RIP Paul Walker: The Fans and the Furious

 

I enjoyed watching all Walker films. I think he was a talent actor and inspires me to follow my dreams. He is most popularly know for his role in the Franchise film, Fast and the Furious. Every fan is heartbroken over the loss of the fallen star. He started appearing in commercials as a child and went on to act in TV series.

The fans must be curious to see what will happen next. I have an idea with all do respect as long as the families don’t get furious.

Even after 6 films have been released, I cannot yet say I am sick of the Fast Franchise and I don’t want it to end. I think it would be a lovely tribute to Paul Walkers death to keep the ball rolling.
THE FAST FUNERAL. Opening with Walkers character Brian O’Conner’s funeral – The Fast Family; Torreto, Letty and the gang mourning over his death.
There are so many ways to go with this film, Best friend Torreto was told he died in a car accident but Torreto knows Brian’s driving and knows that’s not how it went down. Walkers character also left behind a son who can be grown up enough at this point to take dads place and help along the way. Or this could be the 8th film, continuing the films. The end is always left open to continue making more movies. There are so many ways to go with this movie. There are enough characters to keep going, as long as the quality of the film doesn’t die out. I heard on the radio that a special edition DVD is being released for christmas and the benefits will go to one of Walkers funds. Good Advertising? What do you think?

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Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk (1902), directed by Edwin S. Porter,  was an early example of what silent films originally were; taking pre-existing fairy tales and such, and adapting them to screen to exhibit.  The plot of film is the same as the original fairy tale, Jack goes out to sell the cow for money, gets magic beans, they get planted and grow into a beanstalk, Jack climbs it and finds a golden egg laying goose belonging to a giant, steals it, escapes and then cuts down the beanstalk.  There are a number of early editing tricks pioneered by Porter, including inserting one shot into the rest of the scene, as he does with the fairy that appears to Jack at night in his bedroom and shows him the top of the beanstalk in the giants lair.  The sequence where the beanstalk actually grows in frame was also a new trick employed by Porter in which he used successive stop motion shots strung together to create the onscreen illusion of a growing beanstalk.

The film is very representative of the films made at the time.  The filmmakers were still busy experimenting with what they could do with their cameras on screen rather than worry about writing elaborate stories to be played out on the screen.  Porter obviously was one of the men at the fore front of this as his movie is little more than an adaptation of some other work for him to use the camera to make new.  His use of dissolves and gradual shifting from scenes helped audiences follow complex movements from outdoor to indoor shots a little more smoothly.

The length of the movie was longer than most others at the time as Porter was working with Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company running his New York studios.  Those working with the MPPC had access to Latham Loops available in their cameras that could handle heavier, longer rolls of film, leading to longer films.  This allowed Porter to produce films with plots with enough depth to have introductions, climaxes and resolutions, lending to a more complete experience that audiences would grow to enjoy over time.  He was able to continue it with The Great Train Robber the next year.

His work in the film was similar to Georges Melies in France, whom he greatly admired.  Meliees work was mostly about editing and camera work than what was necessarily on the screen.  Most of it was more like magic tricks than filmmaking, which impressed Porter.

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Jaws

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Jaws (1975) is a breakthrough horror film directed by Steven Spielberg. The plot revolves around a community being terrorized by a man-eating great white shark and the men determined to stop it. Brody (Roy Scheider) is the chief of police for the community, enlists the help of marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and later veteran fisherman and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw). The three of them set out to hunt the shark since the mayor of the town is unwilling to shut down the beaches during the Summer holidays.

