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.  […]

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 […]

Experimental / avant-garde filmmaking became a fertile, serious art movement in the United States with the creation of MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON by the husband and wife team of Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren in 1943.  Experimental shorts had been made before MESHES, however this black-and-white film of dark Freudian imagery, filmed in bright Los […]

Americans are believers. The emotional comforts of fiction and the psychic fuel of wishing are, ironically, both our common cultural trait and the wedge that keeps the nation out of unity.  The United States’ highly-touted Freedom of Choice is most frequently exercised by its citizens in Choosing To Believe:  to believe pundits, conspiracy theories, articles […]

Documentary Film experienced a sea-change during the 10-year period from 1980 to 1990.  As video cameras entered the mass-retail market, many who felt they had something to say quickly embraced video as the medium for getting their message to a large audience.  The result was an exponential number of offerings, voices never allowed cultural space […]

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, […]

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 […]

[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 […]

On December 30th, 2009, the Library of Congress announced the next twenty-five films chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry, merited on their “enduring importance to American culture.”  On the list was the 1975 animated short QUASI AT THE QUACKADERO by Sally Cruikshank. As the Library of Congress announced: “Quasi at the Quackadero” has […]

The second most surprising animation I’ve seen during this stay in China was a blast from my childhood:  the “Silly Rabbit” hawking TRIX cereal is now a primetime bunny on China’s Saturday night commercial slots. But the strangest cartoon in Sino-world has been an ‘educational’ video on the H1N1 virus, shown as part of 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 […]

The Fourth of July weekend was the epicenter of the new film releases: major studio films are timed to be released in June, July and December. Lots to choose from but, for me and a friend, the agreed-upon movie to catch during the holiday was Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES. I once heard the great experimental […]



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