Blast Of Silence

Written by Joe D on December 6th, 2021

Here is a beautifully shot low budget film, made in NYC in 1961. What amazing locations, check out Penn Station, an architectural marvel, before it was torn down to put the box of Madison Squarer Garden in it’s place. A real crime against humanity. This movie featurtes a ton of voice over by the great gravel throated Lionel Stander, who was in Once Upon A Time In The West and other cool films, like Unfaithfully Yours by Preston Sturis, and Cul de Sac by that perverted dwarf Roman Polanski.I think the VO was added later to help the film, I don’t think it was in the original script, there is a seperate credit for voice over writing.  The Ending of this film is a classic, you have to see it, kind of reminiscent of the end of Truffaut’s Shoot The Piano Player.The director and Star of this film made another film after this called Pie In The Sky or Terror in the City. I havent seen it but I will be on the lookout for it. Then he went onto direct TV shows. Too Bad. The guy has real talent, he should have stayed in the Cinema. But we all have to make a living. So too bad.

I think there is a re-release of this film happening. I went to see it at Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly on a double bill with Nighty Of The Hunter. First time I’ve been in a movie theater since the pandemic! Two great prints! They looked amazing! See it in 35mm if you are able. From the opening Out Of The Tunnel Birth sequence to the terrific ending, it’s worth it!

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.

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.

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.

GBU IN 4K!

Written by Joe D on May 18th, 2021

They have released a new transfer of Sergio Leone’s Masterpiece  The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in 4K! This film deserves it! One of the greatest films ever made. And Ennio Morricone’s magnificent score accompanying these hi rez visuals is a delight for any lover of Cinema. Be sure to pay close attention to the title sequence as this is the best it has ever looked on something you can watch at home. In all honesty some of the exteriors were a bit bright for my taste but you judge for yourself. I did think the final duel was spot on. Really looked great. So here it is from youtube. Check it out.

Fellini!

Written by Joe D on March 17th, 2021

Here is a couple of cool clips abnout the grande maestro del Cinema, Federico Fellini. The first one is footage of hiim directing Juliet Of The Spirits. I have seen this footage in color and it’s even better. I can’t find the color version bnut one day I will and I’ll post it. The other is a small documentary shot on the set of 8 and a half, Otto e Mezzo, it’s so refreshing to see a great artist at work, the characters, thge amazing faces. The circus of Cinema Fellini crteated. Added Bonus , rare footage of the incomparable camerman Gianni DeVenanzo, shooting Juliet of the Spirits. The supercool thing abouit this clip is how cheap the set looks, you can see the grass is fake, the house is fake, everything is fake. But when you watch the film everything is transformed by Cinema into magical beautiful transporting atmospheric beauty.

The great Gianni DiVenanzo, Maestro of Cinematography

Written by Joe D on September 8th, 2020

Here is a short film about one of my favorite cameramen of all time, Gianni DiVenanzo. I encourage everyone to seek out the films he shot and enjoy them. Such a brilliant filmmaker, a unique talent. He died young, only 45 years old. Vittorio Storaro tells the story. Here’s a link to a great site dedicated to him.

http://www.celtoslavica.de/chiaroscuro/dop/venanzo/venanzo.html

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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 Hustler

Written by Joe D on May 30th, 2019

Here’s the trailer for Robert Rossen’s The Hustler, great script, great directing, great acting, great cinematography by Eugene Schufftan and great editing by Dede Allen. Watch the whole movie and dig it!

 

Seconds-Frankenheimer-James Wong Howe

Written by Joe D on March 18th, 2019

 

Last night I had dinner with an old friend, James Hong, we were talking and I mentioned the great camerman James Wong Howe, James Hong told me he was friends with James Wong Howe and what a struggle it was for him to become a cameraman in Hollywood. I was reminded of Seconds, a crazy film Howe shot for the great John Frankenheimer so here is the trailer. Check out Sweet Smell Of Success to see more of the camerwork of the great James Wong Howe.

And here is a little documentary about James Wong Howe

Day Of The Fight Stanley Kubrick’s First Film

Written by Joe D on January 23rd, 2019

This is Stanley Kubrick’s First film. He said making it was the best film school he could have gone to. He had photographed this boxer for Look magazine and decided to make a film about him. He sold this film to RKO and actually made a profit! Atmospheric and photographically sophisticated, a great first film.

The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Written by Joe D on January 7th, 2019

The Genius Of Cinema-Ermanno Olmi

 

I saw this when it was released in 1978 with my best pal Frank G. Host. We talked about it for a long time. It is a masterpiece! One of the best films ever made! Made by a true genius of Cinema, Ormano Olmi. He wrote, photographed , directed , and edited it. Damn! And all for a very small budget with non actors! Be inspired filmmakers of the future! See the Power of Cinema!