Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Today marks the 100th birthday of director Akira Kurosawa; some of his best-known movies are airing tonight in prime time on TCM, such as Rashomon at 8:00 PM ET. TCM is also airing Kurosawa's earlier movies all morning and afternoon, but I haven't seen any of those, so I can't recommend them.

So, I was going to do a birthday post for somebody else, and was pleasantly surprised to see another format change for IMDb's birthday pages. As I mentioned a month ago, IMDb used to have the births/deaths/marriages all on one page, with each set in two columns, in chronological order. In February, it changed to be in some arbitrary order, apparently based on fame. Now, it's closer to the original. The births are in chronological order, albeit in only one column, and also include the place of birth information.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Having everything in one column is great if you're looking for somebody who would have been born around the time when the information would have been at the bottom of the old first column or the top of the second column. If you want to look at the oldest births, just use the "end" key to go all the way to the bottom of the page. Also, the place of birth makes it slightly easier to differentiate between all those John Williamses. The only possible quibbles I'd have are that there's a lot of empty space on the page now, as well as the fact that the births and deaths are on separate pages, and there doesn't seem to be any easy link to the deaths. That, and since all the information is in a database, you'd think it should be easy to sort it any way the user wants: chronologically, or by alphabetical order. But at least they've improved the design.

For the record, probably the most famous person sharing a March 23 birthday with Kurosawa is Joan Crawford who, depending on the source, was born in either 1905 or 1908.

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