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13th Annual Los Angeles Film Noir Festival Week 1

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 2, 2011 12:30pm | Post a Comment

It's lucky 13 for us in LA as the Film Noir Foundation is offering quite an unusual batch of films this year.  Last night kicked off the festival with newly struck prints of Audrey Totter in High Wall and a recently restored Anthony Mann obscurity Strangers In The Night.  Tonight's offering is a prison themed double starting off with Jules Dassin classic Brute Force. Well known for its ensemble cast, it features a particularly stellar performance from Hume Cronyn as the sadistic Capt. Munsey. Paired with Brute Force is Jack Palance vehicle House of Numbers, which features vintage San Quentin locations and Tim
othy Carey of Killing of a Chinese Bookie, the Killing & World's Greatest Sinner fame.
 
Sunday brings a couple of unearthed gems in Whiplash and The Hunted, neither on DVD.  In fact, 6 of the first 10 movies in this year's lineup are not available on DVD! Wednesday offers the murderous combination of Humphrey Bogart as a psychotic artist in the Two Mrs. CarrolsOlivia De Havilland in a dual role as twins accused of murder in The Dark Mirror. Thursday rounds out the first week with Charles McGraw as a murderer on the lam in The Threat & Joan Crawford as a gangster losing her eyesight in This Woman is Dangerous.  Promised to be "Joan at her Joaniest," what more could you ask for?!


13th Annual Film Noir Festival @ the Egyptian Theater
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028-4605
(323) 466-3456

All shows start at 7:30

Saturday April 2nd- Brute Force / House of Numbers
Sunday April 3rd- Whiplash / The Hunted
Wednesday April 6th- The Two Mrs. Carrols / The Dark Mirror
Thursday April 7th- The Threat / This Woman Is Dangerous
Friday April 8th- Journey Into Fear / The Bribe
Saturday April 9th- Loophole / Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye


 


Whiplash Trailer (1948)

(In which we swing down, sweet chariot stop and, let me ride.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 31, 2011 12:42pm | Post a Comment
Note her cheerful, colorful clothing!

I take the bus to and from work at Amoeba Music, and rarely do I disembark without witnessing something story-worthy. Unfortunately, these stories usually fall under the “horror” genre. Occasionally I tell them to the boyfriend, but usually I tell no one, because even remarkable things become forgettable when they happen constantly.

The above filmed snippet occurred on my way home after working a recent Friday. The elderly woman in the seat in front of me is flipping-off the many people, both locals and tourists, men, women and children, that swarm the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard at night. What everyone did that so riled the wrinkly rider remains a mystery. Later on in our journey, when the bus stopped in front of an assisted living establishment, she began gesticulating again, only this time she waved (to no-one – there was no-one standing outside the building) and crossed herself like a good Catholic. In-between these two fits of cursing/blessing, she simply sat and sniffled into her small stash of tissue, kept clutched in her claw. Aww.

If I was a smarter writer, I would simply ride these buses daily and record the many scenes I see. As it is, I stuff my Skullcandy earbuds Eustachian tube deep (often vainly), trying to block out all external noise with sweeter sounds such as these:

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OMG! Look What the Cat Dragged In!

Posted by Kells, January 26, 2011 01:08am | Post a Comment
I don't know about you but when I was thirteen years old this is what I thought rock 'n' roll looked like:
Hardly petal fresh but definitely party pretty! Poison celebrates their 25th anniversary this year and rumor mills are a-spinnin' that Bret Michaels is intent on putting together a commemorative tour with a reluctant Mötley Crüe who, at 30 years of "togetherness," accuse Michaels of "trying to will" the bill into being. And why not? It's a dreamy match up of iconic glam-rockery and bitchy cocksureness the likes of which RuPaul's Drag Race can only boast, and don't we know Ru can put on a show! But I digress..

Even if the Crüe doesn't fit, I hope Poison still moves ahead with their tour and, if they have any imagination what-so-ever as to what their audience of once-thirteen-year-old girlies want, they had better play right through all thirty-eight glorious minutes of their recently reissued (on 180 gram vinyl housed in deluxe gatefold, no less) debut LP Look What the Cat Dragged In. The record once described by Michaels as a "glorifed demo" spawned four singles (and, after almost a year of climbing, peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts in 1987, how lucky! Like Mötley Crüe, Poison originally formed under a crap name (Paris; in Mötley Crüe's case, Christmas) and changed it to a lesser crap name after moving from Pennsylvania to Hollywood, where they met their future ("reality") star guitarist, Brooklyn native C.C. DeVille (who apparently won out over Slash in auditions due to personal preferences concerning wardrobe; you know, stilettos over moccasins). Though possibly best known for the sleazy, erectual frustration of songs like "Talk Dirty To Me," "I Want Action" and "Want Some, Need Some," not forgetting the corny "I Won't Forget You" slow jam, Look What the Cat Dragged In serves up more than just a teased tumbleweed of ambition which, given their swift success, surely pissed off a lot of the competition. To revisit Ru, I believe this record to be a portrait of the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent a certain kind of musician had to harness --- however desperate, ripped-off or closeted --- in their quest to make a name for themselves in the unforgiving 1980's Hollywood rock scene, namely "glam." The video for Poison's debut single from Look What the Cat Dragged In, "Cry Tough," is a slice of Hollywood glam zeigeist unparalleled in every aspect -- check it out (p.s. did these guys love Van Halen or what?!):
 

Red Wing and Young Deer, the First Couple of Native American Silent Film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 20, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Cast and Crew Members at Inceville in Santa Monica, circa 1915

Before the emergence of Hollywood and the studio system, moviemaking was something of a free-for-all, open to anyone that could afford it. In the US, that privileged group was almost exclusively white and male. Roles for minorities were usually crudely stereotypical, minor, and liable to be played by a white actor in yellowface, brownface, blackface or redface. As a result, some minority figures attempted to start their own alternatives. In 1916, Oakland resident Marion Wong made the first example of Asian-American Cinema with The Curse of Quon Gwon. A few years later, Anna Mae Wong and Sessue Hayakawa began making films. In 1918, John Noble invented Black Cinema with Birth of a Race. He was soon joined in his endeavor by Oscar Mischeaux.

