Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Slapstick Summer Series: A Killer Joke | That Fatal Sneeze (1907)

Under-appreciated gem by Lewin Fitzhamon about an elderly man caught in a powerful sneezing fit as a result of retaliatory pepper from a whipper-snapper he mildly pranked at the film's beginning.

The humorous effects are creative and crescendo appropriately to the grand finale.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Slapstick Summer Series: Key Stepping Stone | The Policemen's Little Run (1907)

The first intersection of chase movies with slapstick - The Policeman's Little Run (aka La Course des Sergents de Ville, literally "The Run of the Village Constables"), directed by Ferdinand Zecca.

Preceding the Keystone Cops by 6 years, this slapstick-chase also includes a surprising trick-film sequence for added measure. The wall-climbing effect was previously done by Georges Méliès (and later by Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman & Robin), but here its impact is amplified by the scrolling camera.




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Slapstick Summer Series: Exhibit E. Porter | Getting Evidence (1906)

Not just an early example of well-executed slapstick, but overall a truly wonderful film - one which seems much more modern than expected, thanks primarily to the skilled direction of Edwin S. Porter. The multiple vignettes offer a nice variety of humorous scenarios, many of which contain superb shot compositions far above what was common for the time.

And, for some reason, I can’t help but imagine Peter Sellers and David Niven in the lead roles.






Monday, June 25, 2012

Slapstick Summer Series! - A Story Well Spun (1906), Pre-Iconic

A lesser-known work from the world's first female filmmaker, but one which is expertly filmed and a herald of things to come. From the start we see a Tramp-ish character as the lead, immediately pulling our mind toward Chaplin. We are then treated to an excellent chase-less chase sequence almost a decade before The Keystone Cops popularized chase films as a genre. The "stunts", primarily created with the stop-edit replacement tricks standard for the time, are of the type that Buster Keaton would later perform without the proverbial safety-net.

Bonus: Try to spot the man pushing the barrel on the railroad tracks at the 0:50 mark. 




Friday, June 22, 2012

Slapstick Summer Series! - An Interesting Story (1904), The 1st True Slapstick

Directed by James Williamson, An Interesting Story shows a man so engrossed in reading a book that his time is spent dangerously oblivious to everything else happening around him. It is generally considered to be the world's 1st slapstick film.




Thursday, June 21, 2012

Slapstick Summer Series! - The Fat and Lean Wrestling Match (1900), Wrestling w/ Melies

This film, like yesterday's, also is not considered to be the 1st slapstick movie...but in this case, I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps this is due to the physical comedy occurring only in an unexpected (and extreme) manner, but not not in an unexpected setting? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.




Awesome Pulp Fiction "Remix" ... is Awesome

Say "what?" again!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Slapstick Summer Series! - The Sprinkler Sprinkled (1895), 1st Movie Comedy

Though not slapstick, strictly-speaking, Lumière's The Sprinkler Sprinkled (aka L'Arroseur Arrosé and The Waterer Watered) earns the starting spot in this summer series for three main reasons:
  1. It's the 1st comedy film.
  2. What's more Summer-y than sprinkling sprinklers?
  3. The film's alliterative English name compliments the blog title.
Thus begins the Summer of Slapstick, which will contain the early shorts of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Mabel Normand, Fatty Arbuckle, Max Linder, Ford Sterling and the Keystone Cops, and other surprises.




Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 6] - Indiscreet Questions (1906)

Felix Mayol performs Indiscreet Questions (by A. Trebitsch & G. de Nola / G. Maquis) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Mayol, who was then filmed "lip singing". Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lois Weber - America's 1st Female Filmmaker

Born on this day in 1879, Lois Weber was a child prodigy pianist and silent film pioneer - an actress, screenwriter, producer, and director (the 1st woman as such in the United States) of over 100 known films. As a progressive activist, Weber's movies often contained her ideals of social justice, which included support for women's rights and birth control, as well as opposition towards censorship and the death penalty.

Her films are also known for being technically and narratively advanced for the time, groundbreaking in their usage and advancement of existing film language. One such example is the pre-Hitchcockian Suspense, directed in 1913 by Weber, below with a piano score by the lovely and talented Robbie Kaye from Beauty and Wisdom.


That Weber has been largely forgotten with the passage of time is as much a tragedy as the final years in her own life. I hope this changes and she begins to receive a more recognized and deserving place in history.

Pixar Marvel Superheroes

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 5] - White Lilacs (1905)

Felix Mayol performs White Lilacs (Lilas Blanc, by Theodore Botrel) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Mayol, who was then filmed "lip singing". Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.



Monday, June 11, 2012

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 4] - The Trottins Polka (1905)

Felix Mayol performs The Trottins Polka (La Polka des Trottins, by A. Trebitsch and H. Christine) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Mayol, who was then filmed "lip singing". Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.




Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 3] - Five O'Clock Tea (1905)

Armand Dranem Performs Five O'Clock Tea (by J. Combe / D. Berniaux) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Dranem, who was then filmed "lip singing". Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 2] - The True Jiu-Jitsu (1905)

Armand Dranem performs The True Jiu-Jitsu (Le Vrai Jiu-Jitsu, by P. Briollet & G. Fabri / C. D'Orviet) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Dranem, who was then filmed "lip singing". Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 1] - The Anatomy of a Draftee (1905)

Polin performs The Anatomy of a Draftee (L'Anatomie du Conscrit, by E. Rimbault and E. Spencer) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Polin, who was then filmed "lip singing". Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RIP Ray Bradbury, The Illustrious Man



"The things that you do should be things that you love. And things that you love should be things that you do." - Ray Douglas Bradbury, (1920 - 2012)




A Brief History of Video Games

An abridged history of video games in under three minutes. Made using only sounds, music, and video from the games themselves.




Monday, June 4, 2012

Jollification! The Mary Pickford Blogathon

This past weekend, Classic Movies: The Blog hosted a Mary Pickford blogathon. In addition to being a lovely event containing many beautiful posts and informative links about "America's Sweetheart", the below music video I created was also graciously included, for which I am honored. Thanks KC!

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