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Posts Tagged ‘film

“Don’t you know what’s goin’ on out there? This is no Sunday School picnic!”*…


zoomable version here

There are 28– 28— follow-up films to Night of the Living Dead… and that’s not counting homages, parodies, or the myriad “of the dead” and “of the living dead” titles that have nothing to do with George A. Romero’s genre-defining original.  Our friends at Den of Geek have the full rundown: “Night of the Living Dead and its 28 Follow-Ups.”


* “Ben,” Night of the Living Dead


As we head for the basement, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that Donnie Darko flooded his school… one of the fascinating facts one can glean at The Movie Timeline, a copious compendium that operates on the premise that “everything you see in the movies is true”; real, fictional– if it’s reported to have happened on a given date in a movie, it’s in the list.



Written by LW

October 6, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Celebrity is the chastisement of merit and the punishment of talent”*…


It’s easy to imagine that the fever pitch of celebrity consciousness in which we’re awash is a modern phenomenon, a function of reality TV, social media, and other trappings of our times.  But consider the case of Lillie Langtry…

Known in the later 19th century as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Langtry had her portrait painted by both John Everett Millais and James McNeil Whistler; and Oscar Wilde once said of her, “I would rather have discovered Mrs. Langtry than to have discovered America.”  Married to a wealthy Irishman, she was mistress of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.  Through her society connections she befriended Sarah Bernhardt, who convinced her to try acting; she made her debut at London’s Haymarket Theatre in 1881.

From her autobiography, an anecdote from 1874– before her turn on the stage:

One morning I twisted a piece of black velvet into a toque, stuck a quill through it, and went to Sandown Park. A few days later this turban appeared in every milliner’s window labeled “The Langtry Hat.” “Langtry” shoes, which are still worn, were launched, and so on and so on. It was very embarrassing, and it had all come about so suddenly that I was bewildered. If I went for a stroll in the park and stopped a moment to admire the flowers, people ran after me in droves, staring me out of countenance, and even lifting my sunshade to satisfy fully their curiosity. To venture out for a little shopping was positively hazardous, for the instant I entered an establishment to make a purchase, the news that I was within spread with the proverbial rapidity of wildfire, and the crowd about the door grew so dense that departure by the legitimate exit was rendered impossible, the obliging proprietors being forced, with many apologies, to escort me around to the back door.

Instead of the excitement abating, it increased to such an extent that it became risky for me to indulge in a walk, on account of the crushing that would follow my appearance. To better illustrate my predicament I may state as a fact that, one Sunday afternoon, a young girl, with an aureole of fair hair and wearing a black gown, was seated in the park near the Achilles statue. Someone raised the cry that it was I, people rushed toward her, and before the police could interfere, she was mobbed to such an extent that an ambulance finally conveyed her, suffocating and unconscious, to St. George’s Hospital.

Via Lapham’s Quarterly

* Emily Dickinson


As we slake ourselves on selfies, we might spare a thought for Clara Bow; she died on this date in 1965.  Bow appeared in 46 silent films and 11 talkies, including Wings (1927; the winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture).  But it was her appearance as a plucky shopgirl in the film It (also in 1927) that brought her global fame and the nickname “The It Girl.” Bow came to personify the Roaring Twenties and to become its leading sex symbol.  At the height of her stardom, she received more than 45,000 fan letters in a single month (January, 1929).

After marrying actor Rex Bell in 1931, Bow retired from acting and became a rancher in Nevada, where she lived, relatively quietly, for another 34 years.




Written by LW

September 27, 2015 at 1:01 am

“It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented”*…


From Network and The Magic Christian to Bergman’s Autumn Sonata and Star Wars (which he screened with Anwar Sadat while preparing for the Camp David peace talks)– Every Single Movie That Jimmy Carter Watched at the White House.

* Andy Warhol


As we settle into our seats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1875 that Henry McCarty was arrested for the first time (for stealing a basket of laundry) and jailed.  He promptly escaped and went on to a career in crime– for which he’s better known by his assumed names, William H. Bonney and Billy the Kid.

Billy the Kid posing for a ferrotype photograph



Written by LW

September 23, 2015 at 1:01 am

“All art is propaganda”*…


Between 1943 and 1945, with the help of Warner Bros.’ finest animators, the U.S. Army produced a series of 27 propaganda cartoons depicting the calamitous adventures of Private Snafu.

Read the extraordinary story (replete with a cameo by Bugs Bunny) and learn how one of the cartoons inadvertently let slip one of the war’s greatest secrets– “Ignorant Armies: Private Snafu Goes to War.”

And watch the Private Snafu films here.

* Upton Sinclair


As we stand to attention, we might recall that it was on this date in 1947 that Stan Musial tied Ty Cobb’s record for the most five-hit games in a season (four)– and he did it in style, hitting successfully on the first pitches from five different pitchers.

“How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away.”
— Vin Scully


Written by LW

September 22, 2015 at 1:01 am

“The greatest ideas are the simplest”*…


By the time Ralph finished blowing the conch, a large crowd had formed.

