The Death Knell For Silent Films.
Al Jolson’s first lines “Wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothing yet!” presciently described the future of cinema.
American Film Institutes Ranking: #90
Academy Awards: Was ruled ineligible for top awards at the 1st Academy Awards (1929) because so many silent films would be displaced.
Jazz Singer has two reasons for its present day notoriety: it was the first ever feature-length talking film; it uses a lot of black face by Al Jolson.
What gets lost between these two things is that the film content itself is surprisingly good. The story is a basic father vs. son/conservative vs. liberal retelling that’s told from a Jewish heritage perspective. The twist makes it different and meaningful. Interspersed are song numbers by Al Jolson that still resonate.
A review of this movie requires a lot of history and cultural perspective. Here we go.
Continue reading “Top 100 Movie Review: #90 – The Jazz Singer (1927)”
The Epic & False Historical.
A combustable mixture of Classic Hollywood with Southern Glorification, Gone with the Wind provides insight into the Lost Cause narrative.
American Film Institutes Ranking: #4/100
Awards: Nominated for thirteen (13) winning eight, including Best Picture, Director and Actress.
This movie has a lot of angles to consider. It requires an ability to shape shift, consider all the different frames of reference, and sift through what you find.
It needs to be blasted for being a racist, vile attempt at creating lament for an unjust society, falling into the category of propaganda. It’s cultural significance also cannot be denied; across all releases, it is estimated to have sold 200 million tickets in the US and Canada. This view of Southern Gentility was a widely-accepted technique used by many Southerners to help reinterpret and redefine their society, however false the narrative. Then, you have the actual story of Scarlet O’Hara, a 1930s feminist-infused protagonist dropped anachronistically into an earlier time.
This leaves this Hollywood Golden Age film, with the symphonic music, gorgeous sets, and memorable cinematography, held in abeyance: what place should it hold now?
Continue reading “Top 100 Movies Review: #4 – Gone with the Wind (1939)”
Electric Writing and Powerful Characters
“There are people in the world for whom “coming along” is a perpetual process, people who are destined never to arrive.”
Somehow as a senior in high school, they decided that it was a good idea to have school only every other day. I was taking community college classes at night, so they put all my other classes a on an “A” day, which left me with way too much free time. Outside of Madden ’06, Star Wars: Jedi Knight II, and creating a 20×20 mural for the prom theme of a Midsummer Night’s dream, I did a lot of reading.
I’m not even sure how I found Go Tell It on the Mountain back then, but I remember it being a good read full of fiery language had a bizarre ending.
That opinion still stands.
James Baldwin was born in 1924 and grew up in Harlem with a preacher step-father. He ended up moving and living in Paris as he wanted to get away from american racism as well as homophobic culture. Go Tell It on the Mountain can be viewed as a semi-autobiography as the protagonist, John, grows up in Harlem himself in a religious household as Baldwin weaves themes of gender and sexuality into the story.
Continue reading “Top 100 Book Review: Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin (1953)”