Despite often being categorized as a horror movie, it doesn’t follow many of the typical horror conventions and perhaps has more in common with the adventure\survivalist genre; films such as Deliverance (1972) or The Grey (2011) come to mind. There is no final girl, and past the opening scene which starts with the standard scene of teenagers partying leading up to the death of a promiscuous personage, there is little moralizing regarding, or acquaintance with the victims aside from one notable exception. The message this sends to the audience, which perhaps contributed to the fear factor above the standard horror film, is that anyone could be a victim. Whereas the usual horror film can often be analyzed critically as upholding morality and punishing transgressors of it through the construct of a monster, with Jaws nobody is safe. This is established when the second victim is an innocent child. The killings are indiscriminate, executed by a thoughtless, borderline mechanical creature; one that is not altogether singular or unique either. It is implied by both Hooper and Quint that while an exceptional specimen for sure, there are sharks out there that rival and perhaps even dwarf the size and ferocity of the great white that is the films unnamed titular character.

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Furthermore there is an added psychological element for the main protagonist, Brody, given his fear of the water. Though again, rather than toying with the concept such as Hitchcock perhaps would’ve been inclined to do (even if these issues have to be addressed eventually in all instances for the sake of plot resolution) it manifests more as perseverance and courage within Brody. Actually it has been said and is true that Spielberg did take inspiration for creating suspense from Hitchcock, and again if we are to make a distinction then suspense is different from horror. The main difference between Brody and a Hitchcock character however is that he is never crippled or made impotent by his fear. Combine the aforementioned with the character of Quint, whom is practically a modern day Ahab (I am far from the first to draw such a comparison), and despite the fear it may have induced in audiences upon it’s release it really does play out more in the spirit of an adventure than a horror film.

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The one horror convention it really adheres to is in drumming up suspense for its monster without actually revealing it. This it does quite well and we only glimpse the shark briefly as it claims it’s third victim, more than halfway through the film. Spielberg, and screenwriters Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb were all acutely aware that even with excellent special effects, a good monster movie must function similar to a burlesque. That is to say flirtatious and rife with implication but very slow on the reveal. That the imagination is more powerful than any physical image that can be presented.

At the time of its release, it was not common practice to release major movies during the Summer season, the presumption being that there would be a low draw as the movies had other activities and the weather to compete with. Jaws, chose instead to debut shortly before the 4th of July weekend when it takes place and to over-saturate television advertisements in the weekend prior to it. This, a gamble estimated to have cost an unprecedented $700k, paid off tremendously. The film went on to have a return of well over 1000% on it’s 9 million dollar budget. The initial domestic run drew in around $150m and it’s current worldwide box office draw stands at $470m. Quite the return!

The success of Jaws changed practices for the industry. It showed that Summer releases could indeed flourish. As (mostly) children of the ’80’s and ’90’s, we take for granted that major films are released during the Summer but prior to Jaws this was not the case. It also proved the effectiveness of media blitz advertising, and of advertising movies on television; another thing that is easily dismissed, taken for granted, and treated as a norm to this day. Lastly it also propelled Steven Spielberg, then an unknown with one prior (and at the time unreleased) film to his credit, well on his way into becoming a household name and industry icon.

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Jaws also had some curious effects beyond the world of cinema. It was so effective, in part due to the aforementioned portrayal of the shark as an indiscriminate man-hunter, and also due to Quints recollection of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (a real event), at capturing peoples imaginations and fears that after its release fear of shark attacks was widely disproportional to their likeliness or frequency of occurrence. Further still this triggered a wave of boisterous adventure-seeking men to go shark hunting as a macho endeavor and led to thousands of needless shark deaths. On the bright side, it also spurred interest in learning about sharks, since at the time of the films release little was really known about the creatures. (Perhaps also why people were so easily receptive to the mythos presented by the film.) Post-Jaws saw an influx of both funding and interested personnel into the field of marine biology, which while difficult to directly correlate is generally accepted as having been inspired by the popularity of the film.

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The Conversation

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The Conversation is a psychological thriller film from 1974 and it was written, produced, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  It stars Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert living in San Francisco. He runs his own surveillance company with his partner Stan, doing work for whoever hires them. Harry is also highly regarded by the other people in his profession.

He makes a point to say to people throughout the film that he doesn’t get involved with his cases. He just does the work he is hired to do and isn’t responsible for the content of his recordings or what his clients do with his recordings. Despite him saying this, he is actually feeling guilt over a past case of his that resulted in the murder of three people.

