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Joséphine de La Baume,
This is Not a Ball is a documentary that follows the creative process of acclaimed Brazilian artist Vik Muniz in the months leading up to the 2014 World Cup as he plans and creates a major new artwork made of 10,000 soccer balls.
Simon Bolivar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great. His army never conquered -- it liberated.
William K. Howard was given the task of turning a popular radio serial into a movie, and succeeded. A carefully-written script that actually paid attention to the way cases are tried was the first step. Some great support, particularly Skeets Gallegher and the always fascinating Zasu Pitts helps. A restless camera helps keep up speed, and some interesting sets -- particularly the nightclub set -- make this a fine movie, even if the leads, who became lovers more than twenty years later, had no memory of working together on this one.
I wish to call your attention, if you ever have the chance to see this movie -- it is very rare and the one print I saw was a 16 mm. print, blurry as you would expect -- to the swish cuts. A swish cut is when the camera starts to pan away, then the illusion of high speed movement starts and when the camera slows down it is panning into a new shot -- maybe a quarter second elapses. It adds tremendous excitement to a sequence and Howard uses a lot of them here.
Unhappily, a lot of editing techniques for shot changes were on their ways out. By about 1935, Hollywood had settled on the now-standard techniques, except for a few movies which attempt to evoke the older movies. A loss to film grammar, but what can we do about it now, except to enjoy these techniques when we see them?
May 20 2010: I just noticed a modern use of the swish cut: any Doctor Who fan out there should take a look at Season 5 Episode 4 for the use of one, four minutes into the proceedings.
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