Between 1945 and 1957 Elia Kazan directed 10 critically acclaimed motion pictures. He won Academy Awards as best director for Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), and On the Waterfront (1954). He was nominated for best director for two other films during that period, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), and East of Eden (1955). Kazan also directed two of the most profound and influential dramas in Broadway history, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), and The Death of a Salesman (1948). His novel The Arrangement, published in 1967, became a best seller.
Kazan came to the fore during the post-World War II years, arguably the most controversial period in Hollywood history. His films of the period contributed much to the reputation of 20th Century Fox, and augmented further the luster and brilliance of Darryl F. Zanuck. Kazan, nicknamed “Gadge” was one of the great directors of his time. His post-war films remain as powerful and compelling as any produced in America. For a period of 12 years Elia Kazan had no peer! Read more
That Edward G. Robinson never got the Oscar he so richly deserved, noting especially his chilling performance as Wolf Larsen in The Sea Wolf, is a pity! He must be regarded as one America’s finest film actors. In Caesar Enrico Bandello, he created the prototype for the modern American movie gangster. For the wonderful memories he gave me, this post if dedicated. Information about Eddie is extremely difficult to obtain. Any additional information on Edward G. Robinson is welcomed here.
Emanuel Goldenberg, forceful, authoritative character star of Hollywood films, memorable for his tough impersonation of gangster boss Rico Bandello in Little Caesar (1930) and many other characterizations of underworld types in Warner’s crime cycle of the 1930s. In the US from age–10, he grew up on New York’s Lower East Side and gave up plans to become a rabbi or a lawyer in favor of acting during studies at City College, where he was elected to the Elizabethan Society. He won a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and, changing his name to Edward G. (the G. for Goldenberg) Read more
The motion picture industry most likely began in Los Angles in 1902 when Thomas L. Tully opened the first theater exclusively for moving pictures. From its earliest days, when movies were thought of as peep shows, the Negro was presented in an unfavorable light.
The year 1915 is a significant date in motion picture history. This is the year of the release of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, the film version of Thomas Dixon’s pro South, Ku Klux Klan, novel, The Clansman. In terms of advancement of the medium, it must be regarded as one of the most significant films ever made. Subsequent to its release, movies were crude at best, with uneven lighting and quick jerky movements, the acting, melodramatic and exaggerated. From an artistic and technical outlook, it was a masterpiece of conception and structure. Though much has been written about it’s overt racism, it gave rise to the modern narrative film.
The Reconstruction scenes in The Birth of a Nation are especially harsh. The black members of Congress are portrayed as arrogant, lustful, and are shown drinking heavily right on the House floor. They are depicted going about the business of the country coarsely reclining in their congressional chairs, with bare feet plopped upon their desks. When the film was released small riots broke out in Boston, and other cities. Read more
If the 1954 film, On the Waterfront is not the best American film ever produced, it is without doubt among the ten best post—World War II American films. It was nominated for 12 Oscars, and won 8 including Best Picture. It is ranked the 8th Greatest American film of all time by the American Film Institute. The idea for On the Waterfront began with an expose series written for The New York Sun by reporter Malcolm Johnson. The 24 articles won Johnson a Pulitzer Prize, and coupled by the April 1948 murder of a New York dock hiring boss, awakened America to the killings, graft and extortion that made up everyday life on the New York waterfront. The protagonist Terry Malloy’s fight against corruption was in part modeled after whistle—blowing longshoreman Anthony DiVincenzo, who testified before a real—life Waterfront Commission on the facts of life on the Hoboken docks and was to a degree ostracized for his deeds. DiVincenzo sued and settled, many years after, with Columbia Pictures over the appropriation of what he considered his story. DiVincenzo recounted his story to writer Budd Schulberg during a month—long session of waterfront barroom meetings—which some claim never occurred—even though Shulberg attended Di Vincenzo’s waterfront commission testimony every day during the hearing. Read more
Femme fatale—is defined as “an irresistibly attractive woman, especially one who leads men into danger or disaster”. To me the most engaging semblance of a “femme fatale” is the stunning image of Lana Turner, as the camera pans from her ankles upward in that breathtaking shot from The Postman Always Rings Twice 1946. Read more