A Century of Film
Sound

Sound in film debuted in 1927.  It managed to come into being at the same time that the Oscars did, which helps bring a demarcation point between early film (The Silent Era) and the rest of film history.  Sound would become an important feature to films because it added a whole new dimension of the kind of story you could tell, not just with the dialogue, but with sound effects as well.  Especially with Musicals, sound would really change how a story could be told. (more…)

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A Century of Film

Sound Editing

It’s hard to know precisely what to think of Sound Editing, partially because of its strange awards history.  The Academy has a long history of awarding Best Sound (which will be the next category, up before too long) but made no distinction other than “Best Sound”.  In 1963, they branched out a bit and added a second award for Best Sound Effects, an award that is generally considered to be the same as today’s Sound Editing award.

Yet, the Academy was slow on the ball there.  The Motion Picture Sound Editors began their own award way, way back in 1953, at a point where the only existing guild awards were those for the two major guilds that had been such a part of union battles for so long and had formed their own awards, in part, to lash out at the academy (the directors and screenwriters).  This is the only guild award that actually pre-dates an equivalent award at the Academy and did so by a decade. (more…)

“Kay could see how Michael stood to receive their homage.  He reminded her of statues in Rome, statues of those Roman emperors of antiquity, who, by divine right, held the power of life and death over their fellow men.  One hand was on his hip, the profile of his face showed a cold proud power, his body was carelessly, arrogantly at ease, weight resting on one foot slightly behind the other.  The caporegimes stood before him.  In that moment Kay knew that everything Connie had accused Michael of was true.” (p 419)

My Top 10

  1. The Godfather
  2. Sleuth
  3. Play It Again Sam
  4. Cabaret
  5. Deliverance
  6. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex
  7. The Heartbreak Kid
  8. Fat City
  9. Travels with My Aunt
  10. Avanti

Note:  My full list is fourteen films long but three of the of the other four are reviewed below because of award nominations (The Emigrants, Sounder, Frenzy) leaving just one for the list down at the bottom. (more…)


A Century of Film

Supporting Actress

Film has always relied on supporting performances but awards groups haven’t always recognized them right away.  It wasn’t until the 9th Academy Awards that the first supporting awards were given out.  Likewise, the BAFTAs would go through their first 20 awards without the category and no critics group would give such an award until 1957.  But eventually, of course, all the awards groups followed through and today it’s one way of celebrating great character actors although it has also been a chance for big stars to win their Oscar at last.  Supporting performances can be a role that runs through the whole film (like the way the Academy awarded Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago in a role that earned her a Globe nomination as a lead) or for a performance that dominates the film in spite of only being in a few scenes (like Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love). (more…)

“I was like wandering all over the flat in pain and sickness, trying to shut out the music and like groaning deep out of my guts, and then on top of the pile of books and papers and all that cal that was on the table in the living-room I viddied what I had to do and what I had wanted to do until those old men in the Public Biblio and then Dim and Billyboy disguised as rozzes stopped me, and that was to do myself in, to snuff it, to blast off for ever out of this wicked and cruel world.” (p 192-193)

My Top 10

  1. A Clockwork Orange
  2. The French Connection
  3. The Last Picture Show
  4. McCabe and Mrs. Miller
  5. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  6. The Go-Between
  7. They Might Be Giants
  8. The Conformist

Note:  The only reason this year reaches 10 is because I moved The Go-Between into my list after watching it again.  Still a big drop-off from the Top 5 to the second 5.
Second Note:  I wrote that a couple of months ago.  Then I re-watched Sometimes a Great Notion and Dodes Ka-Den and decided that neither of them actually merited being on the list.  So that dropped my list back down to 8.  Sadly, I didn’t decide this until after reading Sometimes a Great Notion, which I thought was nigh on unreadable. (more…)

A Century of Film

Cinematography

Cinematography has always been recognized as one of the most important aspects of film-making.  It was one of the original Tech categories at the very first Academy Awards and is the only Tech category to remain since that initial awards.  While film encompasses many things, it is primarily a visual medium and the look of the film, the way we sees things as they come through from the camera is one of the most important aspects of it.  Hell, that was obvious right from the start, in 1903, when Edwin S. Porter had the cowboy fire the gun towards the camera and even before that when trains were filmed coming towards the camera, frightening people in the cinema in 19th Century. (more…)

A Century of Film

Supporting Actor

Film has always relied on supporting performances but awards groups haven’t always recognized them right away.  It wasn’t until the 9th Academy Awards that the first supporting awards were given out.  Likewise, the BAFTAs would go through their first 20 awards without the category and no critics group would give such an award until 1957.  But eventually, of course, all the awards groups followed through and today it’s one way of celebrating great character actors although it has also been a chance for big stars to win their Oscar at last.  Supporting performances can be a role that runs through the whole film (like the way the Academy nominated Gene Hackman for I Never Sang for My Father or Al Pacino for The Godfather) or for a performance that dominates the film in spite of only being in a few scenes (like Orson Welles in The Third Man). (more…)