The Jazz Singer (1927) - News Poster

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All I See Is You – Review

For over ninety years cinema has been catering to and exerting two of the five senses. Well mainly, since gimmicks like “Smell-o-Vision” and “Odorama”, used with the films Scent Of A Mystery and Polyester, never really connected with the film going public. They were cards that emitted aromas when a number was scratched (after prompting by seeing the number flash on-screen). I’m guessing certain fragrances didn’t mix well with concession treats. Well before that, The Jazz Singer introduced movie audiences to sound, allowing them to hear actors reciting lines rather than reading “title cards’ (along with sound effects and music). Now, instead of those cards, subtitles are run at the frame’s lower part for most foreign films (the subtitles help the “hearing impaired” watching films on home video). But how do film makers simulate the “point of view” of those “impaired’ or “challenged”? The wizards of sound mixing can manipulate the audio,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

You ain’t heard nothin’ yet: the moment Al Jolson sounded the birth of the talkies

Ninety years ago, in October 1927, Warner Bros was facing ruin. It staked its future on a film called The Jazz Singer – and turned an entire industry upside down

It was just a short scene in a movie, in which a diminutive actor utters a few unscripted words to the orchestra leader, reciting a line that went down in history: “Wait a minute … you ain’t heard nothin’ yet.” But it was a scene that changed the entertainment world and heralded the dramatic arrival of sound to the movies.

Never again would audiences have to read “titles” to explain the action or translate the sweet nothings of lovers. In the space of just over an hour, the silent film was dead.

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

1980 and the Death of the Disco Musical

  • MUBI
The AppleThe musical possesses a unique form of power rarely afforded to other Hollywood genres. In the words of film scholar Rick Altman, “The musical invites us to forget familiar notions of plot, psychological motivation, and causal relationships.” In contrast to other commercial genres, the musical is almost one-of-a-kind in its ability to arrest time and space, to suspend disbelief, to defy our lived understanding of human relationships and even the very conventions of filmgoing. In what other mainstream genre can fictional characters get away with looking into the camera lens so often? Dramatic logic is replaced in the Hollywood musical by spectacle and raw emotional appeal, with singing as the defining device for such purely cinematic priorities.But what happens to the musical when singing is taken out of it? This was the conundrum of the short-lived disco musical, a sub-genre that ended as soon as it began.Popular
See full article at MUBI »

The Masterful Sound Design of Fritz Lang’s ‘M’

How what you hear can tell a story as sure as what you see.

In the 1920s, sound started creeping in to motion pictures, first via shorts then later making its feature debut in 1927’s The Jazz Singer. In those first formative years, sound was an accessory, it was a flashy new gimmick and that’s how it was used, for the enjoyment and amusement of the audience. Sound was for musical numbers or punching up comedic scenes, and, of course, for dialogue, but it wasn’t yet considered to be the storytelling element, an equal to film’s visual aspect, that it is today.

Until 1931, that is, and Fritz Lang’s M.

A serial-killer thriller and Lang’s first time working with sound, M is also the first major feature to utilize sound as a narrative and filmmaking tool: it advances the plot, it serves as a transition between scenes, it
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Moments That Changed the Course of Oscar

Moments That Changed the Course of Oscar
When people talk about memorable Oscar moments, they usually mention the streaker, Sacheen Littlefeather, Sally Field, or Cuba Gooding Jr. But there is another gauge for Academy Awards events: significant moments that helped shape the awards DNA that we see today. Many of these moments occurred off-camera, but their effect is long-lasting.

Darryl F. Zanuck

The first ceremony was held May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, three months after winners had been announced. Like high-school graduates getting diplomas, winners silently went to the stage, accepted the trophy, then sat down; honorable mentions did the same, receiving certificates. Warner Bros. was given an award for “The Jazz Singer,” the only talkie honored. Accepting the trophy, Zanuck did something radical: He said a few words of praise for the WB team. And thus the acceptance speech was born.

Television

The ceremony was first broadcast March 19, 1953, on NBC. The Variety review the next
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Faith, Hope, & Clarity: Hollywood Again Shows Respect in Films for Spiritual Ideas

Faith, Hope, & Clarity: Hollywood Again Shows Respect in Films for Spiritual Ideas
Like a prodigal son, Hollywood is again returning to religion.

