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

Last night, Patterns played on TCM, the 1956 drama adapted from the television presentation of a year earlier.  Both were written by Rod Serling and both are very good but the point is, television has been producing ideas for the movies and the movies for television as long as the two have been around together. […]

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What happens when art is created in anger? What if there’s a sense of resentment hanging over it?  Maybe it has a feeling of retribution that darkens the whole enterprise.  After the Beatles broke up, John Lennon wrote and recorded “How do You Sleep” on his Imagine album, a song whose target was, quite obviously, […]

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Years ago, Arthur Schlesinger was asked by David Wallechinsky to list his favorite political movies  for Wallechinsky’s 1977 edition of The Book of Lists.  Schlesinger had some interesting titles on his list, including Robert Altman’s Nashville, but the one at the top was Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the […]

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I apologize for my back to back posts lately but that’s only because we have not yet replaced the irreplaceable David Kalat whose Saturday posts provided a nice break between my Friday and Sunday posts.  David’s posts were the kind that I would call specialized whereas mine tend to the more general.  That’s not to […]

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Gene Hackman shows his talents today on TCM with a pair of terrific movies, The Conversation from 1974 and Scarecrow from 1973. He also makes an appearance, and a great one, in the movie following those two, Young Frankenstein, and it was in the seventies that he became not only a box office draw but one […]

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Today on TCM it’s Falcon Day.  All day long, TCM is running The Falcon series from the thirties and forties in which George Sanders and Tom Conway, real life brothers, play the Lawrence brothers, two gentlemen detectives working murder and robbery mysteries as amateurs for the thrill of adventure.  George starred in the first three […]

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Today is Jean Arthur’s day here at TCM’s Summer Under the Stars and one of her movies playing is A Foreign Affair, from 1948, directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by him, Charles Brackett, and Richard Breen.  Well, it turns out that very movie became one of my unexpected delights a few years back at […]

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Many actors spanned the silents to sound, some with great success than others.  Some had careers so all-encompassing, Lillian Gish comes to mind, that it’s hard to even fathom an actor today going through the same amount of period adjustment.  But the one who had the most impact on me when I was young was […]

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Today is Ruby Keeler’s day here on TCM and fellow Morlock Suzi Doll did a fine write-up of her on Monday (read it here), talking about how many bygone stars there are out there that many of us know very little about.  Even many movie lovers, she states, probably wouldn’t know more than a handful […]

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the movies, and it’s questionable on certain days if I even have, it’s that many stars famous for one thing are much more multifaceted than they appear.  Case in point: Musical stars.  Today, it’s Cyd Charisse’s day here at TCM and Charisse is known for her dancing prowess, […]

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