144 posts tagged with history and film.
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Free State of Jones

The True Story of the 'Free State of Jones': A new Hollywood movie looks at the tale of the Mississippi farmer who led a revolt against the Confederacy (Smithsonian Mag). Newton Knight has always been a controversial figure. "This controversy was fueled in part by Knight's postwar marriage to a formerly enslaved black woman, which effectively established a small mixed-race community in southeastern Mississippi."(Jones County, Mississippi) [more inside]
posted by cwest on May 27, 2016 - 26 comments

“Contact resident film archivist Alex Cherian if you have any questions”

Established in 1982, the [San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive] preserves 6000 hours of newsfilm, documentaries and other TV footage produced in the Bay Area and Northern California from the Twentieth Century. We are a part of the J. Paul Leonard Library’s Department of Special Collections and oversee material owned by local TV stations KPIX-TV, KRON-TV, KQED and KTVU. All 1,659 items in the collections can be streamed. A few notable inclusions within. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on May 18, 2016 - 5 comments

A Private Little War

Between 1975 and 1977, Paramount and Gene Roddenberry planned to make a Star Trek movie, but it turned out to be anything but easy. What would it be about? Plot ideas included time travel, snake people, God, black holes and the titans of ancient Greek mythology. Writer after writer took a turn at coming up with a story, leaving behind a string of rejected screenplays. In March 1978, Paramount president Michael Eisner announced a film spin-off. The race to make Star Trek: The Motion Picture was on. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 23, 2016 - 96 comments

The Unknown 17

Jesse Owens usually gets all the attention when people talk about the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, but the documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice looks at the other black athletes who traveled with Owens to Hitler’s Berlin 80 years ago, including Jackie Robinson’s big brother Mack, and Tidye Ann Pickett-Phillips, first black American woman to compete in the Olympics.
posted by LeLiLo on Feb 24, 2016 - 7 comments

Beautiful pictures about beautiful people

Studio Heads Of The Classic Era Ranked In Terms Of Personal Awfulness -by resident Hollywood expert The Whelk [via mefi projects]
posted by Artw on Feb 9, 2016 - 25 comments

Imperial History and Film Culture

Having fallen down the rabbit hole of British colonial cinema history, I thought to share some of the wonderful discoveries with you.
posted by infini on Feb 9, 2016 - 3 comments

Visualizing History

Syracuse, ancient and late classical era. Pompeii's Last Day. Hadrian's Villa: reconstruction and current state and virtual walkthrough. Virtual exploration of Corinth, 2nd century C.E. Rome circa 320 C.E. Flyby of Tenochtitlan. A 3-D walkthrough of Paris in the 18th century. Paris in 1896 and today. London in 1927 and 2013, side by side. A portal into 1924 London through 2014. [more inside]
posted by rednikki on Jan 31, 2016 - 10 comments

Name that fragment of a century-old forgotten silent film!

Beneath glimmering chandeliers at an Art Deco movie house built into the side of a mountain, 150 silent-movie buffs sat wide-eyed as snippets from films lost decades ago lighted up the screen. Their quest: Name the film, or at least spot details that will advance the cause. The fans shouted clues as a piano player wearing an old-time parlor vest and a thick period mustache improvised jaunty scores. They scoured vintage magazines on their laptops, checked film databases on their tablets, and scrubbed their brains for odd bits of early 20th century cultural history. Every frame had the potential to unlock a secret.
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 30, 2016 - 8 comments

DeMille's Lost City

“You have lost your mind,” telegraphed Adolph Zukor, founder of Paramount Pictures. “Stop filming and return to Los Angeles at once.” DeMille refused. “I cannot and will not make pictures with a yardstick,” he wired back to the studio. “What do they want me to do?” he was rumored to have said, according to Higashi. “Stop now and release it as The Five Commandments?” Excavating the "City of the Pharoah," the biggest set ever built for a Hollywood film in the 1920s. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 18, 2015 - 10 comments

In the grim darkness of the fur future, there is only war

"On the shores of Payette Lake are crates full of beavers, part of a shipment to be dropped in the primitive area by parachute from an airplane." A clip from Fur for the Future, a recently rediscovered documentary from 1948 about Idaho Fish and Game parachuting beavers into the state's backcountry.
posted by oulipian on Oct 23, 2015 - 28 comments

