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

TCM wraps up 31 Days of Oscar tomorrow night, one day after the Oscars themselves run tonight.  Soon the newest Best Picture Oscar will be handed out and already there are plenty of critics and bloggers making lists ranking the best and worst Best Pictures in history.  But this year’s crop of nominees got me […]

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Today, on TCM, The Year of Living Dangerously plays as a part of TCM’s annual 31 Days of Oscar.  For that movie, Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress.  It was a significant win.  Why?  Because Linda Hunt won for playing a man, to be specific, a Chinese-Australian man, none of which she is.   The question […]

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When asked if I have ever seen a movie, my answer falls into one of three categories: One, “I have seen it.”  This one is simple.  It means I have seen it, yes, and I remember it well.  Two, “I have not seen it.”  This one is also simple.  It means exactly what it says, […]

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Tomorrow at noon (EST), The Young Lions airs on TCM.  I wrote it up for TCM’s website (click here) and with it airing tomorrow, it got me to thinking about something I only touch on in the article, the luck and timing of the careers of Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando.  Dean Martin figures in […]

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If you peruse the winners of the Motion Picture Academy’s Honorary Oscars for Career Achievement or the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Awards, you’ll notice something.  Where the actors are concerned, they’re all leads, all stars.  Jimmy Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck, Peter O’Toole, Bette Davis, Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Barbra […]

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It’s not easy to pull off a movie about a philosophy of how to live and I’m not sure many movies have ever done it.  Most end up with feel-good endings and vague conclusions centered around some simplistic sentiment of finding happiness if you really try.  In 1944, W. Somerset Maugham published The Razor’s Edge, […]

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Since we are currently celebrating 31 Days of Oscar here at TCM, and have a special on tonight detailing the history of the Oscars, I thought I’d take the time, for once, to praise Oscar and not bury him.  Most of the time old Oscar comes up in conversation, I find a way to criticize […]

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When we talk about the big  directors, we often talk about their biggest movies.  And who could blame us?  But many times, a director’s lesser credits interest us more, if only because we’re so tired of hearing about the big ones over and over again.  And there’s something else at play: they’re often better than […]

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There’s an unwritten rule that I stick to, and I hope and believe most other critics do as well, that basically says “Review the movie that’s in front of you, not the one you wanted to see.”   In other words, even if you really wanted this movie or that movie to go in this […]

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The Oscar nominations for 2013 came out recently and I was once again put in mind of the different technical categories and how misunderstood they are because when most craftsmen and artists do their job and do it well, the result is a seamless vision.  If it’s not, it’s jarring and there’s a problem.  As […]

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