Between 1945 and 1957 Elia Kazan directed 10 critically acclaimed motion pictures. He won Academy Awards as best director for Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), and On the Waterfront (1954). He was nominated for best director for two other films during that period, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), and East of Eden (1955). Kazan also directed two of the most profound and influential dramas in Broadway history, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), and The Death of a Salesman (1948). His novel The Arrangement, published in 1967, became a best seller.
Kazan came to the fore during the post-World War II years, arguably the most controversial period in Hollywood history. His films of the period contributed much to the reputation of 20th Century Fox, and augmented further the luster and brilliance of Darryl F. Zanuck. Kazan, nicknamed “Gadge” was one of the great directors of his time. His post-war films remain as powerful and compelling as any produced in America. For a period of 12 years Elia Kazan had no peer! Read more
That Edward G. Robinson never got the Oscar he so richly deserved, noting especially his chilling performance as Wolf Larsen in The Sea Wolf, is a pity! He must be regarded as one America’s finest film actors. In Caesar Enrico Bandello, he created the prototype for the modern American movie gangster. For the wonderful memories he gave me, this post if dedicated. Information about Eddie is extremely difficult to obtain. Any additional information on Edward G. Robinson is welcomed here.
Emanuel Goldenberg, forceful, authoritative character star of Hollywood films, memorable for his tough impersonation of gangster boss Rico Bandello in Little Caesar (1930) and many other characterizations of underworld types in Warner’s crime cycle of the 1930s. In the US from age–10, he grew up on New York’s Lower East Side and gave up plans to become a rabbi or a lawyer in favor of acting during studies at City College, where he was elected to the Elizabethan Society. He won a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and, changing his name to Edward G. (the G. for Goldenberg) Read more
“I didn’t know I was doing film noir, I thought they were detective stories with low lighting! Even Kubrick, in 1955 during filming of The Killing, never used the term film noir to my knowledge.
Kubrick had all his shots laid out before he started, all sketched out by his wife, who was quite a good artist. He had them all around his office. I guess that’s why we made it in 21 days, with very few takes. The scene where I took my eyelashes off we did in two takes.
He didn’t direct in front of anybody else. He’d say, Marie. Come over here a minute. We’d go behind the scenery, and he’d say, In this scene I want you to be really tired and lazy. I’d had some stage training, and he was trying to get me not to use my big voice. Read more
The motion picture industry most likely began in Los Angles in 1902 when Thomas L. Tully opened the first theater exclusively for moving pictures. From its earliest days, when movies were thought of as peep shows, the Negro was presented in an unfavorable light.
The year 1915 is a significant date in motion picture history. This is the year of the release of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, the film version of Thomas Dixon’s pro South, Ku Klux Klan, novel, The Clansman. In terms of advancement of the medium, it must be regarded as one of the most significant films ever made. Subsequent to its release, movies were crude at best, with uneven lighting and quick jerky movements, the acting, melodramatic and exaggerated. From an artistic and technical outlook, it was a masterpiece of conception and structure. Though much has been written about it’s overt racism, it gave rise to the modern narrative film.
The Reconstruction scenes in The Birth of a Nation are especially harsh. The black members of Congress are portrayed as arrogant, lustful, and are shown drinking heavily right on the House floor. They are depicted going about the business of the country coarsely reclining in their congressional chairs, with bare feet plopped upon their desks. When the film was released small riots broke out in Boston, and other cities. Read more
While such studios as Twentieth Century Fox, RKO, Paramount, United Artists and even MGM, produced the profusion of movies in the Film Noir cycle, it was Universal who dispensed two genuine pearls of the genre…
The Killers (1946), and Criss Cross (1949).
Here I discuss these two intriguing and well disciplined films, both produced by Universal and both directed by Robert Siodmak. Siodmak like the other German emigre directors Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, and Otto Preminger dominated the field of Film Noir. Robert Siodmak’s Noir credits also include Phantom Lady (1943), Cry of the City (1948), and The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), but his single Oscar® nomination was for The Killers based loosely on the Ernest Hemingway short story of the same name.
The Killers, opens as a pair of hired killers drift into a small New Jersey town with the intention of gunning down a local gas station attendant named Swede, Burt Lancaster in his film debut. The Killers await their prey at the local diner. When he fails to appear as scheduled they locate the boarding house where he lives, force their way into his room where he stoically awaits them. Making no attempt to escape, he is killed in a blaze of gunfire. His final words, “I did something wrong—once.” The film unfolds with similar disconnected flashback techniques used earlier in Citizen Kane (1941), and masterfully applied here. Read more