What is interesting about his character is that he is a surveillance expert and is consumed by his work but is obsessed with his own privacy. He has a triple lock on his door, uses pay phones to make calls, and tells people he has no home phone. This may be because he knows that there are other people like him out there who can spy on his life the way he does on people. The only part of his life not connected to his work or his privacy is his hobby of playing the saxophone.

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The case we see him work on throughout the film is the bugging of a conversation between this couple who are walking in San Francisco’s Union Square. A man called The Director hired Harry for this job. The more he listens to it trying to figure out what they are talking about, he becomes emotionally involved. He eventually is able to make out the man saying to the woman, “He’d kill us if they got the chance” and this really spooks him.

He goes to the hotel the couple planned to meet at and gets a room next to theirs and listens in on them. He hears an argument and starts panicking, runs out to the balcony, and hears screaming and sees a bloody hand. This is all too much for Harry and he collapses.

When he wakes up, it is suspiciously quiet. He manages to get into the couple’s room but nothing looks wrong. When he goes into the bathroom and flushes the toilet, blood pours out and he flees. At The Directors office, he is shocked to see the couple unharmed. This is when he starts connecting everything together. He realizes it was the couple who killed The Director. He misheard what they were saying on his tape. The man had actually said “He’d kill us if he had the chance” which means they wanted to kill him before he had the chance to kill them.

One thing that is hard to miss with this film is its use of sound. We constantly hear his tape of their conversation over and over to make the audience feel how he must feel when he has to listen in on strangers everyday. Eventually we can’t get it out of our heads, much like how Harry can’t. There is also this feeling that we are listening to this tape as if we were right next to Harry’s tape player and this is really effective in bringing out the uneasiness of the couple’s conversation. The score of the film is also very effective because it would always replicate Harry’s emotions at a given time and many scenes become more powerful because of this.

The scenes when Harry is working on his tape trying to figure out what the couple was saying was also very good use of sound. The use of distorted sound on the tape was really effective and innovative and it added suspense watching him slowly clean up the tape.

Coppola cited Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup as his influence making The Conversation.  This film came just two years after Coppola’s successful film, The Godfather, and he was actually working on The Conversation at the same time as The Godfather Part II, both of which ended up being released the same year.

One interesting fact about this film is that Coppola was shocked to find out years later that the film used the exact same surveillance and wire tapping equipment used by members of the Nixon Administration to spy on political opponents prior to the Watergate scandal. He said that the script for The Conversation was completed in the mid 1960s which was before the Nixon Administration came into power and that all the spying equipment was discovered through research. He noted that this connection was entirely coincidental but felt that since the film was released just a few months before Nixon resigned as President, that audiences saw the film as a reaction to Watergate and it played a big part in how the film has gained the recognition it’s received.

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The Lousy Archive that is YouTube

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I was a late adopter to YouTube. I never liked that it used only Flash to display its videos in its early days, making my over-clocked PowerBook get hot from watching a video. I also disliked the low default resolution of its videos. For years, the typical YouTube video had 360 lines of horizontal resolution, which was fine for watching on the web, but if you wanted to use it for close study, you were almost better off watching a VHS and certainly better off finding a DVD.

Over time, I began using it here and there for quickly locating films I hadn’t seen in years. For example, in my experimental film class, YouTube was useful for compiling a screening list. I could locate films I considered screening, and verify that they matched my memory of them. In this case, YouTube was a wonderful resource for teaching and research.

But today, YouTube reminded me how it can be a terrible resource for teaching and research. As a way to search for a specific video, it’s great. But treating it like an archive will disappoint you. It’s simply too impermanent to use as reliable teaching tool. Some videos are so evanescent—here yesterday, gone today— that they may as well have never have existed on the site.

On a WordPress site for my American Film Industry class, I posted separate entries for two films we referenced in the class. Each entry included a embedded video clip from YouTube. As I went to look for review those entries today, the two clips are gone.

The poster image for a clip from Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? on YouTube.

