John Wayne – American Hero?


   “John Wayne, an American Hero” is a phrase that gets tossed around a lot. I always wondered what made him a hero? His screen image certainly was heroic in many films, but that does not define heroism. He fought in a lot of wars on screen, byt that only made him a celluloid hero like Tom Cruise or Batman. What about in real life? Oops, The Duke never fought in the big war or any war. He stayed in Hollywood while others did the fighting.

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Cats, Me and The Movies


   Stereotypically cats have been called aloof, sneaky, and manipulative. In reality, felines are independent, mischievous and self-aware. They are also smart, loving, affectionate and without trying very hard do some of the oddest, funniest things at the most unexpected times.  Nothing against dogs, they are loyal, obedient, loving and always happy to see you; jumping around excitedly whenever you arrive back home. On the other hand, cats may lift their head up as if to say, “Oh it’s you.” That is, unless it is time to eat and you are late coming home. Dogs are anxious to please while cats, well cats play it cool.  Want to find the most comfortable chair in the house? Just check where the cat is sitting. Continue reading

Florida Noir -Body Heat

Bodyheat   Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat takes place in a small, dreadfully hot, humid Southern Florida coastal town. The heat of the title reflects three important elements of the film. First up, the obvious; the stifling hot Florida weather.  Every character’s skin glistens with beads of sweat. Shirts are constantly seen with sweat stains. Continue reading

Help! I’m Stranded on an Island with Only 5 Movies


   Wow! Only five films on a desert island. Some years ago when I attempted to do a similar list of Desert Island Disc, only with ten films, it was difficult enough. There were always more movies I wanted to take with me than would fit on the list. So what does this blogathon do? Cuts it down to five! An impossible task! I know I wanted a Woody Allen film on the list, but which one? Then what about film noir? A western? The Marx Brothers? Billy Wilder? Hitchcock? Scorsese? Chaplin? Ford? Wyler? Keaton? The list goes on and there is really no solution. It’s impossible! Continue reading

Jacksonville: Film Capital of the World…Almost

Jacksonville Shoot

Kalem Studios, Jacksonville, Fla. 1912

In the Beginning…

   In the last years of the nineteenth century, during the Spanish-American War, both the Edison Film Company and the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (which would soon change its name to just the Biograph Company) produced a series of short films in Florida. Many were just clips less than a minute long. At the time, Florida was a training ground for soldiers preparing to go to war (The Spanish-American War). There are clips of soldiers disembarking from railroad cars, boarding ships and training for the war. Films had titles like Roosevelt’s Rough Riders (Tampa), Military Camp in Tampa Taken from Train, Colored Troops Disembarking (Tampa), War Correspondents (Key West), U.S. Calvary Supplies Unloading in Tampa, Florida and Burial of the “Maine” Victims (Key West). All are from 1898 and are available on-line via the Library of Congress. These films are considered to be the earliest made in Florida. Continue reading

Moulin Rouge (1952) John Huston

Moulin Rouge2

   John Huston’s 1952 film about the life of the great French artist, Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, more commonly known as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress (Colette Marchand). It won two Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction. Surprisingly, cinematographer Oswald Morris, received no recognition since one of the film’s highlights is its brilliant use of color.  Today, when you talk to someone about a film called Moulin Rouge, they assume you’re referring to the 2001 Baz Luhrmann musical. Huston’s film, while maybe not forgotten,  is generally not discussed much. It’s a shame because there is much to admire. Continue reading

Silver Screenings Review of Lessons in the Dark.

Ruth Kerr of Silver Screenings has just posted a wonderful review of my new e-book LESSONS IN THE DARK.  Click on the link is below to read.

The Cool Kids’ Guide to Classic Film

The book is available at Amazon!

Lessons in the Dark Cover-Small-003