Month: September 2016

The Magic Lantern: Episode 030 – The Exiles

Kent Mackenzie’s The Exiles (1961) was one of the first films to portray Native Americans as actual flesh and blood human beings with dreams, hopes, and flaws. For decades, Hollywood had perpetuated an array of stereotypes–the stoic noble savage, the princess and the squaw, and the bloodthirsty warrior among them–but Mackenzie dedicated himself to the idea that an accurate portrayal was a valuable idea, long overdue. He worked in collaboration with a group of young Natives living in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles and together they fashioned The Exiles out of the fabric of their everyday lives. Growing up in the 1970s, I was part of a generation that was experiencing revisionist Westerns and Native actors finally beginning to play Native parts, as opposed to the Italian, Jewish and Latino actors that had played those roles previously. As a young member of the Comanche Tribe living in southwest Oklahoma, I had often wondered why I seldom saw actual Natives in the movies and on television. They were plentiful, I thought. After all, they were my friends, neighbors, and family. Wasn’t that how it was everywhere? Sadly, I found out that it wasn’t. Native representation was sorely lacking and as I grew older and learned more about cinema’s less than stellar track record when it came to showcasing Native Americans, the more disappointing it got. Needless to say, discovering Mackenzie’s film was a great thrill. It was heartening to know that someone, somewhere along the line had felt it important enough to tell a true story of Native experience, even if it had slipped through the cracks in the intervening decades. It exists now in a beautiful restoration and has survived obscurity and an indifferent cultural landscape to remind us that truth and representation is vital. There is still a long way to go, but start here.

What you’ll find in this episode: reminiscences of growing up on tribal land, a brief history of the termination and assimilation policies regarding Native Americans, 49 etiquette lessons, and thought experiments with Geronimo.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out The Exiles on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Maria Full of Grace.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Smoke Signals.
Brian Young, a Navajo actor and filmmaker, talks about what it’s like to be a Native actor.
The official website of The Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center.

CCU50: French 1930s 1 – Silent to Sound, Jacques Feyder, Jean Vigo

Mark, Aaron and Scott Nye kick off the first of a seven episode series about French cinema i the 1930s. We give an overview of the decade and some historical context, and discuss the French silent tradition and how that it transitioned to sound. We also get into detail about two important filmmakers, Jacques Feyder and Jean Vigo. Feyder was an important filmmaker in his time, but his works are not as prominent today, whereas Vigo was nearly forgotten in the 1930s and discovered after the war.

Episode Links & Notes

Special Guest: Scott Nye from CriterionCast and Battleship Pretension. You can follow him on Twitter.

3:15 – Dedication and Thanks

9:35 – Intro to French Film Series

28:15 – From Silent to Sound

46:30 – Jacques Feyder

1:13:30 – Jean Vigo

Recommended Films

Episode Credits

Next time on the podcast: Mystery Train and Jim Jarmusch

GTGM Episode 36: Risky Business (1983)

Not confident in their invention, Doug and Jamie step it up once they find out that ‘Pretty Boy’ Joel Goodsen had been kicked out of the Young Entrepreneurs Club and they end up winning the year-end competition with their ‘Q-Tip dispenser for public restrooms’. Sure, it’s not a great invention but it’s better than a pad of paper for taking phone messages.

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CCU49: Twilight Time Appreciation Show

We change things up by focusing on a boutique label, Twilight Time, that has found success through a unique business model. Mark and Aaron happen to be big fans, and feel that we have directly contributed towards some of their profits. We talk about the company, their business model, why they have succeeded, and we address some common critiques. We also review a few discs each, and finally count down our favorite Twilight Time titles.

About Nick Redman:

London-born Nick Redman, one of Hollywood’s leading producers of movie music, is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker. An Academy Award nominee as producer of the 1996 Warner Brothers documentary, The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage, he went on to write, produce, and direct A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayne and The Searchers (1998), which became a prize-winner at multiple film festivals. As a consultant to the Fox Music Group (ongoing since 1993), he has developed and overseen Hollywood’s most comprehensive film music restoration program, personally producing more than 500 albums featuring the music of Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Alex North, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Michael Kamen and many more. His productions of the “Star Wars Trilogy” were certified Gold by the RIAA. In 2007, he produced and directed Becoming John Ford, a feature-length documentary for Twentieth Century Fox, which premiered as a special selection at the Venice International Film Festival. The film details the creative and fractious relationship between the brittle, contentious director and his mentor / boss, studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck. In his capacity as a film historian, he has presided over commentaries for dozens of DVDs. As producer and director, he has provided special materials—documentaries and commentaries—for numerous titles including Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection, honored by Entertainment Weekly as the Number One DVD boxed set of 2006. In 2011, he co-founded the independent label Twilight Time which releases classic films licensed from 20th Century Fox, Columbia/Sony, and MGM/UA on DVD and Blu-ray. Nick has been a member of BAFTA Los Angeles for many years and has conducted numerous interviews for screening Q&A’s and the Heritage Archive, including Michael Apted, Malcolm McDowell, Sir Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Tilda Swinton, Kevin Brownlow and Millicent Martin.

