Outdated Technology in Movies

Wednesday, February 8 by Joseph Gibson

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One of the joys of watching old movies is the thrill of seeing antiquated technology and laughing haughtily. "What fools," you can say to yourself, "have they never heard of cell phones? Thank God I live in an era in which the technology will last forever." If this sounds like a fun night to you, check out some of these examples of outdated technology in movies on your computer or iPad, which you will own for the rest of your life and will never seem silly in retrospect.

Giant recording devices You can see this in a ton of old movies involving wiretapping. "Touch of Evil" has a great scene at the end in which one character is wearing a wire, and Charlton Heston has to follow him around with this huge loudspeaker (that he has turned on for some reason). "Blow Out" even has a scene in which a guy's wire short-circuits and starts burning him. Thank God the authorities have better ways to spy on our conversations now!

Immovable telephones. One of the most obvious examples of outdated technology in movies is when people have to "get to a phone." The cell phone has basically completely eliminated this as a plot point, so it's interesting to relive a previous era in which a person could have a race-to-the-death to get to a pay phone. Also a thing of the past: calling a girl's house and hearing a guy answer the phone.

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Giant computers. Before the days of the personal computer, movies could squeeze a few minutes out of the novelty of using a computer to solve a problem. Punch some data into a keyboard that's attached to a console as big as the wall, wait a few minutes, and the computer spits out a bit of tape with the name of the murderer on it-stuff like that. One example of this trope, albeit one that probably wasn't intended to be realistic, would be the Batcomputer in the 1966 "Batman" movie. Almost as good at solving riddles as Robin, that thing.

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	<strong>The old internet</strong>. The <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/internet-891/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>internet</a> is always changing, so any movie that <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/shows-2/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>shows</a> it being used becomes instantly dated (if that sort of thing bothers you, you might want to stick to movies made before the world wide web). The most obvious example of this would be "The Net", which features <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/sandra-bullock-897/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>Sandra Bullock</a> as a woman who spends all her time on the internet. Of course, when the movie came out in 1995, this was a bit more novel than it is now, don't you think?</p>
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