gregferrara
gregferrara

It was in grade school that I starting going out of my way to see whatever movies I could from the Golden Era of Hollywood, movies I had read about in the "Motion Pictures" entry in the encyclopedia. I'd stay up late or convince my mom to take me to whatever revival in whatever town I could find. It was with my mom that I saw the double feature of "Creature from the Black Lagoon/It Came from Outer Space," both in their original 3-D, complete with the red and blue glasses, and even though she wanted to leave after the first feature, I convinced her to stay for the whole thing.

It was around this time that my middle school library got a brand new book, just published! And it was about film! That didn't happen often, I can tell you. The book, published in 1976, was "Silents to Sound: A History of the Movies" by Juliet P. Schoen, an author I'd not heard of before and have not heard of since but it was she who introduced me to the movies in a real way. Oh sure, the book was general knowledge, just like the encyclopedia, but it had so much more detail, so many wonderful stories. I read it every week in the library until, one day, quite absent-mindedly, I put it in my backpack and walked out. I didn't mean to and promised myself I'd return it just as soon as I read it a couple more times. Then a little more. Then just a little more. Okay, just one more time!

I've still got it today.

Though it no longer holds anything for me in the way of film knowledge or analysis, I can't get rid of it and the school doesn't even exist anymore anyway. When I started writing online in 2007 I named my blog "Cinema Styles: From Silents to Sound." By 2009 I had dropped the "From Silents to Sound" part but the love remained, the film studies continued and the reception of so much joy, of spiritual fulfillment, taken from the cinema daily is something that remains powerful to this day.

Posts by gregferrara

It can be rather easily argued that the chase epitomizes the cinema.  It is action as story.  The dramatic conflict is easily defined between the chaser and the one being chased as simple pursuit.   One party is relentlessly driving towards another party in the hopes of dramatic resolution.  Any good chase has a beginning, […]

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We are now just a tad under three years removed from the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars in 1977.  In the thirty seven years since, it has spawned sequels, prequels, animated series, ripoffs, homages, and one very special holiday show.  Thirty seven years prior to Star Wars, the most popular film of […]

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On an upcoming installment of The Essentials, hosted by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore,  TCM presents Metropolis, the 1926 Fritz Lang classic about a dystopian future that was very much about 1926 instead of the future in the same way M*A*S*H was about Vietnam much more than it was about Korea.   The movie is […]

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Like any good film fan, I’ve got a million opinions and I’ll be happy to share them with you whenever you’ve got the time.  I’ve also got a million pet peeves and I’ll share those with you whether you’ve got the time or not.  One of those pet peeves is the fact that far too […]

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A few weeks ago I wrote a piece here on actors belonging to a certain place and time.  I mentioned how Lloyd Bridges and Beau Bridges seemed out of place in pre-revolutionary France in The Fifth Musketeer but both would work fine in a movie taking place in the west in the 19th century.  It’s […]

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Paul Mazursky, the actor/writer/director whose movies I grew up with, died yesterday and, as with the death of any famed director/writer/actor, I immediately began to think of his movies.  One of the first to spring to mind was Willie and Phil, from 1980, with Margot Kidder, Michael Ontkean, and Ray Sharkey.  It was a loose […]

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The other day, my Netflix account provided me with a strange couple of recommendations based on something I had recently watched.  This is something to which every user of Netflix has grown accustomed, that is, not only getting the recommendations but sometimes getting strange ones.  The algorithm is usually fairly sound. If, for instance, I […]

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As I look at the movies on TCM’s schedule today, I see both the original Godzilla and Mighty Joe Young, two films employed special effects that may look unconvincing to the modern eye and, yet, seem glorious in their dedication and craft to someone like me.  One employed miniatures and costumes (Godzilla) while the other […]

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I had a healthy conversation the other day on Twitter (yes, that is possible, it just takes a lot of back and forth) about Brian De Palma.  I made an offhanded joke implying, rather unfairly, that De Palma had done nothing of value beyond Blow Out.   He has, of course, and through the conversation, […]

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A while back, I did a post here on the money shot, the big set piece that gets much of the film’s budget and most of its attention.  Think Ben Hur‘s chariot race, the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commendments, the T-Rex attack on the trucks in Jurassic Park, or the train […]

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