Jacques Rozier, Last of the New Wave Cine Poets is dead

Written by Joe D on June 18th, 2023

The last of the French New Wave directors has checked out. He didn’t get the acclaim here in the USA that others got but he was respected and admired by Truffaut and Godard. I’ll post a trailer for his film Adieu Philippine. It kind of looks like Hard Days Night meets early Truffaut.

How To Be Loved

Written by Joe D on June 10th, 2023

Here is a great Polish Film from 1963. Directed by Wojciech Has. And starring the great Zbigniew Cybulski, one of my favorite actors, I should say costarring because the real star of the film is Barbara Krafftówna, a great performance. Beautifully shot in B&W, this is a real Art Film! Has came from the Polish film school that Polanski attended. Seems like a good place to study Cinema. It is based on a novel of the same name by Kazimierz Brandys

and it feels like it. A truly literary work of Cinema, with the plot, scenes characters, inner dialog, of a beautiful book. I love films that play like novel and this is a classic. There’s only one part of the film I didn’t like. Otherwise I really enjoyed watching it. I recommend it to those that want to visit a lost world of pure Cinema. Breathe the rarefied air of the Lodz Film School of the 60’s. Fantasize about being a student there, making films there, living the Art Life.

Prague Nights

Written by Joe D on June 4th, 2023

Directed by a trio,  Miloš Makovec, Jiří Brdečka and Evald Schorm, this gem from 1969 is now available at Deaf Crocodile.

Here’s the trailer ,Check it out!

Melies! In Color!

Written by Joe D on May 10th, 2023

Here is a great film by the wonderful Georges Melies. father of the Fantasy Film. A magician of Cinema. I heard he had a hundred nuns at a convent hand coloring his films!  Check it out.

James Whitney-Lapis

Written by Joe D on February 14th, 2023

Working on equipment developed by his bother John, Jams Whitney created this mesmerizing trance inducing film bar in 1966. John was a pioneer in computer animation, using WWII trajectory plotting machines for filmmaking. He acquired these devices after the War as surplus therefore inexpensive. The abstract animation movement really took off then with people like Jordan Belson, Harry Smith, Hy Hirsch, and many others. Oskar Fischinger was one of the grandaddies of the genre along with people like Viking Eggling and Hans Richter. Anyway check out this film. Try to see a better quality version, projected on film if possible to really experience it.


Ernesto Gastaldi’s LIBIDO

Written by Joe D on January 24th, 2023

Here is a very cool 60’s B&W Giallo from one of the most talented and prolific screenwriters of Italian Cinema! Ernsto Gastaldi wrote screenplays for very amazing genre of the Golden Age of Italian Cinema! Peplum (aka Hercules, Maciste type historic films) Horror, Vampires, Westerns, Thrillers, Giallos, Science Fiction, you name it! Check out his IMDB page and prepare to be blown away. This thriller was co directed by Ernesto and Vittorio Salerno for almost no money! It features an unknown(at the time) Giancarlo Gianinni, appearing as John Charles John. Ernesto’s wife, the lovely Mara Gastaldi appears as Mara Maryl. This film was made to prove a theory that the two producers had a bet about, who makes a better film, a technician (like a cameraman for example) or a screenwriter. Ernesto won the bet. Featuring a great score by Carlo Rustichelli, a lovely Giallo! Here it is in the original Italian. There is also a BluRay version you can buy with a lot of extras.

To The Fair! Alexander Hammid

Written by Joe D on January 19th, 2023

I went to the NY Worlds Fair when I was a little kid. It was great. Bob Downey told me he worked at the fair as a young man from Forest Hills along with his friend Ron Neely, (who later played The Holy Ghost in Greaser’s Palace). Here is a film the great Alexander Hammind made about the Fair. He also did To Be Alive, both with Francis Thompson. Hammid was a true filmmaker, he could make a film about anything. He was involved with the development of IMax and was Supervising Editor on To Fly. He also made Meshes of The Afternoon with Maya Deren, one of the most influential underground Art Films of all time. They are having a major retrospective of his work at the Anthology Film Archives in NYC so if you are in the Big Apple go check it out!

The Mad Fox

Written by Joe D on December 9th, 2022

I watched Tomu Uchida’s The Mad Fox the other night on ARROW. A streaming channel from Arrow Films. They mainly show Horror films and I am always tempted to cancel my subscription but then I run across a film like this one, that’s hard to find and really great. This is a very strange film, not really seen outside of Japan for many years. Based on a Bunraku play from 1734 it mixes Japanese theater techniques in with traditional filmmaking. At one point in the film we are transported to a house on a stage, the proscenium is in view and the story continues sort of as a play. There are characters wearing masks (The Foxes) who can assume human form. I love this mixing of techniques, rotating stage, masks, curtains, simple but effective practical visual effects brought over from Theater. To me it speaks of a confidence of the artist in his performers and material. For example there is a baby in the film, it is obviously a wooden doll but I defy anyone not to be moved by the actors interacting with it. Amazing! As Fellini and other filmmakers have said, Film is like Magic, an illusion you create in the mind of the audience.

