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Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Chaplin

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot”*…

 

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Before Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson, before Chuck Jones and Jackie Chan, there was Buster Keaton, one of the founding fathers of visual comedy. And nearly 100 years after he first appeared onscreen, we’re still learning from him…

 

 

Lessons from the best: “Buster Keaton- The Art of the Gag.”

* Charlie Chaplin

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As we mix marvel with mirth, we might recall that it was on this date in 1850 that photographer Frederick Langenheim was issued U.S. Patent #7,784 for “Improvement in photographic pictures on glass,” a process of rendering photographic images on glass plates– magic lantern slides.

Prior to 1850, most magic lantern slides were hand-painted on glass, or created using a transfer method to reproduce many copies of a single etching or print; the development of photographic slides created entirely new uses for the magic lantern, from university lectures to amateur family photo shows… to “Coming Attractions” advertisements in theaters in the silent film era.

Lang source

 

Written by LW

November 19, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Not too big, not too small… just right”*…

 

dimensions

Dimensions.Guide is a comprehensive [and free]reference database of [thousands of] dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the everyday objects and spaces that make up our world. We offer our resources to professional designers, students, and the public alike as a way to enhance our global collective awareness of the parameters and dimensions of the things around us…

For example…

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 3.24.06 PM

Browse at Dimensions.Guide.

* The Goldilocks Principle

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As we size it up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that Charlie Chaplin released the first feature-length film in which he both starred (as “The Tramp”) and directed, The Kid.  Chaplin also wrote and produced the film.

Widely considered one of the greatest films of the silent era, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

 

Written by LW

February 7, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Well, nobody’s perfect”*…

 

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From the Marx Brothers to The Simpsons, from Richard Pryor to Amy Schumer: “The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy“… critique it, argue with it– that’s what lists like this are for– but most of all, enjoy it.

* Osgood (Joe E. Brown) to Daphne/Jerry (Jack Lemon), Some Like It Hot (one of the 100)

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As we fiddle with our funny bones, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that a film that might well have made the list– Modern Times— was released.  Written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, who stars in his iconic Little Tramp persona, the film comically dramatizes a factory worker’s struggles to survive in the modern, industrialized world.  Chaplin’s first overtly politically-themed film, it was also the first in which his voice is heard.  It is widely regarded as a classic by film historians… and inspired French philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Maurice Merlau-Ponty to name their journal, Les Temps modernes, after it.

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Written by LW

February 5, 2016 at 1:01 am

All Singing! All Dancing!– All Free!…

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From Chaplin and Keaton to Astaire and Olivier; from Kurosawa and Godard to von Sternberg and Tarkovsky; from Scorsese and Hitchcock to Ford and Huston– 300 Free Movies Online.

(Readers should be sure to look through the list to the very bottom, where they will find a list of links to more streaming riches…)

As we politely refuse butter, we might recall that it was on this date in 1958 that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married; they celebrated their 50th anniversary just months before Newman succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 83.

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Pride of ownership…

While the earliest known marks of ownership of books or documents date from the reign of Amenophis III in Egypt (1391-1353), bookplates (also known by their usual inscription, “ex libris”) date from the post-Gutenberg period when books were (still) things of value, but were widely-enough available to be circulated.  In their modern form, they evolved from simple inscriptions in books which were common in Europe in the Middle Ages, when various other forms of “librarianship” became widespread (e.g., the use of class-marks, call-numbers, or shelf-marks). The earliest known examples of printed bookplates are German, and date from the 15th century.

By the 19th century, books had become more common and bookplates– while still attesting to ownership and thus establishing provenance– had begun to become ways for owners to underscore their personalities, or in the case of celebrities, their images.