The poster image for a clip from Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? on YouTube.

The first entry included an embedded YouTube clip from a somewhat forgotten film, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957). The clip was of an “intermission” towards the end of the film, where the lead actor, Tony Randall, breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience. As US audiences of the 1950s abandoned the movie theater for the comfort of watching television at home, this forced intermission reminded audiences of the sacrifices television viewing demanded they make: a smaller picture, radio interference, vertical scroll, and snow. And of course, let’s not forget about the interruptions from advertisers, which are an object of satire in this film about advertising.

Although a poster image for the clip still appears on the blog entry, the embedded clip will not play. The error notice indicates that the clip was taken down because the “video contains content from Fox, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” Fox does indeed own the rights to the film, as the film was released by 20th Century-Fox and will hold the copyright until the middle of this century. But the clip hosted on YouTube allowed me to use it in accordance with fair use doctrine. My use of the clip was for comment and criticism and constituted only a part of my blog post, albeit an important part. The short clip on YouTube and my associated blog post could even serve as promotion for a forgotten film that could be resuscitated. Depictions of the American mid-century advertising industry might have been exploited some years ago. Instead, the clip was taken down, and the film will remain in obscurity.

I posted the second entry, on Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, to demonstrate the influence of the French New Wave on Bonnie and Clyde. The clip demonstrated the use of jump cuts in the film. As any student of cinema knows, Breathless popularized the use of the jump cut, and it gave young filmmakers of the 1960s a feeling of “breaking the rules.”Arthur Penn used it extensively, most noticeably in the opening sequence of the film when Bonnie Parker is filled with ennui in her room and becomes excited when a stranger comes to her home.

When I went to review the blog post, the clip was gone. YouTube indicates that the “video is not available in your country.” It’s seriously disappointing that the clip is gone because it robs my students the opportunity to see the nine jump cuts in a thirty-five-second sequence. To demonstrate this, I either have to search for another YouTube clip that will be undoubtedly be blocked in the future or resort to circumventing the copy protection on a DVD to extract that clip.

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Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?  was released in 1957. The film pokes fun at Hollywood and the ad industry, which was making millions of dollars off the growing revenue from television ads. The film also makes fun of Television and what it was doing to people in the 1950’s. Unlike many movies today, which are based on the past or the future, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?  Is based on its own time period.  It has received 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is great, compared to many recent or new movies that are out in theaters now. As a classic comedy, I expected to not understand many of the jokes, but they were funnier than usual comedies today. The reason the film is so funny is because it takes jabs at the film industry during that time.

 

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The film begins with Tony Randall introducing himself as Rock Hunter and his co-stars such as Betsy Drake and Jayne Mansfield and as TMC noted that as the opening credits are being shown alongside commercials of objects or appliances that are failing horribly. For example new detergent, but we see a woman being swallowed up by her washer machine as she tries to stop the “new” detergent from overflowing her machine. This is an example of a joke or jab the movie is taking, because in the 1950’s women were usually the ones who would be cleaning, stereotypically. These historical moments are taken lightly on film, leading to its contemporary culture of comedy in Hollywood.

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As the movie continues, we enter the life of Rock Hunter, who works for an ad agency named La Salle Jr., Raskin, Pooley, and Crocket, and supports and lives with his sixteen year old niece, Violet (Joan Blondell), who is obsessed with Rita Marlowe a famous actress in the movie (Jayne Mansfield),nearly playing herself. Now we see that Rock Hunter isn’t much of a respected agent, but he has an idea that will change everything. Since the company is on the verge of losing “Stay Put Lipstick,” the only way he can keep his job is if he finds a way to keep the company. Rock takes his niece’s idea which is to have Ms. Marlowe become the new spokes model, he goes over to her apartment to try to convince her, and instead he gets a big kiss from her. What leads up to this is why she kissed him, which basically is that she was trying to get her current boyfriend, another actor jealous. As IMDB states it “To save his career, an ad man wants a sex symbol to endorse a lipstick. But she wants something too: he has to pretend to be her new lover.” What Rita doesn’t know is that Rock is already in a relationship with his secretary Jenny. Or as cineaste.com puts it “The Fifties were full of secretaries sleeping with their bosses, deeply square men just discovering the work “OK.”  Which makes the comedy form of this movie of its own time period apparent.

