Gumby and Pokey In The Dough

Written by Joe D on October 20th, 2021

                                                                                       Art Clokey and his pal Gumby

Here is a surreal Fairy Tale in Stop motion Claymation that freaked me out as a young kid. Gumby always had elements of strangeness. There’s one about Indians thats also pretty deep. These were made by Art Clokey, who I hear tell, dropped LSD and became a free love hippie type , abandoning his middle class family and chasing teen aged chicks, at least so the legend goes.

                        Sneaky Pete Kleinow

One of the animators on Gumby was the amazing Sneaky Pete Kleinow, who later went on to animate the Terminator metal monster in the first Terminator film. He also did the Pilsbury dough Boy, Poppin Fresh, a lot of commercials. But he was also an amazing pedal steel guitar player! Check out his playing on Frank Zappas Waka Jawaka album, Outstanding. And he played on a lot of C&W records, plus he was a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. What an unsung genius!

Illustrious Corpses

Written by Joe D on October 9th, 2021

I read that they were re-releasing this film in a limited release,stating in NYC. So I figured I’dcheck it out. It is directed by Fransesco Rosi ,a very creative,political filmmaker. I’ve seen a few of his other films, Salvatore Giuliano, Hands Over The City, The Swindlers. All very good and all shot by the great camerman Gianni DeVenanzo. This one however was not.Gianni died unexpectedly at age 46,but his operator Pasqualino DeSantis did shoot this film.And he did a great job,beautiful. (In my opinion no one comes close to Gianni when it comes to moving the camera around moving protagonists,the sense of space you get is magical. )

Illustrious Corpses stars the great acor Lino Ventura,a real presence on the screen. He is a real movie star. He didn’t want to act,he had to be talked into it by his friend Jaques Becker for Touchez Pas La Grisbi. And it paid off very well for him and for us,the film watchers! So thanks Jaques Becker! Also on hand are Max Von Sydow and Fernando Rey, icons of Bergman and Bunuel.  The great Piero Piccione provides the score and the editing is by Ruggerio Mastroianni, brother of Marcello! Anyway the entire movie is on Youtube. The only problem I had was with the sound level, it keeps changing, quiet for dialog, loud for musical sequences. But watch it! It is a great movie! I think my favorite of Rosi’s so far. I still have a lot of his films to see, a thought I find very reassuring.

Alice Coltrane

Written by Joe D on October 4th, 2021

Here is a video of the great Alice Coltrane playing her harp, which her husband John Coltrane gave her. It cost &50,000, some of his profits from A Love Supreme. Alice is ba spiritual musical master, she forged her own direction in music and founded an Ashram in Los Angeles. An amazing woman and a great artist. She is also the great aunt of contemporary musicia Flying Lotus. Check out her albums, she had a long creative history with Pharoah Sanders as well, another giant on the jazz scene.

CBS presents The Making of An Underground Film

Written by Joe D on September 26th, 2021

Here’s a CBS news piece from 1965, a veritable treasure trove of underground film/Art subjects! All crammed into uder 6 minutes. You get to see the early Velvet Underground, Barbara Rubin dressed as a nun in Piero Helcizer’s film as it’s being shot. Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Andy Warhol with his borrowed Norelco Video rig, Edie Sedgwick. It’s amazing. So travel back in time to NYC at the height of the Underground Film movement thanks to Youtube.

Albin Grau- Nosferatu- F.W. Murnau- Fritz Arno Wagner

Written by Joe D on September 11th, 2021

Everyone equates Nosferatu with F.W. Murnau, one of the all time great directors, and they should. He brought the film to life in such a powerful way that it still lives today. 90% of films made back then are either gone or forgotten, probably more. But let’s give credit where it’s due, Albin Grau ,who produced the film through his short lived company Prana Films also thought up the concept and designed the film. Here are some amazing images he created.

 

Albin Grau

F.W.Murnau

 

Pretty Damn Cool! You can see he was a huge part ofthe stylization,imagecreation,atmosphere,everything.Murnau ,being the supreme film artist that he was, created the celluloid realizations of these images, plus he shot on location which gave the film more reality, making it scarier.

Bram Stoker’s widow sued and won a copyright infringement lawsuit, she tried to have every copy of the film destroyed. And she almost succeded! Luckily for us a few prints and a negative escaped destruction. But Prana films was kaput! Albin Grau was forced to declare bankruptcy even though the film was a hit. The curse of Nosferatu continued with the tragic early death of Murnau in a car crash in California on the deadly Pacific Coast Highway. Years later his skull was stolen from his grave, presumably by some Satanists. Berg moved to Switzerland and worked as a graphic artist. Here’s a trailer from the restored version, so you can appreciate the beauty of Fritz Arno Wagner’s cinematography.

Dreams That Money Can Buy Featuring Stanley Kubrick

Written by Joe D on September 6th, 2021

Hans Richter

Kubrick a few years after appearing in Richters Film.