In the Land of the Head Hunters movie poster 

True Native American cinema beat them both by almost a decade. The mainstream view of Natives at the time was generally less murderously hateful than those of contemporary Asians and blacks (or the Natives' ancestors). In fact, Natives were widely adored and fetishized, what Frank Chin would later term “love racism." Natives, regardless of reality, were reduced to mere metaphors and symbols… for stoicism, honor, strength, &c. Edward S. Curtis's 1914 In the Land of the Headhunters and Robert Flaherty's 1922 Nanook of the North have little to do with reality, but did reflect well-meaning white men’s attempts to portray their subjects with some respect, even if it meant they had to fictionalize and stage everything.


Red Wing, Young Deer and cast members

However, beating them to the punch was a member of the Ho-Chunk nation, James Young Deer. Red Deer was born in Dakota City, Nebraska in an unknown year. He was already a showbiz veteran by the time he got into film, having previously performed with the Barnum and Bailey circus and the Miller Brothers' 101 Ranch Wild West Show. In 1909, the New York Picture Company established their western imprint, Bison Motion Pictures, in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Edendale, then the center of west coast film production. Fred J. Balshofer was put in charge and Young Deer directed the first Native American film with 1909’s The Falling Arrow. Young Deer also co-starred in the picture, along with his wife, Red Wing.

  

Red Wing was born Lillian St. Cyr on February 13th, 1883 on Nebraska's Ho-Chunk Reservation to a white father and a Ho-Chunk mother. When Lillian was four years old, her mother died. Red Wing and two of her siblings were sent off to pro-assimilation schools. Red Wing went to Carlisle Indian Industrial School; her siblings Julia and David attended Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. On April 9th, 1906 she married James Young Deer. Working together behind and in front of the camera, the couple began working on films that addressed racism, assimilation, miscegenation and cultural clashes between whites and reds. That year, they also worked on For Her Sale; or, Two Sailors and a Girl and Red Wing's Gratitude (both 1909). 

France’s Pathé Frères, in a bid for greater authenticity, hired Red Wing and Young Deer in 1910. They worked primarily in New Jersey until Red Deer became head of Pathe's West Coast studios. In Los Angeles, they were also in demand as actors. Cecil B. DeMille chose Red Wing to star in 1914’s The Squaw Man, the first feature-length picture shot in LA. 

In the 1910s, the moviemaking landscape was changing. William Selig moved from Edendale to Lincoln Heights and opened a zoo. Nestor Studio opened in Hollywood. Over the next two years, so did more than a dozen other studios. Red Wing continued acting, appearing in over 35 films between 1909 and 1921. 

Young Deer continued to direct and act. He directed White Fawn's Devotion: A Play Acted by a Tribe of Red Indians in America Under Both Flags, The Red Girl and the Child, A Cheyenne Brave, An Indian's Gratitude, Cowboy Justice and The Yaqui Girl (all 1910); Red Deer's Devotion (1911); The Squaw Man's Sweetheart and The Unwilling Bride (both 1912); The Savage (1913); Who Laughs Last and The Stranger (both 1920); and Lieutenant Daring RN and the Water Rats (1924).


He acted (often for Balshofer) in The True Heart of an Indian, The Mended Lute, Red Wing's Gratitude and Young Deer's Bravery (all 1909); The Ten of Spades; or, A Western Raffle, Young Deer's Gratitude, The Cowboy and the Schoolmarm, The Indian and the Cowgirl, The Red Girl and the Child and Young Deer's Return (all 1910); Red Deer's Devotion and Little Dove's Romance (both 1911); The Unwilling Bride (1912); Against Heavy Odds (1914); Under Handicap (1917); and Man of Courage (1922).

Red Wing and Young Deer's film careers were mostly over by the 1920s. Young Deer worked in France, making documentaries between 1913 and 1919. Red Wing worked as a college lecturer and civil rights activist. During the 1930s, Young Deer worked occasionally as a second-unit director on B-movies and serials. He died in New York City in April 1946. Red Wing died on March 13th, 1974.
  
Of the young, minority cinemas, only Black Cinema continued to prosper through the rise and fall of Hollywood, in part because there was a large black film-going audience who craved an alternative to Hollywood’s viciously demeaning portrayal of their people. With much smaller audiences, depictions and roles for Native Americans, like Asians, were completely co-opted by Hollywood for the next 50 or so years. For half a century, Natives in Hollywood existed almost exclusively within westerns, with rare exceptions like The Exiles (1961) and Through Navajo Eyes (1972).


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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Los Feliz, The Mideast Side's Pill Hill

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 16, 2010 12:00pm | Post a Comment


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Los Feliz

Los Feliz is a neighborhood in Los Angeles' Mideast Side and Hollywood area, neighbored by Beachwood Canyon, Griffith Park, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Franklin Hills, Sunset Junction, Little Armenia, Thai Town and Franklin Village. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities, vote here.

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