All posts tagged: Film History

Recommended Film & TV Books | Part 1

I’ve been studying film and television in school for some years now, so as a result I’ve amassed quite a collection of film and TV-related books. Here’s part 1 of my recommended media texts list – and you can expect a number of these posts in the future since there are so many books that I’ve found to be truly invaluable. Although I’ve linked each book to Amazon, buy locally if you can find them at your community’s bookstore! Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder: Save the Cat! is, indeed, the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need. The book includes information on high concept ideas, genre-play, beat sheets, and even a bit of pitching advice. It contains basically everything you need to know about coming up with an idea, writing your script, re-writing your script, and getting it sold. Designs on Film: A Century of of Hollywood Art Direction by Cathy Whitlock: There was a point during college when I thought that I wanted to be a production designer, so my boyfriend got …

Hollywood’s Global Domination

My experience of foreign cinema – or the value that it has provided for me personally – is deeply rooted in my national identity and Hollywood’s history of global dominance. Scholar B. Ruby Rich writes in Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, “My guess is that foreign films function as a rebuke for some viewers, offering up evidence that the world is not made in ‘our’ image, and that neither our society nor our language is universal.”[1] While I agree with Rich’s evaluation, I’d like to complicate it just slightly. My argument, instead, is that foreign films function as a rebuke for most American viewers specifically, though not all. In his chapter titled Hollywood’s International Market, from The American Film Industry (ed. Tino Balio), Thomas H. Guback describes how Hollywood began to permeate the global film market after World War I, acting in a moment when numerous countries were economically devastated by the war and left financially indebted to the U.S. As a result, due to the surmounting strength of the American film market, international film …

What Film School Taught Me as a BFA

Though it’s been a little over three years since I completed my undergraduate program at The University of Arizona, I’ve decided to revisit those years in a post about what film school taught me as a production student. Now that I’m in graduate school at USC, I’ve decided to shift my academic focus to film studies for a variety of reasons, but production is still at the heart of what I hope to accomplish in the future. A few notes about this list: while I didn’t go to a prestigious undergraduate production program at NYU, USC, UCLA, or UT Austin, I think many of the lessons I learned are somewhat universal at all institutions. Also, this is a slightly snarky, but thoroughly honest list. Long story short, take what you will from it… You can’t be unreliable. No one will want to work with you if they can’t rely on you to show up when you’re needed and put in the work. Hearing “we’ll fix it in post” is common for a reason. Yeah, you might be able …

La Filmothèque: An Online Film Library

I recently discovered La Filmothèque, a web-based public domain film library, and I thought it would be a great resource to share here on Catch-all. As an online film library, La Filmothèque provides easy access to classic films that are available in the public domain. Their library includes M, Man with a Movie Camera, and Un Chien Andalou, just to name a few film history essentials. La Filmothèque curates both well-known and more obscure films in order to create a space where film scholars, students, and fans alike can dive deep into the fun and exciting world of cinema’s past. La Filmothèque aims to expose audience members to films, genres, and directors that they might not have been aware of otherwise. The site categorizes films by genre, decade, country of origin, and director, allowing users to peruse the library however they see fit. The site also features a Film Store, where users can buy classic films recommended by La Filmothèque’s team. I myself am truly excited to be able to use La Filmothèque for my own academic and entertainment purposes, and am looking forward to sharing the site with the students …

My 5 Favorite De Niro Performances

If you asked me who my favorite actor is I’d proudly proclaim ROBERT DE NIRO, along with thousands upon thousands of other fans across the world. In each role he fills, De Niro engages, scares, surprises, and connects. He is a bonafide legend, and the depth, tone, subtlety, and intensity he is able to create within each of his characters is nothing short of awe-inspiring. In honor of his 72nd birthday, here are my five favorite Robert De Niro performances, in no particular order. What are yours? Jake La Motta – Raging Bull (1980) Raging Bull is one of my favorite films for numerous reasons, including Robert De Niro’s mesmerizing performance (for which he won the Academy Award), the stunning cinematography, and the truly moving soundtrack. In Raging Bull we see the destruction of a man’s world, as his anger and jealousy corrodes the relationships in his life. It’s one of those films and performances that one can never do justice to when discussing – it simply must be watched and enjoyed. Michael – The Deer Hunter (1978) The Deer Hunter provides an examination of the Vietnam war and its impact on American …

10 Facts About Francis Ford Coppola on His Birthday

1. Francis Ford Coppola was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 7th, 1939, but grew up in a New York suburb. 2. When he was young he caught polio, so during his quarantine he practiced puppetry and spent time watching movies. 3. He graduated with a drama degree from Hofstra University and went on to receive an MFA in Film Production from UCLA in 1967. 4. He is considered a part of the New Hollywood wave (or American New Wave) of filmmaking, which includes other masterful directors such as Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, Roman Polanski, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas, among others. 5. His family is full of accomplished filmmakers and actors including, but not limited to, Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage, Jason Schwartzman, and Gia Coppola. 6. He owns a successful winery – the Francis Ford Coppola – of which I can personally vouch for. 7. Supposedly George Lucas based the Star Wars trilogy character Hans Solo on Coppola. 8. He is credited for directing 12 different actors in Oscar nominated performances, …

50 Years of ‘The Sound of Music’

Today marks the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music – released on March 2, 1965. Directed and produced by Robert Wise, and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music is considered one of the most iconic musicals in the history of American film. An adaptation of the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical of the same title, the story is based on Maria von Trapp’s memoir, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Though The Sound of Music was not initially well received by critics, it briefly displaced Gone with the Wind as the highest-grossing film of all-time. It also won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Editing, Sound Mixing, and Music. I first saw The Sound of Music when I was quite young – maybe five or six. To this day, I still feel the same immense joy when I hear Julie Andrews sing “My Favorite Things” or “The Hills Are Alive,” and I’m just as nervous when Rolfe spots the von Trapp family while they’re trying to escape. When The Sound of Music turns 75 or 100, I’ll love it the exact same way I did as …

‘Pulp Fiction’: 20 Facts on the Film’s 20th Anniversary

This is the week of anniversaries! Twenty years ago today, Quentin Tarantino’s most iconic and well-known film was released in theaters. To this day, Pulp Fiction continues to captivate audience members, both young and old. To celebrate, here are twenty facts on the film’s twentieth anniversary: 1. The shot of Vincent shoving the syringe into Mia’s chest was filmed by having John Travolta pull the needle out, then reversing the footage. 2. Whenever Vincent goes to the bathroom, something terrible happens. 3. Quentin Tarantino wrote the part of Jules specifically for Samuel L. Jackson. 4. The passage from the Bible that Jules has memorized was mainly made up by Tarantino and Jackson. 5. The film cost $8.5 million to make – $5 million of which went to the actors’ salaries. 6. Originally, Uma Thurman turned down the role of Mia Wallace, but Tarantino desperately wanted to cast her so he ended up reading her the script over the phone, eventually convincing her to accept the role. 7. “Fuck” is said 265 times. 8. Jules’ car, a 1974 Chevy Nova, is never fully seen, only the interior or parts of …

Roger Ebert & ‘Life Itself’

I don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice. I particularly don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice and it’s about the most well known film critic in American history. So just heed my advice and go see Life Itself. Somehow, being the emotional individual that I am, I found myself teary eyed within the first 30 seconds. It’s truly a wonderful viewing experience. Go. If Life Itself isn’t playing at a theater near you, it’s now available on iTunes.