"I’m too mad to love anyone right now"

"There Aren't Enough Bricks in the World to Throw at Roland Emmerich’s Appalling Stonewall" - The first reviews of Roland Emmerich film about the Stonewall riots are in. They are not favorable.
posted by Artw on Sep 22, 2015 - 77 comments

American Experience

Walt Disney - "An unprecedented look at the life and legacy of one of America's most enduring and influential storytellers -- Walt Disney."
posted by kliuless on Sep 16, 2015 - 17 comments

100 Years of ...

[more inside]
posted by jillithd on Aug 6, 2015 - 11 comments

British Movietone Archive and Associated Press Archive

The British Movietone archive of nearly fifty thousand newsreel films is now on YouTube. Movietone started making newsreels in 1929 and stopped fifty years later. You can find clips about nearly any subject, women's rights, space exploration, and sports. The archive has a number of playlists, including one where archivist Jenny Hammerton presents clips she finds interesting. But, I hear you say, do they have cute cat videos? Yes. Also, a parachuting dog and jokes about Hitler. Also now availabe, the Associated Press Archive of more than 170 thousand video clips. The Guardian has a list of interesting clips from both archives.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 22, 2015 - 5 comments

Filming everyday life near the end of the Soviet Union

Former TV cameraman Rick Suddeth has posted numerous videos of everyday life in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s and early 1990s. These are mostly raw footage or lightly edited, some are silent. Moscow traffic ca. 1986. Moscow grocery store ca. 1990. Universam Department Store, Moscow, 1990. Queuing for wine at a state liquor store. In the Cosmos Night Club. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on May 29, 2015 - 18 comments

The Empathetic Camera

Frank Norris and the Invention of Film Editing: "At the heart of American author Frank Norris’ gritty turn-of-the-century fiction lies an essential engagement with the everyday shock and violence of modernity. Henry Giardina explores how this focus, combined with his unique approach to storytelling, helped to pave the way for a truly filmic style."
posted by Rumple on May 20, 2015 - 2 comments

"Almost too tasteless for words"

The signature image in Little Boy, a colossal miscalculation in audience uplift, is of the title character stretching out his arms, scrunching up his face, and groaning with intense concentration. Small for his age, hence the nickname, 7-year-old Pepper Flint Busbee (Jakob Salvati) performs this ritual several times throughout the film, always when attempting to move an object with the sheer power of his belief. More often than not, it actually works: Onstage, during a magic show, he appears to slide a glass bottle across a table, Jedi-style. Later, in a far grander display of his apparent gifts, he wows a crowd of skeptics by seemingly creating an earthquake while trying to nudge a mountain. What Pepper really wants, though, is to bring his father back from the war. And so he stands on a dock and points his hands in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, defying the setting sun, focusing all his desire on one point in the distance, until…
Little Boy: The Film That Goes There [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Apr 23, 2015 - 198 comments

LA's cultural and historical legacy: more than being able to turn right at a red light

HistoricPlacesLA is the first online information and management system specifically created to inventory, map, and help protect the City of Los Angeles' significant historic resources. It showcases the city's diversity of historic resources, including architecturally significant buildings and places of social importance as well as historic districts, bridges, parks, and streetscapes. You can search for specifics or try some popular seaches, and the map view let's you combine different overlays and base maps.
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 28, 2015 - 6 comments

The Measure of a Person is What They Do With What They Have

Beginning in 1920, Robert J. Flaherty spent a year in the Canadian Arctic (Port Harrison in Northern Quebec) documenting the daily struggles of an Inuk man named Nanook. The resulting feature-length film, an American silent documentary with elements of docudrama, was the first of its kind, in a style that would eventually become known as "salvage ethnography." Nanook of the North: A Story Of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic (1922) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 17, 2015 - 10 comments

"Ida": Film nominated for two Oscars draws praise & controversy

"Ida" (trailer: YouTube & Apple) is a black & white (and a Polish language) film from Poland by director Pavel Pawlikowski (this link contains spoilers). Hailed a film "masterpiece" by more than one critic, the film has now been recognized in America by not just one Oscar nomination (Foreign Language Film) but a 2nd in the broader category of Cinematography. For those interested in filmmaking, cinematography, and lighting, here is a look at three scenes from Ida. More? Here are another four scenes. The film is not without controversy, including Poles who are upset at the portrayal of their countrymen (and women) during the Nazi occupation and the Stalinism that followed WWII. Does 'Ida' misrepresent Poland's treatment of Jews?
posted by spock on Feb 6, 2015 - 51 comments

