Movie Map London for iPhone

Hi everyone,

I’ve been pretty quiet on this blog for a while now. This has been mainly due to a number of other projects I’ve been working on, one of which has been an iPhone app of movie locations in London. Please take a look!

Available Now on the App Store

Movie Map London is the ultimate movie location app for your iPhone.

Ever wanted to find out where all the greatest London movies were shot? Movie Map London makes it easy to walk right into some of your favourite movies.

It features a map of London with pins representing over 110 movie locations from the very best London movies. Using GPS you can view your position as you explore the movies shot in the city. Each locations contains interesting information and images of the locations from the movies.

Great if you’re visiting London or if you’ve always lived there. You just never know what might be around the corner.

But you don’t even have to be in London to enjoy it. Movie Map London can also just be used as a fascinating reference guide. The Movies database allows you to view all the included location entries by movie title.

Get It Here at the App Store

Featuring over 100 locations from 40 movies: 

10 Rillington Place (1971)
28 Days Later (2002)
The 39 Steps  (1935)
Alfie (1966)
An American Werewolf in London  (1981)
Batman Begins (2005)
Blackmail (1929)
Blow-Up (1966)
The Bourne Ultimatum  (2007)
Brazil (1985)
Brief Encounter (1945)
A Clockwork Orange  (1971)
Da Vinci Code  (2006)
Dark Knight  (2008)
Die Another Day (2002)
The Fifth Element  (1997)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Frenzy (1972)
Goldeneye (1995)
Hard Day’s Night  (1964)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2007)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The King’s Speech  (2001)
The Ladykillers  (1955)
Love Actually (2003)
The Man Who Knew Too Much  (1956)
Notting Hill (1999)
Peeping Tom (1960)
Performance (1970)
Quadrophenia (1979)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Repulsion (1965)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Skyfall (2012)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold  (1965)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Withnail & I (1986)
The World Is Not Enough  (1999)

Further locations are being added with free updates. You can even suggest new locations for future versions. 

Extra Features

- Use the Radar to discover locations closest to your right now.
– Save your favourite locations using the Favourites feature.
– Submit your own locations from directly within the app.
– You can even filter out movies you don’t like.

More cities are currently in the works.

Available Now on the App Store

Christian Hayes

contact@christianhayes.co.uk
moviemapapps.com
christianhayes.co.uk

 

at the Tate Modern 28 May  –  3 October 2010

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera surveys voyeuristic photography from the 19th Century until the present day, juxtaposing images from both famous and amateur photographers. The theme of voyeurism is covered by undercover, paparazzi and salacious photography, but also stark images of death, execution and war.

If you can’t make it to the exhibition you can still order the catalogue, available here: Amazon UK / Amazon US. Be warned that the book contains some disturbing imagery beyond what is featured in the exhibition.

Here I will be taking a brief closer look at five works found in the show.

1. Greta Garbo in the Club St. Germain, Paris (Georges Dudognon, circa 1950s) [San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Members of Foto Forum, 2005.200 © Estate of Georges Dudognon]

Georges Dudognon: Greta Garbo in the Club St. Germain, Paris ca. 1950s

The face in the paparazzi image above is actually The Face: Greta Garbo. One of the most famous and admired women in the world, Garbo became a New York recluse after retiring from films at the beginning of the 1940s. Sightings of her were rare, and this 1950s image captures the conflict between a movie star’s public persona and private life. Now older and with her face obscured, Garbo is unrecognisable, but once understood to be her it becomes a contrasting reference to all those images of her as an icon of beauty and stardom. It is also perfectly composed: notice how Garbo’s eye is perfectly in focus yet the hand is not, and how her eye fits perfectly between the end of the little finger and the brim of her hat. It is one of those miraculous images that appear to be both a product of chance and a skillful photographer.

2. Lovers with 3-D glasses at the Palace Theatre (Infra-red) (Weegee [aka Arthur Fellig], 1943)

Lovers with 3-D glasses at the Palace Theatre (Infra-red), 1943.

