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Film History Through 1949

There’s not much to say here except to point to my original post that covered things through 1929 and the subsequent post that covers film history through to 1939 and the most recent post that covers the 1940s. (more…)

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Film History

1940-1949

Filmmaking had supposedly peaked in 1939 just as the war arrived to greatly limit (outside of America, film production was massively down) and influence it (in America, War films took the forefront).  After the war concluded, came the two lawsuits that changed the way of films in America.  First came de Havilland vs. Warner Bros. Pictures which altered the notion of what a studio could put in a contract.  Second came United States vs. Paramount Pictures which meant that production studios would have to sell off their theater chains.  The first hastened the end of the way films were made in the Studio Era while the second altered how they were distributed and brought an to the end to the concept of the “majors” as they had been known. (more…)

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 6.21.27 AMThat’s just a reminder that Mark Harris is a funny and smart writer who already wrote one of the single best books about film ever written (Pictures at a Revolution).  He has a new biography of Mike Nichols and even though I rarely buy biographies at all and certainly not new and in hardcover, I will be getting this when it goes on sale on Tuesday.  His Twitter feed is also worth reading and I do that everyday even though I’m not even on Twitter. (more…)

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When it came—thirty cents—he pinned it up in his trailer, brass-headed tack in each corner. Below it he drove a nail and on the nail he hung a wire hanger and the two old shirts suspended from it. He stepped back and looked at the ensemble through a few stinging tears. “Jack, I swear—” he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.

My Top 10

  1. Brokeback Mountain
  2. Munich
  3. Pride & Prejudice
  4. The Constant Gardener
  5. The History of Violence
  6. Batman Begins
  7. Downfall
  8. Capote
  9. Proof
  10. King Kong

note:  An excellent Top 5 and Top 10. (more…)

Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 12.02.51 PMAll 50 films in this post earn an 89 which is low ****.  The introduction to the entire list can be found here. (more…)

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Miles Raymond: Come on, man. You know. Hemingway, Sexton, Plath, Woolf. You can’t kill yourself before you’re even published! Jack: What about the guy who wrote Confederacy of Dunces? He committed suicide before he was published. Look how famous he is!

My Top 10

  1. Sideways
  2. A Very Long Engagement
  3. Closer
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  5. Finding Neverland
  6. Million Dollar Baby
  7. Shrek 2
  8. The Motorcycle Diaries
  9. Baadasssss!
  10. Spider-Man 2

note:  A solid Top 5 but a much weaker second 5.  The rest of the list is down below with none of them among the award nominees that are fully reviewed. (more…)

Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 11.39.57 AMAll of these films except the last one is an 88.  The last one is an 89.  All are low ****.  The introduction is here. (more…)

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Good riddance to 2020.  As I write this, there are 21 days left in the year and 41 left in the administration that made this year much worse than it needed to be.  But both are on their way out and so comes our annual holiday letter, pushed to the internet because I can’t go in to my office and print out copies.  So, let’s see what this year brought us. (more…)

Starting tomorrow (maybe Wednesday), the top of the blog will be our annual Christmas letter.  Though that will be stuck to the top of the post, I will probably continue do more film posts – they just won’t be at the top of the page until around New Year’s or so.

We don’t normally post the Christmas letter but COVID has meant it won’t be easy to print the copies we need for our Christmas cards.  So if you feel the need to comment on the letter, just remember it’s something that will be read by most of our families and I might cut comments if I view them as not appropriate.

Now, as for the award news.  Normally by this time, the Annies have announced, the Globes have nominated and the NYFC and NBR have started handing out actual awards and F.T. is chiming in with guesses about the Best International Feature Film category.  But the Oscars, for good or ill (ill in a lot of ways but more on that below) have pushed things back a couple of months.  So if you want to chime in with award comments and such, this is the post where I’d prefer you to leave your comments. (more…)

A Century of Film


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The Genre

There were several genres that didn’t flourish much in the Silent Era but the only genre that literally couldn’t exist before The Jazz Singer was Musicals.  It was always an eventuality, given the popularity on Broadway, that they would arrive on-screen and it’s not a coincidence that after those first few words, Al Jolson started singing. (more…)