Movie Love Comics: Singin’ in the Rain

This is an adaptation of Singin’ in the Rain, published in Movie Love comics, April 1952, to tie in with the film’s original release. It seems clear that this was not intended to be the first place to encounter the film, but a chance to remember it. Scenes are sketched out so quickly (they have to cram the entire film into 12 pages) that they would surely be difficult to understand if you weren’t already familiar with the film. Before there was home video, and long before you could own a digital copy of a film on a mobile device and replay favourite scenes at any moment, paratexts like comic book adaptations did the job of replaying films for their fans. Continue reading

Picture of the Week #83: Louis Daguerre, Father of Photography

A (very brief) account of the invention of the Daguerreotype photographic system developed by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787 – 1851), as featured in Camera Comics #005 (1945). To see some examples of the stunning results visit the galleries of the Daguerreian Society, or click on the examples of modern Daguerreotypes produced by the artist Chuck Close at the bottom of this post.

In 2012 Hollywood will turn its back on you…

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Halloween Picture of the Week: 125 Vampire Movie Posters

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Here’s the last of my Halloween galleries, this one a bulging, bloody collection of vampire movie posters. Naturally, Dracula, in his many manifestations, is to the fore, dominating the genre, but I think you’ll be surprised at the sheer variety of approaches there have been to the vampire mythology, from the fearful to the romantic, via analogies of contagion and sexuality. View the slideshow above, or scroll down and click on any poster for a larger view.

See also:

Halloween Picture of the Week: 100 Posters of the Living Dead…

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Last week’s Halloween package of Frankenstein posters proved quite popular, so I hope this is another treat. Not for the squeamish, nor for those who don’t like zombie movie posters, here are 100 (count them!) posters from zombie films, from the voodoo-themed to the splatter-obsessed, the grave to the parodic. The zombie has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years, alongside that other staple of the horror scene, the vampire, but these lumbering undead, single-minded in their pursuit of your delicious brains, haven’t been so open to romanticisation. I hope you enjoy this massive parade of guts and gore.

Halloween Picture of the Week: 50 Frankenstein Movie Posters

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In the run up to Halloween, here’s the first of a series of scary treats for you to enjoy while you scoop the guts out of a pumpkin or a neighbour. The story of Frankenstein is one of those that has been endlessly reiterated in movies and literature, from Edison’s 1910 adaptation to Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, via James Whale’s matchless Bride of Frankenstein and Frank Henenlotter’s Frankenhooker. There seems to be an enduring fascination with the reanimated corpse and its path towards self-definition, and the deceptively simple premise lends itself to many reconfigurations. Thankfully, this also gives ample excuse for some wonderful, often lurid poster art to tease us with sightings of the jerry-built creature. You should also pay a visit to the excellent, comprehensive Frankensteinia blog for more about the monster and his maker.

Norman O. Dawn Collection

These wonderful cards are from the collection of Norman O. Dawn, as displayed at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin last year, as part of the special effects section of the Making Movies exhibition. Dawn was the creator of many innovative special effects for photography and film, most notably the glass shot, where the mise-en-scene is augmented by scenery painted onto a pane of glass that is placed between the camera and the set/location. Here’s an example of Byron Crabbe (who also worked on King Kong and The Most Dangerous Game before his untimely death in 1937) painting set extensions onto glass for a scene from The Last Days of Pompeii (1935):

[This image was taken from NZPete’s fabulous blog about old-school special effects, including matte painting, glass shots and the like. Pete has managed to round up an impressive array of images and info about the techniques and personnel that made so many extraordinary moments of Hollywood’s golden age.]

Dawn created these cards to record his array of techniques used on more than eighty films, and to illustrate them for the producers and executives who had to be convinced that such amazing illusions were possible. If nothing else, with their miniature watercolours, oil paintings, sketches and handwritten notes, they stand as testament to the artisanal, hands-on nature of early special effects.

Picture of the Week #74: 87 Filipino Movie Posters

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I have recently returned from a trip to the Philippines, and I’m itching to bring Spectacular Attractions back from its little hiatus. Unfortunately, it’s assessment season, so I have stacks of marking to get through, as well as publication deadlines for two articles and a couple of PhD vivas to conduct. It’s a busy time, but I want to try and keep something ticking over at this site as often as is humanly possible, beginning with a large gallery of Filipino movie posters, that hopefully demonstrates a wide range of styles and genres from across the last few decades of the Pinoy film industry. You’ll find the heroic, godly posturing of Fernando Poe Jr, the nation’s best-known and best-loved star, a bit of Darna, the Pinay Wonder Woman, a little bit of miniature action star Weng Weng (after whom a delicious cocktail is named), national comedian Dolphy, as well as representatives of the recent resurgence in febrile, socio-politically rapacious independent cinema by directors such as Brillante Mendoza, Raya Martin, Khavn, and Lav Diaz, which are worlds away from the pastel-coloured, airbroomed romcoms that are also in evidence here. I’m hoping that over the summer, I’ll finally get time for a series of long-mooted blog posts about this eclectic, maddening, exciting film culture (my suitcase came back stuffed with DVDs), so here is just a taster of coming attractions.

Picture of the Week #71: Pictogram Film Posters by Viktor Hertz

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These eyecatching pictogram film posters by Viktor Hertz continue the trend for minimalist posters inspired by popular movies. You can see more at Hertzen’s photostream on Flickr. And why not follow him on Twitter while you’re at it. Thanks to Catherine Grant of Film Studies for Free for the heads-up on this.