October 2018

A Century of Film

Columbia Pictures

The Studio

“Three men started it and they named it after themselves: C.B.C. Film Sales Company, for Jack Cohn, Joe Brandt and Jack’s younger brother, Harry Cohn.”  (Hail Columbia, Rochelle Larkin, p 11)  “The enterprise was growing in distinction, and hence it required a new name.  C.B.C. was now universally recognized in the trade by its sobriquet, Corned Beef and Cabbage.  A company could scarcely prosper under such a handicap.  On January 10, 1924, C.B.C. became Columbia Pictures.”  (King Cohn: The Life and Times of Harry Cohn, Bob Thomas, p 36)

“The movie business was divided into two unequal parts: The best film properties went to the major studios, the rest to the novices and dreamers on Poverty Row.  Harry Cohn was going to bridge that gap.”  (Larkin, p 12)  “Harry Cohn assumed the presidency of Columbia Pictures Corporation in 1932.  He retained his position as chief of production, becoming the only film company head to hold both positions.”  (Thomas, p 79) (more…)

This scene isn’t in the original novel even though it comes during the period of time covered by the novel. Nor is it ever mentioned in the novel that the Don’s birthday is December 7. This is pure Coppola.

My Top 10

  1. The Godfather Part II
  2. Young Frankenstein
  3. The Parallax View
  4. Murder on the Orient Express
  5. Lenny
  6. The Front Page
  7. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
  8. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
  9. Thieves Like Us
  10. Sanshiro Sugata

Note:  If you look at my original Nighthawk Awards you will only see nine films listed.  But, re-watching The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which I needed to review anyway because it was a WGA nominee, I was reminded that it should have been on my list in the first place because the script really is quite good. (more…)

A Century of Film


The Genre


“What about Film Noir?” Veronica asked me as I was talking about this category.  But, as I explained to her, Film Noir itself isn’t a genre, but a style that moves across multiple genres, usually Crime, Mystery and Suspense.  Crime films are easier to pull out because, as I explained in the Crime post, they are films in which the main character is a criminal.  It is a lot more difficult to draw a line between Crime films and Suspense films and you could easily take all of Mystery and make it a sub-section of Suspense films.  But I will try. (more…)

A Century of Film


Suspense Films

The Genre

What is a Suspense film, anyway?  What makes it different from other genres?  I think I first started thinking about that with the release of The Hunt for Red October.  It was still early in my days of being serious about films but I realized it was a bit unclassifiable.  It wasn’t an Action film.  There was too much suspense to be a Drama.  I got a film guide (called the Video Movie Guide – I had the 1990 edition and later gave that to my mother who still has it when I got the 1993 edition which I eventually got rid of, feeling I no longer needed it) not long afterwards that classified films by genre and had Action-Adventure-Thriller as one of them.  I realized that was where Hunt for Red October belonged.  But eventually I would decide that Mysteries really were their own sub-genre.

Almost all Mysteries could be pushed into this Genre which is why Mystery will be the next genre covered in this series (it was originally going to be first but it was easier to find a list of Mysteries and go through that than it was for Suspense, so I am watching a bunch more Mysteries before that post).  But Mysteries are tied up in a specific Mystery and solving that Mystery while Suspense is often more about the feeling in the film.  There is often a Mystery as well and I would not quibble with any person who keeps any of these films in Mystery.  A lot of them could also be classified as Action, but Action films, for the most part, focus more on the actual action and less on the feeling of suspense (for instance, most Spy films are here, but the Bond films are in Action).  Crime films could also be classified here (Crime films are often described as “crime thriller”). (more…)