Fun and rare 1939 color footage of Boris Karloff goofing as Frankenstein's monster

This rare color test footage of Boris Karloff goofing around during the 1939 filming of Son of Frankenstein is even more fun than the classic creature feature!

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Beautiful film of plates and glasses smashing to a Bach soundtrack

"The film is an exploration on the nature of time, the relentless violence of entropy and creative energy and its relationship to music itself," write the filmmakers at Optical Arts, a London creative studio.

While it has the feel of digital trickery, this is the real deal, shot on high-speed video. Watch the making-of video below.

Toccata (via Kottke)

Toccata
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Watch Spike Lee's new short film combining "Do the Right Thing" with George Floyd and Eric Garner footage

Spike Lee released the above short film, "3 Brothers," combining footage of the arrests of George Floyd and Eric Garner, black men who were killed by police, with the scene from his classic movie "Do The Right Thing" (1989) in which police choke and kill the fictional character Radio Raheem.

Lee premiered "3 Brothers" during the CNN special "I Can’t Breathe: Black Men Living & Dying In America. Also watch Lee's comments below:

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"Nuts!": Bloopers from old Hollywood TV and films

Enjoy this blooper reel of some real "oopsy daisies" from early Hollywood productions, I sure did!

And, if you liked that, here are a couple more similar compilations:

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A new documentary about the bizarre Biosphere 2 "human zoo"

Built in the late 1980s, Biosphere 2 is the human habitat in Oracle, Arizona that was meant to help scientists understand how humans might live in space. In 1991, eight people went inside for two years of experimental quarantine inside the vivarium. The premise, and much of what happened, would make for a great JG Ballard novel. Spaceship Earth, a new documentary about Biosphere 2 directed by Matt Wolf, promises to tell the real tale, warts and all. It premieres online May 8. From Neon, the indie studio releasing the film:

The [Biosphere 2] experiment was a worldwide phenomenon, chronicling daily existence in the face of life threatening ecological disaster and a growing criticism that it was nothing more than a cult. The bizarre story is both a cautionary tale and a hopeful lesson of how a small group of dreamers can potentially reimagine a new world.

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Listen to this Q&A with David Lynch about Eraserhead from 1978

In March 1978, the wonderful Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) presented a screening of Eraserhead followed by a Q&A with director David Lynch. BAMPFA just recently digitized the cassette and shared it for all to enjoy. Read the rest

Fantastic short film of overlapping stock footage

Donato Sansone created this fantastic experimental video "Concatenation," a word I just learned is defined as "a series of interconnected things or events." Sound design by Enrico Ascoli.

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Kubrick/Kraftwerk t-shirt

Years ago, Philip Anderson, founder of the great Cinefile Video store in Los Angeles, and designer Bob Bianchini created a genius line of t-shirts that combined the names of auteur directors with the iconic logos of excellent bands: Herzog/Danzig, Bunuel/Bahaus, etc. Today I just noticed this fantastic Stanley Kubrick shirt that references Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album!

See them all at Cinemetal T-Shirts. Read the rest

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

Terrific stop motion animation made from pancakes

Wriggles & Robins's "Max's Journey to the Moon" is a delightful stop motion animation created from 600 pancakes. They released it today in celebration of National Pancake Day, aka Shrove Tuesday. Read the rest

"How to Behave in a British Pub" -- 1943 film for U.S. soldiers

Burgess Meredith stars in this 1943 film produced by the United States Office of War Information to teach U.S. soldiers how to conform to the customs of British pubs. The film has an "Ugly American" type soldier doing all the wrong things while a uniformed Meredith shakes his head in shame.