Author Simon Rose, writing in the ever-illuminating Dark Roasted Blend, surveys the now-nearly-lost art of the bookplate.  His piece is filled with wonderful examples, e.g.:

Enjoy many, many more at “The Extraordinary World of Ex Libris Art

As we open to our inside front covers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that then-21-year-old Orson Welles took his curtain call at the fifth-and-final performance of MacBeth in Bridgeport. Connecticut.  The Federal Theater Project production was Welles directing debut, and that start of his collaboration with producer John Houseman.  In a foreshadowing of the creative risk taking that would characterize Welles’ career, he cast MacBeth with African-American performers in all the roles; the setting shifted from Scotland to the Caribbean, and the witches became Haitian witch doctors.  (His 1948 film version of “The Scottish Play” returned the action to the Highlands, but retained some of the dramatic elements of his inaugural outing.)

Production photo (Library of Congress)

Now See The Major Motion Picture!…

From Tim McCool (a Boston College art student who “has been Photoshopping people’s heads onto other people’s bodies for nearly a decade”), via Hyperallergic (a nifty art blog overseen by husband and husband team, Veken Gueyikian and Hrag Vartanian), “Artists Go Hollywood: The Movie Posters,” a series of posters for artists’ biopics that might– nay, that ought to— be made.  Consider, for example:

or…

See them all here.

As we smell the popcorn, we might recall that it was on this date in 1889 that Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in London.  Young Charles toured the U.S. in 1910 and 1912 with the Fred Karno troupe of vaudevillians, rooming with fellow performer Arthur Stanley Jefferson, who later became known as Stan Laurel.   Jackson returned to England (later to return); Chaplin stayed…  and became, of course, the most famous motion picture performer of his time, one of the most successful writer-producer-directors of the era, and one of its biggest entertainment moguls (having co-founded United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford).

Charlie Chaplin as The Tramp

Tres exclusif…

I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member…
– Groucho Marx

From DreyX, “Ten Places You Can’t Go“…  for example:

Since 1967,  Disney’s Exclusive Club 33: Walt Disney felt that he needed a special private place where he could entertain sponsors and other guests. After he had died Disney Land decided to make Club 33 open only to special members and their guests. Located at at the heart of New Orleans Square at Disney Land, it gives the members and their guests exclusive access to the club’s restaurant, and the premises which are not open to the public at large. After Disney’s death Club 33 had opened itself with special limited memberships to the public. As of June 2007, the membership waiting list was 14 years, and membership interest list was closed to new inquiries as of April/May 2007.

Or

Metro-2 in Moscow: Russia has a secret underground metro system which parallels the public Moscow Metro. The length of Metro-2 is rumored to exceed even that of the “civil” (i.e. public) Metro. (It is said to have 4 lines and lie 50 to 200 m deep. It is said to connect the Kremlin with the FSB headquarters, the government airport at Vnukovo-2, and an underground town at Ramenki, in addition to other locations of national importance. In the late 1940s Stalin had created the tunnels in the event of a nuclear war. In 1994, a group of urban diggers had stumbled on to the underground system. Though not much more information is known known to the public about this.

See the other eight– from the Vatican’s Archive to Area 51– here.

As we manage our aspirations, we might frame a close-up of D.W. Griffith, a father of cinema, who arrived in Los Angeles on this date in 1910 in search of a sunny climate and a range of scenery.  With a stock company that he brought with him (including such future luminaries as Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish), Griffith began producing one- and two-reelers for Biograph.  After shooting over 450 shorts for Biograph, Griffith struck out on his own to make his powerfully-influential– but equally-powerfully controversial– Birth of a Nation (1915).  On the heels of the criticism (and in some quarters, riots) that greeted this history of the Civil War and the Ku Klux Klan, Griffith made Intolerance (1916), meant to prove his opposition to racism; at $2.5 million, it was by far the most expensive film ever made– and ruined Griffith financially.  But he rebounded, and in 1919 co-founded United Artists with Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin.  To this day, the highest honor bestowed by the Directors’ Guild of America is “The D.W. Griffith Award.”

David Llewelyn Wark Griffith

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