Home / Tag: film history
08.30.2013 | | Posted at 09:27 AM
By David Luhrssen
  Orson Welles was 11 when he enrolled in the Todd Seminary for Boys, a progressive prep school in Woodstock, Illinois. The influence of its alternative pedagogy, which encouraged creative thinking based on the maxim that doing is the best way to learn and best theory is derived from practical experience, has been noted by Welles’ many biographers. “I fell in love with Roge...
12.21.2012 | | Posted at 12:03 PM

A New Look at Mary Pickford

By David Luhrssen
  Mary Pickford was the first film star and the most powerful woman in Hollywood by 1920, yet by 1930 her reputation was already fading from changing fashion and the coming of sound. Afterward, Pickford was under appreciated by film historians and mocked as a golden-curled melodrama queen by critics who never saw her movies--a problem she helped cause by withdrawing her surviving ...
12.11.2012 | | Posted at 09:22 AM

David Thomson’s Moving Images

By David Luhrssen
  David Thomson is among the preeminent film critics of our time. The British expatriate, living in San Francisco, has written several big doorstopper books on movie history. His latest, The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), continues along the thought-provoking lines of his massive New Biographical Dictionary of Film and his bulky Have You Seen?... A Pe...
07.17.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Ask a film critic to locate the golden age of cinema and you�ll likely hear one of two answers: the late �30s era of The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, or the late �60s-early �70s period bracketed by Bonnie andClyde and Star Wars. Screen World editor Barry Monush begs to differ. In Everybody�s Talkin�: The Top Films of 1965-1969 (published by Applause), Monush makes a case for his c...
04.16.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Unlike those academic film scholars who try to confine movies within the narrow coffins of dubious theory or ideology, Tino Balio just wants to know how things work. He is concerned with the nuts and bolts of cinema as an industry. Balio�s two volume set on one of the most remarkable companies to emerge from Golden Age Hollywood has been republished (with new introductions from the author) by th...
02.05.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
When they were introduced in the 1890s, motion pictures were a marvel in an age of marvels. Cities were being lit by electricity and crowned by skyscrapers, telephones carried distant voices and pictures began to move in a jerky semblance of real life. But with new technology came old controversy. One of the first movies shown publicly in New York, The May Irwin Kiss (1896), drew fire. Only 18...
12.21.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
When most film buffs hear the name Sturges, Preston pops to mind. But while director Preston Sturges masterminded such sophisticated and hilarious comedies from Golden Age Hollywood as Sullivan's Travels and The Miracle at Morgan Creek, it was the other Sturges, John, who shaped the future of Hollywood moviemaking. In his book Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges (published by Un...
09.16.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Vladimir Nabokov�s Lolita was deemed unfilmable when first published, but no less than two movies were adapted from the novel (along with a sad assortment of failed stage productions). Although it was one of the most notorious bestsellers of the 1950s, it�s mostly known nowadays from Stanley Kubrick�s 1962 film, which reshaped the prepubescent Lolita into a willing accomplice of Humbert Humbert,...
06.30.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
Westerns were never my favorite film genre, but I find the movies easy to settle into. I�m not alone. Maybe they are cinematic comfort food for people who remember when westerns were always on TV as they were growing up. Even today, if I stumble across one on TCM, I find myself being comfortably drawn in for the ride. The new three-DVD collection, �Fox Western Classics,� is like sitting down ...
06.29.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By David Luhrssen
The success of Sex, Lies, and Videotape and Reservoir Dogs gave rise in the �90s to an �independent� film movement on the environs of Hollywood. The indie inspiration continues in recent films such as Juno and NoCountry for Old Men, with �independent� signifying a relative state of autonomy from the commercial calculations circumscribing form and content in Hollywood. In her book Hollywood Indep...

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