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Lionpower!

In 1967, you needed the best filmed entertainment humanity could produce, it was important.
posted by vrakatar on Apr 26, 2014 - 26 comments

The New York Filming Locations of The Godfather, Then and Now

Because the film is a period piece, The Godfather actually presents a fascinating record of what 1940s-era New York City locations still existed in the early-1970s. Sadly, many of them are now gone. What still remains? Let’s take a closer look.
posted by timshel on Jan 27, 2014 - 27 comments

Giving You Oral

Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 13, 2014 - 24 comments

"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

"Various Imitation of Natural Phenomena, represented by Moving Pictures"

The Eidophusikon, an early form of motion picture, is a theatrical technology developed by fine art painter and theatrical set designer Philip de Loutherbourg using sound, colored filters, mechanical works, light from newly invented Argand lamps, mirrors and more . It was first exhibited at his home in 1781, featuring five scenes of land and seascape. In recent years, recognition of this as an early chapter in cinema history has prompted several institutions to recreate the experience. Among the most successful is the 2005 storm at sea depicted in Eidophusikon Reimagined by the Australian National University.
posted by Miko on Nov 11, 2013 - 4 comments

The Old Ways

A History of British Folk Horror
posted by Artw on Oct 22, 2013 - 62 comments

12 Years a Slave

"I'm here because my family went through slavery" - Steve McQueen on 12 Years A Slave, the story of Solomon Northup. ‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Mother of George,’ and the aesthetic politics of filming black skin. Before Solomon Northup: Fighting Slave Catchers in New York. The final fate of Solpmon Northup remains unknown. (Previously)
posted by Artw on Oct 20, 2013 - 56 comments

Let's All Go To The Lobby!

“Movie theaters wanted nothing to do with popcorn,” Smith says, “because they were trying to duplicate what was done in real theaters. They had beautiful carpets and rugs and didn’t want popcorn being ground into it.” Movie theaters were trying to appeal to a highbrow clientele, and didn’t want to deal with the distracting trash of concessions–or the distracting noise that snacking during a film would create. - So Why Do We Eat Popcorn At The Movies Anyway? (Smithsonian Mag)
posted by The Whelk on Oct 4, 2013 - 134 comments

United States of America

Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 29, 2013 - 49 comments

PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn

PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn: For the last six decades or so, a copy [of "Combat Fatigue Irritability"] has been filed away, along with thousands of other films, at the National Library of Medicine. The only people it has been lost to are the public and Gene Kelly’s devoted and still numerous fans. But now the National Library of Medicine is featuring Combat Fatigue Irritability in Medical Movies on the Web, and the film will be given a well-deserved, though very belated, New York premiere, on October 5, 2013, at the New York Academy of Medicine. [more inside]
posted by theatro on Sep 25, 2013 - 8 comments

The Story of Film

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a documentary in 15 parts which documents the evolution of the medium from first steps of silent film to the present day multi-national blockbuster (trailer). This amazing work is currently available on Netflix, but will also be playing on TCM starting this month (full schedule available at the bottom of this link).
posted by codacorolla on Sep 3, 2013 - 23 comments

The Rise and Fall of Katharine Hepburn's Fake Accent

When Hollywood turned to talkies, it created a not-quite-British, not-quite-American style of speaking that has all but disappeared.
posted by brundlefly on Aug 8, 2013 - 93 comments

Hedwig? Hedy? Hedly?

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Ecstasy of Hedy Lamarr - Science! Fascists! Orgasms! Libel! Escapes From Literal Castles! (SoCH previously and Anne Helen Petersen previously)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 8, 2013 - 18 comments

"No one will be admitted after the start of the FPP."

Warning! These 1950s Movie Gimmicks Will Shock You
posted by brundlefly on Jul 31, 2013 - 47 comments

The Western Lands

How the Western Was Lost (and Why it Matters)
posted by Artw on Jul 29, 2013 - 226 comments

Life in Five Seconds

Paring down history and films to their bare essentials (requires Flash). [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 16, 2013 - 2 comments

The Gripping, Mind-Blowing, Thrilling Evolution of the Movie Trailer

The Art of the Trailer [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jun 18, 2013 - 73 comments

Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema

2013 Jefferson Lecture with Martin Scorsese (text) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 9, 2013 - 3 comments

The Rules Of The Game

Anne Helen Petersen, the voice behind "Scandals Of Classic Hollywood" (previously) and "doctor of celebrity gossip" gives us an academic rundown of the hows and whys of the last hundred years of Hollywood Star Making, celebrity, PR, marketing, fandom, and scandal management.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 24, 2013 - 7 comments

"2000 films X 20 genres X 100 years."

