Lost in the Movies: THE ARCHIVE Chapter 13: Video Dreams (September - November 2011)

THE ARCHIVE Chapter 13: Video Dreams (September - November 2011)

I always wanted my online work to not just be about cinema, but to incorporate cinema into itself; after all, despite having a text-only blog in the very early days, I chose "The Dancing Image" as my title. This desire was fulfilled in the fall of 2011 when I transformed my site into a chronological survey of movie history through clips from my DVD collection - thirty-two chapters, seven or eight minutes each, containing a dozen or so glimpses of different areas, eras, and ethos. Not only did this scratch a visual itch, it also allowed me to embrace "the movies" not just as individual trees but a vast forest.

Subjects - aside from that video series - include visual, verbal, and video entries in a musical countdown, my first forays into the anime world of Neon Genesis Evangelion, a month devoted to Universal horror films, a second favorite characters list even more expansive than the first, and a rapid-fire video (posted as an afterthought) which became my most popular work in a matter of days.

That montage was extracted from the end of my highlight for this period, the video clip chapter To Become Immortal, and Then, to Die. 1969 - 1970 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 19 which captures the last years of a dynamic sixties cinema.


Autumn Forecast for The Dancing Image
Refreshed after a long summer of cinephilia (and no obligation to write about what I was seeing), I returned with a few new projects in mind

Nick Ray on Cinema Viewfinder
Announcing my participation in Tony Dayoub's third annual director blogathon

On Dangerous Ground
A Dostoevsky biographical anecdote introduces my review of this wintry noir

The 10th anniversary of September 11
Sharing pieces I'd written related to the Twin Towers and/or the 2001 attack

Opening the Archives - A Birthday Present for Wonders in the Dark
On the third anniversary of Wonders in the Dark, I paid tribute to that site's history and participants, as well as organizing their material into an archive

Revisiting Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood film in the midst of a personal journey through his whole filmography

Musical Countdown - The Gay Divorcee
Combining images from the "Night and Day" dance with Arlene Croce's written analysis

Beatific Apocalypse
It allllllllll returns to nothing... (a visual tribute to The End of Evangelion shortly after discovering the series/film)

Just because you are a character, STILL doesn't mean you have character...
Choosing sixty more characters/ensembles to add to the forty favorites I'd selected a quarter-decade earlier

The Big Picture: The Movies and Me
Reflecting on my cinephilia not long before my twenty-eighth birthday

"32 Days of Movies" begins tomorrow
Initiating a massive chronological film clip series, my first extended foray into video for the site


Dance of the Silents 1912 - 1926 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 1
Vampires glide into bedrooms, Babylonians parade down colossal stairways, abstract forms dance across the screens, and bugs spy on one another's sex lives (film clips)

Jazz Age Visions 1926 - 1929 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 2
Following the first flush of discovery when the miracle of movement itself held everyone thrall, great directors began pushing cinematic boundaries (film clips)

Singing, Dancing, Talking Pictures 1929 - 1934 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 3
Sound can be a royal belch, a scream echoing over the phone, a radio playing across the street, two gutteral gorilla growls, or the sublimely casual way someone asks, "Cigarette?" (film clips)

The Golden Ages 1935 - 1937 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 4
Barnyard concerts in eye-popping color, giant silhouettes dancing in sync, and swashbucklers vying for the attention of Olivia de Havilland (film clips)

Hooray for Hollywood! 1938 - 1940 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 5
America dominates this chapter, and by America we mean Hollywood, and by Hollywood we mean movie stars, and by movie stars we mean Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, and especially Cary Grant (film clips)

Storm Clouds Gather 1940 - 1942 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 6
In a quiet European cafe, a couple bicker and, by bickering, flirt. In another European cafe, the same couple is surrounded by a militant, threatening crowd. World War II hits the movies... (film clips)

Dreaming in Wartime 1943 - 1946 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 7
Sleeping on the eve of battle, napping at a cozy crime scene, climbing from beach to boardroom and chasing mirror-faced demons in dreams, awakened by flashlight on a dirt road (film clips)

Noir and Naturalism 1946 - 1949 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 8
Twin impulses, the dark subjectivity of noir and the clear-eyed observation of naturalism, characterized much of the cinematic world after the war (film clips)

A Violent Release 1949 - 1952 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 9
All but one clip (the extreme pacifist exception proving the rule) involves violence, terror, or war; unplanned but representative of the era's anxiety (film clips)

Frankenstein ("Fixing a Hole")
Launching my Fixing a Hole series for Wonders in the Dark with the theme of Universal Horror for October and a glimpse (sadly all that remains) of guest author Dennis Polifroni's piece

The Restless Fifties 1953 - 1955 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 10
Antsy energy resonates in widescreen movies and live television, the emergence of teen culture and rock 'n' roll (film clips)

An International Era 1955 - 1957 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 11
After a decade of fiercely agonizing over who and what was and wasn't "American," a renewed hunger for global culture coincides with an influx of "foreign films" (film clips)

The Wide View 1957 - 1959 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 12
Threatened by television, its brash younger sibling, American cinema had to grow up - and get big (film clips)

