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December 26, 2005

Google Time [beta] — Reflections on watching 'Rosebud'


Last evening I screened (love that term, never dreamed I'd be able to use it properly but there you go, if you wait long enough almost anything can — and will — eventually happen...) Otto Preminger's 1975 film, "Rosebud."

It's only available on VHS so I set the sharpness down real, real low on my TV to allow for the increased graininess that jumps out at me nowadays anytime I watch video other than satellite TV or DVDs.

Cable, for example, requires the same sharpness downgrade.

A friend of mine in Texas who this past summer purchased a top–of–the–line NEC 61" plasma screen for $17,000 told me that HDTV is spectacular — but everything else, which is most of what he watches since there's still so little HDTV actually being broadcast, looks terrible by comparison.

That'd be something that would cause me to wait a couple years before moving to the next TV level, even if I could afford it, which I can't.

But I digress.

The movie was OK, with a great cast (Peter O'Toole, 19–year–old Isabelle Huppert, Peter Lawford, former New York mayor John V. Lindsay, an unrecognizable 18–year–old Kim Cattrall, Richard Attenborough).

It concerns a terrorist kidnapping and the resulting chase to find them before they begin executing their hostages.

Vincent Canby, in his 1975 review in the New York Times, ended his piece with this sentence: "This 'Rosebud'... is pure camp."

I suspect that he would not agree with his views then were he able to see what has unfolded over the past three decades.

One other thought I had was that Peter O'Toole would've been an excellent James Bond.


I would not be surprised to learn he'd been offered the role but turned it down.


As the film was going on, I noticed with interest the look of things circa 1975.

And then I had a thought (it happens from time to time, through no conscious effort of mine): wouldn't it be interesting to be able to search Google by time for video?

That is, you'd put 1975 into the search box and get back links to TV and movie footage for that year.

You could narrow it down to a month, a day or even a particular time of day.

Or you could "pull back," as it were, to take in the 70s, or any decade of interest.

It would be as close a thing to a time machine as could be created with today's technology.

I tried it just now, by putting "video TV 1975" in the Google search box: I got back 7,290,000 results but no direct links to actual movies or video or TV from 1975 that I could simply click on and watch.

I read, in the December 22 Financial Times story honoring Larry Page and Sergey Brin as the FT's men of the year, that the Google founders are alway looking for interesting new ways to use their immense collective computing power: well, here's one.

And, best of all, they didn't have to pay one cent more for my idea than any of you do for my inventions and crackpot schemes.

We don't do a sliding scale here at bookofjoe: everyone pays the same.

Money talks, nobody walks.

Hey, wait a minute — what's that music I'm hearing?

You too?

December 26, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Go here: http://www.imdb.com/list

Type in "1975" in Year.

Voila! 4,908 matching titles.

Screen away, Dr. Stirt.

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Dec 26, 2005 8:50:41 PM

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