The History of Film in one convenient, zoomable graphic. 2000 "important" American, British, and a few other European films, grouped by genre and year. [more inside]
posted by Currer Belfry on Nov 14, 2012 - 33 comments

Menace(s) to Society

During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness (1935), Reefer Madness (1936) and The Cocaine Fiends (1938). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 15, 2012 - 30 comments

He’s documenting history, one Asian movie theater at a time

Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
posted by blueberry on Jul 1, 2012 - 6 comments

Here I Set Up A Shame-Pole

The Vikings Of Bjornstad a "a living history and educational group, concentrating on the Viking age " reviews every viking movie ever made for its authenticity in depicting Vikings and Viking Culture. Every. single. one. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Apr 14, 2012 - 33 comments

The lady's not for turning?

‘History is what happened in the past’: reflections on The Iron Lady.
posted by Artw on Jan 4, 2012 - 92 comments

And we know that everything falls to dust...

Are small theaters punching a ticket to oblivion? Radical changes in the traditional structure of the lab processing and exhibition sides of the film industry have been filling the lives of small theater operators with uncertainty and worry for the last few years. Will filmstock be the next Kodachrome? (And what will that mean for the future of film preservation?) [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Sep 28, 2011 - 36 comments

Pages and Pages of Hollywood History

Will Your Favorite Star Survive Color? This article from a 1935 issue of the Hollywood fan magazine Photoplay breathlessly anticipates a new standard of screen beauty due to the spread of Technicolor motion pictures. You can read or download the whole magazine, for free, legally, at the Media History Digital Library. [more inside]
posted by theatro on Sep 19, 2011 - 32 comments

The "Citizen Kane" of Civil Defense

In an effort to preserve the rich story behind this landmark film, CONELRAD has spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER's production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away. In the course of our research, CONELRAD also uncovered a wealth of archival material that leaves no doubt that a tremendous amount of thought went into the making of this nine minute motion picture that has been the subject of so much dismissive ridicule over the years. (More CONELRAD goodness previously)
posted by Trurl on Jun 19, 2011 - 12 comments

Buy Marilyn's dress from The Seven Year Itch!* (*subway grate not included)

The Girl With the Golden Wardrobe. Long after the Golden Age of Hollywood has dimmed, and its legendary stars taken a bow, history's most iconic film costumes are returning to the spotlight as actress Debbie Reynolds sells her showcase collection.

The Catalogue (PDF)
posted by crossoverman on Jun 4, 2011 - 88 comments

Inside Movies Since 1920

Boxoffice, an industry magazine for the movie theater business, has been posting back issues dating to 1925. Via Trailers From Hell.
posted by brundlefly on May 26, 2011 - 11 comments

An Extended Finnish Saturday Matinee

Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 30, 2011 - 12 comments

Culling and surrender

The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything. The vast majority of the world's books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It's just numbers.
posted by crossoverman on Apr 18, 2011 - 89 comments

Amateur Films of 1920's China

When John Van Antwerp MacMurray was dispatched to Asia in 1925 as the American Envoy to the Republic of China, he brought a Kodak motion picture camera with him.
posted by Iridic on Dec 14, 2010 - 4 comments

"...with God's help, we shall prevail."

A new movie, The King’s Speech, (official site / trailer / clips) depicts King George VI of England's struggle to overcome his problem with stuttering and find his voice, in time to deliver the historic radio speech that prepared London for WWII. The film is being hailed as a potential Oscar-contender, for its unique, sensitive portrayal of stuttering -- a sharp contrast to the way movies traditionally present those who suffer from the disorder.. Slate offers a slideshow of ten video clips: A History of Stuttering in the Movies [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 9, 2010 - 38 comments

“The purple glow in the sky — that was so eerie”

Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 14, 2010 - 6 comments

Edison invented Hollywood

Lights, camera ... Edison! Thomas Edison & Co. made the first movie ever shown in public - Blacksmith Scene - a film about drinking on the job. They also had many other cinematic firsts: The first sound film, the first romance (The Kiss), the first blockbuster (The Great Train Robbery), and the first splatter film (The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots). [Previously]
posted by twoleftfeet on Jul 10, 2010 - 16 comments

Ozmapolitan

Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.

