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Posts Tagged ‘Academy Awards

“The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter”*…

 

maltesefalcon

 

The term “film noir” is typically credited to French critic Nino Frank, who apparently coined it in a 1946 essay published in the magazine L’Écran français to describe four American crime films: John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, Otto Preminger’s Laura, and Edward Dmytryk’s Murder, My Sweet.

“These ‘noir’ films no longer have anything in common with the usual kind of police reel,” Frank wrote. “They are essentially psychological narratives with the action—however violent or fast-paced—less significant than faces, gestures, words—than the truth of the characters.”

The films in question grew out of the hardboiled detective genre birthed by novelists like Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and Raymond Chandler. Notably, two of the movies Frank wrote about—Double Indemnity and Murder, My Sweet, based on novels by Cain and Chandler, respectively—were set in Los Angeles, a city whose glamorous reputation became laced with stories of crime, scandal, and corruption…

Laced with corruption in the 1940s and ’50s, LA became the birthplace of a literary and cinematic style: “13 of the best noir films set in Los Angeles.”

* Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart), The Maltese Falcon (in the sequence pictured above; source)

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As we celebrate the gum on our shoes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1929 that the first Academy Awards presentation was held.  The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, the awards were meant to to unite the five branches of the film industry, including actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers.  As Mayer explained:

I found that the best way to handle [filmmakers] was to hang medals all over them … If I got them cups and awards, they’d kill to produce what I wanted. That’s why the Academy Award was created.  (source)

270 people attended the ceremony, which was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks and held over dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; tickets were $5 (about $74 in today’s coin).  12 awards were presented in 15 minutes: the award for Outstanding (now “Best”) Picture went to Wings.

It was the only Academy Awards ceremony not to be broadcast on either radio or television.

220px-1stOscars_1929 source

 

Written by LW

May 16, 2020 at 1:01 am

“In a World…”*…

 

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Looking back on the evolution of the movie trailer we must consider the evolution of how we watch movies. Unlike the multiplexes we’re accustomed to today, the first movie theaters in the 1910s had only one screen. You would pay the admission, say five cents, and you could sit in the theater for as long as you wanted. Show times weren’t precise – a feature length movie along with a short films and a cartoon would play in a continuous loop and you could watch it as many times as you wanted.

1913 would be what many historians consider year zero for the movie trailer. In New York City, Nils Granlund, advertising manager of Marcus Loew theaters, made a short little promotional film for the Broadway play “Pleasure Seekers” showcasing actual rehearsal footage. The idea of showing ads between films was a hit – at least to the movie theater owners – The practice of creating and splicing in promotional pieces into the screening rotation was quickly implemented by the Loew theater chain as well as others.

Around the same time in Chicago, Col. William Selig, one of film’s earliest pioneers, would engineer another way to get audiences to the movies. Selig noticed the popularity of print serials in newspapers so he approached the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper embattled in a circulation war for who could be the most sensationalist, to adapt a film version of a print serial. The result was a 13 episode serial entitled “The Adventures of Kathlyn”.

This wasn’t the first film serial, it was actually the second; but it introduced a new device to film marketing. You see, each week a new installment would debut along with an article in the Chicago Tribune that continuing the story. What made “The Adventures of Kathlyn” different was at the end of each installment something would happen to put the characters in some sort of peril – a cliffhanger often with a title card inviting patrons to come back the following week to see what happens.

So Thus the idea of the trailer was born – and so too the term – as these promotions for upcoming attractions would play at the end of the film – hence trailer.

Most of these promotions were produced by the theaters themselves but by 1916, the movie studios themselves began officially releasing for upcoming movies. These first film trailers were pretty basic – they generally consist of snippets of film with some text overlay such as the cast of stars…

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Learn how gentle enticements like these grew to become the better-and-louder-than-the-actual-film extravaganzas of today in the video at the top of this post and at “The History of the Movie Trailer.”

 Don LaFontaine, the voice of hundreds of thousands of TV spots and more than 5,000 times in movies and movie trailers

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As we  contemplate coming attractions, we might recall that it was on this date in 1927 that the first organizational meeting of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was convened by Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM.  The 230 charter members elected Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. the group’s first president. Mayer’s original intent was to provide a forum for labor mediation and to improve the industry’s image; the first of those goals never got traction, so the second– the burnishing of Hollywood’s star– became the group’s primary focus.  By 1929, the AMPAS had established the Academy Awards, and had joined with the University of Southern California to create the first film school.

 source

Happy Mother’s Day! 

 

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”*…

 

The Superbowl is past. so now our collective anticipation can shift to the Academy Awards…  by way of getting into the spirit, Nelson Carvajal‘s supercut of every winner of the Visual Effects Oscar since that category was (re)introduced in 1977:

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* Arthur C. Clarke

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As we ponder perspective, we might recall that it was on this date in 1980, on the TV series That’s Incredible, that Cal Tech graduate Fred Newman dueled at the free throw line with the NBA’s all-time best free throw shooter, Rick Barry.  Barry won the contest, but Newman sank 88 straight– while blindfolded.

Without the blindfold, Newman has made 1,481 consecutive free throws, far short of St. Martin’s Guinness record of 5,221. But he did set a record for most free throws made in a 24-hour period, soldiering on to sink 20,371 even after the skin on his fingertips separated and bled. “It didn’t affect my shot any,” he said of the blood, “but the ball got sticky and I had to wipe it off every hour or so.”

Read more about Fred here; see the video from which the frame above is excerpted here.

Written by LW

February 5, 2014 at 1:01 am

Don’t know much about history…

Readers may know that there has accumulated on YouTube quite a collection of “adaptations” of pop hits turned to the teaching of history…  e.g., “William the Conqueror” (to Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback”), “Joan of Arc” (“Seven Nation Army” by White Stripes), “The French Revolution” (Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”), “The Spanish Inquisition” (The Human League, “[Keep Feeling] Fascination”), and dozens of others…  The work of Honolulu-based “historyteachers” (“Mrs. B” and “Mr. H”– “history teachers, duh”), the videos are both amusing and illuminating…

But surely their masterpiece– and equally surely their most profoundly strange piece of work– is a little ditty devoted to Genghis Khan’s gift to Europe (via the Genoese at Kaffa)…

 

As we tap our toes, we might recall that it was on this date that Schindler’s List opened in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto; it went on to gross $96.1 million in the United States, over $321.2 million worldwide, and to win seven Academy Awards– including director Steven Spielberg’s first.

source

 

 

 

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