On the last post I mentioned the now out of date gadgets but of course most films old or new are populated with the same things we have now (just in different proportions). What you notice the most is what is missing. Sometimes it is objects that have not yet become popular (like computers) or sometimes it is objects that just don’t exist in that world (guns being absent in some fairly recent British cop shows).
Though it can be hard to get past the styles of acting in older films, in general the portrayed world is more aesthetically pleasing. There is not the same clutter we live with. Fewer signs whether commercial or regulatory. And even the interiors seem to have cleaner lines.
And that lack of clutter while sating the eye throws the focus back onto the characters and the narrative. I would also say that people seem to look more dynamic against these backgrounds (free from the signs of regulation).
I would also say that nothing kills action more surely than computers and cell phones and nothing makes an action film more interesting than having no guns (or very few) to rely on.
When characters actually have to figure things out, when they cannot fill their time texting and surfing, they tend to do things more interesting to watch. They, and we, are forced into the moment.
Fifth Element, one of my favourite science fiction films, has plenty of guns but it has few computers and no smartphones.
It zips along partly because people are not constantly connected. When they are not quite sure where exactly someone else is, or whether things are going as they should, they are anxious, and their actions become slightly uncertain.
Life is more interesting when you are discovering things rather than looking them up and people who are discovering things are much more fun to watch. Those perfect heist films only work because things go wrong.