Cutting his teeth in fast paced, often live television, (his most notable Television work being the excellent and both evocative and ahead of its time PETER GUNN) like his contemporary Don Siegel he brought a frenetic new pace and tempo to film making. Starting with the use of jazz to denote the soundtracks of his film, rather than the more orchestral, staid, European classical influences of earlier films, his films looked to modern composers, most notably Henry Mancini to tell uniquely American tales. Also his use of pacing and editing and shot selection were all revelatory.
And his use of characters of color stands out, one of the earliest directors to use background actors of color in non-stereotypical roles, to show an America peopled with more than just the traditional studio system view of an all white America. Seeing a mixed crowd, or a crowd with people o f color and whites just sharing the same space, as people, while taken for granted today, during the making of this film… it was groundbreaking. And many theaters in the south, the film could not be shown without cuts being done to it.
Directors like him, and Don Siegel, and Stanley Kramer and Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Richard Brooks, helped transition a very blinders on/white-washed 1950s America, into the more multicultural 1960s, and they did this through our entertainment, our films and our tv shows.
They, and the actors and editors and writers helped drag a more honest view of the American landscape into the light, a view full of different people and different backgrounds, and different challenges.. Both feeding and being fed by, the civil and human rights battles being fought at home and abroad, their veracity as filmmakers, helped open the door to this concept of film as something progressive and capable of change.
From these new daring Filmmakers like Blake Edwards, we begin to get film-making that transcends complete artifice, and stereotyping.
We get the French New Wave Films, The Pan African Films, the Neo-Realist films of Italy, and at home we get the Independent Film Movement, to include the Black New Wave Films of the 70s ( dismissively titled Blaxpoitation by people who do not realize that Black Exploitation is the first 60 years of Hollywood Films. Where people of color had no positive representation in films, most films with no persons of color at all, and the few that did have people of color, offered them typically only one token person of Color in a film, in a menial/demeaning role. Actors like Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and directors like Gordon Parks, and Ossie Davis, helping to pave a view of an America that actually reflected the multitude of people in it, formerly invisible).
It is a thread, the evolution of film, that allows us to evolve from DW Griffith’s 1915’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION (which shamefully was the predominant mindset of Hollywood Film-making, both behind and in-front the camera, for the greater part of the 20th century). An evolution filled with achievements small and large, and filmmakers lauded and forgotten. A lot of films and a lot of filmmakers, and a lot of steps forwards, and moments of stumbling backward, to in a little over a hundred years go from THE BIRTH OF A NATION, to Ryan Coogler’s justifiably lauded BLACK PANTHER in 2018.
The films of Blake Edward are part of that thread. Not in any overt political manifesto, but just in his love of showing an America peopled with… the people he would see in the streets and in the crowds, his love for a veracity that transcended stereotype.
EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, is a pure thriller of a film, with not a wasted pound. And it has people of color in it, not because they are people of color, but because they are people, it is San Francisco of the time, before gentrification, where people you would see, came in multiple creeds and colors. It is a fantastic film that has nothing to do with ethnicity, but everything to do with being true to telling a story in a place and a time.
It is one of Blake Edward’s best films. However, Blake Edwards very rarely made anything that was not a ‘best’ film.
It is a uniquely tense, and thrilling film, even by Blake Edwards standard. I mean the tension in it holds up today. Lee Remick is one of the most beautiful women from an age of beautiful women, and she is also like most of Edwards leading ladies… delivering a phenomenally written and ground breaking tour de force performance.
Also starring the great Glenn Ford, who like the movie does not waste a moment, everything propels the story and the moment. Glenn Ford was one of those actors who never delivered a bad performance, and elevates everything he is in.
A stunning cast. A stunning script. And sumptuous film-making makes for a film that can be watched for free courtesy of AMAZON PRIME this month, but deserves in the age of digital to be owned on DVD/Blu-Ray.
Get your copy here:
I would also recommend picking up the gorgeous poster with the stunning Lee Remick as well as the CD and Album. Please use my links as they earn this blog a few, well needed, pennies. 🙂 .
Thanks for looking. And if you enjoy this post please like, comment or order via the links. All three are greatly appreciated!
For the movie fans among you, here is one of the coolest T-shirts of one of the best directed cult movies of all time!
In an age far removed from billion dollar Comic Book movies, cinematographer turned Director Mario Bava, best known for his primary colors drenched horror films, gave us this European take, on a superhero. Somewhere between James Bond and Batman, his Diabolik just riveted and impressed, and remains…. impressive.
