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Posts Tagged ‘movie history

“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine”*…

Recently, the serious press has been abuzz with articles exploring the prospect of civilizational decline– or collapse. (C.f., “How Do You Know When a Society Is About to Fall Apart?” and “The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse.”) But perhaps, The Centre for Applied Echatology suggests, that focus is a bit too narrow…

The twenty-first century is unique in human history. At no other time has our species possessed more numerous and powerful means to end the world as we know it. The previous century gave us nuclear weapons; our own era adds new innovations — breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, nanotech, bioengineering, and other technologies — to the growing number of paths to anthropogenic apocalypse.

At present, it is difficult to estimate the likelihood of a global catastrophe. Researchers who study such scenarios vary in their conclusions. The best estimates place the chances of humanity surviving the present century somewhere between 9% and 50%. 

This is an unacceptable level of uncertainty. We can do better…

The Centre for Applied Eschatology is a transdisciplinary research center dedicated to ending the world. We connect professionals from the public sector, private industry, and academia to develop new knowledge and apply existing research to curtail the world’s long-term future. 

We’re working for no tomorrow, today…

Big changes start with small acts of individuals. Like you.

You may not know it, but you’re already helping. Every day... 

Housed at the arts non-profit Fractured Atlas, The Centre for Applied Eschatology makes its point in a powerfully– and painfully- ironic way: “Bringing an end – to everyone, everywhere!

[TotH to friend MS]

{image above: source]

* REM

###

As we contemplate conclusion, we might note that it will be on this date in 2115 that the film 100 Years will be released. Written by (and starring) John Malkovich and directed by Robert Rodriguez, its advertising tagline is “The File You Will Never See.”

Malkovich and Rodriguez announced in November 2015 that they had teamed with Louis XIII Cognac, owned by Rémy Martin, to create a film inspired by the hundred years it takes to make a bottle of Louis XIII. Pending release, the film is being kept in a high-tech safe behind bulletproof glass that will open automatically on this date in 2115, the day of the film’s premiere. One thousand guests from around the world, including Malkovich and Rodriguez, have received a pair of invitation tickets (made of metal) for the premiere, which they can hand down to their descendants. The safe in which 100 Years is kept was showcased at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival (and a few other cities) before being returned to Cognac, France and the Louis XIII cellars.

See a teaser trailer here.

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In Praise of “Other”: The Librarian as Film Star…

 

Is it any wonder that older friends and relatives abroad still ask, when learning that one is from the Western U.S.: do you know any cowboys?  Anyone with a sense of America formed from the movies that have been this nation’s leading cultural ambassador for most of the last century might well assume that we are a nation of wranglers, gangsters, reporters, and lawyers.

The invaluable Moira Finnie, blogger for TCM, moderator of the online forum Silver Screen Oasis and proprietor of the blog Skeins of Thought, strikes a blow for the unsung, singling out the librarian:

This rumination on work in the movies began while I was reading the new memoir, Quiet Please, (Da Capo Press). The author offers a look at the experiences of a young, male, very contemporary librarian named Scott Douglas from the other side of the reference desk…  One amusing section of the book concerned the fact that Douglas felt that there was a serious dearth of librarians as role models in the movies. Sure, to the average person, “Marian the Librarian” in The Music Man (1964) may be the quintessential movie librarian. You know the type, frosty on the outside, potentially a molten hottie and closet romantic on the inside, all the while that “Prof. Harold Hill” is hoping she’s really that “sadder but wiser girl” he’s hoping to find in the hinterlands of Iowa during his travels…

Except for Noah Wyle’s three made-for-tv excursions as…(dramatic pause)…the nebbishy but dashing “Flynn Carsen” in The Librarian movies, there do seem to be paltry few positive images of librarians in the movies, especially for males…

So begins a delightful survey of librarians on screen:  “One of the Invisible Professions.”

Library Science teacher Ann Robinson pausing for a reflective smoke with Gene Barry before the destruction of the human race proceeds in The War of the Worlds (1953).

 

As we refrain from unnecessary noises, we might recall that it was on this date in 1271 that Kublai Khan renamed his empire “Yuan,” officially marking the end of the Song Dynasty (though Southern Song wasn’t fully conquered until 1276) and the start of the Yuan Dynasty of (Mongolia and) China.  The Yuan Dynasty was a period of consolidation and centralization, and encouragement of science, technology, and trade, creating the China that Marco Polo found at the end of the Silk Road.  It was also the period during which China developed drama and the novel, and saw a marked increased in the use of the written vernacular.

