woodjb
woodjb I became fascinated with film as a result of being deprived of it. Where I grew up (Chattanooga, Tennessee in the 1970s), film culture was a precious commodity. When a parent couldn't be begged to drive me to the local twin-screen, I had to scavenge among the offerings of a mere four TV stations. This was back when local channels ran vintage films (including Shock Theater on Saturday nights and Elvis pictures each Sunday aftenoon). Every week, I scoured the listings to try and flesh out my eclectic, self-taught film education. As I've grown older and gained access to a deeper pool of cinema, I'm still driven by the sleuth within, and prefer my films to come from moldy vaults rather than the pantheon of classics. In 1991 I compiled a book on Orson Welles, and derived the greatest pleasure from researching the films he didn't make -- and combing the scripts and production records for evidence of scenes that were cut from the release versions. It's just the way my mind works. Today I am a DVD producer, specializing in silent films, where there are an extraordinary number of gems just waiting for rediscovery -- never released on video, virtually unseen for 80+ years. I am fascinated by educational and industrial films, and indulged my morbid obsession with driver's ed shorts by making the 2003 documentary Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films, in which I found the guys who actually made the gruesome "death on the highway" style classroom shorts, interviewed them on camera, and gave them their much-deserved moment of recognition. Since then, I've made two feature films, Psychopathia Sexualis (2006) and The Little Death (2010). The style of the films are infected by my interest in early cinema. When people remark that my films have an archaic visual style, I take it as high praise. I've been a contributor to TCM's website since 2002. There is no better place to relish the landmarks of film history, and to continually sift for cinematic treasures that others have overlooked.
Posts by woodjb

Friday night’s installment of Underground marks the TCM debut of French filmmaker Jean Rollin, known among horror movie cultists as a master of the lyrical, erotic, supernatural film.  Yet he remains a director with whom the general American moviegoing public is not well acquainted.          

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On Friday, May 20, influential independent film distributor Donald Krim died after a year-long battle with cancer. For 33 years, Don was the president of Kino International Corp, which specialized in contemporary international films as well as classic Hollywood titles.  Most famously Kino was the distributor of the restored Metropolis, which had its North American […]

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On May 13, 2011, documentary filmmaker Bruce Ricker died peacefully in Cambridge, Mass., at the age of 68. Frequent TCM viewers may recognize the name from such feature-length profile films as Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way (which premiered on TCM in December, 2010), Johnny Mercer: “The Dream’s on Me” (2009), and Budd Boetticher: […]

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The popularity of many vintage films wax and wane, but there are some films that have such a loyal, cultish following that they seem to only gain notoriety with the passage of time.  Such a film is Nightmare Alley. It wasn’t issued on video until 2005, but its reputation was rock solid long before it […]

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It has been called “a virtual social H-bomb,” and it detonated at a press conference in New York on September 12, 1957.  Advertising researcher James M. Vicary announced that he had successfully tested a device that could implant subliminal messages in the minds of moviegoers.  Vicary, Rene Bras, and Francis C. Thayer were partners in […]

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Everyone has seen them, but not everyone has noticed them.  And even fewer fully understand the purpose of the circular scratches that appear about every twenty minutes in a film, like subliminal postage stamps.  They are cue marks (aka cue dots), and they are the projectionist’s friend.  Worldly Morlocks may fully understand the cue mark, […]

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Filmmaker bathed in film within the film:  Jared Martin in Murder a la Mod. Usually when one dips into the earliest works of a well-known director, one can only hope to find mere traces of the filmmaker’s gestating style.  In the case of Brian De Palma’s Murder a la Mod (1967), the opposite is true. […]

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