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

Today TCM airs two movies, The Old Maid and Old Acquaintance, both starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, about rivals in life and love.   Of course, Bette Davis made another movie about a rivalry that’s a little more familiar to people, and we’ll get to that in a second, but first let me just […]

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Ever rooted for the bad guy?  Of course you have, we all have.  Many times the bad guy is more interesting, more exciting, and much more charismatic.  To take two obvious examples, Batman is brooding and Superman is upstanding but neither is terribly interesting while their nemeses, the Joker and Lex Luthor, are a hoot […]

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It’s my lucky month and your’s, too.  Why?  Because Melvyn Douglas is the Star of the Month and he not only has a great body of work as an actor, one of the greatest actors ever in my opinion, but appears in many great films.  It doesn’t always work out that way.  Many times we […]

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Today is Alan Ladd’s day here at TCM and one of the movies being shown is The Iron Mistress, which I had the pleasure of writing up for TCM not long ago in anticipation of today.  The movie is about Jim Bowie, inventor of the knife that bears his name.  By “about” I mean that […]

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Today is Edmond O’Brien’s day here at TCM and later tonight (much later, as in 1:30 a.m., EST) will be showing the little seen 1953 drama, The Bigamist.  Starring O’Brien (of course) with Joan Fontaine, Edmund Gwenn, and Ida Lupino, who also directs, the film takes a personal and sensitive look at the life of […]

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Early today TCM is showing Titanic from 1953 starring Barbara Stanwyck, Clifton Webb, and today’s star of the day Thelma Ritter as Maude Young, a fictionalized version of Molly Brown.  The tragic events of the night of April 14, 1912 have inspired many a filmmaker to add their own touch to the story.  It’s appeared […]

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Today is John Hodiak’s day here on TCM and one of the movies showing later tonight is The Arnelo Affair, which I just happened to write up for TCM recently. One of the first things I mention in the article is the framing of the film’s timeline. It takes a familiar convention in noir, the […]

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Have you ever watched a television show from start to finish, in real time (as opposed to “binge time”), over the course of several seasons, and when you finally go back and see the first season again, everything feels wrong? As you were watching it, everything seemed fine and appeared to be transitioning from one […]

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Today is Paul Muni’s day here on TCM as we celebrate Summer Under the Stars and it immediately brings back a lot of memories.  Way back when, Muni was the first actor of the thirties that I really became familiar with and whose movies I sought out.  Once I got to see some of his […]

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Today is Walter Pidgeon’s day in this month long celebration of classic actors, the annual Summer Under the Stars here on TCM.  One of the movies on the slate tonight is the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet, starring the day’s star, Pidgeon,  as well as Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, and Richard Anderson, later of […]

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