Harry Smith’s Early Abstractions

Written by Joe D on June 22nd, 2020

 

Here is a great animated film by Harry Smith. I knew him and used to visit him at The Chelsea Hotel on W.23rd street in NYC. Anyway check it out.

Fellini masterclass by Gian Luca Farinelli, Director of the Cineteca di Bologna

Written by Joe D on June 19th, 2020

Here is an examination of the creative force of Federico Fellini illustrated with clips from his films, documentary footage, an interview and  some amazing newsreel footage that influenced some of his master works.

Busby Berkeley

Written by Joe D on June 15th, 2020

 

Get Intoxicated on the Mad Genius of Busby Berkeley! Beautiful women, great dancing, geometric choreography, Dutch camera angles, overhead shots! All created in a 1930’s Hollywood Dream Factory!  I heard he lived near me for a while after a car accident. I believe his mother lived in Echo Park. Anyway Enjoy!

Zbignew Cybulski

Written by Joe D on June 12th, 2020

 

Here’s a newsreel about the great Polish actor, Zbignew Cybulski. Hailed as the Polish Jame Dean his career and life were tragically cut short as he leaped to catch a departing train. ( something I hear he often did) Ironically there is footage of him jumping from a moving train in this piece. I always though he was super cool with his black leather and shades photographed in B&W like the coolest movie icons. Check it out. It’s in Polish with no subtitles but here’s a great reason to learn to speak Polish!

George Stevens Footage of Germany at the end of WWII

Written by Joe D on May 26th, 2020

Prepare to have your  mind blown. This footage is so incredible, it’s like going into a dream. Amazing. Shot on film, restored by a German Archive. Check it out.

Silent Hollywood

Written by Joe D on May 16th, 2020

Here is a great BBC produced series about the early days of the Movie Business and how it wound up in Hollywood USA. Great interviews with the real Silent Movie people done back in the late 60’s I’d guess. Narrated by the great James Mason who in real life bought Buster Keaton’s old house and lived there for a while. Anyway it’s a great series chock full of amazing information and fascinating characters. Check it out!

 

The Prisoner!

Written by Joe D on April 22nd, 2020

I loved this show, so weird , so cool! I didn’t know Patrick McGoohan was so uptight when he made it. I guess he had a lot on his plate, but watch the doc about the show to get the inside dope. I think they waited for McGoohan to pass on befgore they dished the dirt about him. I still think it’s a great amazing TV show, one of the best of all time. Check it out.

Here’s a rare interview with McGoohan

And here’s a sample of the show from the BluRay release. I recommend it! Looks beautiful!

I guess you’ll have to copy and paste the URLs to see the clips.

Alexander Hackenschmied Maya Deren Meshes Of The Afternoon

Written by Joe D on April 9th, 2020

 

 

 

I just watched the classic short film, Meshes Of The Afternoon by Alexander Hackenschmied and Maya Deren. Usually credit is given the other way around with Maya Deren getting top billing, maybe she deserves it. But I wanted to give Alexander Hackenschmied (Americanized to Hammid) his due. He was a filmmaker when the two of them got together to make this film in wartime Los Angeles. Deren had no film experience, He gave her the name Maya when the two of them got together in NYC. She was a  talented dancer, you can see for yourselves how she moves in Meshes… And it was  groundbreaking to have a woman star in and be co-creator of this amazing film. I would love to find the location where they shot this, it looks like it’s in Silverlake or the Hollywood Hills. Also it does bear some resemblance to Alexander’s earlier film Aimless Walk. Where the main characvter catches sight of himself walking away, a kind of Moebius Strip of reality. A very influential visual concept that has been repeated countles times since. Check out Mario Bava’s Kill Baby Kill (Operazione Paura) . Hammid was maybe the father of Underground filmmaking here in the USA, or at least one of them. He worked on a film for the World’s Fair in NY, To Be Alive, Bob Downey had a job at the Worlds Fair, so probably did a lot of up and coming filmmakers. Meshes.. was shown at Universities all over America. Maya Deren was beautiful, there is a classic shot of her from the film. Looking out a window, it’s only on screen for a few seconds but it stays with you. Just like a lot of things in this film. Anyway here they are thanks to YouTiube, watch them and judge for yourself.

For some reason I couldn’t copy Aimless Walk but you can see it on YouTube. So here’s a cool doc that talks about Alexander.

 

UN COMISAR ACUZA

Written by Joe D on April 7th, 2020

Here is a very cool period piece about Fascists in Romania at the outset of WWII. It is a straight ahead supercool, incorruptible hero versus black leather clad proto- Nazi killers.  Great action, great locations, amazing stunts! That’s what made me want to watch it, an incredible stunt, where The Inspector jumps from ledge to ledge outside a building to thwart the Legionaires trying to snuff him. So Cool! A cop guarding the hero of The Whistlers was watching this scene in that movie and when I saw the clip I knew I had to watch it. So I did thanks to YouTube and it looks pretty good as well. I did a little research, the movie is directed by and stars Sergiu Nicolaescu. And I swear he does some of his own stunts! That takes balls, to have the director and star jumping off a 4th story ledge! No wires involved! It’s based on a true story about a massacre by Legionaires at a prison, the leadert of the Fascist Iron Guard was a criminal named Paraipan (Gheorghe Dinica). This reminds me of  Jose Giovanni, part of a criminal gang that collaborated with the Nazi occupiers of France, just to extort money from Jewish business men. Giovanni was sentenced to death but got out through his father efforts, he changed his name from Joseph Damiani to Jose Giovanni and became a prolific Crime Writer, Film Director, hobnobbing with all the Luminaries of the French Film Industry. Anyway check out An Inspector Accuses! You won’t regret it! I for one am going to watch more of Sergiu Nicolaescu’s films, they kick ass!

The Whistlers by Corneliu Porumboiu

Written by Joe D on April 6th, 2020

Here is a film worth watching, if you love Cinema. It has great acting, a clever script, looks beautiful, great editing, really interesting locations, and cool music. The thing that makes it stand out to me is what we don’t see, it just cuts from one idea to another, no boring explaining, (usually a sign of an insecure producer) no unnecessary elements that are not needed. The way this story is told is so cinematic, so artistic in it’s unfolding, I didn’t even care about the McGuffin, a bunch of money stuffed in some mattresses. It kept my attention though arabesques of creativity, to me that’s a great work of art. It can be in a genre subject, a detective story, but if it’s told in such a great way, Bravo! This is why I love the Coffin Ed /Gravedigger Jones novels of Chester Himes. They are like the solos of a genius jazz musician, flights of scintillating creativity. So Hats Off to  , you are a Cinematic Genius!

Adam Beckett’s Flesh Flows

Written by Joe D on April 4th, 2020

Here is an animated short film by the late great Adam Beckett. I saw this at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1974. It blew my mind. What a great talent, such a sin that he died so young, just after he worked on Star Wars. An early alumnus of CalArts, the great experimental art school that’s now in Canyon Country, although I believe Beckett started there when it was in LA at a closed Catholic school. Anyway check out this genius of the elaborated loop, hand drawn, optical printed, super Cool

Theremin!

Written by Joe D on March 3rd, 2020

Here’s the trailer for a cool movie about Leon Theremin, Russian inventor It’s a great story, check it out.