A Century of Black Filmmakersūüéě

PIONEERS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CINEMA

Directed by Richard Norman, Richard Maurice, Spencer Williams and Oscar Micheaux

This collection of the works of America’s legendary first African-American filmmakers is the only one of its kind. Funded in part by a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the packaged set includes no fewer than a dozen feature-length films and nearly twice as many shorts and rare fragments. Subject matter includes race issues that went unaddressed by Hollywood for decades.

Spencer Williams Films

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Spencer Williams

Spencer Williams (July 14, 1893 ‚Äď December 13, 1969) was an American actor and filmmaker. He was best known for playing Andy in the Amos ‘n Andy¬†television show and for directing the 1941 race film “The Blood of Jesus”. Williams was a pioneer African-American film producer and director.¬†(Wikipedia)

The Pioneers of African-American Cinema collection includes new digital restorations of over a dozen feature films, plus shorts, fragments, trailers, documentary footage, archival interviews, and audio recordings.

This clip is a scene from Richard Maurice’s ELEVEN P.M. (circa 1928). It is regarded by historian Henry T. Sampson as one of the most outstanding black films of the silent era and is Maurice’s second and only surviving film.

Eleven P. M is one of more than a dozen feature films showcased in Kino Lorber’s five-disc collection PIONEERS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CINEMA, now available at KinoLorber.com and Amazon.com. Music is by Rob Gal. Mastered from 35mm film elements preserved by the Library of Congress.

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Oscar Micheaux

Oscar Devereaux Micheaux¬†(January 2, 1884 ‚Äď March 25, 1951) was an African American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films. Although the short-lived Micheaux Book & Film Company produced some films, he is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the 20th century¬†and the most prominent producer of race films.¬†He produced both silent films and sound films when the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors. (Wikipedia)

These films and filmmakers deserve to be remembered, honored and explored. Their contributions play a significant role in the development of the American cinema.

For more on the history of African-American Cinema:

 

Toga, Toga!ūüćĽ

TCM Big Screen Classics

This joint venture with Fathom Events is an outstanding movie series and a great opportunity to check out some tried and true gems on the big screen! Even though we have the convenience of DVDs and streaming, nothing beats the experience of sitting in the dark and enjoying a great film with fellow movie lovers.

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And an¬†excellent film that fits the bill is the 1978 comedy “Animal House”.

 Presented by Fathom Events

Let’s head back to college with John Belushi and the gang in this raucous, and¬†hilarious¬†film packed with completely uncivilized frat parties, food fights, togas, and lots of fun!

National Lampoon’s Animal House:

August 14th & August 17th

School’s out for the summer, so why not break all the rules? The Deltas did and now they’re battling Dean Wormer. Whose side are you on? The uncivilized frat boys or the administration of Faber College?

The screenplay was adapted by¬†Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller, and Harold Ramis from stories written by Miller and published in National Lampoon¬†magazine, the stories were based on the writers’ college experience in fraternities.

“Animal House” was the first film produced by National Lampoon, the most popular humor magazine on college campuses in the mid-1970s.¬†The periodical specialized in humor¬†and satirized politics and popular culture. Many of the magazine‚Äôs writers were recent college graduates, hence their appeal to students all over the country. (Wikipedia)

Being a college student in the mid-1970’s, I loved reading National Lampoon. The humor was totally off the wall. An all time favorite magazine cover was entitled: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog” including a gun to the dog’s head. (told you it was off the wall and sometimes totally inappropriateūüė≥ )

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Cover of the infamous “Death” issue in January 1973.

Thanks to “Animal House”, toga parties became one of the favorite college campus happenings during 1978 and 1979.¬†In 2001 the United States Library of Congress deemed Animal House “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in theNational Film Registry.


Coming Soon To a Theater Near You!

60th Anniversary

Whether you’re a Yul Brener¬†fan or just a push over for a love story, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical classic,”The King and I” celebrates its 60th anniversary and is the next film in the series.

Premiering Aug. 28th & Aug. 30th.

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I’ll keep you posted on the upcoming films.

Nothing But My Favorite Trailersūüé¨

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I was working on a post the other day and the TV show Nothing but Trailers was on in the background. It got me thinking about some of my all-time favorites and what constitutes a great trailer.

First of all, it can’t just be a series of scenes from the movie. That really irks me! What’s the point of me going if you’ve already given me your best shots? Just lazy.

An excellent trailer peaks your curiosity¬†gets your heart stirring and demands that you’re first in line to see it. An incredible trailer gives you minimal information but builds the anticipation with atmospheric music, punctuation¬†shots, and an ending that¬†elicits the core emotion of the film.

This is the criteria I applied to the following trailers and is the basis for them being some of the most memorable.

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Number One has got to be the 1979¬†sci-fi classic – Alien. “In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Starring Sigourney¬†Weaver, director Ridley Scott scared the crap out of me and the little boy sitting in front of me at the theater. Oh, and to make matters worse, I was pregnant at the time. Yikes! (if you’ve seen it you understand, if you haven’t, what?? You must!) And my girl Sigourney Weaver showed the world what a badass woman in space looks like.

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Sigourney Weaver

This is the epitome of an incredible trailer. Little bits and moments and truly haunting music. My heart was racing and I had no idea of what I’d just seen.

The visuals were outstanding! There was absolutely¬†nothing familiar in the images coming off the screen.¬†The Alien and its accompanying elements were designed by Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger. (I don’t know how he slept with those images in his head) The film¬†received both critical acclaim and box office success, receiving an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

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Number Two is the sci-fi thriller –The Dark Knight¬†(2008) – “Why So Serious?”

First of all, Heath Ledger. Second of all, Heath Ledger!! Even in the trailer, his intensity shines thru. He draws you in and you’re compelled to see more. His Oscar-winning¬†performance was incredible and the most talked about that year.

Ledger¬†almost made a¬†complete sweep of over twenty awards for acting, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor ‚Äď Motion Picture, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Heath Ledger

Unfortunately, we lost him, but his genius as The Joker lives on. Starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader and directed by Christopher Nolan, when I saw this trailer I knew where I was going to be on opening night. Totally lived up to the hype.

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Last, but certainly not least of this compilation is the original master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock’s¬†– Psycho (1960)¬†“…she just goes a little mad sometimes.”

This trailer shows Alfred Hitchcock taught the world just how horror is done. Fits every criterion for an incredible movie trailer and then some. Starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, my heart is racing right now re-visiting this magnificent piece of cinema.

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Sir Alfred Hitchcock – (13 August 1899 ‚Äď 29 April 1980)

Hitch’s stylistic trademarks include the use of camera movement that mimics a person’s gaze,¬†forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism.¬†In addition, he framed shots to maximize anxiety, fear, or empathy¬†and used innovative forms of film editing. (Wikipedia)

To quote me, “An incredible trailer gives you minimal information but builds the anticipation with atmospheric music, punctuation¬†shots, and an ending that¬†elicits the core emotion of the film.”

An unquestionable classic!

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Now that I’ve shared some of my faves, I’d love to hear some of yours! ūüėé

 

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