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!

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.

 

Fred Astaire Dancing at the 1970 Oscars

Written by Joe D on February 28th, 2019

 

I guess I’ve been in the mood for film dancing lately, here is some footage from the 1970 Oscars where Fred Astaire does a number, he was born in 1899 so that would make him 71! You can see semi-bearded Jack Nicholson in the crowd watching, he was nominated for his role in Easy Rider that year. Anyway enjoy!