[via Nag on the Lake] Read the rest

This dark and amazing animation about the end of humankind aired on Ed Sullivan in 1956

Joan and Peter Foldes directed this incredible animation, titled "A Short Vision," in 1956. The couple created the film -- based on a poem by Peter -- in their kitchen. It was funded by a grant from the British Film Institute's Experimental Film Fund. From Wikipedia:

Ed Sullivan saw A Short Vision in England, and promised an American showing. He said his motive was a "plea for peace" However, he may have shown it because of his relationship with George K. Arthur, A Short Vision's distributor. Ten days after he saw it, Sullivan showed A Short Vision on his popular Sunday night show The Ed Sullivan Show on 27 May 1956. Sullivan told the audience to tell their children in the room to not be alarmed, because of its animated nature. The film was very popular, and it was shown again on 10 June; Sullivan told parents to take children out of the room.

More on the film's history here: "A SHORT VISION: Ed Sullivan’s Atomic Show Stopper" (CONELRAD) Read the rest

Far-out Estonian animation from 1974

Esteemed Estonian animator Rein Raamat created this groovy short, "Värvilind," in 1974. The music is by composer Rein Rannap who was also the founder of Estonian prog rock band Ruja.

(via ObscureMedia)

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A lovely film of spinning tops by Charles and Ray Eames

In 1969, visionary designers Charles and Ray Eames directed this cinematic ballet of more than 100 spinning tops from around the world. The score is by famed Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein (The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, Airplane!, etc.). From the Eames Office:

Tops had its genesis in an earlier film produced for the Stars of Jazz television program in 1957. The Eameses decided to make a longer, color version in 1966, which they worked on in spare moments between other projects.

The film is a celebration of the ancient art and craft of top-making and spinning. One hundred and twenty-three tops spin to the accompaniment of a score by Elmer Bernstein. Using close-up, live-action photography, the film shows tops, old and new, from various countries, including China, Japan, India, the United States, France, and England.

Charles’s fascination with spinning tops went back to his childhood; in this film he found a perfect vehicle for demonstrating their beauty in motion and for making visual points about the universality of tops, the physics of motion (MIT physics professor, Philip Morrison, often showed the film to students and colleagues), and the intimate relationship between toys and science.

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Documentary about the 1980s SoCal underground art happenings with Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, etc.

In the 1980s, Stuart Swezey was at the epicenter of Southern California's underground culture. The co-founder of Amok Books, Swezey was also known for organizing extreme industrial and avant-garde outdoor happenings in remote locations like the Mojave Desert that featured performances by Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Minutemen, and many other experimental and transgressive artists. Now, Swezey has made a documentary about those extreme experiences. Above is the trailer for Desolation Center.

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"Meet David," an unintentionally weird educational film clip from 1959

Context is everything, especially when it's missing.

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Beautiful book, augmented reality, and film about stunning rocket launches

In the realm of rocket geeks and space nerds, filmmakers MaryLiz Bender and Ryan Chylinski have dream jobs. The pair have the equivalent of "backstage passes" to SpaceX, NASA and ULA rocket launches where they capture and share breathtaking videos that convey the power, risk, and thrill of space exploration. The work of their studio, called Cosmic Perspective, is visceral, wondrous, and inspiring. Now Bender and Chylinski are creating a fascinating art book enhanced with augmented reality along with a companion short film "documenting humanity's grand adventure to space." Titled "Guidance Internal: Lessons from Astronauts," the book, film, and their touring Cosmic Perspective show lies at the intersection of science and art "to inspire hope, elevate empathy, and bring people together." They've launched a Kickstarter to support the project and it looks, well, stellar.

From Kickstarter:

The art and the pages in this book come to life immediately teleporting you to rocket launch pads, directly to our intimate interviews with astronauts and the people sending missions to space. We fuse art with science blending our love of high-dynamic range photography with compelling video to capture the emotion, excitement, and gravity of these events. We also give you a front-row seat to transformative performances by artists inspired by these experiences.

We place autonomous high-resolution and ultra-high speed video cameras at the launchpads of SpaceX, NASA, and ULA. These are cameras we place well ahead of the liftoff, design to survive the elements and, since no humans can be anywhere near the rockets, trigger without any human interaction.

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