Image co. of: http://www.rachelhulin.com/blog/2009/09/ten-from-weegee-and-amber-online.html

Weegee was a crime photographer who was always in the right place at the right time, stealing striking to-the-point images of violence, chaos and murder on the streets of New York. He also took shot of city life more widely, including several fascinating shots of audiences in movie theatres. These often focused on kissing couples in the crowd, oblivious to the movie on the screen. These images (some of which I believe were actually staged, with couples brought into the cinema) hint at the love-in-the-dark culture that had been prevalent in cinema-going from its earliest days. One of these images actually takes place in the midst of a 3D movie, the audience bespectacled in their green-and-red paper spectacles. Some of the audience look entertained, but the kissing couple appears to be bored. (Maybe they’re readers of The Classic Film Show.)

The above image would have required a pretty powerful flash to light the scene, surely a major distraction to the movie.

Further images by Weegee can be viewed online here. http://www.amber-online.com/exhibitions/weegee-collection

He also took this fascinating, candid photograph of Marilyn, skirt lifted, on the location set of The Seven Year Itch.

Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch Weegee Arthur Fellig

Image co. of: http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/exposure/theme2.shtm

3. Many Are Called (Walker Evans)

Walker Evans Many Are Called

Image co. of: http://visualingual.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/subway-portraits-by-walker-evans/

A famous series of images by Walker Evans shows portraits of unsuspecting travellers on the New York subway. To capture commuters unaware, Evans made these images covertly using a hidden camera stowed away in his coat, only really made possible by the greater portability and low-light capabilities of modern cameras. What resulted were unselfconscious images of daily New York life, and what is life in the city but a series of arduous journeys back and forth?

This series is available in a quality hardback by the Museum of Modern Art, (Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk) which will surely become a collector’s item pretty soon.

4. Hyères, France 1932, Henri Cartier-Bresson

Hyères, France 1932, Henri Cartier-Bresson

Image co. of: http://loinsbongo.blog.co.uk/2009/10/28/la-vie-en-noir-et-blanc-7264520/

The exhibition contains some of the most famous images in photography, including this Cartier-Bresson image of a bicycle captured perfectly within the limited space of the composition. It is often claimed that Cartier-Bresson took the most perfect snapshot, an image that crystalised ‘the defining moment’, in Behind the Gare St. Lazare, Paris. In the above image Cartier-Bresson found his composition in the twisting lines of the bannisters but waited for something to fill the space. When a bicycle came along he clicked at the above moment. Spontaneity in photography can be a difficult effect to achieve.

5. Sophie Calle – The Shadow

Sophie Calle is a French artist who came to prominence in the 1970s with her combination of text and photography in her art-as-life narratives. She took elements of detective fiction and connected them to her real life. In one project presented by the exhibition, she asked a private detective to tail her and send her a report, in essence following herself. It’s a piece that would resonate with anyone familiar with noir movies or the nouvelle vague and is a storyline that would fit well in a postmodern noir tale.

But there are also some truly chilling and disturbing images: a body falls from a hotel window in a desperate escape from a fire; a suicidal man jumps from a bridge after the crowd below collectively encourage him; the decayed remains of a victim of the Rwandan genocide has sunk into the earth.

Elsewhere in the exhibition are works by famous photographers such as Paul Strand, Garry Winogrand and Dorothea Lange and as a whole provides an overview of the entire medium of photography.

Again the catalogue is available here (Amazon UKAmazon US).

More information about the exhibition, which runs until 3rd October 2010, can be found at the Tate Modern website.

TCM Spotlight: The Charlie Chan Collection Sidney Toler

Available from 8th June 2010.

The Charlie Chan Collection is available from Amazon.com.

Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan was created by novelist Earl Derr Biggers in 1923 and went on to feature in fiction, comics, radio, television and at the movies. In all there have been a total of fifty-seven film adaptations of the character.

