Month: June 2016

Criterion Close-Up 42: Silent Film Music with Ben Model

Mark and Aaron welcome Ben Model, silent film historian, accompanist, distributor, and enthusiast. He gave a presentation about “undercranking” on Criterion’s release of Chaplin’s The Kid. We discuss the idea of undercranking, scoring silent music, and the state of silent media today theatrically and in the home video market.

Episode Links & Notes

Special Guest: Ben Model from Silent Film Music and Undercrank Productions. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

0:00 – Intro and Welcome Ben

1:15 – Ben’s Criterion Connection

4:00 – Discussion and explanation of undercranking

18:20 – Ben’s background

24:00 –Silent films on Criterion and other labels

27:20 – Silent Film Kickstarters

38:00 – Silent Film discussion

Episode Credits

Next time on the podcast: The Player

The Magic Lantern: Episode 023 – Inherit the Wind

Hear ye, hear ye! Court is now in session. All rise for our examination of Stanley Kramer’s sterling courtroom drama, Inherit the Wind (1960). This film, an excoriation of McCarthyism dressed up in the garb of the Scopes Monkey Trial, is a true cinematic building block of my adulthood. As a young man, I discovered this film just as I was venturing out into the world on my own for the first time. I was leaving behind small town life in southwest Oklahoma for the college experience (in a slightly bigger small town) and was curious and excited about the path ahead. It turns out Spencer Tracy was waiting for me on that path and his passionate defense of free thought in this film was galvanizing, a watershed moment for me, so much so that his words still inspire me and make my pulse pick up decades down the road. You can read it as the struggle of science versus religion, you can read it as a rebuke of McCarthyism with help from a previously blacklisted writer or you can do what I did and use it as encouragement to live a life devoted to curiosity, exploration, forging your own path and standing your ground. Stanley Kramer was sending a message and it’s a message I received loud and clear.

What you’ll find in this episode: that old time religion, the Dick Powell defamation league, Spencer Tracy’s magnificent mane, the sage of Baltimore and the descent of man (in more ways than one).

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Inherit the Wind on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Anatomy of a Murder.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Swoon.
Everything you didn’t know about Clarence Darrow
Joseph N. Welch letting Joseph McCarthy have it.

Criterion Close-Up 41: Barcelona and Whit Stillman

Mark and Aaron take a look at Whit Stillman’s Barcelona (1994), and how it compares with his other work. We focus most on his other two films from the 1990s, Metropolitan (1990) and Last Days of Disco (1998), but we also discuss his most recent effort, Love and Friendship.

About the film:

Whit Stillman followed his delightful indie breakthrough Metropolitan with another clever and garrulous comedy of manners, this one with a darker edge. A pair of preppy yet constitutionally mismatched American cousins—a salesman and a navy officer—argue about romance and politics while working in the beautiful Spanish city of the film’s title. Set during the eighties, Barcelona explores topics both heady (American exceptionalism, Cold War foreign policy) and hilarious (the ins and outs of international dating, the proper shaving method) while remaining a constantly witty delight, featuring a sharp young cast that includes Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman, and Mira Sorvino. Episode Links & Notes

0:00 – Intro and Welcome

4:25 – Podcastings

10:00 – Upcoming Series Announcement

13:20 – Short Takes (The Lobster, Love & Friendship)

33:00 – Barcelona and Whit Stillman

Episode Credits

GTGM Episode 29: Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Jamie & Doug work maintenance at Camp Arawak and over the past couple of days, they’ve been quite busy. Just yesterday, they had to repair one of the showers over in the girls bunkhouse as there was a 3 foot slit in the back wall. And just the day before, some kid’s wicked backed up all the toilets in the boys bathroom. Sure, it looks like the camp will be shut down but they’ve got a lot more work to do before that day comes.

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Criterion Completion: Hour 1


Thank your for joining me for the inaugural Criterion Completion Hour!

Click and listen as I explain what this is all about and what you can and cannot expect to hear on this monthly missive. I’ll explain what it means to be a Criterion Completionist and how you can define the terms yourself to be compliant with whatever definition works best for you.

Then a fun conversation with Ryan Gallagher of as he and I explore the history of his great site and podcasting history since 2009.

All this plus a little Leonard Maltin, Mary Hart, Charlotte Gainsbourg , Terence Stamp, and Samantha Eggar to fill out the 64 minutes of our first hour!

  • Welcome, welcome, welcome!
  • The ins and outs of Criterion Completioning | 7m 50s
  • A conversation with Ryan Gallagher | 17m 20s

Ryan Gallagher


Keith Enright

keith (at)



The post Hour 1 appeared first on The Criterion Completion.

The Magic Lantern: Episode 022 – Darker Than Amber

I first saw Robert Clouse’s Darker Than Amber (1970) two years ago, which was a full 44 years after its initial release. That year, I counted it among the very best of what I saw, and I saw a lot of wonderful films. Why did it make such an impression? The separate elements of the film don’t necessarily lend themselves to a blockbuster experience: accomplished but not widely celebrated actors, an unlikely plot twist (though from sound material and adapted by author John D. MacDonald himself), a seasoned but not a virtuoso director, and a smaller budget. It’s a recipe that sounds ripe for tv fare. And yet, to paraphrase Cole, a curious “alchemy” has resulted in a smart, ferocious, gritty, and powerful film that has taken all those parts and made so much more. It’s a pleasure to follow the trail with this Travis McGee, a weary knight-errant with purpose, honor, and a sense of outrage. There is a deeply strong core to this story, these characters, and this film.

I’ll leave you with this question Cole has just asked me as I prepare this post: “If Travis knew Vangie’s history–her complicity in violence and mayhem–would he have set about to avenge her as he does?”

What you’ll find in this episode: a discussion of whether Travis McGee is a hero or anti-hero, the “feral” aspects of this film, Cole’s assessment of the casting and efficacy of Suzy Kendall, and why Theodore Bikel is so special to Ericca.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Darker Than Amber on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Night Moves.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Cape Fear.
Explore the fascinating life of William Smith and then watch the amazing final fight scene.
Want more action? Don’t miss this classic scene from Gymkata (also by Robert Clouse).

Criterion Close-Up 40: The Science Fiction Episode

Mark and Aaron explore the popular genre that is science fiction. At the core of our discussion is a science fiction project that Aaron has been working on, but we also explore the genre on Criterion, and delve further into Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire.

Episode Links & Notes

0:00 – Welcome and Intro 3:00 – The War Room, Thanks Keith 4:30 – Mark’s Decision 8:30 – Short Takes (Frau im Mond, The Fits, Captain America: Civil War, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Mysterious Island, Stalker) 29:00 – The Sci-Fi List Project 50:30 – Sci-Fi Criterion Titles 57:00 – World on a Wire

CCU39: The War Room Wonders in the Dark

CCU12: The Brood & Early Cronenberg

Musical Notation: Metropolis

Great Criterion Sci-Fi (Corby D.)

Criterion Science Fiction (kafkaesque)

Taste of Cinema: 15 Great Scientific Movies in the Criterion Collection

Where to Find Us:

Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Aaron West: Twitter | Blog | Letterboxd Criterion Close-Up: Facebook | Twitter | Email

GTGM Episode 28: Valley Girl (1983)

Doug and Jamie meet up at school on Monday with oddly similar stories. It seems that when Doug showed up to his job at the local theater, some weirdo in 3D glasses had shown up and was doing his job. Similarly, Jamie didn’t have to serve food to teens in cars because that same goofball was just doing her job for no reason. They both said nothing to their respective bosses because, hey…a day off is a day off!

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