Censorship, The Pawnbroker and Me

the-pawnbrokerFor many years, around the holiday season, the Catholic Church had a pledge they brought forth to their parishioners. The oath was for “Good” Catholics not to attend any film considered morally objectionable, that is, the big C word was applied…Condemned!For years, the Church’s list of objectionable films was a dominant force that changed filmmaking. Many directors, among them Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus) and Billy Wilder (The Seven Year Itch), edited their films, eliminating scenes found objectionable. While it’s true most of the films on the list were foreign that received the condemned rating there were exceptions. In 1953, Otto Preminger’s lightweight romantic comedy, The Moon is Blue was given the dreaded C rating, this after the Hays Office refused to give the film its seal of approval and Preminger and United Artists refused to make what today seem like ridiculous deletes.

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Autumn Cinema – Six Films

Autumn is here! Soon leaves will be turning, and there will be a nip in the air. Filmmakers have taken advantage of the colors of autumn in many films. Here are six of my favorites.

When Harry Met Sally

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Having this film on the list is a no-brainer if for no other reason than the scenes that take place in Central Park.  Continue reading

Ten Must See Vietnam War Films

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Ken Burn’s latest documentary, Vietnam, is currently broadcasting nightly on PBS. Up until the 1960’s, war films were good business for Hollywood. It all changed with the Vietnam War.  With no clear military objective, the war became more and more unpopular on the home front. Hollywood knew a hot potato when they saw one and the major studios were slow to  put themselves on the front line. There were exceptions. Most were low budget independent productions like A Yank in Vietnam (1964)  and To the Shore of Hell (1966). Other low budget films dealt with the returning Vietnam Vet. Most times they were portrayed as disturbed crazies: Motorpscyho, Targets, Taxi Driver and The Visitors. Then there was John Wayne’s The Green Berets, the only film at the time distributed by a major studio. Arguably it is the worst movie made about the Vietnam War, and I am not even talking about its politics. It is just a poorly made film. With this in mind here are ten must see films about the Vietnam experience. Continue reading

Finding a Book Cover

I love old movie theaters. Ever since I began to have an interest in still photography I have been photographing theaters. It began in New York City back in the 1970’s. Back then, the theaters I photographed were not considered old, or classic. At the time, they were just the theaters where you went to see the latest new releases. Over the years, whenever I travel, I have always remained on the lookout for old theaters wherever I go. Theaters that have managed to survive the wrong arm of society’s law; old needs to be replaced. When we, my wife and I, moved to the Tamps Bay area in the late 1990’s we discovered the Tampa Theater. It’s a 1927 movie palace that was, and still is, actively showing current independent films, classic films as well as live shows. The building fortunately has been declared a landmark, so we should be able to enjoy its pleasures for years to come. In early 2008, we went to see “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” An art film, the Tampa Theater was the only place in town showing it at the time. On this particular occasion I took my camera and a tri-pod with the intent to photograph not only the outside, but the theater inside. I asked permission and management was gracious enough to allow me to shoot a few photos as long as I was not shooting during the showing of the film. Anyway, I took a series of shots both outside and in, some of which are shown here. Continue reading