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

The closest thing produced in the History of Cinema that could approximate the hamfisted, insinuating and obsessively repetitive rhetoric of this year’s U.S. Republican presidential candidates must be Columbia’s 1965 scandalous hootenanny of liquor and sex, LOVE HAS MANY FACES. This movie, lensing lusty and hustling lifestyles of Acapulco expats from beachbums to millionaires, brings […]

Poor Henry Blanke. He had the sisyphean task of selling the world on a two hour suspension-of-disbelief in which the über-fey pianist and entertainer, Liberace, had two dishy babes madly in love with him…and in which Lee (as friends called him) reciprocated those mating urges. Blanke was sort of the St. Jude / Patron of […]

For the first time since elementary school, I sat in front of a TV and watched ATTACK OF THE 50 FT. WOMAN recently. According to my calculations, the first time I saw the movie was the year Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published; and the movie had its theatrical release a good half-decade before.  […]

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 […]

Over the years, I’ve often wondered what the story was behind the Rochester-based creative team of Watson and Webber, who made experimental, avant-garde films in the 1920s and 30s.  James Sibley Watson was an M.D. with connections to early 20th Century modern poets such as E. E. Cummings and Marianne Moore.  The less-documented Melville Webber, […]

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 […]

[This post was written in conjunction with the For the Love of Film:  The Film Preservation Blogathon this week.  Please DONATE to the National Film Preservation Foundation.] The need for film preservation eventually reduces to a discussion of film stock.  It’s the effects of age and the unstable chemicals in the physical elements of film […]

Star vehicles can be a twonky trip when you know zip about the star it’s carrying.  Worshipful costuming, dramatic entrances and exits, and deifying lighting plans can help you interpret what kind of characters this actor generally plays, what fantasy audiences project upon him.  Indeed, few things illuminate Marshall McLuhan’s axiom that “the medium is […]

“No matter when one lives in Hollywood, one brings one’s own mental furniture along.”      — Otto Friedrich,  journalist / cultural historian The final (and rarest) episode of director Jacques Demy’s Lola film trilogy has made its home video debut this month.   Unlike the first two, MODEL SHOP was in English and shot in Southern […]

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

As with all culture industries, the Third Reich’s movies had genres to reinforce values and control popular sentiment.  Those films were frequently categorized as Heimat (“home / homeland”) movies which emphasized the cozy feeling of families and home, Blut und Boden (“blood and soil”) films which promoted pride and romantic feelings about one’s lineage and […]

I saw BRÜNO last month. The film’s duality of performance and cultural observation, documentary and manipulation, agent provocateur and farcical comedy led me to think about its relationship to certain aspects of the Warhol / Morrissey output in the late 1960s such as BIKE BOY. The camera of 1967’s BIKE BOY recorded the codes of […]

On a British site, I read that the mid-sixties surf film RIDE THE WILD SURF had a Gay following. That was news to me, so I gave it a look. The film is more naturalistic (if you can call a movie that is 50% rear-projection ‘realistic’) than the cartoony Frankie-and-Annette beach party films cranked out […]

A few years before Hollywood’s most celebrated movie on racism and personal identity was filmed, Douglas Sirk’s IMITATION OF LIFE, M-G-M sent a stellar cast and crew to Pakistan to bring John Masters’ 1952 best-selling novel of identity politics, Bhowani Junction, to the screen. Ava Gardner plays Victoria Jones, a half-caste woman serving in the […]

Milos and the gang at FACETS have scored big-time by unearthing this film, cleaning it up, and releasing it on DVD. ANOTHER SKY is the only film directed by screenwriter / novelist / Hollywood-biographer Gavin Lambert, made in Morocco on a budget of £25,000.  The movie was made during Lambert’s days as editor of the […]

That neglected low-budget 1950s horror movie BLOOD OF DRACULA has been rearing its head periodically on late-nite cable. It’s a primo example of an early Herman Cohen production.  And a fascinating look at how screenwriter Aben Kandel loads a film with the fears of the Zeitgeist.  Many screenwriters have succeeded at crystalizing the fears of […]

It’s easy to get confused. Some folks mix up El Salvador and San Salvador.  Others can’t differentiate between Monique van Vooren and Mamie Van Doren. For me, two ‘big status’ Westerns from the 1950s have always been interchangable in my mind.  I’d never seen either one, but their window-dressings are similar:  both starred Gary Cooper, […]

Here’s another example of studio roulette: Warner Home Video has released DANCE, GIRL, DANCE, a neglected and challenging RKO movie from 1940 which was the penultimate feature film directed by

With the recent passing of Ricardo Montalban, I’d like to reflect on a neglected jewel of a film he made for M-G-M in 1952: MY MAN AND I, directed by William A. Wellman. The screenplay was by John Fante with help from Jack Leonard.  Fante was a key influence on Charles Bukowski and a master […]

It’s December, when I celebrate the birthdays of two divae:  Maria Callas and Deanna Durbin. Callas — the Prima Donna Assolutissima — reignited the tradition of diva worship in the arts, and due to the cult-like following she engendered, she created a generation of crossover between film directors and opera directors.  The first of the […]

TEA TREE GULLY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA. DVD shopping in Australia. I scored almost from the start when I found a used copy of the ‘lost’ David Bowie / Marlene Dietrich film, JUST A GIGOLO, for around 5 USD in downtown Melbourne.  As I understand it, the original negs were lost in a fire.  Never got to […]

HOBART, TASMANIA — I was just in a place here in Taz called Drifter’s Internet Cafe, which is loaded with local hero Errol Flynn memorabilia. It also has a small pipe thru which you can peer out a side street window and see the house where Merle Oberon might or might not have been born. […]

I rented a VHS tape of ONE MILLION B.C. recently.  This is NOT the Raquel Welch movie from the 1960s; that’s ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. This is a 1940 movie starring Victor Mature, Carole Landis and Lon Chaney Jr. (in his first role with horror make-up) with direction by Hal Roach (!) and D. W. […]

My friend Mark in Illinois wrote to tell me he saw Lee Van Cleef on a Twilight Zone episode last week.  I was happy for him, just the way he is happy for me whenever I see a movie with Richard Carlson. Richard Carlson is the ultimate dreamboat. For most people, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK […]



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