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

Two things happened recently that got me thinking about places and movies.  The first was happening to visit Philadelphia at least half a dozen times in the last six months (it’s only about an hour and a half from my house) to see various sites and also just to walk around and enjoy the city. […]

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Tonight on TCM, the great 1946 noir, The Postman Always Rings Twice, airs and it’s one of the best movies of the decade.  It’s also a movie I have seen a few times, like so many other movies I call favorites.  In fact, my early film watching life often involved seeing a movie twice while […]

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Tonight, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, better known as “those guys who hand out Oscars,” celebrates the movies of the previous year for the 88th time and, also for the 88th time, most people will complain that they got it all wrong.  In fact, most people started complaining about this year’s awards […]

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece here on ensembles and how, often times, I like the ensemble better than the leads which led to a comment by the incomparable Emgee who said, and I quote, “[M*A*S*H] the movie comes to mind; Sutherland and Gould sorely get on my nerves, but the rest of […]

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Tonight on TCM, the 1946 classic The Best Years of Our Lives airs featuring an actor I don’t often write about but one that has long been a favorite, Dana Andrews.  He’s a favorite for all the reasons an actor usually isn’t a favorite of mine.  That is to say, I like actors who play […]

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Today on TCM, the 1938 Best Picture winner, You Can’t Take it With You, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Lionel Barrymore.  It is, alas, a play adaptation I am none too fond of and, many times, plays adapted to film leave me pretty cold.  That’s because plays adapted to film have a certain flat […]

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You ever watch a movie and walk away thinking about how little you cared for the lead actors and how much you loved everyone else?  Me, too.  Now, I don’t mean this as an indictment of the movies I’m going to present, just that in these particular cases I don’t much care for the main […]

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Years ago – many, many years ago – as I began my odyssey into the world of film, the main thing I did was read.  Back in those days, pre-cable, pre-vcrs, way pre-dvd and streaming, most movies simply weren’t available for viewing.  The best thing you could do if you were a fledgling cinema obsessive […]

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The Lost Weekend, playing tonight on TCM, is a classic of the “social commentary” genre of movie making in which a troublesome topic that affects society is treated to a sobering (no pun intended) reflection on the silver screen.  This can cover anything from juvenile delinquency to systemic racism but when the subject turns to […]

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Later tonight on TCM, the 1978 Oscar winner The Deer Hunter runs, starring Robert de Niro, John Cazale, Meryl Streep, John Savage, and Christopher Walken.  That last guy took home a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance even though I think John Savage, who wasn’t even nominated, was better.  And John Cazale, too.  Oh, […]

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