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

Whenever someone asks me “What’s your favorite genre,” it seems like an odd question.   It seems odd because my favorite genres often don’t match up with my favorite movies.  The movies I consider personal favorites spread across a wide spectrum of genres.  I often list movies I write about here as personal favorites, and they […]

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Today, Planet of the Apes airs on TCM and it’s a movie that I saw, honestly, dozens of times in the seventies and eighties.  I watched it and its sequels over and over again, even giving the lousy television show a chance, and buying anything associated with the franchise, from lunchboxes to Viewfinder slides.  POTA, […]

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Later tonight, as in tomorrow morning on the east coast, TCM airs The Fog, the 1980 John Carpenter movie that, like a lot of John Carpenter movies, opened to middling reviews only to be heartily welcomed into the horror canon later.  This also happened with his 1982 remake of The Thing from Another World, this time […]

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I recently wrote up Safari for TCM (it can be found here on the main site) and it airs later tonight, much later, so here’s my chance to elaborate on a few things I put in the article but couldn’t flesh out.  First off, I liked Safari a good deal when I saw it but it […]

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Today TCM airs Bob Fosse’s 1969 musical, Sweet Charity, starring Shirley MacLaine and Sammy Davis, Jr.   It’s a loose – very loose – musical adaptation of Federico Fellini’s 1957 masterpiece, Nights of Cabiria, starring Giulietta Masina in what is, to my mind, one of the greatest performances ever captured by a motion picture camera.    Now […]

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Janet Leigh is TCM’s Star of the Month and that is, to say the least, kind of fitting.  After all, Janet Leigh is the most famous cinematic slasher victim of all time in one of the most famous and influential horror films of all time, Psycho, and this is October, the month most movie writers celebrate […]

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Sometime in early 1947, almost a full year before its Broadway debut, Tennessee Williams presented the final draft of his play, The Poker Game, to be read by his agent Audrey Wood.  She thought it was great but when she said, “The Poker Game?  You can do better than that,” Williams was panicked.  He thought […]

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As I wrote up Gone with the Wind last week, it occurred to me, though I didn’t want to say it in the piece, that I only like half of the movie.   The piece emphasized what a great “making of” story Gone with the Wind is so there was no room for me to […]

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Gone with the Wind is the favorite film of multitudes of classic movie lovers and even the favorite film of many for whom Gone with the Wind is the only classic movie they know.   Coming out in 1939, the year still considered one of the greatest years of Hollywood’s Golden Era, and filmed in […]

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Earlier today, TCM ran The Asphalt Jungle, the great 1950 noir starring Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, and an early career making role for Marilyn Monroe.  The movie was directed by John Huston, one of the first directors whose career I chose to discover.  That is, once a became a full-fledged movie fanatic, certain […]

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