David Kalat
David Kalat If you ask where I'm from, I have to give an essay in response: I was born in Philadelphia, lived briefly in Atlantic City and then Durham, before spending most of my childhood and formative years in Raleigh, NC. I went to college at the University of Michigan (where I was in the second cohort of students to go through U of M's Film and Video Studies Program), and spent a year in Freiburg, Germany. After graduation, I lived in Washington, DC for a year, then followed my wife Julie to Bloomington where she attended law school. After a summer in New York, we both returned to DC, moved to the Alexandria suburbs, and then moved to the outskirts of Chicago where I am now. One thing has been a constant through all that-I love movies. I eat them. It was a weird confluence of science fiction/horror and slapstick comedy that first commanded my heart. As a little kid I thrilled to Godzilla and Hammer horror, in revival screenings at Raleigh's Rialto and similar theaters, while watching Batman and Doctor Who on TV. At the same time I was obsessed with the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and the Three Stooges. By the time I was twenty-five I'd already seen THE GENERAL in five different theaters in five different cities. My career path has been as peripatetic as my lifestyle. I once aspired to making movies of my own and one of my short films was released on DVD, even though I was the one who published it, so maybe that doesn't count. I started writing about movies in 1997 with the publication of A CRITICAL HISTORY AND FILMOGRAPHY OF TOHO'S GODZILLA SERIES, a book that won me a lot of attention and acclaim but which I eventually grew to dislike. I rewrote it, and had the completely revamped text published under the same title as if it were just a second edition. Joke's on you! I've also written about J-Horror and Dr. Mabuse, while contributing essays on subjects such as Fantomas, French horror and Edgar Ulmer to various anthologies. From time to time I record audio commentaries as well. Now I blog.
Posts by David Kalat

So, gentle readers, this is my farewell. I started writing for TCM’s website ten years ago; I joined the Movie Morlocks six years ago. Since my debut here in the fall of 2010 I’ve posted over 300 blog posts. Between the Morlocks posts and my work on the website, I’ve contributed significantly more than 500,000 […]

READ MORE

I ran across the IMDB listing for Spike Lee’s 2014 film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus the other day and chuckled at its inept attempt at classification: the film was identified simultaneously as a comedy, thriller, and romance. And since that same set of classifications nicely describes His Girl Friday but fails to encapsulate the […]

READ MORE

For the moment, set the title aside. There is no character named “Colonel Blimp” in this film—we will come to him later. Instead, our hero, if that’s the word, is Major-General Clive Wynne-Candy (Roger Livesey). We find him, fat and comfortable, in a Turkish bath. He is a caricature of himself, a grotesque parody of […]

READ MORE

College students are coming to the Hotel Casa Del Mar–in pairs they come, two by two. It’s a veritable Noah’s Ark for young scholars. Why they have come is a matter of some debate, however. The new manager of the Casa Del Mar (Jack Benny) has told the coeds that they are going to be […]

READ MORE

You might wonder why I’ve chosen Independence Day weekend to write about a Hungarian immigrant’s movie about a British spy in Russia.  Well, silly, as I’ve said repeatedly before in this forum–America is a land of immigrants, and when better than Independence Day to celebrate our melting pot society?  Plus, this is a film by […]

READ MORE

It’s a venerable cliché, the idea of “one last big score.” The hero, reluctantly recognizing his glory days are behind him, deciding to make one last play for glory. And so we find “Le Stephanois,” an aging gangster released from prison to a world that has passed him by. He has scores to settle, and […]

READ MORE

There’s an old joke about a comedians’ convention. Comedians have come from around the world to gather in each others’ company, and they are such experienced veterans of the joke trade that instead of telling each other jokes, they just list them off by number. “7!” (polite applause); “122!” (respectful chuckles); and so on. Then […]

READ MORE

The latest installment in Walt Disney’s Tim Burton’s Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland series has arrived only to falter unexpectedly. The 2010 film was an outsized international hit, and the sequel seemed to promise more of the same—but I’m not here to pick over its bones. I haven’t even seen the latest film so I’m […]

READ MORE

DVR alert—thanks to this month’s Marie Dressler tribute, coming up on June 6th TCM is running the 1914 comedy feature Tillie’s Punctured Romance. This is a hugely important work in film history—just about any film reference will tell you so. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: “Tillie’s Punctured Romance is notable for being the first […]

READ MORE

Back in my formative years—or my movie watching formative years at least—there was a local independent TV station in Raleigh, NC called Channel 22.  It was my constant friend and companion, the venue by which I discovered and/or cemented my passion for such a wide range of movie genres, filmmakers, and specific oddball pictures. As […]

READ MORE

Streamline is the official blog of FilmStruck, a new subscription service that offers film aficionados a comprehensive library of films including an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign and cult films.