Warner Oland starred as Chan in 1931’s Charlie Chan Carries On and went on to make a total of 15 films as Chan for Fox. After his death in 1938 Sidney Toler took over as Chan and made another 11 films for Fox. Toler himself bought the rights to the character after Fox ceased production on the Chan movies, and took the character to Monogram Pictures, one of the key minor studios on poverty row, where he continued to star as Chan.

This Chan collection contains three films starring Sidney Toler and one starring his successor Roland Winters.

Charlie Chan has been well served on DVD with five box sets already available, covering a total of 24 of the Fox Chan films. But this four-disc TCM Spotlight set is notable for two key reasons: they contain four Chan films made by Monogram Pictures and the prints have been restored, resulting in an image and sound quality that are remarkably clear for films made on poverty row.

Dark Alibi (Monogram Pictures, dir: Phil Karlson, 1946)
starring Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland and Benson Fong.

Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan in Dark Alibi

Dark Alibi (1946)

Dark Alibi is the most satisfying of the four films in the set, kicking off with a surprisingly authentic noir sequence: gunmen in dark glasses raid an atmospheric, shadowy bank vault. It’s a visually stark and surprisingly violent sequence, and triggers a narrative about Chan attempting to get an innocent man off death row. As a detective Chan is calm, measured, and experienced – like many detectives he is always one step ahead (in some cases inexplicably so). He is joined by his son Tommy Chan, played by Chinese-American actor Benson Fong, who constantly tries to impress his father with his own amateur sleuthing. Chan’s other sidekick is chauffeur Birmingham Brown, played by Mantan Moreland, and along with Fong provide comic relief as a convincing double act.

The plot of Dark Alibi contains a chain of clues based around fingerprints forgery. The Chan films are clearly B-movies that function in the realm of pulp crime fiction, and for fans of the genre Dark Alibi is a particularly entertaining example of that.

One of the pleasures of B-movies is noticing moments that contrast to mainstream movies. In this case it takes the shape of unusual compositions, such as an economically composed shot of Chan, Brown and Moreland in a car, perfectly composed from an angle towards the side so that all three are in view. When Chan visits the  prison cell of the wrongly accused, through the bars we see a back projection of the prison corridor moving off into the distance, producing a striking visual effect.

This is also a really interesting film about race. It is not unusual in American cinema to find Caucasian actors playing characters of different races, and here Chan is played by Toler, a white Scottish-American. The mechanics of Sidney Toler’s performance as Chinese are as follows: a slight accent and affected use of English, prosthetics around his eyes, and a thin beard. While these are certainly symbols associated with stereotypes, in this case they almost act as elements of costume. They become signs for the audience that Toler is playing a Chinese-American character without requiring you to be entirely convinced that he is actually Chinese-American. In that sense the performance is quite self-conscious, as though Toler is letting the audience know that he is only playing a part. This is further backed-up by the juxtaposition of Toler with Benson Fong, the Chinese-American actor who plays his son.

Of course black actors in classical Hollywood were often sidelined into minor parts, parts that perpetuated stereotypes, or ignored altogether. In this series, the actor Mantan Moreland at least is allowed a decent amount of screen time. Yes, he provides much of the comic relief along with Benson Fong, and he does play Chan’s chauffeur, but the space provided to him does allow him to display his talent as a comic actor. One very interesting and funny moment sees Moreland engage in a quick-fire double-act routine with another black actor during the prison sequence, which could have been a routine straight out of vaudeville. Frankly exchanges between two black actors in mainstream Hollywood cinema was very rare at the time, and it suggests that these B-movies and other films by Monogram Pictures catered for audiences neglected by mainstream Hollywood.

Extra Features: None.

Dangerous Money (Monogram Pictures, dir: Terry O. Morse, 1946)
starring Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland and Victor Sen Yung.

Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan in Dangerous Money

Dangerous Money (1946)

Unlike Dark Alibi, Dangerous Money takes on the shape of a straight whodunit in the mode of Agatha Christie: several confined passengers of different nationalities are all suspected of murdering a member of the United States Treasury Department. There is a knife-throwing assassin on-board to contend with, so skilled that he can throw a knife through impossibly narrow spaces. No one seems to notice that it was actually Chan who led the victim to his death; he persuades him to head to the dining room instead of his own quarters, and he is promptly assassinated. Here Benson Fong is replaced by Victor Sen Yung, playing Chan’s ‘Son Number Two’.

Extra Features: None.

The Trap (Monogram Pictures, dir: Howard Bretherton, 1946)
starring Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland and Victor Sen Yung.

Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan and Victor Sen Yung as Son Number Two in The Trap

The Trap (1946)

With pulp crime fiction you can often expect suspension of disbelief to kick in. With this whodunnit tale of showgirls living in a beach house you may require more than usual. When one of their number is strangled, the girls decide to go on living there and continue having carefree fun on the beach. Of course another of their number is swiftly killed. Part of the enjoyment of pulp crime fiction is watching convoluted plots unfold, and there are some enjoyably absurd sequences to be found in The Trap.

Extra Features: None.

The Chinese Ring (Monogram Pictures, dir: William Beaudine, 1947)
starring Roland Winters, Mantan Moreland and Victor Sen Yung.

The only film in the set to star Ronald Winters as Chan, The Chinese Ring concerns a plot about a murdered Chinese princess. It’s a standard pulp narrative, but a series of new vivid characters livens up the action and pull it back from the more contrived moments of the The Trap. Winters steps into the role of Chan with ease, and the transition from Toler is very smooth; after a few minutes you’re completely at ease with Winters as Chan.

Extra Features: None.

Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan in The Trap

The Trap (1946)

About the Prints

B-movies often fall victim to neglect, with titles going out of copyright and damaged, duplicated prints circulating in the public domain. Warner Bros. have done an excellent job in making sure these films look as good as possible. By doing so Warner are giving the films the respect they deserve, and making sure they are presented in as optimal a condition as possible. This is especially admirable in the case of these Monogram titles. Since they weren’t even produced by Warner, the work they have done on this suggests that they have a genuine interest in the preservation of cinema more broadly than their own production history.

Overall

For any fans of Charlie Chan, this is an obvious purchase. But it is also recommended to anyone interested in detective fiction, poverty row cinema, or depictions of race in 1940s cinema. They are also damn entertaining, with excellent prints, and at their hour-long running times they make an easy watch.

Buy The Charlie Chan Collection from Amazon.com.

Sidney Toler Charlie Chan Dark Alibi

Dark Alibi (1946)

The Louis L'Amour Western CollectionRelease Date: 19 May 2010

Louis L’Amour (1908-1988) is still the most successful western writer of all time. His prolific output of over ninety novels and six short story collections continue to sell and remain distinctly popular with fans of the genre. Naturally his work was called upon for adaptation on the big and small screen, and this 4-disc DVD set brings together three distinctive westerns: Catlow (1971) starring Yul Brynner, The Sacketts (1979) featuring Sam Elliot, Tom Selleck and Glen Ford, and Conagher (1991) starring Sam Elliot and Katherine Ross.

Buy the The Louis L’Amour Western Collection here.

Catlow (MGM, dir: Sam Wanamaker, 1971)
starring Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna and Leonard Nimoy.

Yul Brynner in Louis L'Amour Western Catlow

A lively performance from the legendary Yul Brynner is the highlight of this pacy, comic western. He plays gunslinging outlaw Catlow, whose attempts to escape the law are thwarted by the determined yet dignified Sheriff Cowan, played by Richard Crenna. The chase kicks off in Apache country, where sniping bullets are accompanied by arrows, and leads Catlow’s posse over the border to Mexico where they attempt an ambitious gold robbery. Cowan gets his hands on Catlow every once in a while, only to be given the slip by his wily, charismatic adversary. But it’s not only Cowan who’s after him; a mysterious hit man is also on his tail, played by none other than Leonard Nimoy.

