Photographer Robert Jones, along with film writer Dan Auiler (author of Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic), and photographer Aimee Sinclair have compiled a stunning new book called Hitchcock’s California: Vista Visions from the Camera Eye.Years in the making, the book includes an informative and fascinating introduction by actor Bruce Dern and an afterward by Dorothy Herrmann, daughter of the late composer Bernard Herrmann. One of the highlights of the Dern introduction is when the actor writes about an absorbing short conversation that happened after he introduced Hitchcock to fellow film director, John Frankenheimer. For me, that short exchange that ensued is worth the admission.
For me, the 1950’s can be considered as one of the best decades in film. With films like Sunset Blvd, From Here to Eternity, North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train, All About Eve, Rear Window (Hitchcock again!), On the Waterfront, Touch of Evil, High Noon, and so many others how could it not be? However, with the introduction of television in more and more American homes during this decade comedy seemed to have hit a bump in the road. There were not as many comedies, and they generally were not as funny as in the past. Of course, there were exceptions, Some Like it Hot is one of the greatest sound comedies. One thing that you will notice is that some of the films on the list are musical comedies. A style that at this point in time, television still could not emulate.
There was a time when photographs actually required film be in the camera instead of a digital disc. Many professional photographers back in the day used Kodachrome because the colors were vibrant. On a bright shiny sunny day, you could get those those nice bright colors, the greens of summers that Paul Simon sang about in his hit song. If stored properly, Kodachrome had a long post processing self-life. Colors did not fade. Kodachrome was also good for magazine reproduction. With the introduction of digital photography, Kodachrome began to lose a significant portion of the market share. In 2009, Kodak stopped producing Kodachrome. In 2010, the last authorized processing facility, Dwayne’s Photos, located in Parsons, Kansas closed its doors. Continue reading →
As a photographer, I found this film more interesting than it arguably deserves to be. The photography studio, the darkroom, the Rolleiflex camera that Lila Crane’s mentor gives her as a gift is all nicely detailed. As part Columbia’s Bad Girls of Film Noir, the film’s inclusion in volume two is questionable. The first thing to point out this is not a film noir. Columbia’s long arm of credibility was at work including this in the box set. And compared to Night Editor, another film in the packagethat stars Janis Carter as one of the most evil femme fatale’s to ever grace the screen, making Lila Crane look like miss goody two shoes. Continue reading →
Backbeat is not just another Beatles biopic; it’s more of an intimate story of friendship, love and ultimately death. The film’s focus is not on the rise of the group’s fame but, more on the triangular relationship between German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, Stu Sutcliffe, the original fifth Beatle, and John Lennon.
The years were 1960 to 1962. Stu Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff) is an art student, a talented painter with sensitive, good looks, a James Dean aura and a rock and roll heart. He also has a best friend by the name of John Lennon (Ian Hart). Lennon’s ragtag band then consisting of Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best were on their way to Germany to perform along the Reeperbahn district. Stu played base and was in the band due to John’s insistence and Stu own loyalty to his friend. Continue reading →
By 1992, Joe Pesci had been around for thirty years beginning with a small role in the 1961 film, Hey, Let’s Twist, a showcase for the then chart-topping rock and roll group, Joey Dee and the Starliters (Peppermint Twist). Pesci began getting some attention in the mid-1980’s with films like Easy Money and Once Upon a Time in America. But it was not until 1989 with Lethal Weapon 2 and 1990 with the double whammy of Home Alone and Goodfellas that Pesci became a name on everyone’s lips. Riding this success, Pesci had a series of important roles over the next few years. In 1992 alone, he appeared in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Lethal Weapon 3 and My Cousin Vinny. That same year he also had the lead role in the little-known film, The Public Eye.Continue reading →
One Hour Photo is a sobering introspective look on why we are a world addicted to taking pictures. Today even more than ever we have this passion, desire, this need to record almost everything we do with a photograph. Many of us photograph as a sort of visual diary of family, friends, place we have been. For some of us, we take pictures to capture a fleeting moment that will never happen again. It could be a person’s expression or clouds patterns or waves crashing; they only happen once, and the camera catches it forever. For others taking photographs is a validation of sorts that yes we live, we exist. For Seymour “Sy” Parrish (Robin Williams) though, photographs are an escape from his painful past and an imaginary lifeline to a normal life. Continue reading →
It’s a shame that One More Tomorrow is not a better film. Not that it’s bad, it’s just that the potential was there to be so much more than the sum of its parts. Based on Phillip Barry’s 1932 Broadway play, The Animal Kingdom that starred Leslie Howard, it was filmed for the first time under the original title with Howard recreating his role of the frivolous playboy Tom Collier. Added to the film’s cast was Ann Harding as Daisy Sage, a bohemian artist, and Myrna Loy, a money hungry socialite, as the two women in his life. Like other works by Barry, the theme of the free-thinking versus the conservatively privileged upper class is at work (Holiday, The Philadelphia Story). I have not seen the 1932 film which from what I have read is stronger in its social commentary but moves at a slower pace. That said, One More Tomorrow is an entertaining film with plenty on its mind. It does get a bit soapy, and its storyline ending is predictable, but given a chance, you will see there’s more to it. Continue reading →
Some movies, well actually a lot movies, are flawed, but you like them anyway. There are reasons that even though you know the movie doesn’t work, it connects with you. When Eyes of Laura Mars came out in 1978 I was excited. On paper it had a lot going for it; a script by the then hot and upcoming John Carpenter, there was Faye Dunaway, still hot with recent hits like Chinatown, Network and Three Days of the Condor, just behind her, and most personally for myself, the main character was a photographer. Continue reading →
Photographer Bill Cunningham admits he is no artist. He is neither a commercial photographer like Bert Stern nor a documentarian such as Dorothea Lange. But what he does, he does well. Cunningham is a well-known photographer in the world of fashion but don’t pin that label him either. That’s not what he does. He emphatically says so himself. He says this though he has worked for Vogue, the original Details and currently works for The New York Times. Continue reading →