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

“Get your stinking paws off of me, you damned dirty ape!” There are classic movie lines and then there are lines delivered by Charlton Heston to talking apes. The latter is pretty unbeatable. From that iconic moment when the apes realize that Bright Eyes, aka Taylor, aka Chuck Heston, can talk to his fist pounding […]

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Tonight on TCM, The Best Man airs, the 1964 political drama that plays like a suspense thriller.  It’s one of the best political movies ever made and recalls a time when political conventions actually made a difference.  In the very same year, Henry Fonda, star of The Best Man, also starred in another politically charged […]

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Yesterday, TCM ran one of my favorite sci-fi thrillers of the seventies, The Stepford Wives.  It belongs to a category of movie not often made, a satirical thriller in which the satire is played straight, rather than for outright laughs, and the thriller aspect is methodical, slow, patient.   I’ve written up thrillers before, as […]

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Today on TCM, some of Charlie Chaplin’s later films (City Lights, Modern Times, and Limelight) fill the afternoon. Chaplin is a figure in cinema history whose fascination for me has more to do with his personal life than his movies.  His movies, many of them masterpieces, are nonetheless broken up into such jarringly different phases […]

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This space was formerly occupied by Richard Harland Smith, who handled write-ups for TCM Underground on Wednesdays and retired from the Morlocks a couple of weeks ago.  Since no one has yet taken this space over and since I had the Wednesday posts and Richard the Friday until we switched a while back, I figured […]

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Years ago, sometime in the eighties, I was sitting in the living room of my parents house with my father and uncle, talking among ourselves as Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 masterpiece, and my favorite of his works, played in the background.  This did not bother my father as he was never much of a […]

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If you have ever looked at the TCM schedule and thought of several different things at once, given the variety of movies broadcast each day, you’re not alone.  And if you’re a fellow Morlock, you’ve probably looked at the schedule once or twice in your time and thought, “I could write about this… or maybe […]

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There’s a movie on tonight that represents the first real starring role of an actor that became a mentor to me as a young actor without ever having met me, or I him.  He was one of the first actors I saw whose performances existed on the same elevated level of greatness, and pure naturalness, […]

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Executive Suite, the 1954 classic about an inter-business struggle among a company’s board of directors over who should take over the company, airs on TCM today.  It’s a fine piece of filmmaking though not really a personal favorite.   I like it just fine but, frankly, the profession doesn’t do much for me.  No, not […]

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It’s Father’s Day again and TCM has a wide selection of movies with the general theme of fatherhood.  Enjoy them all.  As for me, when I think of great, or bad, fathers in movies, I tend to go with the movies that don’t market themselves as being movies about fatherhood.  For instance, last year for […]

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