Yul Brynner was made famous by the exotic, brooding persona that was developed through films such as The King and I and Anastasia. He of course made a name for himself in Westerns through his role in The Magnificent Seven, and Catlow was made only a couple of years before that mysterious persona was used to brilliant effect in the unnerving sci-fi western Westworld. In Catlow he plays against his usual persona with an upbeat comic performance. He’s a man-of-the-world, quick-witted, sly and charismatic. Brynner’s trademark Russian accent and distinctive look almost feel out of place against the dusty surroundings of the Mexican border, but add an appealing mystery to his character.

Since we are in the western world of Louis L’Amour, the film is pleasingly loaded with traditions of the genre, such as gunfights, stagecoach heists and the requisite saloon bathtub sequence. Yet while this is certainly familiar territory, the film distinguishes itself through its breezy tone and easy blending of comic drama with action. Brynner and Crenna as the outlaw and sheriff create a double act, enjoyably playing off each other in their game of cat-and-mouse, and Nimoy is totally convincing as the tough, mysterious hit man. One particularly extraordinary sequence sees Brynner fist-fighting a nude Leonard Nimmoy. It’s as though Women in Love was relocated to the old West.

Made in 1971, Catlow was one of the final westerns with its roots firmly in the tradition of the classic studio-era western. In 1969 The Wild Bunch had already kick-started a tougher brand of western that would lead to a more self-conscious expression of the genre. This meant stronger violence (The Last of the Hard Men), political agendas (Soldier Blue, Little Big Man), elegiac farewells to old Hollywood (The Shootist), satires (The Life and Times of Judge Roy Hill) and twists on the genre (Westworld). Catlow, then, is an unselfconscious western that sticks to its guns and delivers a concise, star-driven and entertaining action picture.

Extra Features: Theatrical Trailer.

The Sacketts (NBC, dir: Robert Totten, 1979)
starring Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot, Jeff Osterhage and Glenn Ford.

Louis L'Amour The Sacketts Tom Selleck Jeff Osterhage Classic Western

The Sacketts is absolutely worth its three-hour running time. An epic adaptation of L’Armour’s The Daybreakers and Sacketts, it tells the story of the Sackett brothers and their journey from cattle drivers to lawmen. Played with typical gravity by Sam Elliot, Tell Sackett is now a hardened, nomadic drifter, whose wanderings lead him on a quest for gold. He hasn’t seen his other two brothers in a decade, and Orrin (Tom Selleck) and Ty (Jeff Osterhage) have since become cattle drivers under the watch of their world-weary boss, played by Glenn Ford. Orrin is a brave, well-liked and noble man that his younger brother Ty looks up to, so much so that when he settles in New Mexico he earns himself a tin star.

The Sacketts is filled with strong performances. We witness Tom Selleck here in his pre-Magnum days and it’s easy to see how he became such a major TV star, giving his character a kind of quiet charisma. He also makes a very convincing cowboy and surely the success of The Sacketts was a major reason why Selleck has continued a sideline in TV westerns throughout his career.

Sam Elliot is perhaps the definitive on-screen cowboy of the modern age. He has forged a career based upon his wise, low-talking, moustachioed western persona, and even in these times when westerns have remained out of the mainstream he continued on with his on-screen character, turning up in the unlikeliest of places (the bowling alley of The Big Lebowski or the fantasy world of The Golden Compass). Here Elliot’s performance is dark, brooding and dangerous. A nomad wandering through mountainous plains, he has become estranged from his family and is now a withdrawn and troubled man. He talks scarcely, yet when he does he reveals himself to be tough, mean, yet fair.

Glenn Ford is part of the old guard of the Hollywood western, having starred in such classics as 3:10 to Yuma, and here you are reminded at what a powerful and meticulous actor he was. A few striking close-ups convey conflicting emotions all at once. He can convey both toughness and weakness at the same time.