Since the 1980s, Hollywood has been criticized (with justification) for depicting any religious believer as mindless, evil or both. Filmmakers this year treat them with respect.

Silence” and “Hacksaw Ridge” daringly center around devout Christians. Religious beliefs have a positive effect on the lead characters in other 2016 films, including “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Jackie,” “Mr. Church,” even “The Conjuring 2.”

Studios have their own belief system, and it’s based on recent hits. Hollywood loves stories about an individual whose principles are challenged, but usually the protagonist is a superhero, cop or animated creature.

Silence” depicts the culture clash of Western Christians with Japanese. The long legacy of the “white savior” is turned upside down, and the film raises issues of faith, doubt, personal integrity, and the fine line between belief and stubborn pride. To its credit, “Silence” raises questions that audience members must answer.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

15 Famous Firsts in Film

  • Cinelinx
The film industry has been around for well over 100 years. Today, Cinelinx looks at some of the famous firsts that set the foundation for the movie industry and made cinema what it is today.

As a bit of trivia to begin with, the first known piece of moving film footage was the The Horse in Motion (1878), a 3-second experiment consisting of 24 photographs shot in rapid succession. It’s just a scene of a jockey riding a horse, but it ultimately led to the development of modern film.

Most early films were short, silent bits of daily life, showing such exciting events as boarding a train, which was captured in The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station (1895). This film footage supposedly scared the bejesus out of the viewing audience, who thought a real train was coming at them and ran for cover. Early films began to include documentary footage and newsreels,
See full article at Cinelinx »

Interviews: City & State Short Film Directors at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

  • HollywoodChicago.com
Chicago – One of the great nights at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival is the short film presentation celebrating the best of area filmmakers, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. Included in the program were three notable filmmakers, Anne Beal (“Positioning”), Filip Kojic (“Huh”) and Brian Zahm (“The Nude”).

Every year, HollywoodChicago.com seeks out these filmmakers, to talk about the challenges of using cinema as a expressive platform, in addition to finding their style and artistic energy through the process of creating their films.

Anne Beal, Director of “Positioning”

‘Positioning,’ Directed by Anne Beal

Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

Anne Beal is a local artist and academic who spent a year filling a book called “Know How” – that she randomly found – with self portraits. After that project was done, she decided to create an animated film using the artwork.

HollywoodChicago.com: Your film is very timely,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Great Job, Internet!: Bridget Jones’s Baby becomes a silent film in this dialogue-free trailer

  • The AV Club
Blame it on Al Jolson. Ever since that infernal crooner delivered the line “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” in 1927’s The Jazz Singer, audiences have demanded to hear actors speak in movies. The very next year, Mickey Mouse spoke in Steamboat Willie, and the era of the talkie had truly arrived. Displaced silent actress Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) would bemoan the situation in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard: “They had to have the ears of the whole world, too. So they opened their big mouths and out came talk, talk, talk!” The only silent films that have been made in recent decades have been deliberate throwbacks, like Michel Hazanavicius’ Oscar-winning The Artist. But maybe the silent movie, or at least the dialogue-free movie, has not yet breathed its last. On September 7, The Hollywood Reporter accidentally uploaded a wordless version of the trailer for the upcoming sequel Bridget Jones ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Great Job, Internet!: View this touching supercut of movie characters touching things

  • The AV Club
Can a single film appeal to all five senses? Movies exist primarily to stimulate the viewer’s sense of sight and (from 1927’s The Jazz Singer onward) sound. There have been various attempts, including Smell-o-Vision and Odorama, to add olfactory sensations to the cinematic experience. And shows like Dinner And A Movie manage to excite the spectator’s taste buds as well. But what about the sense of touch? Aldous Huxley theorized some form of entertainment called “feelies” in his 1932 novel Brave New World, and there was also See You Next Wednesday and its remarkable “Feel-Around” gimmick.

Meanwhile, movies offer a whole range of tactile sensations, as evidenced by a new supercut from Now You See It host Jack Nugent simply entitled “Touch.” The premise could not be more basic. For a minute and a half, movie characters just touch things, including each other. Rings are fondled. Couches ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Bram Stoker's Dracula, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Peggy Lee Fever

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1828 Feral teenager Kaspar Hauser is discovered wandering Nuremberg, claiming to have been raised in total isolation. Theories abound and the story inspires many artists down the road including Werner Herzog in the film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974).

