Posts Tagged ‘film’
* Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
As we grope for our gats, we might send haunting birthday greetings to Brian Easdale; he was born on this date in 1909. A composer of both orchestral and operatic music, Easdale is best remembered for his film scores, especially those he composed for the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (including Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, and The Elusive Pimpernel). Perhaps his most powerful film work was on Powell’s controversial Peeping Tom, a film that used a number of film noir conventions to create a horror-thriller so shockingly unexpected that– while the film is now considered a masterpiece– it effectively ended Powell’s career.
Long-time readers will know of your correspondent’s deep affection and respect for Chuck Jones, who once observed that “the name ‘Chuck Jones,’ according to my uncle, limited my choice of profession to second baseman or cartoonist.” Happily for the world, he chose the pen over the bat.
The (wonderfully appropriately user-named) Every Frame a Painting has done us all a tremendous service:
If you grew up watching Looney Tunes, then you know Chuck Jones, one of all-time masters of visual comedy. Normally I would talk about his ingenious framing and timing, but not today. Instead, I’d like to explore the evolution of his sensibilities as an artist. To see the names of the films, press the CC button and select “Movie Titles.”
* Charles Martin “Chuck” Jones
As we agree that this is in fact “what’s up, Doc,” we might send send beautifully-collaged birthday greetings to another animation giant, Evelyn Lambart; she was born on this date in 1914. Lambart joined the National Film Board of Canada in 1942– their first female animator; one of the few women in the world working even as a co-director in any form of cinema during the 1940s and ’50s, she made beautiful films– and animation history– both as a co-director with the great Norman McLaren and on her own.
Read more of her story, and see several of her works here.
The opening shots from 32 notable films. It’s fun to see how many one can recognize… it’s more fun to call out the films that aren’t in the supercut and should be, for instance…
* William Hazlitt
As we settle back into our seats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1929 that the Hollywood Sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles. It originally read “Hollywoodland ” (a promotion for a housing subdivision), but the four last letters were dropped after renovation in 1949. Recently threatened with demolition for want of maintenance funds, the icon was saved by a donation from Hugh Hefner.
This film, featuring two cats wearing boxing gloves and packing a punch, was filmed in Thomas Edison’s studio in 1894. The performance was part of Professor Henry Welton’s “cat circus,” which toured the United States both before and after appearing in Edison’s film. Performances included cats riding small bicycles and doing somersaults, with the boxing match being the highlight of the show. As for why the cats were filmed (apart from being an early example of people enjoying footage of cats), it might have possibly been a publicity stunt to advertise the show. It could also quite possibly be the first ever “cat video” (though, of course, before the days of video).
* “Cats have been domesticating and harvesting humans for at least two millennia, albeit slowly, generation by generation. With the Internet, they are moving much faster, and in only two or three more generations, we will be completely incapable of sustaining a line of thought for more than half a second, and therefore effectively be zombies in the service of our feline masters who will use lame Photoshoppers to communicate with us”
As we memorialize memes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that Henry F. Phillips received several U.S. patents for the Phillips-head screw and screwdriver– a system in which a matching driver with a tapering tip conveniently self-centers in the screw head. Phillips founded the Phillips Screw Company to license his patents, and persuaded the American Screw Company to manufacture the fasteners. General Motors was convinced to use the screws on its 1937 Cadillac; by 1940, virtually every American automaker had switched to Phillips screws.
Marcus Rosentrater, filmmaker and animator of FX’s amazingly-amusing Archer, has done us the service of combining all six Star Wars films into a single viewing experience:
* Obi-Wan Kenobi
As we hope that the Force is with us, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that Universal Pictures released the keystone of another– though very different– sci-fi franchise: Back to the Future.
Military forces have used camouflage of one sort or another since antiquity. But with the advent of the airplane and the rise of aerial warfare, camouflage (to hide targets) and decoys (to draw fire away from real targets or to intimidate the enemy) became bigger and bigger: “Massive Wartime Decoys and Camouflage Operations.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War
As we misdirect, we might send convincingly animated birthday greetings to Raymond Frederick “Ray” Harryhausen; he was born on this date in 1920. A visual effects pioneer, he became a writer and producer of films featuring the stop-motion model animation technique, “Dynamation,” that he developed. He is probably best remembered for the animation in Mighty Joe Young (1949, with his mentor, King Kong animator Willis H. O’Brien), which won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects; The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958, his first color film); and Jason and the Argonauts (1963, which featured an amazing sword fight between Jason and seven skeleton warriors). His last film was Clash of the Titans (1981).
Saubine Haubitz and Stefanie Zoche are intrepid photographers of thought-provoking things. Here, they discuss their series on movie theaters in India…
In three journeys between 2010 and 2013 we have photographed movie theatres from the ‘Thirties to the ‘Seventies in South India. The photos of these buildings give eloquent testimony to the rich cinematic culture of those times. We are particularly interested in the culturally influenced reinterpretation of modern building style apparent in the architectural style, which displays an unusual mixture of Modernism, local architectural elements, a strong use of colour and, in the case of some older cinema halls, of Art Deco…
Many movie theatres in South India are left in their original state. Nonetheless, remodelling into multiplex cinemas is already underway, in particular in major cities, and will result in these buildings’ disappearance as witnesses to their times. The photographs document a part of cinema culture that has already largely vanished in Europe and the USA, and is increasingly being supplanted by commercial interests and technical developments in India, as well.
Take the tour at here.
* Theophilus London
As we lounge in the loge, we might recall that it was on this date in 1915 that Vitagraph released Miss Jekyll and Madame Hyde, a retelling of Stevenson’s famous tale in which Helen Gardner played the lead role(s). Ms Gardner, whose career consisted mostly of portrayals of strong women (Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, Cleopatra, et al.) was herself a formidable player in the film industry, one of the first actors to form an independent production company (The Helen Gardner Players).