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Interviews: Articles


The Evolution of Film Sound Technology: Q&A with 'A Century of Sound' Co-Creator Robert Gitt

Hal Roach looks on as technicians install Vitaphone equipment in his studio screening room, ca. 1928. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) 'A Century of Sound': Q&A with former UCLA Preservation Officer Robert Gitt about the evolution of film sound technology Long before multi-track Dolby stereo and digital sound technology, there were the Kinetophone and the Vitaphone systems – not to mention organ and piano players at movie houses. Much of that is discussed in A Century of Sound, which chronicles the evolution of film sound from the late 19th century to the mid-1970s. A Century of Sound has been split into two parts, with a third installment currently in the planning stages. They are: Vol. 1, “The Beginning, […]


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The Evolution of Film Sound Technology: Q&A with 'A Century of Sound' Co-Creator Robert Gitt



British Cinema and Hollywood - 'A Special Relationship': Q&A with Anthony Slide

Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman: The 'Notorious' British (Hitchcock, Grant) and Swedish (Bergman) talent. British actors and directors in Hollywood; Hollywood actors and directors in Britain: Anthony Slide's 'A Special Relationship.' 'A Special Relationship' Q&A: Britain in Hollywood and Hollywood in Britain First of all, what made you think of a book on “the special relationship” between the American and British film industries – particularly on the British side? I was aware of a couple of books on the British in Hollywood, but I wanted to move beyond that somewhat limited discussion and document the whole British/American relationship as it applied to filmmaking. Growing up in England, I had always been interested in the history of the British […]


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British Cinema and Hollywood - 'A Special Relationship': Q&A with Anthony Slide



Charles Brackett Diaries: Gay Rumors Quashed, Troubled Billy Wilder Partnership

'Sunset Blvd.,' with Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond: Final Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder collaboration. The Charles Brackett Diaries: Gay Rumors quashed, troubled Billy Wilder partnership discussed in Q&A with Anthony Slide See previous post: “Charles Brackett Diaries: Politics and Gossip During the Studio Era.” First of all, how did you become involved in this Charles Brackett project? And what did your editorial job entail? I discovered the diaries about six years ago when I was asked by Brackett's grandson, Jim Moore, to place a financial value on them during the process of his donating them to the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was clear to me that these diaries had not […]


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Charles Brackett Diaries: Gay Rumors Quashed, Troubled Billy Wilder Partnership



Bad Movies: 'Mommie Dearest,' Clint Eastwood Among 'Least Talented Directors'

John Travolta in the Scientology-inspired movie 'Battlefield Earth.' From John Travolta to Bob Dylan, from Ed Wood to Orson Welles: 'The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time' Phil Hall's The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time, tagged as a “new celebration of cinematic inanity,” was published by Bear Manor on Aug. 12, '13. According to the book's press release, the Greatest Bad Movies “are the films that inspire wonder” – of a unique variety: “You are left wondering how seemingly intelligent people could gather together and spend money to create such bizarre productions.” According to the author, among the most wonder-inspiring movies ever made are John Travolta's Roger Christian-directed Scientology-inspired megabomb Battlefield Earth; John Huston's sort of The Maltese Falcon […]


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Bad Movies: 'Mommie Dearest,' Clint Eastwood Among 'Least Talented Directors'



Film as 'Communal Exorcism': Q&A with 'The Most Fun I've Ever Had with My Pants On' Filmmaker Drew Denny

Drew Denny discusses The Most Fun I've Ever Had with My Pants On Filmmaker, performance artist, songwriter, actress, screenwriter Drew Denny's first feature film, the partly autobiographical The Most Fun I've Ever Had with My Pants On, was screened at this year's AFI FEST in Los Angeles. The film, a mix of road movie, (female) buddy comedy-drama, and, using Denny's expression, “communal exorcism,” follows friends Andy (Denny) and Liv (Sarah Hagan) – and Liv's dog (Chloe) – as they cross the American Southwest from Los Angeles to Austin, spreading the ashes of Andy's recently deceased father along the route. (Image: Drew Denny at AFI FEST 2012.) But why “communal exorcism”? Well, you'll find out why once you check out the […]