Yet, Rock agrees to do anything for the company as long as he becomes Vice President. I see this as an important part of the film because it describes Hollywood, then and now. As Hollywood is about who’s with who, and where this famous person went or slept with. This sequence of the film goes there, the paparazzi starts to follow Rock Hunter and he becomes something of a sex symbol. It pokes fun The Beatles mop tops before they were The Beatles, as girls run around chasing Rock Hunter down the street.

The movie develops into a love triangle with Rock’s current girlfriend trying to become Rita Marlowe, even though she knows it’s a fake relationship out of pure business. This contemporary culture or even cult! Follows how women especially in the 1950’s wanted to be the cover girl of a magazine and it still stands true today. I see Jenny as a woman who is sure of herself until a celebrity tries to take her boyfriend away, and does everything including exhaust herself to keep Rock.

Though, I would think this movie would definitely impact Hollywood in a negative way, it doesn’t seem to do so. Hollywood stayed Hollywood after the release of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?  The real question is did Rock Hunter become spoiled? The answer is no! He realized how he couldn’t live without Jenny, the old story boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Rock retires with Jenny and Violet to work on a chicken farm. As As for Rita Marlowe she begins her TV special for  Stay-Put Lipstick, where she is surprised by the appearance of the show’s “surprise” guest star of (and the first real love of her life), George Schmidlap. And everyone lives happily ever after, like everybody in the 1950’s.

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On The Town

I have never seen Frank Sinatra in color before and his night “On the Town” a vibrant performance.  This movie was released on December 30th in 1949. Its genre can be classified a romantic comedy or a musical romance. I often make silly faces at musicals and find them tacky but not today. Being set in New York is what made me give it a chance; the first musical to be shot mostly on location as well. This film is about three sailors, Gabey, Chip and Ozzie; (starring Gene Kelly, Sinatra and Jules Munshin) who get to spend one adventurous day in the big city.

On the Town (1949)

The first romance started with a poster girl on the train of Miss Turnstiles, so the boys set sail in search of her and along the way they found some other interesting women themselves. Betty Garrett gave a memorable performance in her role as a pushy, seductive cab driver. Ann Miller played an anthropologist at a museum researching history which caused a prehistoric dinosaur disaster at the end of her musical number.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=J_x8lbFBLEII)

I really enjoyed the quality of the actors costumes because clothing is not made that way anymore. I specifically focused on the acting when watching this movie. The acting was good compared to other work in this time, usually completely unnatural. The estimated budget was 2,111,000 dollars according to IMDb (very useful for film majors).

This film came out around the time of technicolor. With the advent of sound in the 1930’s, Jon Lewis states that the romantic film comedy was shot and blocked as if it were onstage with little camera reframing. He also says they focus on the rich and ridiculous; at the time of the depression, these comedies were able to make the audience laugh and love again. This film was hysterical but I imagine it was much funnier the year it came out because of the references. The dialogue is un-natural compared to present talk. One special effect was the time of day (1:30) running across the screen to show the time of day.

This is one of the many giant MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) produced at this time. They first bought the rights to a stage musical and turned it into a movie. The memorable songs and frivolous dialogue made an impression on film history with girls beating up guys, women doing the getaway driving, and destroying a dinosaur at the museum. This represents post-war America with women taking on the role of men. The Movie Projector.com states that most of its original songs were rewritten.

It seems as if Hollywood thought they perfected this new birth of cinema before the war. 90 percent of movies total revenue was split between the “Big-Eight” and the would come out with about one feature film a week. This does not hold true today. In the 40’s, 60 percent of NYC population went to the movies about once a week. I try to go at least twice a month because it’s my escape from conventional life. After World War II things started to look up for the economy, building new houses and suburbs; along with Television. TV was easy and free after a long day at work so movies had to step their game up and reinvent hollywood. In 1948 the supreme court declared the big five a trust. (http://www.ealmanac.com/1843/numbers/the-big-five-movies-studios/) All the dirty little secrets of Hollywood were coming out (Hollywood Blacklist).

