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

I’m in Houston today:  North America’s fourth largest city, frequently named an overlooked gem in the New York Times’ travel section, and home to many cultural treasures including the Mark Rothko Chapel. I just left the Rothko Chapel, where I had a strong, cleansing meditation — sitting twixt a frail, elderly Asian woman in a […]

You know how it goes:  you look for something on the Web and before you know it you’ve hypertexted yourself into a totally different realm of information. That’s how it was for me one night when I found myself on the IMDB User Comments page for Peter Watkins’ PUNISHMENT PARK.  I was amazed at the […]

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 […]

Director Ang Lee’s 1997 film THE ICE STORM dramatized the risks and perils of Modernity.   Today when “new” means “contemporary” and Modern is out-dated — losing its power to the next wave, PostModernism — it’s hard to conceive or convey what Modernism was all about.   THE ICE STORM laid bare the personal perils […]

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 […]

If you love Baz Lurhmann’s AUSTRALIA and want to see an earlier, similar film — OR — if you hate AUSTRALIA and want to see a calmer, more naturalistic version of the movie, Lewis Milestone’s 1952 Technicolor action/romance/drama KANGAROO can satisfy both desires. KANGAROO (which has nothing to do with the D. H. Lawrence novel […]

This post is part of the Double Billathon hosted this week at the Broken Projector film blog. In 1939, while Nathanael West was submitting the final manuscript of his Hollywood Apocalypse novel Day of the Locust to Random House, he was also pounding the keyboard for $350 a week as a scriptwriter for RKO Studios. […]

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 […]

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