The King of Ballyhoo

Sorry, but so many of these efforts seem to come across as "gimmicks". And since Halloween is just around the corner, we thought this would be a fine time to introduce the uninitiated to Mr. William Castle. In Hollywood, he was known as the "Master of Gimmicks" or the "King of Ballyhoo". One might argue about the quality of his films, but as a producer he had no equal when it came to packing them in on opening night.

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The Secrets of Psycho

The movie Psycho is coming up on its 60th anniversary. And in some ways, it's the perfect film school movie. In addition to containing what is the most studied sequence in all of movie history, the release of "Psycho" created immense ripples which are still discernible in the industry to this day. It also made popular … Continue reading The Secrets of Psycho

Scarface: “Nothing Exceeds Like Excess”

Ever hear the phrase: "Nothing Exceeds Like Excess"?  We're not sure exactly what it means... But we do know where the quote came from. It's from a 1983 film which epitomizes stylistic "excess" in Hollywood. One that people either passionately love or absolutely hate. And which features the combined efforts of three of the most … Continue reading Scarface: “Nothing Exceeds Like Excess”

The Strange Story of Tod Browning (Part 2)

Yesterday,  we were relating the story of Tod Browning, one of film history's most enigmatic figures. When we last left off, Browning was just coming off his greatest success as the director of Dracula. Eager to capitalize on the horror boom, in 1932 MGM had hired Browning to make a "fright" picture of his own … Continue reading The Strange Story of Tod Browning (Part 2)

The Strange Story of Tod Browning (Part 1)

After finishing Film History 101, we knew that there was one story in particular we wanted to tell.  It's the strange and fascinating story of director Tod Browning, the man who made such horror classics as Dracula, London After Midnight, and Mark of the Vampire. Tod Browning was born in 1880 and was the nephew … Continue reading The Strange Story of Tod Browning (Part 1)

Film History 101 (Part 19): Some Additional Thoughts

Well, we've reached the end of our journey.  This will be the last post in our Film History series and it's been quite a trip.  Starting way back with the Lumiere brothers in 1894, we've covered a tremendous amount of territory right up to the present day.  We've seen the very first moving images of … Continue reading Film History 101 (Part 19): Some Additional Thoughts

Film History 101 (Part 17): A Project Management Nightmare

When you think about it, the process behind film production might just be the most daunting form of project management around.   It's difficult to think of another endeavor which requires such wide-ranging expertise in a multitude of disciplines.  In both the aesthetic and technical realms, the job of movie director is an extremely difficult … Continue reading Film History 101 (Part 17): A Project Management Nightmare

Film History 101 (Part 16) – A “Titanic” Success

In our last post, we were discussing the case that's been made for Titanic being one of the two most financially successful films of all time.  This in spite of changes made over the years in how films are "ranked" by profit.   By any measure, "Titanic" was a mega-hit.   But at the time of its … Continue reading Film History 101 (Part 16) – A “Titanic” Success