Greg Ferrara
Greg Ferrara

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. No matter, 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 Greg Ferrara

David Mamet has enjoyed a career as one of the most expressive and manipulative playwrights of his time. When I say “manipulative” I do not mean that in any sense to be an insult. Rather, Mamet understands how to manipulate his characters and situations precisely (you’ll see that word a lot in this piece) to […]

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The year of 1977 in the movies is overshadowed by one major box office transforming success, Star Wars. It is also known as the year that Woody Allen stepped away from slapstick and journeyed into more sophisticated filmmaking, enjoying both critical and Oscar success with Annie Hall, which won Best Picture. What it is not […]

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We all have performers or movies that grant us entry into genres, eras, or styles. Spencer Tracy was one of the actors who got me hooked into classic cinema. Boris Karloff hooked me into horror. And Yves Montand was the first international star I ever really knew. Like many stars appealing to a new generation, […]

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Richard Bone is the ultimate passive protagonist.  He initiates almost nothing and, in the end, when given the chance to redeem his inaction, does so in a way that immediately casts doubt about that action and lets him off the hook. Alex Cutter is the ultimate active protagonist.  He acts insistently and consistently, to the […]

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In 1966, two films with remarkably similar themes but completely different approaches hit the screens around the world and neither was given the credit it deserved.  The first, released a few months ahead of the other, is The Face of Another, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, a film that explores the life of a man whose […]

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On November 20th, 1975, the dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco died.  It could be said that on that day the director Pedro Almodóvar was born. Almodóvar, who had wanted to study film in school but couldn’t because Franco had shut down the National School of Cinema in Madrid, spent several years studying on his own, any […]

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Scanners (1981) is a movie lacking in almost every area of cinematic showiness: Its locations, in and around Toronto and Montreal, are plain and dull. The film’s protagonist is practically emotionless. The editing is thoroughly unobtrusive, mostly cutting back and forth between speakers in conversation. The camera doesn’t waste any time or energy moving around […]

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“What really makes me want to play music is when I really hear an individual thought pattern placed in an environment to make something actually come about that is not an obvious thing that everyone is doing.” That’s Ornette Coleman, the extraordinary free jazz saxophonist and true innovator speaking about music in the documentary Ornette: […]

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It’s not even half way through October and I have to say, I’m already Octobered out.  I know, I know, how could I be?  I haven’t even done a full-throated post on horror yet.  It’s not that I’m tired of horror, far from it.  It’s that October has now become inundated with lists of every […]

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Today on TCM, the movie that slammed two franchise characters together and created a new sub-genre, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.  Produced in 1943, it began a tradition of taking popular characters and combining them to maximize ticket sales.   The two characters had built in audiences and for years to come, both appeared time and […]

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