Hollywood Meltdown

December 22, 2008 by Derrick Faw · 3 Comments
Filed under: Cinephile 

hollywood

After yet another disappointing year of film releases by the major studios, I have started to contemplate our own future in filmmaking. There have always been a few gems released amongst a mass of duds. It seems though, that each year fewer and fewer films of substance appear. There are a lot of complaints that could be directed towards the established industry other than the cinematic value of films produced. Box office ticket prices are so outrageous, families can seldom enjoy a night at the movies together anymore. Buying DVDs can also put a serious cramp in your budget. It is sad that older films that have made their money also cost a fortune. As the economy continues to dwindle, it is hard to imagine film watchers will continue to pay these high prices. While they attempt to bleed every dollar out of customers, many turn to alternative sources. Many films without copyright (Public Domain) have been released over the last several years and sold for $1 each. Companies releasing these films have done very well, as people are hungry for films and are looking for something affordable. It is too bad that there isn’t enough good films in this category, though they are some treasures. For others, it doesn’t take long to find a source for downloading films. I don’t advocate this of course, since it is illegal, but it does exist. The amount of films available as BitTorrent and through newsgroups is staggering. DVD rentals through the mail has also been a popular choice in America and also here in France. Also, the rise in use of home computers has made it very easy to duplicate rented and borrowed DVDs. It is logical to assume that the harder they try to forcibly combat piracy, the more the problem will escalate. This was the approach of the music industry, that went to unbelievable measures of prosecution and attempting to restrain freedom on the Internet. Issues with the music industry seems to have calmed down recently, this could be due to services like the Apple Store which allows listeners to purchase music at a reasonable price.

seatsI don’t believe fighting fans is the solution to the problem at hand. Artists, both in film and music, deserve to make a good living at their trade. I take the band Wilco as a prime example of how embracing the Internet and technologies can work to benefit all. When they were ready to release their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the record company dropped them. Instead of leaving the anxiously waiting fans without the album, the band released it for free download on their website. Eventually when the album was released,  it went on to be their best selling album to date with over 590,000 copies sold. This unprecedented move at the same time Napster was being defeated, earned them a special kind of affection from their fans. In 2005 YouTube hit the scene with a whole new way to experience video on the net. Since then dozens more video sites have sprung up, as well as softwares providing some sort of streaming video. Even the television networks have jumped on providing shows for watch online. We even stream video from our website and this blog. So where does the future lie, and how can we make a living making films? I believe it is on the Internet in some form that hasn’t quite appeared yet. It could be in services similar to the Apple Store or some kind of pay per view application. It is a shame to think that movie theaters could become a thing of the past. The big screen experience has been one of the richest elements in film history. Even with today’s big screen televisions and home projectors, the magic of going to the cinema can not be replaced. Finding funding for independent films isn’t as hard as having a means to make them marketable to theaters. I believe the status quo of the entertainment industry is prime for change. How it all will play out will be very interesting. One thing is for sure, young filmmakers today are standing at an important crossroad with great potential to make the kind of movies we all want to see.

First time on World Wide Angle, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Pearl Harbor And Hollywood

December 6, 2008 by Derrick Faw · 1 Comment
Filed under: Cinephile 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Tomorrow will mark the 67th anniversary of the Japanese attack of the US Military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. This tremendous date which lives in infamy has forever changed the course of politics and culture. All of America jumped into a massive effort of unity, Hollywood was no exception. Some of the most noted figures in cinema put their talents to work for the war effort. Great directors like John Ford, John Houston, and Frank Capra enlisted making documentaries. Actors and actresses alike joined in the war bond and recruitment effort. And others served as soldiers. People like: Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Eddie Albert, Robert Ryan, and James Stewart. Though we all remember Stewart for his boyish and gentle demeanor, his heroism is legendary as a B-24 pilot. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for his service in Europe. Stewart remained in the Air Force Reserves until 1968, when he retired a Brigadier General. Other noted servicemen who found success in Hollywood after the war include: Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, George C. Scott, Brian Keith, John Russell, Ernest Borgnine, Charlton Heston, and Audie Murphy. Murphy, by the way, is the most decorated serviceman of WWII.

In the years to follow dozens of films and documentaries were made featuring the events of Pearl Harbor, not to mention several newsreels. There are more than 500 films dealing with WWII, many of which at least make a reference to Pearl Harbor. Below is a partial list of those dealing with Pearl Harbor.

Air Force (1943)

From Here To Eternity (1953)

From Here To Eternity (1953)

In Harms Way (1965)

In Harms Way (1965)

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Films about WWII are rarely true to fact. For the most part however, they stand as a lasting memory of a special generation of men and women. In a time of depression they faced grave challenges, in a time of war they united together, and in times of prosperity they flurished.  Their achievements stand above any other generation before their time and most likely after.