When You Get Really Close to a Movie Screen, Film Emulsion Looks like…
Boiling Sand

This post is in conjunction with For the Love of Film:  The Film Preservation Blogathon III, which this year is raising funds for online access and a commissioned music score to 1923’s THE WHITE SHADOW.  Alfred Hitchcock was screenwriter, film editor, and production designer on this film, so the blogathon’s focus is on his work.  […]

Memory comes like a rope let down from heaven, to draw one out of the abyss of unbeing.          — Marcel Proust Not long ago I was sitting at a bistro in an upscale mall on the South China Coast where I had coffee with a former lover. Ours wasn’t a great romance, no great chemistry […]

This post is part of a Loving Lucy Blogathon at True Classics:  The ABCs of Classic Film, celebrating the 100th birthday of Lucille Ball.  For more articles from this site on the early film work of Ball, CLICK HERE. When Carol Burnett spoke at the arts college where I was teaching, she stated her TV […]

This is written in conjunction with Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear‘s MONSTER MASH blogathon.  The rule is simple:  write about a movie made between 1950 and 1959 that centers on a monster… By 1957 Roger Corman had produced and/or directed enough movies, and his screenwriting partners had generated enough scripts, that they knew how to hook […]

A great many fans of Elizabeth Taylor declare that 1974’s THE DRIVER’S SEAT is her worst film.  It isn’t — but it’s probably the least middlebrow thing she ever did. It’s a pedigreed package:  based on a Muriel Spark novella, filmed by a Neopolitan opera director with images burnished by master cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, featuring […]

In film school, one teacher explained the curious connection between Thomas Edison inventing the movies in New Jersey at the same time the Lumière Brothers were doing the same thing in France and William Friese-Greene in Britain by giving the mytho-poetic explanation, “There was something in the air.”  He went on to state similar synchronistic […]

From its first shot, IN JENEN TAGEN grounds the viewer in both a mental and physical landscape that exists beyond resignation, where simple automonous acts of manual labor give the screen’s characters the sort of renewal and liberation that humankind must have experienced when they first used the wheel.  It’s a Rubble Film, an early […]

BOILING SAND participates in the FOR THE LOVE OF FILM (NOIR) film preservation blogathon this week with its post on Edgar G. Ulmer’s CLUB HAVANA.  You can DONATE here to the Film Noir Foundation to contribute for the restoration of Cy Endfield’s 1950 sleeper THE SOUND OF FURY, and have your name put in a […]

Even the title connoted admission of having lost one’s relevance.

Back in high school, did you ever take a test for which you hadn’t studied and had absolutely no preparation?  Let’s say for example a history teacher gave you a fifty-point question asking to explain the effects of the Hundred Years’ War.  You open up your response with a generic cover-your-ass statement such as, “First […]

There’s one obsession I’ve long pursued, while another obsession — for decades — has followed me around.  They finally collided. Artwork influenced by movies has been a personal obsession:  in the days before home video, I searched eight years for a public screening of Joseph Cornell’s ROSE HOBART; I spent last Christmas Eve at the […]

Since I’ve worked over many years in several aspects of the Industry, most of my posts approach a movie as more than an end product:  they also look at the work culture of making a film plus the bottom-line realities of how everything up on the screen had to be paid for one way or […]

While in New York recently, I caught the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.  In addition to the staggering displays of prized artifacts, MoMA hosted a screening series of Burton’s favorite films, including Disney’s post-War animated delectation THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD, the 1974 all-star disaster (in more than one […]

Los Angeles in the days of New Wave totally kicked ass:   The Police (including an impossibly young Sting) gigging at the upstairs bar of Madame Wong’s in Chinatown; Pee-Wee Herman developing his act at clubs on Sunset Boulevard; Andy Warhol snapping Polaroids of hipsters waiting on the street to get into Club Lingerie; future […]

When Francis Coppola’s RUMBLE FISH was released in the early 1980s, I read a report that throughout the production the director would repeat, “This is my student film.” I’m a former film student and ex-professor to film students, so I understand how that phrase crystallizes a unique aesthetic and precious experience in film viewing:  the […]

I don’t do Top Ten lists. I think they’re ridiculous.  As a frequent film festival juror, I’ve seen films that never got a commercial release (or sometimes even a festival screening timeslot) that were much better than anything distributed during the year.  A similar scenario:  about a decade ago, J. Hoberman listed Lawrence Brose’s DE […]

In a true case of (to quote a friend) “Hollywood Timing” I’m in Shanghai during the week when TCM is screening Orson Welles’ THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI twice. In order to heighten the pleasure of its viewing, here’s a link to an essay I wrote on this blog’s parent site, PostModern Joan.com:  THE LADY FROM […]

I’M NOT A FILM ARCHIVIST but the three-headed monster known as my career (making media, writing and assessing media, managing media) has always kept me one or two degrees away from the field.  So I’m happy to report that I’ll be blogging from the conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, held this year […]

By coincidence BOILING SAND went live on the 10th of October, the birthday of 1950s cult film director Ed Wood.   To commemorate both their introductions to the world, I’m re-posting a personal memoir of my early days in Hollywood and of knowing Wood’s makeup man, Harry Thomas. Have you ever heard Charlie Parker’s 1947 […]

When I was a young pup working in the film/tv production industry, I was flipping through the Lowel lighting equipment catalog during a break and read that the company invented Gaffer’s Tape in 1959. No, way!! — I thought — How could GONE WITH THE WIND have been made without Gaffer’s Tape?!?!?   How could […]

At her excellent website Ferdy on Films, etc. Marilyn Ferdinand has called for film bloggers to list their 15 favorite dancers.   CLICK HERE TO READ MY LIST. Doug / PoMo Joan

The Malaysian films of actor / singer / songwriter / orchestrator / screenwriter / director P. Ramlee are gems:  enchanting, disarming, humorous, tuneful treasures waiting to be discovered by Western cinephiles.  On first look Ramlee’s Cinema may look like Bollywood-on-a-Budget, but as the viewing unfolds what emerges is a picaresque slapstick world with a common […]

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Beginning July 6, Greg at Cinema Styles blogsite will be hosting an Ed Wood Blog-a-Thon. I’ll be posting my entry here at BOILING SAND. It should be an interesting read, because my make-up teacher in film school was Ed Wood’s make-up man, Harry Thomas. Harry was a great guy and had millions of tales to […]

Whoa, mama!! Did any of you see this film on Fox Movie Channel recently??! DESIRE IN THE DUST is another of those claptrap novels of demented, devious and oversexed Southern families that Yankees love to project upon the denizens who live below the Mason-Dixon line: a horse-riding vixen who cools off by taking a dip […]



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