This outstanding new history of black filmmakers is available for free! It includes everything from Hollywood classics (Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier as the first black performers to win Oscars) to the unsung innovators like Oscar Micheaux, who responded to the racism of D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” with “Within Our Gates, the pioneers of the Blaxploitation era, and Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” winning the Best Picture Oscar. The #Oscarssowhite protests, Motown’s Berry Gordy’s films like “Lady Sings the Blues” and “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings,” and Tyler Perry establishing his own (wildly successful) studio. Highly recommended!
Bonham’s Auction: Hollywood Treasures from Mitzi Gaynor, William Wellman, and More
Posted on December 8, 2019 at 9:59 pm
Bonham’s has a dazzling array of Hollywood treasures for sale in their latest auction, including Mitzi Gaynor’s costume collection, artifacts from “Gone With the Wind” (you can get an annotated screenplay, costume sketch, Scarlett’s necklace, Rhett’s vest, or even Margaret Mitchell’s contract with MGM!), and the bodice from Theda Bara’s “Cleopatra” costume! There’s an “Adventures of Robin Hood” book signed by the cast, Paul Henreid’s jacket from “Casablanca,” a dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck and Teresa Wright in two different films, a vest worn by Bob Hope in “The Princess and the Pirate,” and a prop poster for “Springtime for Hitler” from “The Producers.” There’s even a pair of Darth Vader gloves from the original “Star Wars” (now known as “A New Hope”).
The only think I love to watch as much as a great movie is some behind the scenes looks at great movies. The films in “The Movies That Made Us,” a new Netflix series that is a spin-off of their popular “The Toys That Made Us,” may not be “great,” but they are deliciously watchable and deeply beloved, including “Home Alone,” “Die Hard,” and “Dirty Dancing.”
My friend and fellow critic Scout Tafoya has written my favorite piece of movie criticism I’ve read in a long time. I have mixed feelings about Martin Scorsese’s new epic film, “The Irishman,” but the part I liked best is exactly what he describes here.
Fear of death and refusal of old age in movie-making are as old as the moving image itself. Movie stars date appallingly young, and directors sew bone-deep terror of mortality into their images. Film critic André Bazin famously defined the ontology of cinema according to its “mummy complex,” its embalming of time and space. And true to form, something uniquely bizarre occurs when film directors near the death at which they’ve been thumbing their nose by preserving slices of life for one and all to experience. The “late film” has become a class unto itself: what happens to your work if you know this will be one of the last times you point a camera at someone and yell, “Action!”?
It’s a pleasure to read, so wise about movies and about life.