Short Film Saturday: A Kiss in the Tunnel (1899)

One of the first examples of shot continuity. Start on train POV, when entering the tunnel cut inside, and then cut to the exit of the tunnel from a objective angle.

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Short Movie Saturday: The Dreyfus Affair (1899)

This was the first film ever banned (story below from Change Before Going Productions). Also noteworthy is that this is a compiled version of all the shorts, as the films were originally shot in parts.

The Dreyfus Affair (aka L’Affaire Dreyfus) is a multi-film narrative by Georges Méliès regarding the controversial political scandal surrounding Captain Alfred Dreyfus, convicted of Treason in 1894 France. After Emile Zola published his infamous letter, “J’Accuse”, which accused the government of anti-Semitism and unlawful jailing, Dreyfus was eventually re-tried. In 1906, he was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army. This film, produced in the midst of the scandal, would become the 1st censored movie as it was banned in France.

Updates: March 8th, 2017

Hey All!

Just a quick preview of what you can expect coming up on The Movie Rat in the next month or so. 

March 24th

You Can't Do That on Television (CTV)

For the second time I will be contributing to A Shroud of Thoughts’ Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon. Last year I wrote about my favorite episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. This year I will be contributing a post about an episode of You Can’t Do That on Television. My entry is already written and awaiting publication which will allow me to prepare for the following…

March 27

Early-Women-Filmmakers-Blogathon-Mabel-Normand-banner

I joined Movie Silently’s Early Women Filmmakers blogathon writing about the career of Germaine Dulac.  Leading up to this post I will likely have three short posts about her work.

Germaine_Dulac_(1882–1942)

 

April 25-29

frailty-bill-paxton-felton-adam-father

Lastly, (for now) I also signed up for Speakeasy’s Great Villain Blogathon 2017. I will be writing about Frailty (2001), a film I’ve long been a fan of, and deserves a little more attention turned its way due in part to the far-too-soon demise of Bill Paxton, the director and one of the stars of the film. Plenty in mind for that one, so be sure and check it out.

Other Works

I also write fiction. My February GoodReads blog entry on my works-in-progress can be found here. An update will be coming for march when there is a bit more to report. In the meantime, what I’ve written and published can be found on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Also, on my Instagram you can see some “behind-the-scenes” shots of my first painting unrelated to a film or a play in quite some time.

31 Days of Oscar: The V.I.P.s (1963)

The V.I.P.s (1963)

This is a film that is pretty intriguing while its players are all fogbound in the airport and their disparate stories are interesting but when the story extends to a second day and incorporates another locale it loses steam and fast. I can’t say I guessed that this was a supporting actress win for Margaret Rutherford but it makes the most sense, however silly her character and plot-line were.

Oscar Nominations/Wins: 1/1
Score: 5/10

31 Days of Oscar: The Window (1949)

The Window (1949)

This film was not on Turner’s line-up this year. Instead I acquired it form the Warner Archive Collection. This film was out of print for sometime despite its brilliance and it being one of the rare films to win a young actor the Juvenile Award. Not only is it likely to be my favorite film of this month but it’s also one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time. The set-up is simple: a boy who cries “wolf” once too often is witness to a murder and doubted at every plea for help and in danger because of it. If you didn’t know that this was based on a story by Cornell Woolrich you’d guess, it plays like a kids’ introduction to Rear Window and that’s not a wonder as the one of Hitch’s DPs (Ted Tetzlaff Notorious) directs here. Combine Woolrich brilliant story with a man who worked with the Master and you get something very close and a film so suspenseful you hope it’ll last. I’m not embarrassed to admit this film actually had me talking to the TV and shouting interjections at times that’s how into it I got. Yet all this is accomplished in a little over 70 minutes. It’s not a wonder this film also earned an editing nomination. Not a shot, not even a moment is wasted in this film. I’ve talked about this film more than most in this rundown and and I think you can see on and clearly I could go on. One could call many Academy decisions into question but Bobby Driscoll’s Juvenile Award is not one of them, not in the least. He is absolutely pitch perfect in this performance. It embodies all his abilities as a young performer yet all things are in service to the story it’s not a star vehicle per se.

Oscar Nominations/Wins: 1/0* (One academy award win for Bobby Driscoll as this film is cited for his Juvenile Award win).
Score: 10/10

31 Days of Oscar: Jezebel (1938)

Jezebel (1938)

This is the first film of this year that landed with a resounding thud to me. To get too far into it would be too give to much away. Despite the fairly good narrative flow, likely the first great leading turn of Davis’ career and seeing a young Henry Fonda, anothr great Max Steiner score, I still didn’t like the movie much at all mostly due to the narrative and the handling thereof.

Score: 4/10
Oscar Nominations/Wins: 5/2

31 Days of Oscar: A Man Called Peter (1955)

A Man Called Peter (1955)

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this film is the fact that it contains some really amazing sermons, which are even greater if cribbed from real life and more impressive. Now preaching is generally verboten in film, however, one exception is when your lead is a priest. Some of the thoughts conveyed are great and even applicable to current times, one reminds me of Stephen Colbert’s recent point about being a Christian country. It gets a little languid towards its inevitable conclusion but the cinematography is great as are some of the performances.

Oscar Nominations/Wins: 1/0
Score: 6/10

31 Days of Oscar: To Catch a Thief (1955)

To Catch Thief (1955)

When I become familiar with a filmmaker part of my scoring indicates how the film fits on their scale. Hitchcock was the first director I started to watch religiously. I always avoided this film based on the description. It’s better than I thought it would be but still not what I’d recommend to anyone as where to start as a starting point. It is enjoyable though.

Oscar Nominations/Wins: 4/1
Score: 8/10