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

We all make mistakes.  I’ve made far too many to count at this point in my life but we learn from our mistakes as well.  Sometimes, at least.  One mistake I have repeatedly made in the world of cinema is not fully investigating what a movie is about before deciding whether or not to see […]

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This is a brief excerpt from an interview with David Lynch, conducted by Jason Barlow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. David Lynch: I saw Eraserhead last with my then 14-year old son. Jason Barlow: …and what questions did it prompt from him? DL: I don’t answer them really. But he really […]

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If I don’t respond to comments on this post right away, you’ll have to forgive me, I’ll be in France.  Paris, to be exact.  I can’t let David Kalat have all the fun.  I won’t be painting on the sidewalk, dancing with French school children, or staging a triumphant grand finale set to the music […]

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Actors and directors have distinct career tracks much of the time.  If they’re a big star, like Cary Grant, they have a type of role that works well for them, and they stick to it throughout their career.  For directors, it’s often the same thing.  But sometimes, perhaps even as a result, I tend to […]

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Today, TCM runs one of Hitchcock’s biggest hits of the forties, the suspense wartime thriller with Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, and John Hodiak, Lifeboat.  Lifeboat is notable for taking place entirely on one confined set, the lifeboat that all of our characters are aboard for the duration.  I can’t even imagine the story board sessions […]

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Tonight TCM airs one of the all time classics by anyone’s yardstick, The Wizard of Oz.  It’s a movie that occupied a great deal of my childhood imagination as its annual showing was a highlight of each passing year, long before the days of cable and VCRs and DVDs when making sure you were home […]

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A play can be changed from night to night, performance to performance.  It’s a living, breathing piece of art that may play one way at a Sunday matinee and a completely different way at a Friday night packed house.  But a movie is here to stay.  It is filmed and edited and scored and released […]

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One of the movies not playing on TCM this Easter Sunday is Rebel Without a Cause.  There’s no reason it necessarily should but, technically, it’s an Easter movie since it begins its story on the night of Easter Sunday.  That said, I thought of it, nonetheless, because this is Easter Sunday and if it’s Easter, […]

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Last Friday, March 18th, when I looked at the TCM schedule, I was reminded how many movies there are out there and how few any of us has really seen. Much of the time I look at the TCM schedule and can honestly say I’ve seen at least half of what’s on that day. The other […]

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This March 20th, Fathoms in association with TCM will be showing The Ten Commandments at selected theaters around the country.   The Ten Commandments, released 60 years ago this week, is one of the biggest Biblical epics the cinema has ever seen, maybe the biggest.  It stars Charlton Heston as Moses in the kind of performance that […]

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