The Sacketts is a film that offers up all the pleasures of the western in one place, from the locales: small towns, big vistas, banks, saloons, jailhouses, hotels, gold-riddled mountains; to the plot and themes: cattle-ranching, small-town politics, familial drama, evil posses, and tense shoot-outs; to the authentic performances: the trio of Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot and Glenn Ford, as well as the handful of character actors (including genre veteran Ben Johnson. It’s a film that galvanises the western genre, that defies its running time and which deserves to be seen more often.

It was originally made for television but the scope of the writing and the authenticity of the production design means that it certainly works as a big screen experience. The combination of the tight, varied, suspenseful plotting and the strong performances carry you easily through the film and it certainly earns its three-hour running time.

Extra Features: None.

Conagher (TNT, dir: Reynaldo Villalobos, 1991)
starring Sam Elliot and Katherine Ross.

Conagher Sam Elliot With Gun

In contrast to The Sacketts, Conagher is a more intimate drama about homesteader Evie Teale (Katherine Ross) who is forced to look after her children alone when her husband never returns from his journey to a distant town. Her home soon becomes used as a temporary rest point for the new stagecoach and there she comes in contact with a lonely drifter, Conagher, played by Sam Elliot.

As in The Sacketts Elliot’s character is tough and uncompromising, but here he proves also be particularly sensitive. While on the one hand being a dangerous-but-moral gunfighter, he is also struck by a deep sense of loneliness on his travels. He is clearly taken by Evie Teale, whose resilience he admires. Indeed at one point she and her children successfully fight off Indians who attack her homestead. Conagher also has his own problems – a no-good posse are on his tail, leading to a particularly suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse up the side of a rocky cliff, as well as tense gunfights with distant snipers.

Interestingly both Sam Elliot and Katherine Ross share a writing credit on this made-for-TV movie and Elliot was also a co-producer, suggesting that he was a driving force in bringing it to the screen. And although it is a Sam Elliot vehicle Katherine Ross’s is fortunately given enough screen time to develop her character of a resourceful woman in the male-dominated West. Female characters are too-rarely the focus of this often-macho genre and Conagher is a welcome exception. Fans of The Graduate would also be interested in seeing Ross give a strong, low-key performance.

Extra Features: None.

About the Transfers

Catlow looks strong with a transfer that convincingly translates a 70s-era print, maintaining good colours in the brighter sequences, strong detail, and conveying the appropriate atmosphere of the darker sequences. It’s important to note that both The Sacketts and Conagher were made for TV broadcast, so are both are presented in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. The Sacketts contains a great amount of vivid imagery, colour and detail and the print has been cleaned up. Due to its lengthy running time, The Sacketts is spread over two discs. Although the most recent film in the set, the image of Conagher is perhaps the weakest, most noticeably in the darker sequences. While it is a little soft throughout, presumably due to the nature of its TV-broadcast origins, the image is strongest in the brightly-lit, outdoor sequences. However I expect that this image reflects how the film would have been seen on its original broadcast.

Conclusion

These three Westerns are distinctly different from each other but provide interesting and entertaining variations of the western and of L’Amours work, from the light comedy of Catlow, to the epic scope of The Sacketts and the intimacy of Conagher. These would be highly recommended to those interested in L’Amour or in post-classical westerns more generally, but also to fans of its stars: Sam Elliot, Tom Selleck, Yul Brynner and Glenn Ford. While an extra feature giving some context to L’Amour and his work would have been appreciated, ultimately all three films really do entertain. At the price it’s a bit of a bargain for fans of the western.

Buy the The Louis L’Amour Western Collection here

Leonard Nimmoy in Louis L'Amour Western Catlow

Leonard Nimmoy in Catlow (1971)

Doctor Zhivago Blu Ray

David Leans’s stunning epic Doctor Zhivago comes to Blu-Ray on Monday 4th May. If the masterful Blu-Ray editions of films such as The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, North by Northwest and 2001: A Space Odyssey are anything to go by, this is yet another essential and important release from the Warner Bros. archive.

If you are interested in the preservation of classic cinema, as well as getting closer to an original theatrical presentation, then this 1080p release of Doctor Zhivago is essential. Warner has done more for the classic filmgoer than any of the other major studios, always making sure that their releases look and sound as good as possible. Below you’ll find information on the extensive work that the studio has undergone to preserve and restore this essential movie.