I have never likes musicals but I truly enjoyed this night “On The Town”. I immediately fell in love with Gene Kelly and his performance. The choreography was very precise but well done. A dance lead by Ann Miller was so entertaining. I sat there mesmerized by her tap shoes. The setting was a museum and there was a caveman who looked exactly like the sailor. They beat on drums and jumped around like prehistoric cavemen.onthetown3

My favorite song was “Your Awful”, a duet with Betty and Frank Sinatra and his lady. They started singing on top of the Empire State building and mention famous names like the Yankees and HOT DOGS! The lines starts off as insult’s but turn into compliments. It was interesting to watch them call each other awful names and say how he can’t stand her. It ends on the note “its awful nice to say your mine”. Coney island in Brooklyn was also in this film and it looks nothing like that today. Maybe it was just for the film but I couldn’t find any infomation on it so please feel free to comment on this if you know any better.

Around the same time, Film Noir was popular but opposite of these joyful musicals; they were dark (theyshootpictures.com). Technicolor enhanced all the colors of the film and noticeable locations. Costumes were cheaply made with Rayon and looked wonderful on screen. The plad in Millers dress looked better in this form. “The delicate textures are clearly shown” (archive.org:technicolor). This film would be much less interesting in black and white.

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Fun Facts from IMBd:  

  • Crew or equipment visible
Spectators can be seen watching the filming of the “New York, New York” number in Rockfeller Center (though it could be argued that the sight of three men in navy uniforms singing and dancing might attract attention, even in New York).

Near the end of “Prehistoric Man” when the dancing moves in front of the dinosaur, Claire’s mark can be seen on the floor.

  • Plot holes
When the boys are looking for clues on the poster in order to find Miss Turnstiles they find her likes and dislikes. The only problem is none of that is actually mentioned on the poster they have or any that the viewer sees.
  • Personal

When Gene Kelly dismisses the beauty of a passing New York girl, Jules Munshin asks, “Who you got waiting for you in New York, Ava Gardner?” Frank Sinatra was having an affair with Gardner at the time. HOW SHOCKING!!!!!!

Frank Sinatra, who was very thin, had to wear prosthetic padding to fill out the seat of his uniform. In a TCM interview, Ann Miller said that Sinatra was extremely sensitive about his padding and did not appreciate the usual movie set horseplay involving his lower half.
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The Jazz Singer

