Archive for October, 2006

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

October 9th, 2006

Sherlock Jr.

Posted in Images, Streams by DavidE

Sherlock Jr.

Here’s a link to download the classic silent comedy: Sherlock Jr. (1924). Unfortunately, Internet Archive doesn’t give you the option to stream this movie, and the download file is a whopping 700MB.

That said, this is one of Buster Keaton’s best films. At 44 minutes, its length is somewhere between a short and a feature, though the intricacy of the gags and surreal jabs at cinematic conventions (a sleeping Keaton walks into a movie screen and joins a parallel story) make this one of the finest comedies ever made — silent or sound.

October 9th, 2006

Couldn’t Be Bad

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“He was the greatest director in the motion picture industry. He was also very easy to work with as he always played a scene first and just by watching him you knew exactly what to do. The Lubitsch touch was something no other director had and the nice thing about being in one of his pictures was that you knew while you were making it that it just couldn’t be bad.”

– Jack Benny writing about Ernst Lubitsch, as quoted in the The Lubitsch Touch by Herman G. Weinberg

October 5th, 2006

Disappearing Pliers

Posted in Images, Trivia by DavidE

The Lost World

Poster for The Lost World (1925)

You may have read that King King (1933) was the first movie to use stop motion animation to create its creatures. That isn’t correct. The first one was the silent feature The Lost World (1925).

“While filming one of the stop-motion scenes, the cameraman spotted a pair of pliers in the picture. So as not to draw attention to them by having them suddenly disappear, he moved them a little at a time until they were out of the shot.”

–Source: Internet Movie Database

October 5th, 2006

Blooming Animation

Posted in Trivia by DavidE

Stop-motion animation can be tedious and frustrating. For King Kong (1933), the animators constructed detailed miniatures and moved them slightly for each one or two frames of film. At 24 frames per second, that works out to 1,440 individual frames for each minute of onscreen time.

“The trees and plants in the background on the stop action animation sets were a combination of metal models and real plants. One day during filming, a flower on the miniature set bloomed without anyone noticing. The error in continuity was not noticed until the film was developed and shown. While Kong moved, a time-lapse photograph showed the flower coming into full bloom, and an entire day of animation was lost.”

– Source: Internet Movie Database

October 2nd, 2006

Accidental Director

Posted in Images, Trivia by DavidE

Touch of Evil

Production photo from Touch of Evil (1958)

Orson Welles became the director of Touch of Evil due to a misunderstanding.

“Charlton Heston agreed to appear in a Universal police melodrama, thinking that Welles had been signed to direct it, when actually he had only signed as an actor. The studio, undaunted by Welles’ pariah status in Hollywood, then asked him to direct, perhaps figuring that he couldn’t go too far out of bounds with the material he was given. He accepted with alacrity, and received no salary as writer or director. He never read the source novel, Whit Masterson’s Badge of Evil, but found the studio’s scenario ‘ridiculous,’ and demanded the right to write his own.”

– Source: Orson Welles by Joseph McBride

October 2nd, 2006

Citizen of the Screen

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“Orson Welles is an animal made for the screen and the stage. When he steps before a camera, it is as if the rest of the world ceases to exist. He is a citizen of the screen.”

– Jean Renoir, from the book Orson Welles by Joseph McBride