“Well, then,” he said, clearing his throat. “First rule: we can’t have everyone talking at once.”

 Jack was on his feet. “We’ll have rules!” he yelled excitedly. “Lots of rules!”

Ralph explained, “We need to have ‘hands up,’ like at school. Then I’ll pass the conch.”

“Conch?” someone asked.

“That’s what this shell’s called,” Ralph said. “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it while he’s speaking. And he won’t be interrupted, except by me.”

“Just because we’re stranded doesn’t give you the right to use non-inclusive language,” Jack said.

The littluns muttered in assent.

“Uh, O.K.,” Ralph said. “So he or she can hold this conch when he or she is …”

He or she,” a littlun cried, “imposes a binary view of sexuality that excludes the gender-non-conforming.”…

Read the terrifying tale in its entirety at “Politically Correct ‘Lord of the Flies’

* William Golding, Lord of the Flies


As we celebrate civilization, we might recall that it was on this date in 1898 that Hannibal Goodwin, an Episcopal priest at the House of Prayer Episcopal Church and Rectory in Newark, New Jersey, patented a method for making transparent, flexible roll film out of celluloid (a nitrocellulose film base), which was used in Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope, an early device for viewing movies.



Written by LW

September 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Animation is not the art of drawings that move but the art of movements that are drawn”*…


Via Io9, news of your correspondent’s alma mater, Colossal Pictures

We don’t know just how long MTV has been releasing old Liquid TV shorts on their website, but what we do know is that this news is pure, uncut awesome. After years of watching crummy youtubes of the most f-ed up cartoons and shorts ever made, MTV has finally decided to release all the contents of Liquid Television online. Which means, all the Psycho-Grams and Winter Steele episodes you want!

So many wonderful things came from this late night animation and puppet variety show: Æon Flux, Beavis and Butt-Head, heaps of They Might Be Giants music videos, and more. It was just solid crazy-person programming…

email readers click here for video

Hours of fun at Liquid Television.

* Norman McLaren


As we color outside the lines, we might recall that it was on this date in 1929 that Walt Disney released El Terrible Toreador, the second cartoon (following the epic The Skeleton Dance) in the Silly Symphony series (which, unlike Disney’s other consistently character-themed series, like Mickey Mouse, had no continuing characters; rather they were whimsical accompaniments to pieces of music– in the case of El Terrible Toreador, a snatch of Carmen).

email readers click here for video


Written by LW

September 7, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Why, the whole world will pay to see this!”*…


Willis O’Brien, the stop-motion pioneer who originally brought King Kong to life in 1933, hit the skids pretty hard by the late ’40s. He spent the last decade of his life pitching assorted Kong scripts around Hollywood with little success. Finally, in the early ’60s, the script for a movie he was calling King Kong vs. Frankenstein (which seems an awfully unfair fight, if you ask me) ended up on the desk of Toho Studios producer Tomoyuki Tanaka. Tanaka had always wanted to make a Kong film, but he had no use for O’Brien’s slow and pricey stop-motion animation when rubber suits and miniature sets worked just fine. Still, he bought the script, made one small correction and was good to go.

Directed by Ishirô Honda, 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla would go on to become the most successful Godzilla picture Toho ever made, even if its giant gorilla looked more like an orangutan with mange. The film was such a huge financial hit in both Japan and the States that a follow-up was inevitable. O’Brien had since died, but with Kong now an indelible American icon (even after being Japanified into a mangy orangutan named Kingu Kongu), it only made sense for Toho to make the film as a U.S.-Japanese co-production.

Unfortunately, the Americans they teamed up with turned out to be Rankin/Bass, the insidious duo who’d inflicted Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other holiday-themed nightmares on an unsuspecting public…

More of this monstrous story at “That Time They Built a King Kong Robot.”

* “Carl Denham,” King Kong (1933)


As we cling to a Wray of hope, we might recall that it was on this date in 1953 that Astor Pictures released Cat-Women of the Moon.

Variety averred, “This imaginatively conceived and produced science-fiction yarn takes the earth-to-moon premise and embellishes it with a civilization of cat-women on the moon … Cast ably portray their respective roles … Arthur Hilton makes his direction count in catching the spirit of the theme, and art direction is far above average for a film of this calibre. William Whitley’s 3-D photography provides the proper eerie quality.”

The New York Times, on the other hand, wrote, “They [the Cat-women] try to get their hands on the visitors’ rocket ship, hoping to come down here and hypnotize us all. Considering the delegation that went up, it’s hard to imagine why.”

Notably, the score was composed by the celebrated Elmer Bernstein,** though his last name is misspelled as “Bernstien” in the opening credits.


** Elmer was not related to the even-more-celebrated composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein; but the two men were friends, and even shared a certain physical resemblance.  Within the world of professional music, they were distinguished from each other by the use of the nicknames Bernstein West (Elmer) and Bernstein East (Leonard)– and by the fact that they pronounced their last names differently: Elmer’s was BERN-steen, and Leonard’s was BERN-stine.


Written by LW

September 3, 2015 at 1:01 am


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