Brigitte Helm in Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang) (via)
1930s vision of 2036 via Things To Come (1936, dir. William Cameron Menzies, screenplay by H.G. Wells, who also wrote the book on which the film is based)
“What will the next hundred years bring to mankind?
The world of tomorrow, an underground city with its glass enclosed, compressed air elevators, overhead streets, overhead tracks for cigar-shaped ‘street cars’, apartments in tiers like the homes of the Pueblo Indians, its people getting the news of the day by television, is vividly portrayed in Things to Come, H.G. Wells’ motion picture of the ‘Next War’ and a rebuilt world.”
-excerpted from original press materials for Things to Come
Entire film online at Internet Archive.
Miles Davis -Visit Du Vigile (Elevator to the Gallows/Ascenseur Pour l’Échafaud: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928, dir. Charles Reisner)
Keaton’s most famous gag occurred in Steamboat Bill, Jr., in which the facade of a house falls on top of him & he survives because he is standing exactly where the open attic window falls. Keaton declined to rehearse the stunt before shooting the scene because, as he explained, he trusted his set-up, so why waste a wall?
Excerpted from Marion Meade’s Buster Keaton:
“As he stood in the studio street waiting for a building to crash on him, he noticed that some of the electricians and extras were praying. The window was just big enough to give two inches of clearance on either side. Keaton drove a nail in the ground to mark his position. When the moment came and the house front came down, he froze. The open window hit him exactly as planned. Afterward, he would call the stunt one of his greatest thrills. He said later that he did not care whether he lived or died: ‘I was mad at the time, or I never would have done the thing.’”
Elmer Bernstein (feat. Vikki Carr) - The Silencers (The Silencers: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Marlon Brando on the set of The Men (1950, dir. Fred Zinnemann) (photo by Edward Clark for LIFE)
“Few members of the staff or patients knew who Brando was, so for a while he was able to blend in with the amputees, a cross section of America: blue-collar workers, farmers, enlisted men.
By the end of the third week in the hospital, Brando had been completely accepted by the vets, some of whom played roles in The Men. He told them why he was there: He was going to act in a movie about them, & he just wanted to do it right. The vets began confiding in Brando. They told him that they were disappointments to their wives because they would never be able to make love again. Brando became especially close to one vet who had struggled for a year to learn how to light a cigarette, since he no longer had the use of his arms. Later this man committed suicide.
At night Brando accompanied the vets to the Pump Room, a popular bar in the San Fernando Valley where they all went to drink. Drink was their only solace. Like the vets, Brando was in a wheelchair, lined up with the others, ordering beer & talking and joking. Once a little old lady, slightly tipsy, staggered over to them and began ranting about the healing powers of Jesus & how if they kept on believing, they might really walk again.
Brando studied her for a long time, and then with a gigantic effort, he hoisted himself up. A few people gasped, and the room fell silent as he took a few halting steps unaided. Everyone else lounging at the bar assumed he was a paraplegic, and waiters stood by to catch him if he fell. The woman stared at him bug-eyed when he burst out laughing and began to perform a softshoe dance up and down the length of the barroom floor before crying out, ‘I can walk! I can walk!’ to the wild applause of the vets as he disappeared into the night.”
-excerpted from Patricia Bosworth’s Marlon Brando
The Midnight Party (1938, dir. Joseph Cornell)
“Among the barren wastes of the talking films there occasionally occur passages to remind one again of the profound and suggestive power of the silent film to evoke an ideal world of beauty, to release unsuspected floods of music from the gaze of a human countenance in its prism of silver light.”
-Joseph Cornell, Enchanted Wanderer
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, Martin Landau & Lincoln’s nose in North by Northwest (1959, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
“In North by Northwest during the scene on Mount Rushmore I wanted Cary Grant to hide in Abraham Lincoln’s nostril and then have a fit of sneezing. The Parks Commission of the Department of Interior was rather upset at this thought. I argued until one of their number asked me how I would like it if they had Lincoln play the scene in Cary Grant’s nose. I saw their point at once.”
-Alfred Hitchcock, 1965 (via Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews)
Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint on the set of North by Northwest (1959, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
Alarmed by reports that North by Northwest’s Mount Rushmore sequence would feature the actors engaging in murderous shenanigans all over the former presidents’ faces, including throwing an enemy agent off Lincoln’s nose to his death, Rushmore authorities denied Hitchcock’s request to shoot on location.
Instead, the sequence was shot on a sound stage using enormous, rear-projected still photographs as the background against which the actors were filmed. Set designer Robert Boyle also used studio mock-ups of sections of the stone heads – “just enough to put the actors on so we could get down shots, up shots, side shots, whatever we needed.”
Rose Hobart & the erupting Mt. Bombalai in Rose Hobart (1936, arranged/edited by Joseph Cornell)
“Salvador Dali was beside himself with envy. He had always been prone to jealous rages, and Rose Hobart provoked his full malevolence. Halfway through the movie, there was a loud crash as the projector was overturned. ‘Salaud (Bastard)!’ came from Dali. Dali’s wife, Gala, pushed her way toward him and pleaded, ‘Calme-toi.’ But Dali could not be placated. ‘Salaud and encore salaud!,’ he shouted again and again, while members of the audience rose to restrain him.
Dali had good reason for envy. As critics would later remark, Joseph Cornell’s Rose Hobart ranks with Dali’s Un Chien Andalou as a masterwork of Surrealism - and in some ways it is a more radical work.
Dali lamented: ‘My idea for a film is exactly this, and I was going to propose it to someone who would pay to have it made….I never wrote it or told anyone, but it is as if he had stolen it.’ (Dali would later accuse Cornell of being “a plagiarist of my unconscious mind.”)
Cornell was deeply aggrieved by the incident. It had never occurred to him that someone as marginal as he could excite the envy of a world famous Surrealist. Thus Cornell was instructed firsthand in the unkindness of fellow artists. To the end of his life, he would recount the story whenever he was asked to screen his films, usually as a way of explaining why he must decline.”
-excerpted from Utopia Parkway:The Life & Work of Joseph Cornell
“Joseph Cornell holding an Untitled Bottle Object” (photographer: Duane Michals, c. 1969) (via Joseph Cornell: Stargazing in the Cinema)
Marius Constant - Twilight Zone Theme (The Twilight Zone: Original Television Scores)
Twilight Zone crew looks on as Rod Serling performs his on-camera narration for the episode Static (1961) (via)
“The Twilight Zone was shaped by Rod Serling. His instincts led him to a pattern he & I agreed upon as the bottom-line basis for buying stories for adaptation and for his own originals:
Find an interesting character, or a group, at a moment in crisis in life, and get there quickly; then lay on some magic. That magic must be devilishly appropriate and capable of providing a whiplash kickback a t the tag. The character(s) must be ordinary and average and modern, and the problem facing him (her, them) must be commonplace.
The Twilight Zone always struck people as identifiable as to whom it was about, and the story hang-ups as resonant as their own fears, dreams, and wishes. Allow only one miracle or special talent or imaginative circumstance per episode. More than one and the audience grows impatient with your calls on their credibility. The story must be impossible in the real world. A request at some point to suspend disbelief is a trademark of the series. Mere scare tactics will not fill the bill. A clever bit of advanced scientific hardware is not enough to support a story. The Twilight Zone was not a sci-fi show.”
-Twilight Zone producer Buck Houghton (via)