Sixties Rising 1959 - 1962 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 13
When did "the sixties" zeitgeist really begin? Every medium, every cultural outpost has its answer. As far as movies are concerned, the answer is crystal-clear... (film clips)

Runaway Cinema 1962 - 1963 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 14
Running toward, away, nowhere in particular...there was movement afoot and these films captured a spirit equal parts freewheeling and frustrated (film clips)

Tuning In 1963 - 1964 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 15
There's a new soundtrack too, as sixties youth culture gears up and popular music joins the cinematic party (film clips)

That Total Film 1964 - 1966 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 16
"So steeped in classical culture they fantasized it could be solid beyond its fragility, shaking it to the core...ushering in a world they could hardly live in" - Jean-Pierre Gorin (film clips)

The Black Cat
My own first entry in Fixing a Hole - Universal Horror Month reviews Edgar Ulmer's gloriously weird modernist horror

There's Something Happening Here 1966 - 1968 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 17
Black-and-white starts to disappear: from now on, just like that, color will be the default for every chapter; only the most obvious sign of a massive swerve as cinema hits the late sixties (film clips)

Shadow of '68 1968 - 1969 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 18
Modern existentialism with classical grandeur, radical style/extreme violence with familiar genre settings...the calm center conceals the storm (film clips)

To Become Immortal, and Then, to Die. 1969 - 1970 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 19
The closing visual surprise confirms the explosive end of an era, perhaps even a climax in cinema history (film clips)

Dispersed into the Seventies 1970 - 1972 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 20
These films branch off in different directions, "sharing" only a personalized pursuit of individual concerns (film clips)

Welcome to the Arthouse 1972 - 1974 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 21
Attendance at "art houses" thrived and even mainstream Hollywood was darker, more complex, and adventurous than ten years earlier (film clips)

Pray For Us Sinner 1974 - 1976 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 22
Watergate exemplifies U.S. disillusionment with itself and its institutions, but the country's misfortune was cinema's good fortune (film clips)

The Old Dark House
Within a year of Universal establishing the template for horror talkies they were already producing a meta-parody of the genre (my second entry in Fixing a Hole - Universal Horror Month)

'Neath the Marquee Moon 1976 - 1980 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 23
Blue lasers, moonshots, alien eyes, Manhattan as earthbound Milky Way: all provide an otherworldly feel - wish I could include Close Encounters and Eraserhead too! (film clips)

Searching For Answers 1980 - 1983 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 24
Simply uncanny, and unexpected, how many clips merge into a single theme, the quest for answers and the mixed messages one gets in return (film clips)

60 Years of Cinema (in 40 Seconds)
Can you spot all the films from a few frames? This little video - isolated and posted as an afterthought to a larger project - quickly became my most popular work until Journey Through Twin Peaks several years later

The Weird Eighties 1984 - 1986 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 25
Opens with three very mainstream releases, before going off in more esoteric directions, but even these early selections demonstrate the oddness of this decade (film clips)

Musical Countdown - 42nd Street
Hybrid written & video essay features prose and montage side by side, appropriate treatment for a musical countdown entry that balances backstage drama and transcendent choreography

New Age 1987 - 1990 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 26
A loosening, freshness, and spirit of wondrous inquiry blooms in popular culture...call it a curious mysticism (film clips)

A Dark Dawn 1990 - 1993 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 27
The early nineties, a time of Dickensian extremes: hope and promise alongside frustration and worry (film clips)

Musical Countdown - An American in Paris
My last entry in Wonders in the Dark's 2011 genre countdown, a joyful song-and-dance show haunted by the shadow of a recent war

Pulp and Popcorn 1993 - 1995 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 28
I remember this time well; I was ten in the fall of '93, combing weekly listings, studying box office reports, wandering down the hallway of coming attractions posters (film clips)

Name That Film
Identifying all the clips in my 60 Years of Cinema (in 40 Seconds) video

Living in the Nineties 1995 - 1999 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 29
Different but equally evocative strands of the nineties find expression here: earthy grunge or hip-hop vibes, video-game landscapes, lightning-fast montage/collage, lo-fi home video camera footage (film clips)

The Millennial Mood 1999 - 2002 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 30
An atmosphere charged with anticipation greets the turn of a decade/century/millennium, but that energy would be blocked and stifled in the coming years (film clips)

Reality Cinema 2002 - 2006 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 31
Sometimes the chapter's two trends (impressionism/realism) merge, as in the last clip, mirroring the first clip across an unbridgeable gap of time and space (film clips)

Dracula & DrĂ¡cula (Fixing a Hole)
Linking to the last entry in my Universal Horror series, by Jaime Grijalba, on the Spanish- and English-language versions of a horror classic


Falling into the Future 2006 - 2009 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 32
From movie palace silver screens to home computer monitors, from a single film reel to streaming bits of information, the journey continues (film clips)

Cinema in Pictures
Directory featuring pictures and titles from every film in the clip collection - click each image to go directly to the clip in question

(I covered this period on Episode 13 of my Patreon podcast)

Next: Long Goodbyes (November - December 2011)
(in which I review thirty-two iconic classics for the first time)

Previous: Running on "Remembering" (January - May 2011)

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