The movie, The Jazz Singer started off great because it showed passion from begining to end. especially in the way the Jack the boy performed in the saloon. It showed how he loves to share his voice even if it was place full of people drinking beer. Jack Robin was a talented young boy who caught the crowds attention with his voice. Jack started singing the Kol Nidre for the jewish holiday with his father. His father was happy to sing with him bcause it brought them closer as religious men. As Jack grew older their relationship was becoming more distant, especially when he ran away to follw his singing career. Jack even comes back as an older man and apologizes for his behavior. Nevertheless, this film showed power  from the father side as far as implementing rules in the house and wanting his son to sing for the holiday.  Power was also shown when the director of the broadway show was saying he starts work at a certain time and the show has to go on no matter the cause.The film also shows another part, sadness through the struggle between the Cantor and (The father) wanting his son to sing the Kol Nidre for the jewish holiday because he is to sick to sing. Jack’s father believes he should sing for God because it is only right as a man of God however, Al Jolson believes pursuing his dreams only comes around once. Jack’s mother is also sadden by Jack running away from home and fighting with his father about his sing talent. we see how his mother supports her sons passion for singing and doesnt try to stop him from leaving, she looks away not telling her husband. This slient film was great because it was black and white, and on certain parts a song was played or sung and a piano too. Jack’s a talented guy and the struggle between his faith, carrying tradition and stardom which was a hard decison for him to choose, but he chose his faith. Jack showed his committment to his father and this made his career grow because the director of the gig gives him another chance to pursue his dream of being on stage on broadway in New york City and as he sang for God he also fullfilled his singing career. Wikipedia stated ” The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the “talkies” and the decline of the silent film era. Directed byAlan Crosland and produced by Warner Bros. with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, the movie stars Al Jolson, who performs six songs. The film is based on The Day of Atonement, a play by Samson Raphaelson. The film depicts the fictional story of Jakie Rabinowitz, a young man who defies the traditions of his devout Jewish family. After singing popular tunes in a beer garden he is punished by his father, a cantor, prompting Jakie to run away from home. Some years later, now calling himself Jack Robin, he has become a talented jazz singer. He attempts to build a career as an entertainer but his professional ambitions ultimately come into conflict with the demands of his home and heritage.” it also adds that jack came home with love and was kick out of the house because of his the Cantor’s pride. we can all relate to this story because it represents us as children doing things that our parents didnt think it was wise to do because it went against family traditions. It also states that” Jack returns to the Rabinowitz home. He kneels at his father’s bedside and the two converse fondly: “My son—I love you.” Sara suggests that it may help heal his father if Jack takes his place at the Yom Kippur service. Mary arrives with the producer, who warns Jack that he’ll never work on Broadway again if he fails to appear on opening night. Jack can’t decide. Mary challenges him: “Were you lying when you said your career came before everything?” Jack is unsure if he even can replace his father: “I haven’t sung Kol Nidre since I was a little boy.” His mother tells him, “Do what is in your heart, Jakie—if you sing and God is not in your voice — your father will know.” The producer cajoles Jack: “You’re a jazz singer at heart!” At the theater, the opening night audience is told that there will be no performance. Jack sings the Kol Nidre in his father’s place. His father listens from his deathbed to the nearby ceremony and speaks his last, forgiving words: “Mama, we have our son again.” The spirit of Jack’s father is shown at his side in the synagogue. Mary has come to listen. She sees how Jack has reconciled the division in his soul: “a jazz singer—singing to his God.” then “The season passes—and time heals—the show goes on.” Jack, as “The Jazz Singer,” is now appearing at the Winter Garden theater, apparently as the featured performer opening for a show called Back Room. In the front row of the packed theater, his mother sits alongside Yudleson. Jack, in blackface, performs the song “My Mammy” for her and for the world.”

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Revue-MCA Buys Universal Pictures

Revue-MCA Buys Universal Pictures

 One historical moment in Hollywood was the buy out of Universal studios from MCA. This entertainment conglomerate tapped in all markets of the American film history influencing other conglomerates to buy out other media companies. MCA also known as Music Corporation of America was created as a talent agency focused on the dealing with dance bands in Chicago in 1924 that was lead by Jules Stein. MCA was in the music business and later tapped into TV and Film. In 1936 MCA hired Lew Wasserman as president and chairman and by 1948 stein gave up his operations that lead Wassermann to have total control of MCA and from there he made history expanding the company with TV and Film. These media companies made billions and also produced music from artist like King Oliver a jazz cornet player and bandleader and mentor to Luis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton who was a music arranger of jazz, jazz blues, Dixieland and swing in the 1923.

 

