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This homage to the childhood days of the motion pictures starts in 1910, when the young attorney Leo Harrigan by chance meets a motion picture producer. Immediately he's invited to become a writer for him - the start of a sensational career. Soon he's promoted to a director and shoots one silent movie after the other in the tiny desert village Cacamonga with a small crew of actors. But the competition is hard: the patent agency sends out Buck Greenway to sabotage them. When they visit L.A., his crew is surprised by a new species: fans! Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
As Peter called it his Director's Cut and this was also a World Premiere. It was completely in black in white in a movie theatre for the first time ever. PB said he hadn't seen it ever on the big screen in this new and preferred way either. What a wonderful ode to the way that it was back in the 1910's.
I laughed frequently to the gags, film in-jokes, and silent film style action. Period detail was fun to see with the clothing, cars, white face for silent scenes, and silent inter-titles between scenes. All around this is one of those fun movies that's filled with a lot of info layered into the story. Even more so to those fans that know what it took to create and record performances on the first motion picture film stocks. The film score by Richard Hazard sounded like it was lifted from one of the Keystone Kops films. The cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs was superb. I loved the closing credits sequence showing a studio of glass with bright lights at night and showing the filming of soldiers marching through the set and then coming outside to go around again and again. The level of authenticity was undeniable and enjoying both at the same time. A Rare Feat.
Within the film it would show people watching silent films and what it took for those employees of that theatre to recreate with the in house orchestra and sound / special effects to be heard alongside the audibly silent film performance.
I miss John Ritter, Jane Hitchcock was gorgeous, James Best in his western garb, George Gaynes (the Commandant who got blown away in Police Academy 1), Harry Carey Jr, M. Emmet Walsh, Brian Keith, and the juicy Stella Stevens.
* Before the movie started there was a Q&A. Among the facts before the screening were these: Peter stated that the studio wouldn't let him use Cybil for this film (even though it was written only for her) or that if she would do Nickelodeon they would NOT let her do Taxi Driver. Also Peter wanted to go with Jeff Bridges in Burt's role.
That the then head of Columbia said it would be OK to film it in color and then we'll let you release it black and white. The studio also forced him to remove a scene of Ryan romancing Ritter's girl Stella. It was nothing more than Ritter seeing Ryan go into Stella's room and close the door. Ritter in that moment had Tatum at his side.
The copy we saw last night was on a Beta type tape. So there was a delay of perhaps 15 seconds in the theatre for switching the tapes. It came from the acting Columbia library mgr within the last few months. PB had only seen this print once before at Quentin Tarantino's house. QT has the gadgets necessary to play this apparently rare type of Beta stock. QT's quote for last night's theatrical screening was "It's F'ing Rad"; although QT was not in attendance.
Peter said that he hopes that there will be a future director's cut release onto DVD here in the states. As the abused Columbia release is so far only on DVD in the UK. I told him I'd love to hear his commentary for the movie. What a movie!!!
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