Intertitles first things first, but not necessarily in that order

Tod Browning – The Edgar Allan Poe of Cinema

Tod Browning – The Edgar Allan Poe of Cinema

Tod Browning by Basil Gogos

Today marks the birthday of actor, screenwriter and director Tod Browning.

We have Browning to thank for the classic and the most well known version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, as well as cult favourite and deeply disturbing Freaks (I still can’t shake scenes from that film years later, and the memory of it gives me shivers yet!)

Bela Lugosi as Dracula by Basil Gogos

The early life of Tod Browning is fascinating. Particularly how as a teenager he ran away from home to become a performer – traveling and working a variety of jobs in circuses, sideshows and carnivals. The biography Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning is an interesting insight into the life of the man whose films are so well known in the horror genre.

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Friday Film Pick – Coffee and Cigarettes

Friday Film Pick – Coffee and Cigarettes

I’ve been on a bit of a Jim Jarmusch kick as of late after finally seeingOnly Lovers Left Alive. A friend recently reminded me of Jarmusch’s excellentCoffee and Cigarettes, and it’s as fantastic to watch years later as the first time around, easily making it my Friday film pick for this week.

Iggy Pop & Tom Waits Having Coffee

Shot in black and white, the film is a series of vignettes of people drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and talking, woven together in such a way only Jarmusch is capable of.

Tom Waits in Coffee and Cigarettes
Friday Film Pick - Coffee and Cigarettes

‘Coffee and Cigarettes’ features an eclectic cast with the likes of Tom Waits, Steve Coogan, Cate Blanchett, and Steve Buscemi popping up in these visual striking, often comic and surreal conversational segments.

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Silent Ladies – Stacia Napierkowska

Silent Ladies – Stacia Napierkowska

A Look At Silent Film Actress Stacia Napierkowska

Stacia Napierkowska with dogI’m absolutely enchanted by these photos of French silent film actress Stacia Napierkowska. Best known for her portrayal as Marfa Koutiloff in Louis Feuillade’s 1915 silent film serial Les Vampires - particularly episode 2, ‘The Ring That Kills‘, dancing as a vampire bat, she was a talented dancer and actress, as well as having also tried her hand at directing.

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Friday Film Pick – Byzantium

Friday Film Pick – Byzantium

Byzantium Film Poster

Confession time – I love vampires.

Well not literally, BUT vampire mythology, literature and film.

Sorry though Twi-hards, as much as I love sparkles, I don’t like Twilight. I even read the series. And those are many long hours of my life I’ll never get back. Thanks Stephenie Meyer.

Eleanor Trapped in the Lift

Anyway! Byzantium however is a totally different beast than sparkle-town.

Directed by Neil Jordan (also the director of 1994’s film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interveiw With a Vampire), Byzantium tells the story of a vampire mother – Clara (played by Gemma Arterton) and daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan).

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Friday Film Pick – Quadrophenia

Friday Film Pick – Quadrophenia

Looking for some essential films to watch this May long weekend? Might I suggest to you The Who’s 1979 film Quadrophenia directed by Franc Roddam.

Quadrophenia Blu-ray Cover

Quadrophenia is easily one of my favourite films. I’ve owned it on VHS, DVD and most recently the excellent Criterion version on Blu-ray. My fascination with Mods and Brighton really began with this film when I first viewed it as a teenager, and continues to this day.

Mods riding to Brighton

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Friday Film Pick – Spirited Away

Friday Film Pick – Spirited Away

spirited_away_film_poster

Winner of the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away is Studio Ghibli’s best-known and most critically acclaimed work, and a modern classic of the animated film. After they move to a small suburban town, ten-year-old Chihiro and her parents discover what seems to be an abandoned amusement park which mysteriously contains a restaurant with plenty of food, but no customers. When her parents are turned into pigs after sampling the restaurant’s cuisine, Chihiro discovers that the park is a haven for hundreds of spirits and monsters ruled over by the bobble-headed witch Yubaba. In order to save her parents, Chihiro is forced to work all manner of odd jobs in the spirit world, where she finds herself in the midst of a feud between Yubaba and her gentle twin sister. Featuring some of Miyazaki’s most dazzlingly imaginative creations — most notably the alarmingly immense masked spirit called “No Face” — Spirited Away is a visual wonder and a uniquely philosophical take on the standard coming-of-age story. “One of the year’s best films” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times).

Chihiro Drowning Scene in Spirited Away

When I was a child, I nearly drowned (several times in fact). The first time this happened my curiosity and incomprehension of perspective got the better of me.

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