“German Concentration Camps Factual Survey”

In 1945, as Allied troops liberated concentration camps across what had been German-occupied Europe, the British Ministry of Information commissioned a documentary that would provide incontrovertible evidence of the Nazis’ crimes. Producer Sidney Bernstein's cameramen accompanied US, UK and Soviet troops into Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and other camps. Six reels of film, known as the German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, were assembled and edited in part by Alfred Hitchcock (supervising director) and Billy Wilder.

The final product "was meant to be a historical document and a teaching tool; among the stated goals of the filmmakers was that it be shown to Germans to prove to them that the horrors of the camps were real." But the project was deemed too politically sensitive and abandoned before it was completed. The finished reels, storyboards and scripts sat in British archives for years. In 1985, PBS Frontline took some of the footage and created a documentary special: "Memory of the Camps." On January 27, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, HBO aired "Night Will Fall,” (trailer) directed by André Singer, which tells the story of the making of Factual Survey "...through the eyes of people who either filmed it, or through the eyes of the soldiers who first went in, to see what happened in the camps - or through the eyes of surviving victims who were in the camps." Film footage at links is disturbing and possibly NSFW [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 5, 2015 - 28 comments

I seldom use it myself, sir. It promotes rust.

Robert Kinoshita, the production designer and art director who created Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot and Lost In Space's B-9 Environmental Control Robot [previously], has passed away at the age of 100.
posted by brundlefly on Jan 14, 2015 - 22 comments

Magicians of the Miniature

Matte Shot (previously) presents: Magicians of the Miniature, an overview and image gallery of miniature effects work.
posted by brundlefly on Jan 3, 2015 - 13 comments

Birdies, prunes, cheese and whiskey: smiling (or not) for the camera

... in the Victorian era (1837-1901), a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. They took their cues from much of Europe's fine-art portraiture. Some say photographers even suggested those posing say "prunes" to heighten the effect. Smiling was something captured on children, peasants and drunkards, hardly something you'd want for your family legacy.

Then, there was the matter of oral hygiene.
Advances in dental care and ubiquitous technology: why people started smiling for the camera, and why we say cheese, with a whistling bird, some whiskey, and a little flash game thrown in for good measure. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 19, 2014 - 10 comments

"I'm alive and I know what it means to be Lakota."

"... I love the version of the Thanksgiving story in the movie Addams Family Values, because I get to see the Indians win." [SLGuardian]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 27, 2014 - 31 comments

The new trend in movies actually is new

Tired of movie sequels? Good news, The Sequel Is Dead -- The Universe Is Where It's At [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 16, 2014 - 98 comments

The best "unlikely allies" story you've probably never heard.

"Pride", a critically-acclaimed new film given a limited release in the US today, tells the true story of how a small group of LGBT activists became the biggest fundraiser for the year-long British coal miner's strike of 1984-85. The miners faced a pre-meditated, organized, thuggish, dishonest, deceptive, and illegal surveillance and smear campaign by the Thatcher government, which froze all mining union funds, cancelled their unemployment, and denied food and housing welfare to their wives and children, in an attempt to starve them out. For the first time, the British government trained Britain's police into a paramilitary force, bused in at great expense and in great numbers to overwhelm the protesters, using violent, repressive, and corrupt tactics against non-violent protesters, with prolonged police detentions and the indiscriminate arrest of over 11,000 British citizens. The government was supported by the rightwing tabloid media, who used sensationalist, crude headlines to shape public opinion. LGBT activists reclaimed one such headline as the name of their most successful benefit. Although the miner's strike was broken by the Thatcher government, the miners kept their promise to support the LGBT community, by marching alongside them at the front of London's 1985's Pride parade.. Later that year at the Labour Party conference, a motion was tabled that supported adding equal rights for gays and lesbians as part of the Party's platform. This motion was opposed by Labour's executive committee, but the motion went to a vote – and passed, thanks to the votes of the National Union of Mineworkers and their allies.
posted by markkraft on Sep 27, 2014 - 33 comments

The 50 Year Argument

The New York Review of Books recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding (previously), growing out of an alliance between Harpers editor Robert Silvers and writer Elizabeth Hardwick to find a place for what she called "the unusual, the difficult, the lengthy, the intransigent, and above all, the interesting." Known as the New York Review or the NYRB, it is also known to fans as the best magazine in the world. Next Monday, HBO will air The 50-Year Argument, a documentary by Martin Scorsese about the history of the magazine and what makes it special. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Sep 24, 2014 - 19 comments

"There are specific instructions when Isaac Hayes comes on."

Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 3, 2014 - 23 comments

A Triumph of the Wet-Plate, Among Other Things

The Photographic History of the Civil War (10 vols.; 1911) offered context for thousands of striking images from the American Civil War: 1 - The Opening Battles; 2 - Two Years of Grim War; 3 - The Decisive Battles; 4 - The Cavalry; 5 - Forts and Artillery; 6 - The Navies; 7 - Prisons and Hospitals; 8 - Soldier Life / Secret Service; 9 - Poetry and Eloquence of Blue and Gray; 10 - Armies and Leaders. It was also a capstone in the intriguing career of a little-known popular historian and silent era filmmaker. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jun 21, 2014 - 9 comments

Les Invisibles

Les Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride is a collection of found photographs by film-maker Sébastien Lifshitz showing (mostly anonymous) gay couples together in the early years of the 20th century. 'He found most of his collection in the US and western Europe, but none in the UK: “Maybe the British think such photographs have no value, or are too private to sell.”'. In 2012, Lifshitz released Les Invisibles, a related documentary exploring the lives of 11 gay and lesbian individuals over the age of 70. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jun 17, 2014 - 8 comments

A painting, a smile, a director. Dido Elizabeth Belle; Amma Asante

The enigma of Mona Lisa's smile? Who cares? The mystery of Dido Belle is much more intriguing. The double portrait Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, once attributed to Johann Zoffany and now hanging in Scone Palace in Perth, depicts two elegant 18th-century women in silks and pearls at Kenwood House in London. Beyond them, you can just glimpse St Paul's and the rest of the Georgian cityscape. Nothing unusual about any of that, but for one detail – Dido is mixed race. Belle is about slavery and follows on the heels of Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave. An impossible act to follow, you might suppose. Yet the two films could hardly be more different. "I wouldn't want audiences to come to Belle and think they were about to see '12 Years a Slave Mark 2'," Asante says. Based in Britain and rooted in fact, Belle is an extraordinary story, she tells me: Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804) was the daughter of John Lindsay, a British admiral, and an African slave. She grew up in Kenwood House, Hampstead, under the guardianship of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield. One delicately speculative Guardian article about a painting and its context leads to a fascinating portait of a Ghanaian/British filmmaker and the circumstances that formed her. Asante has always had an "extra eye" and sees herself as an insider and outsider (all directors, she believes, need to be emotionally ambidextrous).
posted by glasseyes on May 28, 2014 - 12 comments

SLYT * 85000

British Pathe releases 85K videos to YouTube. An archive of film from the late 1800s onward is now available on YouTube.
posted by bitmage on Apr 16, 2014 - 22 comments

"You shouldn't dream your film, you should make it!" ~ Spielberg

Filmmaker IQ offers an extensive variety of free online courses, articles and tutorial videos for aspiring filmmakers. Their image gallery is also fun to browse through. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 27, 2014 - 8 comments

An old view of the Old City

What did Palestine look like in 1896?
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 15, 2014 - 17 comments

La-La Land

Vintage Los Angeles is Alison Martino's YouTube channel featuring a look back at Los Angeles during the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. There's an accompanying blog and a facebook page, too.
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 5, 2014 - 10 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

"We are open even during air-raid drills"

Japanese Film Posters in the Prewar Period: Part 1
Japanese Film Posters in the Prewar Period: Part 2
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 1 Asakusa, Tokyo
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 2 Ginza/Yurakucho/Hibiya, Tokyo
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 3 Shinjuku/Shibuya/Kanda/Roppongi, Tokyo
posted by timshel on Dec 19, 2013 - 4 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

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

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 view from here

This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it. I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Aug 9, 2013 - 3 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

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

1920s Britain in colour

In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour' technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored film. We've seen London in 1926 previously on MeFi, but there's plenty more of The Open Road to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan (1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester (0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners (0:46), and more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Jun 17, 2013 - 7 comments

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