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

I once went on record as saying that Frank Borzage’s Deanna Durbin vehicle HIS BUTLER’S SISTER can give you a headache.  During this Borzage-rich year (the release of the Borzage/Murnau boxed DVD set, good Borzage programming on TCM, and even finding a legitimate copy of I’VE ALWAYS LOVED YOU on VHS), I’ve decided to re-evaluate […]

This post is part of the Robert Wise Blog-a-Thon that Josh at the Octopus Cinema blogsite is hosting during the first week of September. I’ve had a long time to think about how to articulate my admiration for Robert Wise:  I worked in the same building as Wise when I got my first temp job […]

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 […]

It’s time for me to  ’fess up:   until this week, I’d never seen the the original Hammer Dracula movie, the one that made Christopher Lee a star. I’d never acquired a taste for Hammer horror; Universal Studios’ three-decade output (from 1924’s HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME to 1954’s CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON) supplied all […]

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 […]

With constant revelations of Republican politicians’ sex scandals coming at us like loads of spermatazoa in hot pursuit of an ovum, I thought it would be appropriate to write an appreciation of the best comedy ever created on American Hypocrisy and false puritanism: Richard Boleslavski’s THEODORA GOES WILD. Barely remembered today, director Boleslavski’s career managed […]

In order to build allies as World War 2 approached, the Hollywood film industry at the request of the federal government began incorporating aspects of Latin American culture in its films: glamorizing locales such as Rio and Buenos Aires, incorporating Latin culture in costume design (such as Edith Head’s designs for Barbara Stanwyck in 1941’s […]

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 […]

This Sunday, Turner Classic Movies will be screening George Cukor’s MY FAIR LADY. To enhance the experience, you might want to take a look at a think-piece I published on the movie at this blog’s parent site, PostModern Joan. The piece can be found here.

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

How can it be?? BELLS ARE RINGING:  a butt-ugly, proscenium-bound, stand-and-deliver musical film directed by that most polished, chic, and painterly of all studio-era filmmakers, Vincente Minnelli??? In this delish-ly digital DVD, the glaringly phony sets and the consciously theatrical performances almost kill the pleasure of viewing this film.  I say almost because despite its […]

[Posted as part of the EARLY HAWKS BLOG-A-THON.] It says it right up there at the beginning: A Howard Hawks Production. So, not only did Hawks direct TODAY WE LIVE (1933), but he ‘produced’ it also. But I put the word produced in quotes because the film is a 1933 product of M-G-M, so above […]

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The other night I rented the 1974 movie, AMAZING GRACE, a star vehicle for the legendary black vaudeville entertainer Moms Mabley. Moms was 80 years old the summer this was released. So her performance has a fascinating double-meaning and readability: she may be slow and sometimes fuzzy in her blocking and stage business, but her […]

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 currently live in a city that has no Major League Baseball, which (next to grand opera) is my favorite spectator event. So while the World Series has been underway, I’ve sublimated my baseball hunger by purchasing a DVD of PRIDE OF THE YANKEES for three dollars at BigLots! and giving it a look. Despite […]

Over fifty years ago, native Atlantan Jane Withers (along with Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson) arrived in Marfa, Texas, to shoot George Stevens’ film, GIANT. Over the last weekend, this native Atlantan arrived in Marfa to follow in Withers’ footsteps. In addition to being a movie location for works such as GIANT, THERE […]

As the creator and author of www.postmodernjoan.com I find myself thinking about Joan Crawford almost every day. This weekend it has been her MOUTH. If you look at photos of JC from her silent movie days, she is hardly recognizable as the later screen diva, but most can’t put their finger on what’s different. Look […]



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