Twenty Four Frames was started eight years ago this month. It wasn’t much and as I looked back at some of the post I wrote back then they came across as pretty bad. I’ve grown, me thinks, as has the blog. As sort of a small celebration, for lack of a better term, I have come up with a list of films I am calling 8 by 8 by 8. Eight years, eight lists and eight films on each lists. The films are not in any particular order, but they do represent some of my favorites in each group. Some of the films selected could have easily fell into two categories. For example, A Face in the Crowd which I included in my Journalism/Media category could easily fit into the politics group. The same could be said for All the President’s Men. I wanted to listed a different film in each category, so I resisted the temptation of repeating.
The Cameraman is an ode to the world of filmmaking. Like Sherlock Jr. this is a film about an artist looking inward at himself and his art. It was Keaton’s first film for MGM and not directed by him. However, while officially directed by Edward Sedgwick, Keaton’s foot prints are all over the film. Buster, who liked to improvise, was forced by the MGM honchos to have a completed script along with all the jokes and pratfalls worked out in advance. Still, there is a feeling that Keaton managed to work in some inspiring improvisational moments during the making of the film, despite all the corporate overseeing and demands. The Cameraman ranks up there with Keaton’s best work. The corporate interference was sadly a sign of things to come. Continue reading
Released earlier this month, The Real James Dean: Intimate Memories from Those Who Knew Him Best is a collection of previously published articles written by Dean’s family, friends, co-workers and professional contemporaries, in other words, by those who really knew the rebel icon. Many of the articles have been unavailable since they were first published, some as far back as more than sixty years ago. They cover his entire short life from his childhood days in Indiana until his untimely death on September 30, 1955 at the age of twenty-four. Edited by Peter. L. Winkler (Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel) the book reveals an individual of complexity, admired by some and despised by others, but always fascinating. Continue reading
The Coconuts began its life as a Broadway musical comedy. Written by George S. Kaufman with music by Irving Berlin, it was the Marx Brothers second appearance on Broadway, the first being a musical revue called, I’ll Say She Is. According to the IBDB, The Coconuts opened in late December 1925 and closed in August of the following year. A revival opened in May 1927 and ran for a successful one year. Before being cemented forever on celluloid, Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo would do one more play, Animal Crackers, which would become their second film. Continue reading