Snapshots of the Fall: Part II

In my last post I provided a look behind the curtain for the first five weeks of film programming for my fall film calendar. This week we look at the remaining 24 titles that round out the schedule. It features everything from classics such as Vertigo to the state premiere of the latest uncompromising and visually arresting film by Bruno Dumont, Outside Satan (a scene of which is pictured above). [...MORE]

Snapshots of the Fall

The art house film calendar that I program goes to press in two days and, although I’m still waiting for some confirmations, I’m sharing the rough-draft with TCM readers, along with some brief thoughts regarding the choices made.

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10 of the World’s Most Unique Movie Theaters

I recently read a news story shared by Devin Faraci on the Badass Digest Twitter page about an incredible floating movie theater in Thailand. I was so fascinated by the concept that I started researching international movie theaters located around the world. I love to travel but I don’t get the opportunity to do it often so I enjoyed roaming around the globe from the comfort of my own home. During my armchair travels I came across lots of unusual and unique movie theaters so I thought I’d spotlight a few of my favorite discoveries.

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Origin Story (or, Confessions of a Movie Geek)

Last week in my griping about superhero origin stories, I promised to offer up my own origin story, the explanation of how I came to be the way I am today.  Every story has a beginning.  Mine, naturally enough, starts in childhood–

No.  That’s wrong.  Mine starts even earlier than that.  I began collecting movies before I was born.

I came by my passion honestly. My mother, growing up in the 1950s, saved her allowance up to buy this Bell and Howell 8mm movie projector:

Bell and Howell projector

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My Month With the Hapsburgs

Now that Spring is here, I can look back on this event with amusement as I recall Daniel Webster’s comment that there “is nothing so powerful as truth—and often nothing so strange” Ain’t it the truth?:
The Real and the Imaginary Elisabeth of Bavaria (1837-1898)

The Scene: My Living Room

The Time: The Late Winter Doldrums

The Occasion: An Intervention

The Participants: My Loved Ones

What prompted this intervention by my family?  Shuffling into the living room, none of my near and dear ones seemed to want to meet my eye. As they gently explained, it was time to remember that I’m an American living in the 21st century. “Chuck this new-found interest in moldy royalty, and, well, get back to reality.” Sure, sure, I knew they were right, but still…

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A Morlock Hijacks the Time Machine

As is well known, Morlocks like to steal time machines every now and then. With this in mind I decided to hop in one for a quick ride through the decades to see how cinematic entertainment unfurled through the decades here in my particular corner of Colorado. As I span the last 120 years there are no major shifts in human physiology, from say knuckle-draggers to childlike-Eloi to furry hopping herbivores. But when it comes to their clothes and social graces there are major shifts; it’s the difference between hanging out in Deadwood versus sitting next to The Man With the X-Ray Eyes.   [...MORE]

Cecil Hepworth: The Mogul in the Cottage on the Thames

Hepworth Studio LogoMy eyes were misting over at the sight of Robert Donat, that most “beautiful loser” in the cut-throat world of moviemaking, as I watched the end of The Magic Box (1951) on TCM earlier this month. That actor could break this sap’s heart with a change in the inflection of his voice, but the somewhat romanticized portrayal of cinema pioneer William Friese-Greene in the all star John Boulting-directed film was very well done. Still, it made me think about another pioneer in British movie history, Cecil M. Hepworth (1875-1953).

In Kevin Brownlow and David Gill‘s documentary series on early film pioneers across the pond, Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1995), the film historians called their chapter on the British film industry, “Opportunity Lost”. Unlike the flourishing Swedish, Italian and French cinemas of the early years of the 20th century, English movies struggled from inception, with little government protection from foreign filmmakers, and constant copyright violations occurring  among the hardscrabble film companies. This outpost of the British cinema was little more than “a cottage industry”, based in the 8 room house of the of Cecil Hepworth in Walton-on-Thames. Hepworth‘s movies may have had their hand-crafted limitations, but they were also innovative, had charm, and definitely had an off-hand, singular British humor. And their creator was one of the most influential figures in movies internationally–if one of the most obscure today. Since many of this filmmaker’s few existing, brief movies are in the public domain, I hoped it might be interesting to gather many of them together here for readers who might enjoy these, as I have. None of the movies here are any more than a few minutes long.
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“Lassie Doesn’t Give Speeches”

lassie1a

No interviews, please. That’s always been one of the blessings of animals in movies. These stoic creatures don’t complain and they don’t explain in public, no matter how much we anthropomorphize their reactions to the world. Nor do they ever tell us their views on life, love or politics. They just are, enduring our endless attempts to project onto them our longing to understand and bridge the gulf that inevitably lies between us.

Since the upcoming Oscar award ceremony has yet to feature a Best Animal Actor Award, I started to muse about which of the warm blooded mammals found in the movies who’ve beguiled me over the years might be a prime candidate for an Oscar–if they gave one. There are horses, (Flicka, Trigger, and Black Beauty, for instance), cats, (Thomasina, Pyewacket, Rhubarb), pigs, (Babe, Wilbur), lions, sheep, pumas, deer, and even wild boars to choose from, ( the latter make great villains, as anyone who’s seen Home From the Hill and The Yearling will testify).

Since a merger between the PATSY Awards and those given by AMPAS each year is highly unlikely, I’d like to make a case for at least one Academy Award worthy creature whose charismatic presence in the popular imagination has continued to this day. (The PATSYs are the Picture Animal Top Star of the Year given by the American Humane Association, an award created to prevent animal cruelty on movie sets after a notorious accident on the set of Jesse James (1939) finally got the public’s attention about the treatment of animals during filming).

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On the subject of text-messaging and the 35th Telluride Film Festival

Do a random internet image search for "Angry Robot" and you'll find this.

I just got back from attending my 14th Telluride Film Festival and wanted to share my overview of the experience. For a far more cogent overview, please read Jeff’s previous post. Me? I’m treading water at work and currently hoping to hit the sack in the next half-hour, so (sorry) but; yeah… this here’s my sloppy, down ‘n’ dirty lowdown, as written under the gun, for the first night only. Look to next week’s post for modifications, extrapolations (and apologies). [...MORE]

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