1877 Influential dancer Isadora Duncan is born. Vanessa Redgrave gets an Oscar nomination playing her in Isadora! (1968)

1886 Al Jolson is born. Will later star in the first "talkie" The Jazz Singer (1927)

1894 Silent film star Norma Talmadge is born

1897 Bram Stoker's epistolary novel "Dracula" is published. Never stops being adapted for film and television but our hearts will always belong to Francis Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) despite the aggravating double possessive

1907 John Wayne was born. Did he always talk like that?

1913 Peter Cushing is born in England. Later stars in Hammer Horror films with his irl best friend Christopher Lee, the Dracula to his Van Helsing.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Tony Gibbs obituary

Our father, Tony Gibbs, who has died aged 90, was a film editor with a long and distinguished career. He was captivated by film from an early age and that interest was nurtured by his parents, Harold, a police officer, and Violet, a cook, who took him to see The Jazz Singer when he was three years old.

After serving in the Royal Marines during the second world war, Tony began his career in the film industry. He started as an assistant in the props department and ended up in the cutting rooms, where he considered himself privileged to have enjoyed successful collaborations with the directors Tony Richardson (for whom he edited A Taste of Honey, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Tom Jones), Richard Lester (The Knack, Petulia and Juggernaut) and Nic Roeg (Walkabout and Performance). He definitely played a significant role in the “new wave” of British cinema during the 1960s.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

My Golden Days – Review

This week another film maker tackles a subject frequently explored in movies of the heart, perhaps best labeled the romance (but not a “rom-com”, though there’s a smidgen of humor). It’s the old “lost love” plot, where the story’s focus character (often nearing those “twilight” years) remembers his first real infatuation and heartbreak, usually eliciting pangs of remorse or regret. Popular author Nicholas Sparks has made this a standard theme in film adaptations of his work from The Notebook to The Best Of Me. Now this new release hails from across the pond, France to be precise. Unlike those previously mentioned big screen “soaps” it is a more somber meditation when the film’s protagonist’s thoughts recall My Golden Days.

Those sun drenched days belong to a scholar working for France’s department of ministry, Paul Dedalus (Mathieu Amalric). We encounter him as he prepares to leave Tajikistan for Paris.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Grandiose Christian Epic Became Biggest Worldwide Box Office Hit Until Gwtw

Ramon Novarro: 'Ben-Hur' 1925 star. 'Ben-Hur' on TCM: Ramon Novarro in most satisfying version of the semi-biblical epic Christmas 2015 is just around the corner. That's surely the reason Turner Classic Movies presented Fred Niblo's Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ last night, Dec. 20, '15, featuring Carl Davis' magnificent score. Starring Ramon Novarro, the 1925 version of Ben-Hur became not only the most expensive movie production,[1] but also the biggest worldwide box office hit up to that time.[2] Equally important, that was probably the first instance when the international market came to the rescue of a Hollywood mega-production,[3] saving not only Ben-Hur from a fate worse than getting trampled by a runaway chariot, but also the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which could have been financially strangled at birth had the epic based on Gen. Lew Wallace's bestseller been a commercial bomb. The convoluted making of 'Ben-Hur,' as described
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Vittorio Storaro Talks Frame Rates, Experimentation, and Why Italians Do It Best

Vittorio Storaro, like fellow Apocalypse Now veteran Walter Murch, knows more about his field than nearly anybody. And, as with Murch, the cinematographer’s reasons for being at this year’s Camerimage International Film Festival were almost irrelevant — for me, at least, when the opportunity to interview such a master of the craft is offered. But he was present for a project that means a good deal to him: Muhammad: The Messenger of God, an Iranian religious epic, the first in a prospective trilogy, and, to honor Storaro and director Majid Majidi, recipient of the festival’s Outstanding Cinematic Duo Award.