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Film as 'Communal Exorcism': Q&A with 'The Most Fun I've Ever Had with My Pants On' Filmmaker Drew Denny



D.W. Griffith 'The Birth of a Nation' Director: Q&A with Author Anthony Slide

D.W. Griffith Father of Film, controversial figure. To say that the movies wouldn't be what they are today without D.W. Griffith is probably inaccurate. I mean, someone – or “someones” – would have received credit for turning filmmaking into a major art form. Either way, Griffith, a movie director since the early 1900s, was a key player in cinema's maturation, as the movies evolved from the rudimentary “flickers” at the dawn of the 20th century to, well, just about every commercial, narrative effort released in the last century, from The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Ben-Hur to The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. D.W. Griffith star maker, controversial figure D.W. Griffith was also an active co-creator of what […]


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D.W. Griffith 'The Birth of a Nation' Director: Q&A with Author Anthony Slide



Male Impersonator Kitty Doner: Vaudeville History

Male impersonator Kitty Doner According to the Encyclopedia of Vaudeville press release, you interviewed a number of vaudeville stars. Could you share a couple of anecdotes? [See previous post: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF VAUDEVILLE Q&A with Anthony Slide: Vaudeville History.] I had the good fortune to talk with a number of vaudevillians: Milton Berle, George Burns, Fifi D'Orsay, May Foy (of the Seven Little Foys), Nick Lucas, Ken Murray, Fayard Nicholas (of the Nicholas Brothers), Al Rinker (of the Rhythm Boys), Rose Marie, Virginia Sale, Joe Smith (of Smith and Dale), Arthur Tracy, Rudy Vallee, Nancy Welford, and the brilliant Senor Wences (photo). I was really thrilled to find Kitty Doner, the most prominent American male impersonator of all time, and […]


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Male Impersonator Kitty Doner: Vaudeville History



Vaudeville History: Q&A with 'The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville' Author Anthony Slide

Vaudeville history: George Burns and Gracie Allen, The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville Vaudeville history in Anthony Slide's The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville. Vaudeville is now extinct – at least officially. But about a century ago and well into the '30s, vaudeville (under various names, e.g., musical hall, revues, variety shows) was a vibrant medium that attracted countless patrons each week in the United States and much of the world. Author and film historian Anthony Slide's The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, which focuses on American vaudeville, has recently been reprinted via the University Press of Mississippi. With more than 500 entries, Slide's tome discusses the lives and careers of entertainers and behind-the-scenes personnel, in addition to vaudeville terminology, its theaters, and wide range of […]


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Vaudeville History: Q&A with 'The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville' Author Anthony Slide





FILM ARCHIVES

Gavin Lambert Movies at LACMA
'The Hollywood Book of Breakups': Q&A with James Robert Parish
Fatty Arbuckle-Virginia Rappe Trial: Q&A with Researcher Joan Myers
Edmund Goulding: Q&A with Biographer Matthew Kennedy
Paul Scofield Dead at 86: 'A Man for All Seasons' Best Actor Oscar Winner
'Tell No One': Q&A with Guillaume Canet
'The Shifting Fog' aka 'The House at Riverton': Unbilled Miriam Hopkins on Kate Morton Book Cover
'Lemon Tree': Q&A with Eran Riklis
Federico García Lorca: Remains to Be Exhumed
'Twilight' Book Saga Among 'Most Challenged' & 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner'
Peter Facinelli & Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone & Ashley Greene: Expletives Explained
Daniel Radcliffe & Scarlett Johansson, Angela Lansbury: Tony Awards
Myrna Loy Biography: Author Emily Leider Discusses the 'Queen of Hollywood'
WGA Awards: 'The Dark Knight Rises' Out
Tony Award Nominations: Scarlett Johansson & Sigourney Weaver 'Snubbed'