the USA?) old loft in SoHo in the 80s. Great big room. Vast really....and four cubicles that we four queens slept in. It was quite cozy unto you know what happened.

by Anonymousreply 8406/14/2018

I like that word, tatty... yea, got it. Another description for "character".. rough around the edges, but cool.

by Anonymousreply 8506/14/2018

80s things were around before, but the vibe did not start to take over until about 1984.

by Anonymousreply 8605/23/2020

Listen, Fuckos; you went colonial for the bicentennial bullshit and then you had your decision tree to follow.

Your pine/maple Olde furniture can go Little House On The Prairie if you throw down a basket with leaves in it. This is great if you’re part of the wave of divorces in the early 80s.


You go full “Interiors” and strip away everything but a pot made by a self-harming artist.

There was a lot of grit until Memphis and deco jumped.

by Anonymousreply 8705/23/2020

Stylistically, American Gigolo was filmed in 1979 and released in 1980, and it teeters on the edge of the two eras. It is an ugly '70s sexual melodrama mixed with purely 1980s visuals and a pretty color palette inspired by the works of Armani.

When Deborah Harry wrote the lyrics to Call Me after viewing an early cut of the film, she added the "color me your color" line because the cool visuals were so unlike anything from the 1970s.

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by Anonymousreply 8805/23/2020

Decades are an arbitrary measurement. What we think of as the 70s really means about 72-73 to I'd say 1984. The 80s end in 92-93 and the 90s on Sept 11 2001. Future generations may look at post COVID society as we look at pre-internet society, ie "imagine living like that!"

by Anonymousreply 8905/23/2020

2007 ate whatever style was forming and we’ve been stuck ever since.

They’ll bring back republican floral if we don’t do something.

by Anonymousreply 9005/24/2020

2007 ate whatever style was forming and we’ve been stuck ever since.

They’ll bring back republican floral if we don’t do something.

by Anonymousreply 9105/24/2020
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