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"Most of America's Silent Films Are Lost Forever"

Most of America's silent films are lost forever, according to the newly released Library of Congress report The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912–1929. (You can look up the ones that survive in this handy database). [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Dec 4, 2013 - 39 comments

 

How would Lubitsch do it?

These movies offer not just a twist, but a twist atop a twist, and a joke atop the joke: the “superjoke,” as Billy Wilder called it. Those themes repeat: the lively, often-painful love triangle, the sexual and romantic jealousy, the thrill of sex, and in this case, the carnal kicks co-mingling with the art of stealing, an act more erotic than gold-digging. (Gold-fleecing is much more penetrating.) And then—important during one of the worst economic times in America’s history—there’s Lily and Gaston’s hard, artful work, something to respect.

Ernst Lubitsch’s charming pre-Code transgressions
posted by timshel on Nov 19, 2013 - 10 comments

Lois Weber: Frequently Forgotten Pioneering American Movie Director

Lois Weber was an important early American film-maker who pushed the boundaries of film-making so she could better tell the stories she wanted to tell. Several of her early silent films are on youtube: Suspense (1913; ~10 minutes) (she directs herself, experiments with the split-screen view and unusual and effective camera angles including shots from above and using the car's side mirror); Hypocrites (1915; ~4 minutes) (featuring dual roles, nudity, and a strong use of techniques like multiple exposures and complex editing - as well as a strong moral message); and Where Are My Children (1916, ~1 hour, 10 minutes) (a complex and controversial film even then about birth control (pro) and abortion (anti)). [more inside]
posted by julen on Sep 20, 2013 - 12 comments

Film Nerds, Rejoice!

Lantern--a search platform for the collections of the Media History Digital Library that enables access to over 800,000 pages of digitized texts from the histories of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound (from 1904 to 1963)--has gone live. (Previously.)
posted by carrienation on Aug 14, 2013 - 9 comments

Charley Bowers: the film genius no one's ever heard of

“Highbrow critics talk in ornate polysyllables about the ingenuity and art of the German filmmakers. If they condescended to witness the nonsensical genius of a Charley Bowers comedy they could drool dictionaries.” Educational Pictures Press Book for THERE IT IS, January 23, 1928
Charley Bowers is a genius of silent film and animation that never got the level of attention of his peers Buster Keaton or the Fleischer Brothers. You'll have to search hard to find him in film literature. But watching his work—as a bird lays a Ford Model T or a scruffy ghost tortures a Scotsman and his insect sidekick—you can see the inspiration for the later sight gags of Ernie Kovacs, the visual non sequiturs of Looney Toons, the cut paper trickery of Terry Gilliam and surrealist Andre Breton citing one of Bowers' shorts as the most influential film of 1937. [more inside]
posted by Gucky on Jul 10, 2011 - 18 comments

A hundred years of British cinema

Reflections: a hundred years of British cinema (six-minute film). Via the Projected Picture Trust.
posted by paduasoy on Apr 28, 2011 - 5 comments

Python (Monty) Productions

I would like to get back to the censor and agree to...take the odd 'Jesus Christ' out and lose 'Oh fuck off', but to retain 'fart in your general direction'.
posted by dry white toast on Oct 6, 2010 - 27 comments

Step through the Guardian of Forever into the 1960s

"This flickr site is my way to share images that are rare or special in some way for the fans of Star Trek TOS - most of the images are digital scans and restorations from film frames I possess, some are my restored digital images from photos or film clips I have borrowed from others." Including exotic women, clapper boards, special effects, naked Gorns, between-filming breaks, and, of course, stalagmites . via
posted by Katemonkey on Mar 11, 2010 - 19 comments

2008 Film Preservation picks on Internet Archive

Each December, the United States National Film Preservation Board chooses up to 25 films they deem worthy of taking special action to preserve in the Library of Congress. It’s a new year, and that means 25 more films are welcomed in the vault of the National Film Registry. Three of the 2008 picks can be viewed on Internet Archive as well as nearly 40 picks from years past.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 6, 2009 - 57 comments

The Post-War Rise Of Film Noir

What's the relationship between the rise of film noir and the national mood of post-war (WWII, that is) America? "Was noir simply a way of reanimating the tired conventions of the pre-war crime film? Or did we need melodramatic illusions potent enough to overcome whatever disillusions strayed briefly into our minds as we surrendered to the mighty engines of prosperity? Or was it one of those cycles - like biopics, westerns, sci-­fi, etc. - that Hollywood mysteriously embraces and then just as mysteriously abandons?" Via.
posted by amyms on Aug 15, 2007 - 8 comments

Histoire(s) DVD

Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du cinéma was recently released on DVD.
posted by RogerB on May 15, 2007 - 15 comments

Feminine Mystique

Josie Hayes' Great Moments in Film History. "Being a series of pictorial essays on some of the defining moments in cinema...at least the way I see it." [Not unsafe for work, but perhaps unwise]
posted by wobh on Jan 5, 2005 - 4 comments

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