Archive for January, 2012

“To watch (D.W. Griffith’s) work is like being witness to the beginning of melody, or the first conscious use of the lever or the wheel; the emergence, coordination, and first eloquence of language; the birth of an art: and to realize that this is all the work of one man.” James Agee This is a [...]

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“No town, no industry, no profession, no art form owes so much to a single man.” Orson Welles on D.W. Griffith & his relationship to Hollywood The Father of Film was born in Kentucky. Surprised? Don’t be. After all, Johnny Depp—recently named the world’s coolest actor by GQ—is from Owenboro, Kentucky. And in a 2010 [...]

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The first 20 years of motion picture history had more in common with You Tube than Star Wars.The early films were often under a minute long and seldom over ten minutes. They featured animals, people kissing, people doing menial tasks—or just someone sneezing. Film was more of a novelty than business or an art form. [...]

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“Hollywood was established in 1853, with a single adobe hut on land outside Los Angeles, California. Growing crops was so successful there that by 1870, Hollywood became a thriving agricultural community.” History of Hollywood  In the early 80s I remember driving north on the 101 freeway in Southern California, exiting at  Santa Monica Blvd., turning [...]

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“The reason that I am a writer today is Shakespeare.” Three-time Oscar nominated screenwriter John Logan (Hugo) Here it is, in just under 1,000 words, the secret of being a successful screenwriter. (From the lips of a bona fide and currently successful screenwriter.) There was some disappointment yesterday when the Oscar nominations were announced. (Isn’t there always?) [...]

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Inspired by seeing the silent film The Artist (2011) I’ve spent most of the past week or so reflecting on the early days of motion pictures, and since the Academy Award nominations are today it seems fitting to look back on the first Academy Awards on May 18, 1929. One of the most significant things [...]

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“Here’s my unsolicited advice to any aspiring screenwriters who might be reading this: Don’t ever agonize about the hordes of other writers who are ostensibly your competition.  No one else is capable of doing what you do.” Diablo Cody (Oscar-wining screenwriter—and Univ. of Iowa grad—who gave me the inspirational jolt to start this blog.) Introduction/Juno: [...]

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“The only genius to come out of the movie industry.” George Bernard Shaw (on Charlie Chaplin)  “(Chaplin) is the only person to have gone down into cinematic history without any shadow of doubt. The films he left behind can never grow old.” Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky When most people think of silent movies they think [...]

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“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Norma Desmond Sunset Blvd.  The perfect segue from a post on Gloria Swanson is one on Cecil B. DeMille. He not only had a cameo performance (as a director of  Swanson) in the 1950 movie Sunset Blvd.—but he’s been called “the founder of Hollywood.” His first film [...]

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“I am big— it’s the pictures that got small.” The faded from glory silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in Sunset Blvd.  “We didn’t need dialogue—we had faces.” Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd.)  Yesterday it was announced that The Artist lead the race for the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) with a total of 12 nominations.  So in [...]

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