Dreams that Money Can Buy is a 1947 film by Hans Richter. I just found out that a young Stanley Kubrick appears in iyt. This was before Kubrick made any films himself. He was working as a photographer for LOOK magazine and taking night classes at a school in NYC. Richter was teaching there, he need extras for his latest production and Kubrick voluntered. I think it’s very cool that future director Kubrick appeared in an exprimental film. To help out a filmmaker! Check it out.

Kolchak The Night Stalker

Written by Joe D on September 1st, 2021

I just happened upon this on YouTube last night. One of the best TV Movies ever made! Super influential! X-Files Creator Christopher Carter sites it as a major influence. Written by Genius Richard Mathesson, he wrote the book Psycho was adapted from, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Trilogy of Terror, many TYwilight Zones, The Last Man On Earth, which has been adapted many times. The list goes on and on. A big part of why this movie is so good, Plus a great cast, Darren McGaven, Carole Lynley, Ralph Meeker, Charles McGraw, Simon Oakland, Claude Akins and Elisha Cook Jr. Some icons of Classic Film Noir. And an incredible score, kind of Dirty Harryesque, really cool. And I must say some really terrific stunt work! Makes it all seem belivable.  Many Years ago I took a Cinematography class at the Hollywood Film School, kind of a low budget AFI on Hollywood Blvd. It was taught by Michel Hugo, the guy who shot tyhis masterpiece. A very nice Frenchman and an excellent cameraman. Anyway check it out, a real blast from the past.

ANDY WARHOL’S OUTER AND INNER SPACE starring EDIE SEDGEWICK

Written by Joe D on August 27th, 2021

Andy Warhol was givren an early video recorder made by Norelco and he shot a lot of video with it.  Yu can’t watch any of it now because there are no Norelco video decks left! The curse of Rapidly Evolving Technology. He played the video in the background on a monitor and filmed SuperStar Edie in front of the monitor with a 16mm sound on film Auricon Camera. Then he distorted the video intentionally as it plkayed back, this was before Nam Jun Paik got his first video recorder. He was ahead of his time in his own weird way. Check it out .But First see her Screen Test!

 

The Sword and The Dragon

Written by Joe D on August 24th, 2021

Alexander Ptushko Russian Auteur

Russian Folk Hero- Ilya Muramets

Here is the entire movie! The magnificient Sword and The Dragon. Directed by the great Russian Fantasy Directr Alexander Ptushko! What a genius!  It’s in Russian with Spanish subtitles but it’s also in Cinemascope! The first Soviet film made with that process, also 4-track magnetic sound! It was bought by Roger Corman and released in the US in the early 60’s.  I loved this film as a kid so Enjoy!

The Crimson Pirate, Robert Siodmak, Burt Lancaster, Robert Aldritch

Written by Joe D on August 17th, 2021

Robert Siodmak Vs. Burt Lancaster

Vs. Robert Aldritch

Here is a movie that I loved as a kid. Swashbuckling Adventure, Gymnastics, Crazy Inventions! So many cool elements that appeal to a young mind. It was directed by the great Robert  Siodmak and starred Burt Lancaster, who also produced. I guess Burt could be difficult to deal with. Siodmak “discovered” Burt, putting him in his first film, The Killers, based on a story by Ernest “papa” Hemingway, the only film adaptations of his works that Hemingway liked. Anyway Burt and Siodmak clashed and Siodmak left before the film ws completed, I think the shooting was pretty much done, but Burt wanted control. Burt was in another film (Also Great) Ulzana’s Raid, directed by Robert Aldritch, Burt insisted on creating his own cut of the film, which he did, so now there are two cuts of that film circulating out there. Burt’s cut was for the European market supposedly, but I saw it at the New Beverly Theater. I din’t know there were two cuts at the time, when I watched it on VHS, i could tell it was a different version, I researched it and found out about the different versions. Anyway Burt had his own production company and wanted to run the show. Oh well. He should have directed the films himself. Anyway here’s the trailer for The Crimson Pirate. You can watch the whole movie on Youtube but you have to pay.

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Georges Melies

Written by Joe D on August 10th, 2021

Here is a very informative documentary on the great Georges Melies, father of the fantasy film. He invented a lot of techniques still used today.

And here is a great website with an excellent article on Melies:

Méliès, Georges

Jessica Beshir’s Hairat

Written by Joe D on July 26th, 2021

Jessica Beshir grew up in the city of Harar, Ethiopia. She became a filmmaker and wanted to show the semi mythical relationship between Yussuf Mume Saleh and the hyenas he fed outside the walls of the ancient city. On her way to film him she met a young poet, Elias Shagiz Adonay Tesfaye and his poetry was incorporated into the film. This is pure magic and proves once again that Black and White is beautiful.