Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451

Written by Joe D on January 24th, 2010

A film of overwhelming moods, everything in this film seems filtered through a veil of sadness. Visually stunning, the art direction and cinematography are wonderfully rich. The colors jump off the screen in beautiful compositions. Director of Photography Nic Roeg really outdoes himself here. And Bernard Hermann’s music sinks you deeper and deeper into a state of lugubrious drugged oblivion, like a person slipping deeper and deeper into a bottomless vat of viscous oil. The powerful rhythms and images of dream logic make this film even more effective. For example the woman who burns herself with her books and Montag’s nightmare.

Also I love films made in the 60’s yet set in the future for their take on design, it’s the 60’s taken to a super cool extreme, like they had reached the apogee of design and then found a way to show that somehow in the future it would be improved upon in interesting ways.

The firetruck, the monorail, the doors that slide open on their own. Big flat panel TV’s hanging on your living room wall.Truffaut didn’t like this film that much although Ray Bradbury did. I think Truffaut is not always a fair judge of his own films since he didn’t like The Bride Wore Black either and to me that’s one of his best films. A fascinating depressing work of Art, check it out on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The opening credits are spoken over images of TV antennas, no writing allowed in the future! Montag forces a group of his wives friends to listen as he reads from a book by Charles Dickens, an emotional passage about the death of the writer’s wife. One woman breaks down in tears, the rest say he’s disgusting, “people aren’t supposed to upset other people, that’s why they did away with books in the first place!” This sounds to me like our politically correct society of today where you can’t say anything slightly off center without being pilloried. Also everyone takes massive amounts of prescription drugs, the whole population is medicated! The mindless totalitarian society hypnotized by Television and since there is no writing allowed, there can be no scripts for the actors on TV, sounds to me a lot like Reality Shows. Now The that the Supreme Court has allowed Corporations to spend as much as they want on political campaigns Fahrenheit 451 doesn’t seem so far away. I just heard that it will be re-made with Tom Hanks as Montag, Ray Bradbury is in frail shape this could finish him off. So check it out and see what you think, it is a very unique, disturbing film.

Mack Sennett’s A Movie Star

Written by Joe D on January 18th, 2010


I finally started watching the Slapstick Encyclopedia I borrowed a few years back. I will return it to it’s rightful owner soon! Anyway one of the films jumped out at me in Volume 1. It was A Movie Star by Mack Sennett. It was produced under the Triangle Films banner, Sennett had left Keystone and gone into business with his old boss D.W. Griffith, the man who taught Sennett how to make a film. A Movie Star was one of the first Sennett pictures to have a script, the earlier ones were just ideas on paper and then cast and crew improvised the rest. It shows, The Movie Star is consistently funny from beginning to end. It also is a very early self referential film being about the movie business. The action takes place in a nickelodeon theater, a star (Mack Swain) aka Handsome Jack shows up where his latest picture is playing, so he can wallow in the adoration of his fans, especially the female ones.


Handsome Jack Poses Next To His Poster

A real actor shows up and is not impressed and shows it during Handsome Jack’s bow taking. Handsome Jack also starts clapping surreptitiously to cue the audience throughout the movie.


Handsome Jack Starts The Spontaneous Applause, A Technique Still Used At Previews Today!


The Shakespearean Actor Shows Contempt For Jack’s Antics

There are shots of the film on the screen in the theater and this is years before Keaton took this idea to a new level in Sherlock Junior.


Film Within A Film

Handsome Jack is scoring with the chicks after the show when his battle-ax wife and two kids show up to put an end to his fun.


The Wife And Kids Put A Crimp In Jack’s Game

A Movie Star is directed by Fred Hibbard, I guess Sennett was the producer, and the acting is so much better than in the Sennett directed movies where everyone is way too far over the top. I also read that nobody liked Sennett, especially the people that worked for him, they’d get skilled under his tutelage then head out for a job at another studio, even his stars, Arbuckle, Chaplin, and Normand did this. But still in all those were the days! Just cranking out films one after the other, how cool is that! There are some other great touches in this film, we get to check out the theater musician/sound effects man, he shoots pistols, whoops like a wild Indian, beats a drum, and plays the piano to accompany the film.


The Super Cool Sound Effects/Music Man!

And we get a glimpse into the projection booth and see the projectionist hand cranking the projector! If you want to check out a good Early Silent Comedy check this one out. It delivers.


The Wild Indian Smooches On Handsome Jack’s Girl, They Shot This In Front Of A Circular Rotating Background Panel!


Written by Joe D on January 17th, 2010

Here’s a book all about Japanese master filmmaker Ishiro Honda. Primarily known for Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and a slew of other fantasy sci-fi horror films.


Some of my favorites are The H-Man and Attack Of The Mushroom People. The book seems very well researched and written in an enjoyable easy to get into style. I especially liked a section on Eiji Tsuburaya, special effects guru and mentor to Honda. Mention is made of a WWII propaganda film War At Sea From Hawaii To Malaysia, that sounds fantastic, incredible miniatures showing the Pearl Harbor attack. I really would like to check that one out. The Japanese Sci-Fi, Fantasy films influenced generations of filmmakers the world over and dealt with Atom Age Angst as powerfully as any other Art, maybe even more so, seeing as they were created by the people that suffered the results of an Atomic Attack. Peter H. Brooks has done a great service to film students and film lovers in writing this book and illuminating the life of a hugely influential, yet somewhat unheralded filmmaker. I say to him “Bravo!”


One Too Many Mornings

Written by Joe D on January 15th, 2010

Here at Film Forno we believe in supporting independent films and filmmakers. Case in Point : One Too Many Mornings, these guys hit the jackpot, they’re screening at Sundance! The odds are like one in 10,000 so congratulations! They are also implementing a radical marketing plan, they will sell the dvd from Sundance after they screen, that’s right they will mail you a dvd from the Sundance Post Office (if you order one online). This is pretty far out, I’ve never heard of anything like it and I wish them luck. I haven’t seen the film but the trailer looks funny and it’s in Black & White which is a definite plus in my book. So check out their website here. And check out the trailer below.

Bitch Slap!

Written by Joe D on January 5th, 2010

Hey 2010 is turning out to be the Year Of Exploitation here at Film Forno! Submitted for your consideration, Bitch Slap, a new movie opening January 8th in L.A., N.Y.C., and San Francisco. It looks like a lot of fun, hot chicks kicking ass and making out with each other, what’s not to love? I understand they reference such classics of Female Empowerment as Coffy , They Call Her One Eye , and Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and they do it all with a sense of humor. Also an added attraction, stunts and fights by super cool Zoe Bell! You remember her from such classics as Death Proof and Kill Bill, she was Uma’s stunt double and she is a remarkable performer! She’d be the best female to back you up in a bar fight!


America’s got Boobs, I mean Talent!

This movie appeals to everyone, case in point, America Olivo (one of the stars) graces the cover of Playboy and Bitch Slap was featured on the cover of the Lesbian News! So you know it’s got it going on!