You can order the Doctor Zhivago Blu-Ray here. There is also a U.K. edition set for release on 10th May, which can be ordered here.

Restoring Zhivago

For 2002’s Dr. Zhivago Two-Disc Special Edition, Warner went back to the original 35mm camera negative to make new photo chemical restoration, but because negative damage was extensive, they were only moderately successful.  The damage was caused in part by the extraordinary number of release prints struck over the years, and many of those prints were enlarged to 70mm, which added wear and tear. In places where the negative was simply too damaged to use and in the past other elements were found, duped and inserted, but they didn’t match the original negative’s quality. Additionally, fine tuned color correction was impossible within the limits of the chemical process.

For the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD 45th Anniversary Editions, debuting May 4, the restoration was successful in completing a digital restoration from the original 35mm camera negative with new digital tools that allow far greater subtlety and accuracy, Warner Bros. has been able to overcome the obstacles above to generate an extraordinarily accurate and beautiful new master that reveals the original negative’s magnificence.

The new Dr. Zhivago Blu-ray master was created from an 8k scan rendered in a 4k finish.  Challenges overcome are as follows:

  • Sprocket holes. So torn on the film’s negative that when rolling the film through the chemical bath machinery, the image was unstable. The digital scan equipment was able to overcome the unsteadiness and obtain a very stable image
  • Frame Damage. Totaled 40,000 frames which equates to about forty minutes of the film.  While Warner’s new master was derived from the original camera negative, damaged sections had been removed from the camera negative over time and inferior dupe elements cut into the camera negative. Warner removed the poor dupe sections from the camera negative and replaced them with better quality film elements.
  • Color correction. The original camera negative contained much more picture resolution and color information than the film element used for the 2001 version. So MPI  scanned the original negative at 8k resolution to capture all the detail and color information and were able to seamlessly match the restored frames to the original color negative, using an original Technicolor print as reference. One of the greatest improvements of new digital color correction over its photo chemical and early digital predecessors is that they could correct color fading, which appears as yellowed hightlights and blue shadow areas, without compromising the original color values or other colors or areas in the frame.  Digital tools allow us to isolate and treat each of the 29,360,128 pixels that create a single frame.

On the first page of The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield announces:

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies. Don’t even mention them to me.

Holden Caulfield was one of the few people I’d ever heard of who hated the movies. He despises the fact that his brother D.B. is out screenwriting in Hollywood, ‘being a prostitute’. But later he does recall this story of going to the movies with his sister Phoebe:

I mean if you tell old Phoebe something she knows exactly what the hell you’re talking about. I mean you can even take her anywhere with you. If you take her to a lousy movie, for instance, she knows it’s a lousy movie. If you take her to a pretty good movie, she knows it’s a pretty good movie. D.B. and I took her to see this French movie, The Baker’s Wife, with Raimu in it. It killed her. Her favourite is The 39 Steps, though, with Robert Donat. She knows the whole goddamn movie by heart, because I’ve taken her to see it about ten times. When old Donat comes up from this Scotch farmhouse, for instance, when he’s running away from the cops and all, Pheobe’ll say right out loud in the movie – right when the Scotch guy in the picture says it – ‘Can you eat the herring?’ She knows all the talk by heart. And when this professor in the picture, that really jolly German spy, sticks up his little finger with part of the middle joint missing, to show Robert Donat, old Pheobe beats him to it – she holds up her little finger at me in the dark, right in front of my face.

R.I.P.  J.D. Salinger. January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010.

In an occasional series I will be publishing images of stars found in contemporary cities. Here we have an image of Marlene Dietrich in Berlin. You can see Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne and James Stewart in another city here.

I’d love to see any of your images of stars in the city, send them over and I’ll add them to the site: classicfilmshow@gmail.com.

photograph by Christian Hayes.

