Ways To Show Time and Place Visually
February 11, 2014 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Hey There, I'm looking for ways that time and place are shown in movies without subtitles, i.e. on a newspaper headline, etc. Also, if you can include your favorite film or tv show that depicts the 60's and 70's that would be great! Thanks!
posted by sunnyblues48 to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Often they will show a movie theater marquee with names of actual films. You can extrapolate the date based on the film release date.
posted by scratch at 11:34 AM on February 11, 2014

Outfits and hair! Tie dye and disco everywhere!

Mentioning the president or major world events.

Cars and other transportation.
posted by Jacen at 11:46 AM on February 11, 2014

For the 60s-early 70s my choice is Five Easy Pieces from 1970, because it depicts the reality of that time -- which was not, in fact, tie dye everywhere.

And note that although discotheques were around in big cities from the mid-1960s, 'disco music' didn't really catch on until 1975. Best reflection of that scene is no doubt Saturday Night Fever.
posted by Rash at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2014

I remember once seeing a great cut that involved a calendar flipping through pages. The top "image" part of the calendar was representative of the place (ex. showing sunny mountains and people dressed in modern clothes), place name, and then the camera zoomed past the month year and into the specific day box to start the scene.
Can't for the life of me remember where I saw it though.
posted by troytroy at 12:54 PM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Every movie that shows the Hollywood sign or the Empire State Building or Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower is telegraphing location.

Mean Streets
Taxi Driver
Kramer vs Kramer
The Warriors
Slap Shot
Dog Day Afternoon

Hard Day's Night
Easy Rider
The Graduate
Midnight Cowboy
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Georgy Girl
posted by Ideefixe at 12:55 PM on February 11, 2014

Train or bus station signs?
posted by chaiminda at 1:23 PM on February 11, 2014

There's a scene in Notting Hill that showed time passing (a year) beautifully. Can't find a link, but here's an analysis
posted by Mchelly at 1:40 PM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Store window displays, which contain seasonal or holiday merchandise.

Pop culture references - TV shows on in the backgrounds, records etc

Radio announcers giving the time, date, weather

Character looking at a watch

Calendar pages flipping by (big in midcentury movies)


Brands - like bags with the logo of a well-known local business

Identifiable icons of a place, like the LOVE sculpture, the Checker Cab, the Golden Gate, Pike's Place Market

Public transport - colors/designs on trains and buses

People referencing neighborhoods and businesses

Skyline or aerial shots

Neighborhood roll-by shots (think of the opening of Portlandia)

Name of place on air or train ticket or on an addressed envelope

Signs on buildings

Clothing styles

People's gear/equipment - eg surfboards, bikes, snowblowers, pickup trucks, parkas
posted by Miko at 2:05 PM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some things that do both:
Cars on the street— if you see Citroens versus Fords versus Jags
Extras in a public place reading a newspaper or magazine
Festivals and other local, seasonal events
Seconding pop culture events
posted by a halcyon day at 3:34 PM on February 11, 2014

Definitely cars and pop culture events.
Also, objects people have or use. For example, in Argo, Ben Affleck's character's son has a set of Star Wars sheets on his bed - the same kind of Star Wars sheets I had as a kid in the late 70s-early 80s.

I think Crooklyn gets the 70s absolutely right.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:38 AM on February 12, 2014

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