Storm Warning (1951) Stuart Heisler

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Storm Warning is not a perfect film, however, more than 60 years after its release, it still has the power and social significance to resonate with us today. Ronald Reagan reveals shades of the politician he would become later, and both Ginger Rogers and Doris Day in her first dramatic role, are admirable in the roles of sisters caught in a doomed triangle. Continue reading

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Blackboard Jungle (1955) Richard Brook

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The pounding beat of Billy Haley’s Rock Around the Clock as the screen darkens got teens of the day up and dancing in the aisles. Theater owners in various cities throughout the country were nervous. Some theaters shut off the sound system during those opening credits fearing teens would quickly get out of control.  Censors, parents groups, religious groups and law enforcement all had their say in speaking out against the film. One censor in Memphis, called the film, “the vilest picture I have ever seen in twenty six years as a censor.” Rock Around the Clock was original released in mid-1954 by Haley as a B-side to the song Thirteen Women (And the Only Man in Town). It was not until director Richard Brooks wanted the song for the film’s opening and closing credits that it rocked to the top of the charts selling more than two million copies. Rock Around the Clock was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first hit. It was the first to hit number one on the record charts. Its social impact was massive, helping pave the way for another southern boy, a sexy, better looking boy than the chubby, curly twirled haired Haley, to explode on to the national scene. Despite the film’s opening and closing credits filled with the early rock classic most of the soundtrack is jazz. Continue reading

Interview with Author Douglass K. Daniel

Author Douglass K. Daniel’s new biography, “Tough As Nails: The Life and Films of Richard Brooks” is an absorbing and in depth look at one of America’s most noteworthy filmmakers, of which little has been written about. Mr. Daniel’s book fills in the gap with a wealth of information complete with backstories on each of Brooks films as well as interviews and anecdotes with family, friends and co-workers.

 

First, I want thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Can you tell us a little about yourself.

Hey, John, it’s good to be a part of Twenty Four Frames!

I’m a journalist by day — I work for the Associated Press in Washington — and I use my off-hours to write about things that interest me, like the movies. I split my childhood between Richmond, Va., and Garden City, Kan., and studied at Kansas State University (B.S.) and later at Ohio University (M.S., Ph.D.). I worked for the AP in the 1980s between college stints. After having taught journalism at both my alma maters, I rejoined the AP in late 2003.

 

This is your third book. You previously wrote about two of journalisms most respected and well-known practitioners, 60 Minutes’ Harry Reasoner and the fictional Lou Grant. What attracted you to write about these two?

 The Lou Grant book was my dissertation for my doctoral degree in mass communication. I wanted to explore the link between movies and journalism, but coming up with a subject was tough. My adviser suggested looking at how the TV series “Lou Grant” depicted journalism during its five-year run, 1977-1982, to an audience of 15 million to 20 million each week.

The Harry Reasoner book was a project I undertook while teaching at Kansas State. I continued working on it at Ohio University and finally saw it to publication in 2007. Reasoner was a significant subject because of his prominence in TV journalism; little had been written about him. Continue reading