By looking at early and silent cinema you are investigating primal questions about cinema. What is cinema, where did it come from and how does it actually function? Your understanding of silent cinema will adjust your understanding of cinema right up to the present day. So if you want to study, write or talk about cinema, you’d better get reading.

Here are five books I highly recommend that will give you a foundation for understanding where cinema came from, and frameworks with which to think about early and silent film.

The Emergence of Cinema by Charles Musser

Charles Musser is a leading authority on early American film. This was the first volume of the excellent History of American Cinema series and takes a definitive look at the origins of cinema and its development. Musser makes an important distinction that cinema emerged out of existing traditions rather than being invented in an ‘Eureka’ moment. Essential for an understanding of cinema as a whole.

Read more on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

The Dream That Kicks by Michael Chanan

In this book Michael Chanan rethinks everything. All our assumptions about cinema are questioned and reassessed. He provides an insightful account of the emergence of cinema, deconstructs the myths that have surrounded ‘persistence of vision’ and provides an excellent account of how celluloid came to be cinema’s medium. A thought-provoking and exciting book.

Read more on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

The Beginnings of the Cinema in England, vols 1-5 by John Barnes

This ambitious five-volume masterwork investigates the cinema in England from 1904 to 1901. Written by revered film historian John Barnes, this was the most complete survey of early film in Britain at the time of publication in the 1970s (reprinted in the 90s) and it remains an authority on the subject to this day. To collect all five volumes will set you back £250, so if you ever find a bargain on one of the volumes, don’t think twice.

Read more on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative edited by Thomas Elsaesser

Published in 1990, this key collection of essays gathered groundbreaking research on early film from the 1980s. This new wave of early film study was a direct result of the annual conference of the International Federation of Film Archives held in Brighton in 1978, in which over 200 early films were studied and reassessed. What scholars found was that pre-conceived notions of early film as ‘primitive’ and ‘unsophisticated’ had to be rethought. This inspired new research methodologies, theoretical frameworks and a reassessment of the work of the Lumières, Méliès, and the Brighton school. This book acts as an important overview of early film scholarship after 12 years of research.

Read more on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

The Parade’s Gone By by Kevin Brownlow

The book that rekindled an interest in silent film. Today’s enthusiasm and preservation for silent film owes a lot to Kevin Brownlow who has tirelessly championed, preserved and documented silent film throughout his life. The Parade’s Gone By was the end product of a series of pioneering interviews that Brownlow undertook with forgotten filmmakers during the 1960s. The place to start for an understanding of the silent film in Hollywood.

Read more on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

still from Les Palais Des Mille et une Nuits (Georges Méliès, 1905) available in the Five Volume DVD Set Georges Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913)

Jean Simmons

I’ve received a lot of emails on my post about Why 3D Does Not Work. Many agree, but some others seem to have problems with it.

For those left scratching their heads, here are five simple points:

  1. The 3D object exists on a 2D plane. There is no weight to this 3D object. It’s paper-thin.
  2. 3D effects draw attention to themselves and take us out of the film experience, distracting us from the narrative.
  3. 3D can cause a loss of sharpness to the image. Particularly in fast-paced sequences images can become blurred, losing clarity and resolution.
  4. Our eyes adjust quickly to 3D. We most likely will notice 3D effects at the start of a film but not at the end. If we’re not actually noticing it, it might as well be 2D, because:
  5. The ‘2D’ image already has an incredible depth that is totally convincing. It’s part of the reason why both photography and film have remained so powerful to this very day.

In 3D individual, isolated spectacles are most effective, for example a bubble leaving the screen and heading towards you, a fish swimming out from the ocean or a secret passageway extending deep into the screen.

3D is most effective as a novelty, not as a sustained visual system throughout a feature film. And there has not yet been a film to prove otherwise.

Photograph (US, J. R. Eyerman, 1952) of an audience at Bwana Devil. Originally published in Life Magazine, hosted by and co. of Google.

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Christian Hayes
classicfilmshow@gmail.com
christianhayes.net
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