I don’t know if you could necessarily talk about anything with Storaro, but the man can take any topic that interests him and run with it — for a good, long time, as the following discussion will illustrate. This is not a complaint. Those who are so well-versed in
See full article at The Film Stage »

Show Business is Returning to a Glitzier, Taller Hollywood

Show Business is Returning to a Glitzier, Taller Hollywood
Hollywood — the city, not the industry — is taking a giant leap into the future. Within the next few years, the Sunset Boulevard corridor between Highland and Western avenues will be lined with an array of glassy monoliths joining the eye-catching Emerson College to create a new center for the entertainment business.

While in recent years the Oscars returned to Hollywood, and new hotels and clubs drew tourists, office development had been lagging. Now the clusters of Hollywood studio lots are about to be joined by development on an unprecedented scale — that is, if the well-heeled residents of the Hollywood Hills and other neighborhoods approve.

Next year Viacom will relocate MTV, Bet and Comedy Central to Columbia Square, a new office, residential and retail campus built around the art deco former headquarters of CBS that’s also home to NeueHouse, the brand-new invite-only social club/workspace. And BuzzFeed Motion Pictures is
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Show Business is Returning to a Glitzier, Taller Hollywood

Show Business is Returning to a Glitzier, Taller Hollywood
Hollywood — the city, not the industry — is taking a giant leap into the future. Within the next few years, the Sunset Boulevard corridor between Highland and Western avenues will be lined with an array of glassy monoliths joining the eye-catching Emerson College to create a new center for the entertainment business.

While in recent years the Oscars returned to Hollywood, and new hotels and clubs drew tourists, office development had been lagging. Now the clusters of Hollywood studio lots are about to be joined by development on an unprecedented scale — that is, if the well-heeled residents of the Hollywood Hills and other neighborhoods approve.

Next year Viacom will relocate MTV, Bet and Comedy Central to Columbia Square, a new office, residential and retail campus built around the art deco former headquarters of CBS that’s also home to NeueHouse, the brand-new invite-only social club/workspace. And BuzzFeed Motion Pictures is
See full article at Variety - TV News »

12 Reasons 1985 Was The Most Important Movie Year Ever

20th Century Fox

Before technological advances and audience thirst for innovation and unique creativity changed how cinematic achievements are charted, it used to be that we could chart watershed moments in easy chapters.

In 1897 the first studios were formed; 1902 saw A Trip To The Moon in colour; in 1927 sound came with The Jazz Singer… Now, everything is so grand and epic that the spectacular is normal. But that wasn’t the case in 1985, the last truly transformative film year.

If you were lucky enough to live it, it was like a series of ground-zero events that would shake cinema to its core, but because of its importance, there’s no way even the youngest ticket buying film fans could escape its legacy.

Obviously the best films of the year are important to note, but bringing up classics like Brazil, Prizzi’s Honour, Out Of Africa, Ran and The Color Purple is too easy,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

19 years ago today: Superman got hitched

  • Hitfix
19 years ago today: Superman got hitched
Today, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary. It was on October 6, 1996 that Dean Cain’s Clark and Teri Hatcher’s Lois got married in an episode of “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” Three days later, DC Comics released “Superman: The Wedding Album” (an issue with a cover date of December 1996). It was the first time Lois and Clark got married in the comics for realsies. Only took them 58 years. Previous weddings had ended with “it was all a dream” or the like. Here’s the TV wedding moment that aired 19 years ago. Savor that ’90s cheese. Other notable October 6 happenings in pop culture history: • 1847: “Jane Eyre” was published, at the time bearing the pseudonym Currer Bell. • 1927: The first feature-length film with synchronized dialogue, “The Jazz Singer” held its premiere in New York City, scheduled to coincide with Yom Kippur, the Jewish
See full article at Hitfix »

Box Office Democracy: Hotel Transylvania 2

  • Comicmix
Hotel Transylvania 2 is so much better than Pixels and it’s hard to figure out exactly why. The material isn’t substantially better, it still feels like the scripts are written by an elementary school joke book come to life— although maybe for Hotel Transylvania the living book has to turn in a couple more drafts. The animated medium might open up for a few more ambitious sight gags but it isn’t like Pixels was stingy with the effects shots. Perhaps it’s that with live actors you can see how little effort they’re putting in and how much they’d rather be doing something else, and an animated character looks more engaged even if none of the voice acting is particularly ambitious. It could just be that an engaged Genndy Tartakovsky is far and away better than a Chris Columbus just out for a paycheck. Something
See full article at Comicmix »
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