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

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 […]

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 […]

Where has this film been all my life? Like a lobotomized Vincente Minnelli shooting CHILDREN OF PARADISE on a Roger Corman budget, this movie’s first half-hour wraps delirious yet barely-syntactical filmmaking around reams of metered, self-consciously crafted text. Like CHILDREN OF PARADISE, Carl Dreyer’s GERTRUD, or THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE, this is a film […]

Ever since that train arriving at the station was etched onto emulsion by the Lumière Brothers’ new invention, film has been a time capsule. Film documents the everyday.  Even film fantasy puts on record the tastes and technology of an era.  But more importantly, the method its creators used to conceive and present its subjects […]

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 […]

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Running down the résumés of BURN, WITCH, BURN!‘s cast and crew, I couldn’t tell which artistic/commercial direction this film would lead me.  It could land in one of two distinct territories:  a flimsy story with fake blood and occasional flashes of tits, or it could be a thinking man’s gothic opera. BURN, WITCH, BURN!‘s director, […]

Most Film Noir has some sort of philosophical / existential aspect woven into it:  the private dick’s jaundiced look at love and morals, an old drunk’s musings on life slipping through his hands, etc.  But REPEAT PERFORMANCE is entirely built on a fatalist / defeatist foundation, and although it has elements of fantasy, it’s also […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

This posting is a contribution to this week’s The Spirit of Ed Wood Blogathon at the Cinema Styles blogsite. Have you ever heard Charlie Parker’s 1947 recordings for the Dial label? Bird was in L.A., headed for a personal crash-and-burn that would soon land him in Camarillo’s mental hospital; for some sessions he had to […]

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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 […]

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. […]

Earlier this week I had dinner with a friend who told me a couple of Christmases ago, he was in Paris drinking champagne with Olivia DeHavilland at her apartment. Well, I’ve never done that, but once I was in the same convention hall with Beverly Garland. I was working on an Alzheimer’s documentary, so the […]



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