Frederick Wiseman – Sinai Field Mission (1978)

SINAI FIELD MISSION shows the routine activities of the diplomats and electronics technicians who operate the U.S. Sinai Field Mission, the early warning system established in 1976 to help facilitate the disengagement between Egypt and Israel after the 1973 war. The major purpose of the Mission is to monitor the approaches to strategic passes and to verify the operations of the Egyptian and Israeli surveillance stations in the Sinai Buffer Zone. Continue reading

? – 1925 Studio Tour (1925)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Untitled and without any crew credits, this 32-minute silent documentary takes you on a tour of MGM in 1925, meeting the people who create the movies, and watching some of them do it. I found it fascinating, especially when some of the moviemakers were identified by the inter-titles. It was nice to be able finally to attach a face to some familiar names such as writers Agnes Christine Johnston, Jane Murfin, Waldemar Young and others who are identified and shown in closeups. I noted that Howard Hawks was included as a writer – he didn’t start directing until later. Less interesting were the showing of groups of unidentified crew members: about 50 cameramen lined up in a row, each hand cranking their cameras, seemed to serve no useful purpose. Unlike the writers, who were identified individually, the directors were all identified first in an inter-title, and the camera then panned across them standing in a row, but you could not tell which name belonged to which director. I did recognize Erich von Stroheim, but only because he was also a famous actor. When the actors and actresses were introduced as a group by inter-titles, it was much more fun, because identifying them became a game. I also saw three unlisted actors: Ford Sterling, William Haines and Sojin, and there are probably others. Continue reading

Otto Preminger – Such Good Friends (1971)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis from allmovie.com:

Based upon the novel by Lois Gould and adapted (under the pseudonym Esther Dale) by Elaine May, Such Good Friends focuses on Julie Messinger (played by Dyan Cannon), a woman with intense, often wild emotions that are held in check beneath a rather conventional façade. After her chauvinistic and self-centered husband Richard checks into the hospital for a simple mole removal that goes seriously wrong, Julie discovers that he has been titanically unfaithful to her. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and Julie decides it is time for her to break out of her shell, no matter what the consequences. She begins to exhibit a sexual interest in other men (sometimes indiscriminately, as when she seduces her family doctor, played by James Coco), and speaks her mind to others, including her egocentric mother (Nina Foch) and her hypocritical best friend (Jennifer O’Neill). — Craig Butler Continue reading

Christy Cabanne – Reggie Mixes In (1916)

http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/7594/vlcsnap2011082622h39m14.png

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Very early, rare Doug Fairbanks.

Douglas Fairbanks and Bessie Love, 28 January 2008

Author: drednm
Douglas Fairbanks started his film career in breezy little comedies that stressed his athleticism. REGGIE MIXES IN in a good example. Here he plays Reggie, a rich young man (he was 33) who oddly gets involved as a bouncer in a beer hall, a gang of thugs, and a love woman (Bessie Love). No much sense to the plot, rather a string of events loosely tied together and all aimed for Reggie to win the girl.

Fairbanks started in films in 1915 and right from the start, refused to play love scenes. So even in this 1916 film, Fairbanks and Love clutch but never kiss. He has a few terrific stunts, however, that keep this film surprising and brisk (at 47 minutes). Co-stars include Alma Rubens (hysterically named Lemona), Joseph Singleton (as the butler Old Pickleface), Lillian Langdon (as the aunt), and Frank Bennett (as Sammy the thug).

Reggie is the perfect character for Fairbanks in these early films because they allow him to polish his acting skills and presage his astonishing career as the swashbuckling superstar of the 20s, a career that combined his great athletic skills with a great sense of fun. Continue reading

Frederick Wiseman – Juvenile Court (1973)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

PLOT SYNOPSIS
From Allmovie
by Bhob Stewart

This 1973 Frederick Wiseman documentary, filmed at the Juvenile Court in Memphis, Tennessee, won the Columbia University School of Journalism’s 1974 Dupont Award for “Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.” In 144 minutes, Wiseman shows a wide variety of cases before the Memphis Juvenile Court, from child abuse and sexual offenses to armed robbery and foster home placement, and it examines such issues as the range and limits of choices available to the court, psychology of offenders, constitutional points, procedural questions, and community protection vs. the desire for rehabilitation. Continue reading

Cecile B. Evans – Hyperlinks or it didn’t happen (2014)

Hyperlinks or it Didn’t Happen questions the identity of the mediated subject. “PHIL,” a “bad copy” of recently deceased actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, narrates a procession of bodies generated or augmented by computers. The most alluring among them is the Invisible Woman, who—like the anti-hero of Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man—is invisible not because of magic but because she is unseen. She is a metaphor for all the women in the film: Yowane Haku, the synthesized, holographic pop star developed in Japan; AGNES, the bot that Evans was recently commissioned to embed in the Serpentine Galleries’ website; the Computer Girls, programmers in the 1960s; and Evans herself—all of them under-recognized workers who maintain the system that oppresses them. Continue reading

Douglas McGrath – Becoming Mike Nichols (2016)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Anyone who ever spent any time alone with Mike Nichols will tell you he was one of the most charming men who ever lived. I had that experience once, long ago, over a four-hour lunch. Thanks to HBO’s Becoming Mike Nichols, a splendid new documentary debuting on Monday night, everyone can have their own tête-a-tête. Most of this fine film is drawn from an extended conversation between Nichols and his good friend, theater director Jack O’Brien. Their talk took place in an empty – and then filled – Golden Theater, the Broadway venue where Nichols’ fame began, with An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May in 1960. The film is the product of a chance encounter between O’Brien and the writer Alex Witchel at a Manhattan dinner party in 2014. O’Brien told Witchel the celebrated director was looking frail and was never going to write a memoir. Wouldn’t it be great to capture his best memories before he was gone? Witchel repeated the idea to her husband, writer Frank Rich, who also happens to be an HBO executive. His bosses embraced the idea. O’Brien agreed to interview, Douglas McGrath was hired to direct, and within weeks they were off to the Golden. Four months later, Nichols died of a heart attack aged83. It was Nichols’ idea to do at least part of the interview in front of a live audience, and that makes his performance much more vivid than in any of his other filmed interviews. Continue reading