Although MCA had expanded from music, TV and film other corporations had made the same move in expanding like Gulf and Western buying out Paramount. Warner Bros. merged with Seven Arts Productions and then bought out by Kinney National Service that formed Warner communications, and TransAmerica Corporation bought out United Artist in 1967. After 1973 Stein Jules resigns from the company and from there more success grew from many record labels like ABC records, Paramount records, Dot records, Impulse records and GPR records.  As the years go by like the 70’s and 80’s by the 1990’s MCA a Japanese multinational conglomerate called Matsushita Electric buys out MCA but it doesn’t mean the end for MCA because they also invested in radio which was also another medium that expanded for MCA, but was finally bought out by Seagram’s Company Ltd.. In Wikipedia it states that “ In 1995, Seagram Company Ltd. acquired 80% of MCA from Panasonic and the following year the new owners dropped the MCA name; the company became Universal Studios, Inc. and its music division, MCA Music Entertainment Group, was renamed Universal Music Group. MCA Records continued to live on as a label within the Universal Music Group. The following year, G. P. Putnam’s Sons was sold to the Penguin Group.”  Its funny how MCA bought out universal and universal was revived by a liquor company. To conclude, MCA’s historical movement and expansion made an imprint in the American film industry, to influence other conglomerates like Warner bros. Paramount and Universal Studios Inc. to buy and sell media companies that exist and continue to create  great Music, TV shows and Films today.

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Why We Fight !

The historical moments shown in the film date back to 1941, right at the beginning of United States involvement in World War II. The graphic footage of carnage caused by Nazism and Fascism is  portrayed by director Frank Capra  as the evil that it was. The United States is clearly shown as the peaceful and proud nation that, until the unprovoked attack at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, had stayed out of the war. The film is a raw training guide for young new recruits to enlist and serve their country to protect our Nation’s freedom.

This film  has a very overwhelming approach about it. It jumps instantly into Europe and what has been happening there. The contemporary culture is shown to the viewer immediately- what is going on in the European nations and in Japan while the citizens of the United States are going about their daily lives.  Newsreel footage of Hitler rising in power in Germany, and Mussolini rising in power in Italy, give reality to the situation.   The  musical  score laid down for this film clearly shows the difference in tones. Anytime the film topic involved Germany, Italy, or Japan the music would change to a horrifying tone. When the United States or an Allied country appeared on the screen, the viewer was soothed by peaceful and uplifting music.

World War II needed films like this to show the citizens of a country that they can help make the difference, whether that be for good or evil. The Axis nations had films of their own to convince their citizens of the importance and righteousness of their causes in the War.  All wars are presumably fought for a reason.  Modern warfare is fought much differently, with seemingly less human casualty.  At this period in time, warfare relied heavily on manpower- the soldiers were the most important asset that any country had. The meaning of sacrificing one’s life to better their nation’s  future was an idea that had to be kept foremost in the soldiers’ mind in a positive and heroic way..

The meaning and importance of the film has changed over the years in some respects, but not in others. “Prelude to War” was the first of seven documentary films in the series “Why we Fight”  that Frank Capra produced for the Department of Defense.  The original intended audience was new military recruits, but the films were released to the public as well to gain support for the war and to show everyday citizens what was going on. In modern times, films are not needed to explain anything to the public, because with the technology that now exists (internet, etc), information is available almost immediately and people can form their own opinions almost instantly. This was not the case in the 1940’s, so these films presented information that people might not have, and also presented an opportunity to present the war in a favorable light.

The importance of the film nowadays is more as a history lesson and a lesson to learn from the past. It was interesting to see the film, with its’ antiquated newsreel images, effectively create an atmosphere of  horror at the events going on in Europe and Japan. The politics in the film, although they were from seventy years ago, seem very similar to our present times. The concept of  should the United States be the “watchdog of the world”, or should we maintain an isolationist policy, was recently seen in the events of the chemical warfare in Syria.

The film impacted the business practices of Hollywood, because it appealed to the audiences of the day.  Throughout the earlier years of World War II, with the United States on the sidelines, the movie industry had suffered because European nations had no interest in seeing American films. Many people in the United States were not going to the movies, either, because of the hardships of the Great Depression.    President Roosevelt created the Bureau of Motion Picture Affairs, which was supervised by the Office of War Information.  The studios themselves created the War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry.  The film industry did not become nationalized by the government, as it had been in many of the European nations, particularly Germany and Italy.  Many actors, directors, and others in the film industry joined the war effort by enlisting in the service, including Frank Capra himself.  The film industry a chance to show its patriotism and make films that would show the importance of participating in the war to preserve the freedom of the world.

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