Kublai Khan (source)

 

Written by LW

December 18, 2011 at 1:01 am

A good scare…

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HW:  Do you find that audiences are frightened by different things now from the things that frightened them when you started, what, 30 years ago… 35 years ago, making films?

AH:  No, I wouldn’t say so, because after all they were frightened as children. You have to remember this is all based on “Red Riding Hood,” you see? Nothing has changed since “Red Riding Hood.”

In 1964, Huw Weldon (later, Director General of the BBC) interviewed Alfred Hitchcock for the BBC series Monitor

Part Two here

HW:  Have you ever been tempted to make what is nowadays called a horror film, which is different from a Hitchcock film?

AH:  No, because it’s too easy… I believe in putting the horror in the mind of the audience and not necessarily on the screen.

[TotH to Brain Pickings]

As we reach for our security blankets, we might recall that, though accounts of an unusual aquatic beast living in Scotland’s Loch Ness date back 1,500 years, the modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster was born when a sighting made local news on this date in 1933.  The Inverness Courier ran the account of a local couple who claimed to have seen “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.”  The story of the “monster” (a label chosen by the Courier editor) became a media sensation: London papers sent correspondents to Scotland and a circus offered a 20,000 pound reward for capture of the beast.

Photo “taken” in 1934, later proved a hoax (source)

Getting in touch with one’s inner auteur…

 

Harboring creative impulses that struggle for release?  Ready for your close-up?  French television channel and film production company Canal+ rides to the rescue with flowcharts (well, advertisements made by Gregory Ferembach for Euro RSCG)…

larger version here

One can also find guidance on how to make an animated movie, a horror flick, an action epic, even…  well, an “erotic” film.

Roll ’em!

[TotH to Flavorwire]

 

As we Just Do It, we might that it was on this date in 1914 that the first of the “Dream Palaces,” the Mark Strand Theater– or “The Strand, as it was known– opened in New York.  Hitherto, “movies” had been shown in storefront “nickelodeons”; by contrast the Strand was large (3,000 seats) and luxurious.   Designed by Thomas Lamb and built at a cost of over $1 million, it became the model for Picture Palaces nationwide.  Indeed, by 1916, over 21,000 large movie theaters across the U.S. were showing feature-length films (instead of programs of shorts) in order to justify premium prices. The movie-palace boom (and the corresponding demise of the nickelodeons) laid the foundation for the rise of the studio system, which dominated Hollywood from the 1920s into the 1950s.

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The Perils of Early Adoption…

On November 26, 1936, three weeks after television transmissions began in England, Mr G.B. Davis of Dulwich (south–east London) paid 99 pounds. 15 shillings– over half the average annual wage of the day, equivalent to almost 4,000 pounds today– for the seventh television set manufactured in the UK, a Marconi “Type 702, number 1-007.”  The receiver had a 12-inch screen contained in a walnut and mahogany case, with a mirror in the lid onto which the picture was reflected.

But poor Mr. Davis (presumably along with his fellow early enthusiasts) was able to enjoy his pioneering purchase for only a few hours: three days after he took the plunge, the nearby Crystal Palace and its transmitter burned down.  The area could not receive television pictures again until 1946.

But Mr. Davis’ loss is his grandchildren’s gain.  Bonham’s is set to auction the set later this month. There are more Stradivarius violins in existence that pre-war TVs, so the auction house expects the set to fetch much more than it’s pre-sale estimate of 5,000 pounds.

Read the full story in The Telegraph.

As we summon memories of Sid Caesar and Soupy Sales, we might recall that it was on this date in 1953 that the first color 3-D feature film premiered– House of Wax.  Shot with a two-camera process, and viewed through “stereo” glasses with differently tinted lens, the film grossed a then-impressive $4.3 million.  It launched its star, Vincent Price, on a career in the horror genre, and goosed the careers of his supporting players, Phyllis Kirk and Charles Buchinsky (who shortly thereafter changed his name to Charles Bronson).  House of Wax kicked off the first period of enthusiasm for 3-D films (the second, a year-long period in the 70s); we are, of course, currently in the third.

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