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

Later tonight, The Vanishing Prairie airs on TCM and I highly recommend it.  I wrote the movie up for TCM’s main site and I’m a fan, not just of the documentary itself but of most of Disney’s documentary filmmaking.   Years ago, I purchased the special edition DVD set of Disney’s Tomorrow Land television series […]

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The Apartment airs today on TCM and in it are two of the great stars of the silver screen, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.  Like any great stars, they have two careers comprised of a first half and a second half.  A few years back, Movie Morlock Jeff Stafford covered similar ground with stars he […]

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Anyone who has seen The Public Enemy has probably noticed the same thing:  In the opening scenes, where Tom and Matt as young men are seen, the character playing young Tom looks like a young version of Edward Woods and the young version of Matt looks like a young version of James Cagney.  But when […]

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Fred Zinnemann had a long and varied career (including the classic From Here to Eternity, airing today on TCM, on the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor) but it was near the end of his career, with his third to last film, The Day of the Jackal, that he had one of his […]

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There’s an old episode of M*A*S*H (I guess they’re all old since the series concluded over thirty years ago but whatever) in which the guys in the camp are all excited to get a copy of The Moon is Blue, airing today on TCM, which, I probably don’t have to say, they didn’t have (also, […]

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George Pal has a few movies today on TCM but not my favorite, War of the Worlds, which he produced while Byron Haskin directed.   I’ve always loved War of the Worlds, in both book form and both major movie adaptations, 1953 and 2005, as well as that certain radio adaptation in 1938.  In fact, […]

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Since the movies began, special effects have been a part of their existence. Georges Méliès was one of the early geniuses of special effects cinema and using matte paintings, time-lapse photography, overlapping multiple exposures, and more, he created worlds never before seen in the realm of theater.  Characters would disappear in a puff of smoke […]

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Later tonight on TCM, Mysterious Intruder (article by yours truly here) airs, an installment in the Whistler series of the forties.   As I write in my article, the Whistler serial was a proto-anthology series, along the lines of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone, because they tell a different story each time, with different […]

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This month at TCM is doing things a little differently with its Star of the Month.  Instead of one, it’s selected Silent Stars as the Star of the Month and its an honorable choice.  Silent film is so different than sound film, and now so much older than the majority of films available (excluding hold-outs […]

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Shall We Dance is the morning movie today at TCM and if you go to the website’s schedule listing, you will find, as on practically all movies showing on TCM, a short blurb from the staff of Leonard Maltin’s reviews.  That blurb says, “Lesser Astaire-Rogers is still top musical, with Gershwin’s ‘Let’s Call the Whole […]

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