Definitely light-hearted, and zany, and cartoony in the best sense of the word, this film is a MASTER CLINIC on crafting film. This film, like upcoming films represented in my T-shirt series, deserves to be owned as tactile DVDs/Blurays. Go ahead and sample them via streaming, but own them via DVD/Bluray, because these are films, and special features, and Director’s commentaries that any true fan of cinema, will come back to often. And now you can do it while wearing the coolest t-shirt!
Unfortunately there is no Bluray of this film available, but the nearly out of print DVD, is top of the line and a must own for any fan/collector.Get it here:
As far as the T-shirt… get yours here:
Tell em HT sent ya!
How you begin a work week I’ve found is important.
I began this day and this week with a new pocast LEVAR BURTON READS. and what a wonderful way to begin, especially the episode I chose, the lyric and insightful Levar Burton reading a short story from one of my favorite writers, cherished satirist, frontiersman, and Americanist (in the charming Mark Twain definition of such a word) Percival Everett.
Levar Burton reads ‘Graham Greene’ by Percival Everett.
A great podcast and a great read!
If it is not family or not paying rent, don’t let anything in your house that is smarter than you.:) That means saying ‘no thank’ you or ‘good buy’ to all these spying devices marketed as amiable servants or harmless entertainment.
That means no ECHO, no ALEXA, no XBOX, no Smart TVs. It means trading in your Roku or Amazon Fire microphone remote for a regular non-microphone remote.
Here is the thing… you want to know what the weather is… do the search yourself!
Same with the news, or the traffic. Do it your effing self. There is a point where convenience becomes a cage, and ease of access a trap.
Every camera in your house (laptops, phones, TVs, smart refrigerators, etc), should have a lens cap. And every microphone in your house (xbox, phones, laptops, alarm systems, smart thermostats, etc) should be able to be physically disabled/disconnected. Being able to determine yes I want this camera off, and yes I want this microphone off, and being certain that they have turned off, that is owning things. Having to trust in the hardware or the software that it is not recording you, and delivering that info to marketeers… that is being owned.
And increasingly in ‘Smart’ homes, the homeowner finds themselves in the latter category.
Here then are my recommendations for portable CD players, headphones, and great quality CDs to test out those headphones.
WONNIE 7.5 Inch Portable DVD Player with Swivel Screen, USB / SD Slot and 4 Hours Rechargeable Battery, Perfect Gift for Kids ( Black ) – While marketed as a gift for kids and the aged, this is actually a great compact portable DVD/CD player that plays a variety of formats at a ridiculously low price. And comes with great extras including a carrying case.
Now while it comes with basic headphones I would recommend the following headphones and amp combo when ready to take the sound from this portable to a better level.
HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones– Not cheap at around $200 but it is actually nearly 60% off of its retail price.
A slightly lower cost, but still well reviewed and lauded headphone option would be:
And while not necessary, an amp will help deliver quality sound to your headphones. Get yours at the link below:
Finally here are some must own CDs for testing out your headphones and just hearing great music:
As someone who has always been concerned with the quality of drinking water, and has over several years tried various remedies to ensure clean water, the talk was of definite interest to me.
Especially as I see more and more companies pressure nations and communities to privatize their water infrastructure; I think water, clean drinkable non-contaminated or tinkered with for taste water (Dasani I’m looking at you)… is going to increasingly not be guaranteed. Water, in this ‘tail wags Dog’ America and World, Is going to start being a luxury item you have to pay for, rather than a basic necessity that should be freely available and provided. And those who can’t pay for clean, non contaminated water, will not get clean contaminated water.
A Trumpian Dystopian Orwellian future, made ever less far-fetched as the more passionate among us do nothing, while the venal and greedy and ignorant among us, shout loudly.
Michael Pritchard is one who did not stay quietly on the sidelines, turning his outrage on tragedies of nature, and failures of governments and men, such as Katrina… into action.
In this case a portable water filtration system called LIFESAVER that checks a lot of the boxes, that others miss.
A water filter is only as good as that point of failure, and a system that lets you know when you have reached that point of replacement is indispensable.
In my house I use the zero pitcher, for this very reason. It’s a quick and easy test you can run on every glass of water, and when the meter hits that number of 006 TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) you know it is time to replace that filter.
LIFESAVER offers a similar level of confidence, where it matters even more… when you are on the go; away from your house. And I don’t just mean camping, I mean anyplace outside your home where you need to get a drink of water, whether that be the water cooler at your job, a public fountain, or a friends house.
