Archive for the Images category

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)

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)

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 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)

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 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)

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 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 Françoise Truffaut

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 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 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

September 27th, 2006

Light and Shadow

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

Rashomon

Production photo from Rashomon (1950)

“Rashomon would be my testing ground, the place where I could apply the ideas and wishes growing out of my silent-film research. To provide the symbolic background atmosphere, I decided to use the Akutagawa “In a Grove” story, which goes into the depths of the human heart as if with a surgeon’s scalpel, laying bare its dark complexities and bizarre twists. These strange impulses of the human heart would be expressed through the use of an elaborately fashioned play of light and shadow.”

– Akira Kurosawa, as quoted in Something Like an Autobiography

September 23rd, 2006

The Wind

Posted in Images, Trivia by DavidE

The Wind

Poster for The Wind (1928)

One of the last great films of the silent era, The Wind (1928) was a difficult production. Filmed on location in the Mojave Desert, the dramatic wind effects were created from the propellers of eight aircraft.

“During filming, temperatures reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit, making life miserable for both cast and crew. The intense heat caused the film stock to warp, and it had to be packed in ice to remain intact. Lillian Gish touched an outside door handle, and was so severely burned that a small part of her palm’s flesh was scalded off.

“The airplane propellers blowing hot air, sand, and smoke were so dangerous that crewmembers were forced to wear long-sleeved clothing (in 120 degree weather), eye goggles, bandanas around their necks, and grease paint on their faces whenever the machines were being run.”

– Source: Internet Movie Database

September 20th, 2006

Bamboo Isle

Posted in Images, Streams by DavidE

Bamboo Isle

Here’s a link to stream the classic cartoon: Bamboo Isle (1932). Betty and Bimbo are shipwrecked on a South Seas island, which gives Betty the perfect excuse to go native with a grass skirt and floral lei. Two years later, the Hayes Office production code would be in full force, and skimpy clothing — even on an animated character — would be strictly forbidden.

If you prefer to download this public domain cartoon, you can visit here.

September 16th, 2006

Against Logic

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE

Boudu Saved from Drowning

Production photo from Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

“One of the best scenes in Boudu Saved from Drowning, the suicide attempt from the Pont des Arts, was made in total defiance of the logic of the scene. The crowd of unpaid extras gathered on the bridge and the river banks was not there to witness a tragedy. They came to watch a movie being made, and they were in good humor. Far from asking them to feign the emotion which verisimilitude would demand, Renoir seems to have encouraged them in their light-hearted curiosity. . . .

“For Renoir, what is important is not the dramatic value of a scene. Drama, action — in the theatrical or novelistic sense of the terms — are for him only pretexts for the essential, and the essential is everywhere in what is visible, everywhere in the very substance of the cinema.”

– André Bazin, from his book Jean Renoir

September 15th, 2006

Title Compression

Posted in Images, Trivia by DavidE

M

German poster for M (1931)

“Contrary to popular belief, Fritz Lang did not change the title from ‘The Murderers are Among Us’ to ‘M’ due to fear of persecution by the Nazis. He changed the title during filming, influenced by the scene where one of the criminals writes the letter on his hand. Lang thought ‘M’ was a more interesting title.’”

– Source: Internet Movie Database