The sets, costumes ,photography are all excellent, it is a visually beautiful film. The acting is great, even though it seems like traditional Japanese theater acting, it’s great. It transcends the cultural differences. There are paper butterflies flitting about on strings but they are cool little fires fly around, the spirits of the Foxes. Just great stuff.

The Film is really about the treachery and duplicity of humans compared to the nobility of the Animals. The Foxes in this case. It’s also a doomed love story. A Tale of Evil and  Innocence in Imperial Japan. Kind of a Fairy Tale for Adults. I recommend it.

I also watched a Crime Film by Uchida on ARROW. Another film little know outside of Japan but a big hit there. A Fugitive From The Past, another film that kept me from cancelling my subscription. Someone at ARROW is a real expert and lover of Japanese Cinema. Bravo!

Tomu Uchida

Nick The Sting DVD Featuring Split Screen Video Essay by Mike Malloy on Pablo Ferro

Written by Joe D on October 31st, 2022

The Great Pablo Ferro

My good pal Mike Malloy created a short film on multi-screen sequences in Feature films as a supplement to the new dvd release of Fernando DiLeo’s Nick The Sting. He asked if I had any footage of my old friend Pablo Ferro that he could include in his film. Pablo was a great title designer ( Dr. Strangelove, Bullit, Good Will Hunting,etc.),  He made the amazing multiple sequence for the original version of The Thomas Crown Affair. I had filmed Pablo at an Optical Printer a few years back and I was happy to let Mike use the footage, Here is the film Mike made.

Clip for bonus feature on the upcoming Blu of NICK THE STING, the 1976 Eurocrime film: https://www.kinolorber.com/product/nick-the-sting-blu-rayMusic by Scott Burton: https://scottburton.bandcamp.com/ Footage of Pablo Ferro / optical printer courtesy of Joe D’Augustine: http://www.filmforno.com/

Interview with Stanley Kubrick

Written by Joe D on October 26th, 2022

Here’s a great recording of an interview with Stanley Kubrick. Done during the shooting of 2001, A Space Odyssey. It’s very interesting to hear Kubrick’s voice and he tells some informative tales. Check it out.

Buster Keaton is Sherlock Jr.

Written by Joe D on October 17th, 2022

I’ve been in a Buster Keaton mood lately, so here is a little masterpiece, SHERLOCK JR. I understand it was not a hit when it came out, as a matter of fact I think it was his poorest performer at the Box Office. Since then it has risen quite a bit in the public’s esteem. I believe his masterpiece, THE GENERAL was not a big hit either and now is recognized for the work of genius that it is. Anyway Buster Keaton we salute you. Your work is getting the respect and admiration it deserves.


And here is a short about the making of SHERLOCK JR.

F.W. Murnau’s Faust

Written by Joe D on July 27th, 2022

I just watched Faust again last night. I bought the BluRay put out by Kino and it looks terrific. You can really appreciate the time, effort and artistry put into making this film. UFA gave Murnau unlimited money and time to make the best film he could. He succeeded marvelously. The imagery is superb.

So many amazing miniatures were built, especially memorable is where Mephisto looms over the city and the flying POV over mountains and water, a huge miniature filmed with a camera on a small rollercoaster track. When Faust summons Mephisto rings of fire rise up around him, this same effect was used later by Fritz Lang in his epic Metropolis. Something I did not know, Murnau disliked the script he was given and secretly collaborated with Thea Von Harbou. She would later write Metropolis and Marry fritz Lang!


There are other parallels with Metropolis, the biggest one being burning the woman at the stake as the climax of the film. The lighting is amazing as well. The sets beautiful. Back then they could not make dupe negatives of good quality so they filmed with 2 cameras and did alternate takes for different world markets. I think there were 7 complete negative versos of Faust from which they struck the hundreds of prints for distribution. It is incredible to think that a hand cranked little machine ( the early motion picture camera) could create such sensations in millions of people. It is almost like Magic or witchcraft. Incredible. I also noticed for the first time that William Dieterle was in the cast. No wonder he became such an amazing director. Working for Murnau, learning everything from such a maestro. Check out his films, especially Portrait Of Jenny.

In any case watch Faust, get the Blurry, it’s worth it and experience one of the most influential films ever made. I mean this and Nosferatu are maybe the 2 most influential films made by the same director.