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Writers on Film

Bonus Episode: Cinema Italia

Season 1, Ep. 139

Chief film critic of The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney joins John Bleasdale to talk about Federico Fellini's 1957 masterpiece Le Notti di Cabiria, Nights of Cabiria, starring Giulietta Masina as a sex worker in a Rome on the edge of La Dolce Vita. Massina won Best Actress at Cannes and the film was the second Oscar in a row for Fellini.

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  • 151. Robert P Kolker and Marsha Gordon talk Film, Form and Culture

    This fifth edition of Film, Form, and Culture by Robert P Kolker and Marsha Gordon offers a lively introduction to both the formal and cultural aspects of film.Additional resources for students and teachers can be found on the eResource, which includes case studies, discussion questions, and links to useful websites.Get the book HERE.
  • 150. Neil Alcock talks Hitchcock and Hitchology

    MURDER! MOTHERS! MEN ON THE RUN!Film fans know these are just a few key ingredients of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. When Hitchcock fused these elements with his innovative directorial approach, that blend of familiar themes and stylistic ingenuity became known as ‘Hitchcockian’. In a refreshingly original way, HITCHOLOGY considers how Hitchcock used these narrative tropes and formal flourishes to create some of cinema’s most unforgettable experiences.Alongside unique takes on every film and TV episode Hitchcock directed, HITCHOLOGY also examines his collaborators, his cameos, other films in the Hitchcock cinematic universe, and more. Passionately written with wit and warmth, HITCHOLOGY is an accessible introduction for newcomers to Hitchcock, and an insightful companion for devoted fans.Buy the book HERE.
  • 149. Oscar Winning Screenwriter Bruce Rubin talks about his Life

    Bruce Joel Rubin is the Oscar winning screenwriter of Brainstorm, Ghost and Jacob's Ladder among others. His memoir It's Only a Movie is availbale here. And his book Three Visionary Screenplays is also available via this link.
  • 148. Christian Esquevin talks Designing Hollywood

    Since the 1920s, fashion has played a central role in Hollywood. As the movie-going population consisted largely of women, studios made a concerted effort to attract a female audience by foregrounding fashion. Magazines featured actresses like Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford bedecked in luxurious gowns, selling their glamour as enthusiastically as the film itself. Whereas actors and actresses previously wore their own clothing, major studios hired costume designers and wardrobe staff to fabricate bespoke costumes for their film stars. Designers from a variety of backgrounds, including haute couture and art design, were offered long-term contracts to work on multiple movies. Though their work typically went uncredited, they were charged with creating an image for each star that would help define an actor both on- and off-screen. The practice of working long-term with a single studio disappeared when the studio system began unraveling in the 1950s. By the 1970s, studios had disbanded their wardrobe departments and auctioned off their costumes and props. In Designing Hollywood: Studio Wardrobe in the Golden Age, Christian Esquevin showcases the designers who dressed Hollywood's stars from the late 1910s through the 1960s and the unique symbiosis they developed with their studios in creating iconic looks. Studio by studio, Esquevin details the careers of designers like Vera West, who worked on Universal productions such as Phantom of the Opera (1925), Dracula (1931), and Bride of Frankenstein (1931); William Travilla, the talent behind Marilyn Monroe's dresses in Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955); and Walter Plunkett, the Oscar-winning designer for film classics like Gone with the Wind (1939) and An American in Paris (1951). Featuring black and white photographs of leading ladies in their iconic looks as well as captivating original color sketches, Designing Hollywood takes the reader on a journey from drawing board to silver screen.
  • 147. Tom Shone on the Oscars and Dune Part 2

    Tom Shone is the bestselling author of The Nolan Variations, among several other books on cinema.
  • 146. Stephen Lee Naish on Dennis Hopper, film director

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  • 145. Kubrick: an Odyssey

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  • 144. Ellen E. Jones on Screen Deep

    Screen Deep:How film and TV can solve racism and save the world  is a book about the immense potential of screen storytelling to defeat an evil both historic and urgently topical: racism. Everyone watches TV and movies. Everyone has an interest in building a more just and equitable world. Screen Deep goes beyond the many film books and anti-racist manuals by demonstrating the connection between these two aspects of modern life.In Screen Deep Ellen E. Jones combines her personal experience as a mixed-race woman who cares about racism with her professional expertise as a film and TV journalist of twenty years standing, to ask – and answer – several questions: Is there such a thing as an Indigenous western? Is race comedy ‘cancelled’? