June 4th, 2008

On the Move

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

Gance's Napoleon

Lobby card for Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927)

“I found myself becoming bored with the stationary camera, and I wanted to be completely free. The cameramen never refused to do what I asked of them, but they were not particularly pleased at the idea of having to hold the camera. At that time there were no lightweight cameras, and hand-holding was very tiring. Eventually, we invented a sort of cuirasse which, strapped to the chest, supported the camera.”

– Abel Gance, interviewed by Kevin Brownlow for his book The Parade’s Gone By (1968)

June 4th, 2008

First Animated Film

Posted in Trivia by DavidE

What was the first animated film? It was probably Emile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie, which premiered on August 17, 1908.

– Source: Variety

January 28th, 2007

A Beautiful Mask

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

Garbo

Image from Queen Christina (1933)

“Garbo asked me, ‘What do I play in this scene?’ Remember she is standing there for 150 feet of film — 90 feet of them in close-up. I said, ‘Have you heard of tabula rasa? I want your face to be a blank sheet of paper. I want the writing to be done by every member of the audience. I’d like it if you could avoid even blinking your eyes, so that you’re nothing but a beautiful mask.’ So in fact there is nothing on her face: but everyone who has seen the film will tell you what she is thinking and feeling. And always it’s something different. Each one writes his own ending to the film; and it’s interesting that this is the scene everyone remembers most clearly. . . .”

– Rouben Mamoulian, speaking about the final shot in Queen Christina, interviewed for Sight & Sound (Summer 1961)

January 28th, 2007

The Mamoulian Palette

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“Color cinematography tends to brighten and cheapen natural color. The problem was to counteract that. I realized that color in films is nearer to painting than to the stage. . . . So I treated the color the way a painter would. I devised what came to be known as the Mamoulian Palette. . . . I had a collection of spray guns beside me, so that I could spray color on a costume or set or even an actor. The art director had made me a beautiful chapel; and he was very upset when I sprayed everything with green and gray paint. There were flowers on the table and (naturally) the leaves were green. I think when they saw me painting them black they went and told Mr. Zanuck I’d gone out of my mind. . . .”

– Rouben Mamoulian, speaking about the 1941 film Blood and Sand, interviewed for Sight & Sound (Summer 1961)

December 28th, 2006

Down to Size

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

Woman of the Year

Publicity photo for Woman of the Year (1942)

During the casting of the 1942 film Woman of the Year, Katharine Hepburn was selected to play opposite screen veteran Spencer Tracy, thus beginning a professional and personal relationship that would last for twenty-five years (they did eight additional films together and had a legendary — and technically illicit — romantic relationship). When the regal Hepburn met the short and stocky Tracy for the first time, she said in her distinctive patrician manner, ‘I’m afraid I’m a little tall for you, Mr. Tracy.’ A commanding figure, Hepburn did not often meet men who could stand up to her, so her respect for Tracy shot up when he replied, ‘Not to worry, Miss Hepburn, I’ll soon cut you down to size.’”

– Source: Viva la Repartee by Dr. Mardy Grothe

December 28th, 2006

Her Best Side

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“Alfred Hitchcock’s 1944 film Lifeboat, a drama about eight survivors of a freighter sunk by a German U-boat, was one of the most popular films of the year (it was also nominated for three Academy Awards). While posing for publicity photographs for the film, actress Mary Anderson approached the director and asked, ‘What is my best side, Mr. Hitchcock?’ His reply was soon being circulated all around Hollywood: ‘My dear, you’re sitting on it.’”

– Source: Viva la Repartee by Dr. Mardy Grothe

December 12th, 2006

Powerful Hypnotism

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

Poster for The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)

“The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, the new Preston Sturges film, seems to me funnier, more adventurous, more abundant, more intelligent, and more encouraging than anything that has been made in Hollywood for years… The essential story is hardly what you would expect to see on an American scene. . . . The girl’s name, Trudy Kockenlocker, of itself relegates her to a comic-strip world in which nothing need be regarded as real; the characters themselves are extremely stylized. . . . Thanks to these devices the Hays office has either been hypnotized into a liberality for which it should be thanked, or has been raped in its sleep.”

– James Agee, from his review in The Nation (January 1944)

December 12th, 2006

Better Something Bad

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“I watched Preston Sturges work on Sullivan’s Travels. He let me go through the entire production, watching him direct — and I directed a little. I’d stage a scene and he’d tell me how lousy it was. Then I watched the editing and I was able to gradually build up knowledge. Preston insisted I make a film as soon as possible… He said it’s better to have done something bad than to have done nothing… so the first picture, good or bad, that came along, I decided to do.”

– Anthony Mann, interviewed for Screen (July-October 1969)

November 16th, 2006

Two Sides

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

Pepe LePew

Frame from a Pepe Le Pew cartoon

“Were some of the Warners characters based on yourself?

I didn’t have to leave home to find the mistakes the Coyote would make. I mean, give me any tool and I’m in trouble. I have yet to learn the mysteries of a screwdriver. My wife and daughter would go hide when I’d start to hang a painting.

Now, the other side of the picture for me was Pepe Le Pew, the amorous French skunk. There’s the guy I always wanted to be. Every man wants to be so sure of himself with women that he could never even dream he’d offended her.”

– Chuck Jones, interviewed in 1971 by Peter Bogdanovich for his book Who the Devil Made It

November 16th, 2006

Puddy Tat

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

Did many ideas come from personal experience?

Oh, yes — all the time; one of our writers, Warren Foster, heard a child in a park say, ‘Mommy, Mommy, I taut I taw a twirl!’ He brought this back to the studio and the ‘twirl’ became a ‘puddy tat’ so we could get a cat-versus-canary thing going. Friz [Freleng] developed it into the Sylvester-Tweety Pie series.”

– Chuck Jones, interviewed in 1971 by Peter Bogdanovich for his book Who the Devil Made It

November 2nd, 2006

Product of the Time

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

The Grapes of Wrath

Poster for The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

“Moral influence can’t be measured. The artist does contribute to the moral climate of his time. . . . Did a film like The Grapes of Wrath play any part in arousing a social conscience in America? Or was it the result of the social awareness arising out of New Deal politics? Which is the cause and which is the effect? We are a part of history and we also make history.”

– Lindsay Anderson, as quoted in The Film Director as Superstar (1970)

November 2nd, 2006

Both Ways

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“If you do have a disagreement with Ford, it becomes an all-out fight. No half measures.

I’ve had my share of them, too. Total disagreements. One I particularly remember was, again, on The Fugitive. It was over the way to do a scene and Ford finally said: ‘Okay, we’ll shoot it both ways. Your way and my way!’ I felt almost triumphant. So first we shot it his way. With that he walked away from the whole thing and I never did get to do it my way!”

– Henry Fonda, speaking about director John Ford, in an interview for Radio Times (1972)

October 19th, 2006

More or Less Accurate

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

Robin Hood

Promotional painting for Robin Hood (1922)

Were you concerned with historical accuracy on Robin Hood?

Well, we were accurate as far as the period of the story is concerned, the costuming and so on. We had experts come in and work on that. And the story of Prince John’s perfidy was true — the Sheriff of Nottingham was in cahoots with him. And there may have been a Robin Hood — nobody knows. If there was, he was probably ‘a flat-footed Englishman walking through the woods’ as Doug said. Certainly there was no band — we took complete liberties with the spirit of Robin Hood and his crowd, and naturally the love-story was more or less invented. But Doug was always insistent on historical accuracy, though I doubt there was ever a castle as big as ours.”

– Allan Dwan, interviewed in 1968-1969 by Peter Bogdanovich for his book Allan Dwan: The Last Pioneer

October 19th, 2006

Lost Audience

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“I think sound came at about the time silent pictures needed something stimulating. They were beginning to lose the audiences. People would rather stay home and listen to the radio than spend money to go to the pictures. So talkies did stimulate the book office. It was one of the new gimmicks that brought people back, and they went along with that for quite a long time until television came along. And they’ve had to look for other gimmicks — color and wide-screen. But they’ve never regained their big adult audience.”

– Allan Dwan, interviewed in 1968-1969 by Peter Bogdanovich for his book Allan Dwan: The Last Pioneer

October 12th, 2006

Walking Overcoat

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Poster for The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

“I did insist on having Peter Lorre. He had just done M with Fritz Lang and this was his first British role. He had a very sharp sense of humor. They called him ‘the walking overcoat’ because he went around in a long coat that came down to his feet.”

– Alfred Hitchcock, interviewed in 1962 by Fran├žoise Truffaut

October 12th, 2006

Highest Grossing Silent

Posted in Trivia by DavidE

What was the highest grossing silent movie? It was King Vidor’s The Big Parade (1925) with a box-office gross of $22 million.

– Source: Guinness World Records