Hear David Lynch introducing "Eraserhead" at a screening in 1978

From the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive:

Through the project “Saving Film Exhibition History: Digitizing Recordings of Guest Speakers at the Pacific Film Archive, 1976 to 1986”, BAMPFA is digitizing a decade’s worth of guest-speaker recordings, filmmaker presentations, panel discussions, and Q&A’s from the early years of the Pacific Film Archive, making them available online for the first time.

This episode features David Lynch introducing Eraserhead in March of 1978.

This project is supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.

The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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These are the first words ever heard in a feature film

“Wait a minute... Wait a minute... you ain’t heard nothin’ yet.”

In 1927, Al Jolson spoke those words in The Jazz Singer, marking the end of the silent film age. (Of course, that film also featured Jolson in blackface which unfortunately was common at the time.) From The Guardian:

Just a year before (The Jazz Singer), Warners had made Don Juan, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Astor, which didn’t exactly set the Hudson river on fire, despite sound effects like the clash of swords or chairs being thrown – all to the accompaniment of the New York Philharmonic.

The reason Sam Warner, the technical genius of the brothers, thought that adding a human voice would make all the difference was a series of shorts brought in as a late addition to the Don Juan programme. Giovanni Martinelli, principal tenor at the Metropolitan Opera, sang Pagliacci. The leader of the Philharmonic played his violin and Al Jolson sang When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along).

They were a secret success. The New York press hardly noticed, but audiences did – and loved them. What would be known as “the talkies” were coming out of the fairground.

It was Sam Warner’s idea to team up with the Western Electric company to buy its Vitaphone synchronising system. He had the faith that few others possessed, but sadly died of a mastoid infection of the brain the day before the hugely successful premiere of The Jazz Singer.

(via r/TodayILearned) Read the rest

Fantastic film of Paris in the late 1890s

This late 1890s Lumière film of Paris is amazing. The image is clear and the motion is smooth. Sound was added, which makes the film come alive (I wish they would have colorized it, too). No cars in sight - just horse-drawn carriages, pedestrians, and the rare bicycle (why not more bikes?). People are dressed in elaborate outfits - how long did it take them to dress up in the morning? The horse-drawn fire trucks at 3:35 are a highlight. Read the rest

Watch a delightful interview with the stars of The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski turned 20 years old this year and it is still as much of a joy to watch as it was back in 1998. Recently, NBC's Harry Smith sat down with Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi for a long chat about what it was like to make the film and its enduring cult legacy. Read the rest

Watch an informative overview of early animated films

Many people think animated feature films started Disney's Snow White, but this interesting video essay counts at least seven before the appearance of the seven dwarfs. Read the rest