I work for a billion dollar company, in a fantastic high rise in the middle of a major city, and way too often the water out of the tap, for the whole building… comes out brown. That is just not acceptable. And yes the company has mounted water filters, but are the filters getting changed as they should be? When the municipality of a so-called 1st World Nation can’t provide its citizens clean drinking water from the tap (or don’t prioritize such water), you begin to question the capability of every part of that chain.
Some of that you can combat through legislation, though voting, through boycotting, and some of it you combat by taking an active role, in making sure the basic necessities of life… clean water… in a pinch you can provide for yourself.
That is where the LIFESAVER System comes in. Its company grade is an A, and its Amazon Reviews have been vetted and are accurate (A lot of times they are not, don’t just assume a company with 4 or 5 stars on Amazon is a slam dunk of a product. Unfortunately unscrupulous companies use robots to pad their page with tons of fake 5 star reviews.)
You want to vet the company and vet the reviews, to see if the company is legit and the reviews are legit. There are various sites that will do this for you. I’ve checked the most reputable ones, and LIFESAVER as a company is an A, and its Amazon reviews get an A for being accurate, and non robot generated.
All this to say, this is the gift giving season, Dickens’ sweet story of a carol at Christmas, has been turned by savvy businessmen into a retailers dream, the need to purchase and buy, affecting all during this time of year, more like a fever, than anything to do with faith.
Whether Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Vodun or Festivus you celebrate; we are all swept up in the compulsion to spend. All to some point swayed by the marketing push and Black Friday sales, or Amazon Monday sales.
But perhaps we can do better than the usual suspects of gifts. While the kids want (and deserve) their toys, for the adults give them the LIFESAVER. It lives up to its name. It is something that should be in each car you own, for emergencies, and one in the house as a backup filtration system. Essential for any bug-out bag.
And the lifesaver while impressive, no product should be considered an end all and be all. I would recommend having a UV pen water sterilizer as well. It is just a good one-two punch to get in the habit of doing. Especially as your filter gets close to its end of life.
Is it overkill? Probably. But considering it only takes seconds more to UV your drink after filtering, it is probably just a good routine to get into. But even without the UV step, I consider the LIFESAVER absolutely an indispensable purchase in 2017 and beyond, and a fantastic gift.
Get yours here:
You are going to also need to have replacement filters on hand (In the words of Nick Nolte, from EXTREME PREJUDICE [one of my favorite movies, and easily his most iconic role] ‘One without the other, ain’t no damn good.’)
Lifesaver Bottle Ultra Filtration Water Bottle Replacement Carbon Inserts (4-pk)
And here’s the recommended UV pen:
And here’s the pitcher for your kitchen (and you could also use an additional one for your bathroom or just go with an on tap unit for your bathroom faucet):
Or more convenient for your bathroom would be a on-faucet filter, that also offers a end of life replacement light, which would be the below:
So that’s it guys. When I started this blog, far more than a decade ago, one of my early concerns was water quality. I had tried distillers, table top water filters, and tons of options in between.
And all of that research has brought me to the recommendations above. You want to give a gift this holiday season, give the gift of clean water.
It is… a start.
Use the links above and help this blog earn a few pennies with your purchases.
First Kudos to the NFL Players who chose to exercise their own form of protest.
The amazing thing about the theft of the white house by resident Trump, and his cronies of hate, is it is galvanizing people, that he thought he could count out and overlook, … to stand.
This country and people of color fought off Nazis and Terrorists from without and within before, I reckon we can do it again.
All that hate is mostly empty space, it is a vacuum that crumples reason and crumples lives and ultimately decimates itself, nothing built on it will stand.
And in the meantime we live our lives.
We donate to good causes.
We breathe deep and long.
We correct the agents of ignorance and class stratification the only way that makes sense. We take money out of their pockets and the conversation out of their arena.
We build around them and despite them and if necessary through them.
These days are a curse to strive against.
But to strive is a blessing.
It wakes us from our apathy and our sleep of ages
to see naked the barbarians at our gate.
These days are a blessing, to see clearly those who want to step backward
And live yesterday’s mistakes anew
Those who want to surrender the burden of liberty, of progress, of humanity… those who want to end the dream of America
Because they lack the courage to go forward.
To see such cowardice clearly, is to have to see yourself clearly.
Is to take your measure, and decide if you will hide your light with the darkness of the unthinking mob
or if you will risk
And by that risking define yourself as man… as human.
By the repellant fear and cowardice of Charlottesville, masquerading as hate, bullies making noise to keep you from looking at their inadequacies, by looking at that pageant of loss…I saw in it where the righteous man and woman may be found
Where we have always been found
In the path of would be dragons.
Here endeth the lesson.
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