Predicting the future is always chancy. You can’t help but get some things right, and for that you’ll get a little credit. Small portable computers that connect with a global database? Eh, Star Trek saw that coming in 1967. You can’t help get some things wrong, because you don’t know what innovations will jump-start a new market, and for that you’ll be derided. Ha ha, they thought we’d be traveling across country in underground steam-powered tubes, dressed in suits and wearing hats. When you look back at 80s movies set in the future, they’re instantly dated by big clunky CRTs. It’s not always fatal; “Alien” had that Master Computer room, where the crew would go to type on a noisy keyboard to get fuzzy green letters on a black screen, and the graphics on the bridge were rudimentary. Doesn’t matter; the rest of the film is so convincing you let it slide. But a film set in 2165 where people are talking into portable phones the size of shoeboxes? No.
Which brings us to this set of predictions from Film Daily, 1924. Let’s see what they thought the movies of 2024 would be like. First, a mixed bag:
It may have seemed thrilling to consider: motion pictures, on airplanes? What a marvelous world! Ships don’t have first-run movies yet, but they do have large theaters that show recent pictures. They’re not delivered by airplane, obviously, although that would be cool. Here comes the biplane to drop off cans of films with parachutes! Watch your head, ladies and gentlemen. Trains - well, I remember taking Amtrak in the 90s, and they would show a movie on a 27” TV in the corner of the observation lounge. Not what the author may have dreamed, but such is the state of trains. Families do indeed make their own movies, or at least they have the tools to do so. Whether they edit them or just shovel the raw mpgs into a folder marked CHRISTMAS I can’t say.
Films haven't replaced actual teaching, unless you have a substitute.
Here we have a false assumption: we can transmit the voice wirelessly, so it stands to reason we will perfect color film. What?
It’s hard to believe that he thought synchronization would be impossible, and his reasons don’t have anything to do with technical challenges. People wouldn’t want it. The opposite would be true, of course. They’d clamor for it. They’d overturn the industry demanding it. He's right about the greatest composers of th day devoting thier skill to soundtracks, but they wouldn't be scoring for movies free of dialogue.
But the author isn’t finished, and hammers the point to submission:
NOTED, dude. Finally, he seems to anticipate 3d and widescreen:
The author of the piece? A man who invented many of the styles and techniques that came to define the medium - and the director of one of the most controversial film of the Teens. D.W. Griffith.