About Brian Jamieson:

Jamieson first entered the film industry with the New Zealand branch of Warner Bros. in 1977. He was later transferred to the United Kingdom. After his success publicizing Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Peter Yates’ The Deep, he was named the International Publicist of the Year. He moved to the United States in 1984. During the 1980s, he was in charge of all the company’s theatrical marketing in Latin America, the Far East, South Africa, Europe, Australia and New Zealand; he was later promoted to head of International Marketing and Publicity, which made him responsible for home video marketing internationally. He also collaborated with Stanley Kubrick to promote Full Metal Jacket; they continued to work together until Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s last film before his death in 1999. The Times Colonist called Jamieson a “respected film preservationist”. In his work at Warner Home Video, Jamieson shepherded the restorations of numerous classical films. In 2002, Jamieson helped produce Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin, with Richard Schickel, which was shown at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Two years later, he collaborated with Schickel to reconstruct The Big Red One, by Sam Fuller. The two readded 47 minutes of previously cut material.The reconstruction won several awards, including the Seattle Film Critics Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards. He later released a reconstruction of Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 film The Wild Bunch. By March 2006 he had opened his own production agency, Redwind Productions, and in 2007 released the company’s first production, Cannes All Access, a look at the social impact of the Cannes Film Festival. In 2010 he made his directorial debut with To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey, which tells how Nancy Kwan ensured that Asians could play Asian characters with her success in 1960’s The World of Suzie Wong. The film received several awards, including the Women’s International Film and Television Showcase (WIFTS) Diversity Award, as well as the Best Feature Documentary from both the American International Film Festival (AIFF) and the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Jamieson himself received the Best Director award from the AIFF. According to the WIFTS Foundation, Jamieson was one of the first directors to include documentaries with home video releases of classic movies as a way to promote “cinema literacy”. He later established Twilight Time with Nick Redman, which serves to release limited runs of classic movies not yet on DVD. As of August 2011, the label has already released Michael Curtiz’s 1954 film The Egyptian, with plans to release Cy Endfield 1961 film Mysterious Island and Tom Holland’s 1985 film Fright Night by the end of the year. Jamieson notes that it is a “win-win” project, with film lovers getting access to rare classic movies and studios able to release and profit from undervalued productions without financial investment.

 

Episode Links & Notes

0:00 – Intro and Welcome

2:00 – Twilight Time Discussion

38:45 – Short Takes (Hardcore, Sexy Beast, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Man in the Dark, The Last Detail)

1:04:00 – Mark and Aaron’s Favorites

1:21:30 – Upcoming Titles

Episode Credits

Next time on the podcast: French 1930s, Part One

The Magic Lantern: Episode 029 – Top Hat

Top Hat (Sandrich, 1935), and by extension Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, breezed into my life and introduced me to a dreamy world of class, romance, and farce wrapped in a froth of Art Deco detail and the most beautiful dancing I’d yet seen. Even though I’ve enjoyed Astaire’s pairings with many other partners, I still think of the two performers as inextricably linked. They worked so very hard (I was to learn only later), yet made defying gravity look so attainable. Whether you find creative expressions of the sort exemplified in musicals to be distracting or invigorating, I know you will find something to delight the senses and the imagination in Top Hat.

What you’ll find in this episode: an analysis of what might have been under Astaire’s tails, a discussion of the transcendent quality of musicality, spot on musical impersonations of Zeppo Marx and Nelson Eddy, and a call to action to watch all ten pairings of Astaire and Rogers.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Top Hat on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Black Widow.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq.
A list of Fred Astaire’s solo and partnered dances.
Astaire versus Kelly: the debate rages on!

GTGM Episode 35: Soul Man (1986)

Harvard Law students Doug & Jamie are thrilled as the Spring semester arrives! First, Jamie is promoted from dishwasher to lunch lady in the cafeteria and that opens the dishwashing job up for Doug. Also, they find a new apartment and get a great deal because (as the super tells them) it’s been discounted because of the color of the previous occupant’s skin.
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