Why Classic Movies Have Terrible Trailers

Adrienne LaFrance, writing for The Atlantic:

Pulp Fiction lampoons itself in a way that captures director Quentin Tarantino’s still-appealing puckishness, but the devices it uses seem old-fashioned by today's standards. But this isn’t just a particular quirk of Pulp Fiction’s promos. Watching the trailer for any classic film years after its release can be a disorienting experience. Many trailers don't hold up at all, even when their full-length film counterparts do.

This may seem counterintuitive. After all, a trailer is made from pieces of the film. It's meant to encapsulate what the film is all about. And yet the narrative structure of the film trailer, as a format, seems to evolve more rapidly than the narrative structure of film.

There are film people who watch trailers and film people who don’t—I watch them. And I have always wondered why old trailers are so rotten. Now I know.