The MGM musical version of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz turned 70 this week. It wasn't the first time it was a movie, nor the last time it was a movie or a movie musical. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Aug 28, 2009 - 53 comments

An Early Hollywood Murder Mystery

The bumping off of a famous person is the sort of oyster that any detective delights to open, so you can just bet the family jewels that I was pretty much elated when my Chief, the late Thomas Lee Woolwine, District Attorney of Los Angeles County, called me into his private office on the morning of February 3rd, 1922, and assigned me to represent his office in the investigation of this greatest of all murder mysteries. -- Excerpted from an article archived at Taylorology, a site exploring the life and death of William Desmond Taylor, a silent movie actor and director whose unsolved murder was among the earliest Hollywood true crime scandals. Researcher Bruce Long first published his accumulated information about the case as a small fanzine which evolved into a monthly electronic newsletter and is now a vast archive of articles and interviews, official documents, photos, and more. Although the Taylor case is the main focus, there's also a wealth of supplemental information about the silent film industry and its stars. [more inside]
posted by amyms on Feb 22, 2009 - 7 comments

History Repeats and Hollywood Remakes

You know the trouble with Historically-Based Movies? Unless you're an uneducated, ignorant moran, you know how they're gonna end. At least that's the argument of this Premiere article on 10 Movie Endings Spoiled By History. Of course there are ways to avoid that problem, as Cracked.com's (yeah, them) 11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy declares. Books have been written about Historical Movies' accuracy or inaccuracy, and everybody has an opinion on what the Best Historical Movies are, but if you want your History purely entertaining, there's only one mandog you can count on: here are Mr. Peabody, Sherman and the original Wayback Machine dropping in on Cristopher Columbus, Pancho Villa and Francisco Pizarro and the Incas (sorry, no USA History episodes on YouTube). [more inside]
posted by wendell on Jan 6, 2009 - 36 comments

Museum of the Moving Image

Moving Image Source is devoted to the history of film, television, and digital media. It features original articles by leading critics, authors, and scholars; a calendar that highlights major retrospectives, festivals, and gallery exhibitions at venues around the world; and a regularly updated guide to online research resources. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 30, 2008 - 1 comment

Romano Archives

ROMANO-Archives has a YouTube channel with over 270 color film clips, called Unknown WWII In Color. "World War ll has usually been seen in black and white, but our recent research has unearthed an abundance of superb color film that shows what it really looked like to those who were there. The Author presents mainly WW2 recently declassified and other previously unavailable material, exclusively filmed in color." They also have over 900 videos of Automobile History USA l lots of pages of images with history, like Jammin' with Betty Boop. [In English and Italian] [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Nov 24, 2008 - 18 comments

Hollywood Chinese

Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films (official site w/Flash) Filmmaker Arthur Dong covers the good (YT), the bad and the players (link to Flash video clips) in his latest award-winning documentary. Related MeFi post.
posted by LinusMines on May 4, 2008 - 19 comments

Bringing Back The Drive-In

The first drive-in movie theater was opened on June 6, 1933, by salesman Richard M. Hollingshead in Camden, N.J. On the bill was a twilight showing of the British comedy Wife Beware. And so the drive-in era was born, peaking in 1958 with almost 5,000 theaters in the U.S alone. These days you'd be hard pressed trying to find one but thankfully there are plenty of handy lists online telling you just where to find one (there's even one for Aussies like me!). And that's not all we have to be thankful for; the drive-in scene is apparently witnessing something of a "mini-revival" at present. Don't feel like going out? Then why not make your own? First you'll need instructions on how to build one. Then you'll need intermission-advertisements (you can download or even just watch heaps of them for free here). And then you'll need a handy list of the kinds of films they used to show at the drive-in. If you're in the US, you'll need to know some of the special rules the FCC has for drive-ins, and if you have any more questions, I'm sure the fine folk at the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association could help. All of this sound like too much work? Then just sit back and check out the videos and photos on this nice site (it's about drive-ins, of course!).
posted by Effigy2000 on Feb 18, 2008 - 43 comments

Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright

Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
posted by carter on Jan 31, 2008 - 4 comments

Smile, Mahtha

Northeast Historic Film is the best of quirky Maine. They archive home movies, collect postcards of New England movie houses, and study depictions of New England in major films. Browsing the list of collections is tantalizing; if only some of these were available as clips or on YouTube. They're one of many archives preserving home movies. Also.
posted by Miko on Oct 23, 2007 - 9 comments

Anders als die Andern

Anders als die Andern ("Different From the Others") [IMDB|Wikipedia] was one of a series of films on sexual issues directed by Richard Oswald in the late 1910s and sponsored by Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Science. The 1919 movie (photo reconstruction), "the first major gay-themed film ever made," and "the world's first homosexual emancipation film," was made in part to protest against Paragraph 175, which was added to Germany's Reich Penal Code in 1871 and prohibited sex acts "between persons of male sex." [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Dec 15, 2006 - 11 comments

The First Known Motion Picture

The first known motion picture (Quicktime movie, somewhat slow to download) was produced by Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince at Roundhay House, Leeds, UK some time before October of 1888. Its date can be verified, as the elderly lady in the film, Mrs. Sarah Whitley, died in that month. The two-second-long film was shot on paper or celluloid photographic film through a custom-made camera. Although the original paper film appears to have been lost, two photographic copies of the film dating from the 1930s remain in existence. Le Prince's second film, Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge, was shot shortly afterwards.

Le Prince is generally not well-known outside the film historical community, partly because he did not publicize his works, but also because he disappeared in 1890 during a journey to Paris, France. It's thought that Le Prince committed suicide over money worries, but his body was never found.
posted by watsondog on Dec 3, 2005 - 29 comments

Aleksandr Sokurov's "The Sun"

The Emperor's Bunker. "The Japanese, with sadness and irony, stressed that Hirohito couldn't even speak properly. This was partly to do with the fact that he didn't have to speak - people spoke in his name and he was isolated from real life". "The Sun", the third part in Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov's 'Men of Power' tetralogy after the gloom of Moloch (1999), about Hitler and Eva Braun, and the despairing tones of "Taurus" (2001), focused on the wheelchair-bound Lenin in his death throes, "The Sun" seems almost upbeat. This, after all, is a film about reconciliation. More inside.
posted by matteo on Sep 13, 2005 - 21 comments

The Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark Dr. Vendyl Jones, the famed archaeologist, the inspiration for the “Indiana Jones” movie series, has spent most of his life searching for the Ark of the Covenant. The ark was the resting place of the Ten Commandments, given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and was hidden just before the destruction of the First Temple. The Talmud says the Ark is hidden in a secret passage under the Temple Mount. Dr. Vendyl Jones says that the tunnel actually continues 18 miles southward, and that the Ark was brought through the tunnel to its current resting place in the Judean Desert. Apparently he is about to find it this summer.
posted by Coop on May 19, 2005 - 67 comments

Fathom

The biology of B-movie monsters ; ancient Greek curse and love magic; the correspondence of Elizabeth I and James VI; Egil Skallagrimsson, poet and killer; the mythology of Harry Potter; Pinocchio's cultural heirs; Tiananmen's legacy; experimental art in China; the question of Hatshepshut's character. Articles courtesy of the Fathom Archive, 2000-2003.
posted by plep on Jan 15, 2005 - 11 comments

Never such innocence again

The Mitchell and Kenyon collection consists of 800 rolls of nitrate film documenting scenes of everyday life in England between 1900 and 1913. This extraordinary archive, now painstakingly restored by the British Film Institute, includes footage of trams, soup kitchens, factory gates, football matches, seaside holidays and much else besides. Here are some sample images and a short clip of workers at a Lancashire colliery, all astonishingly evocative and reminiscent (to me) of Philip Larkin's poem MCMXIV: 'The crowns of hats, the sun / On moustachioed archaic faces / Grinning as if it were all / An August Bank Holiday lark .. Never such innocence, / Never before or since .. Never such innocence again.'
posted by verstegan on Jan 7, 2005 - 7 comments

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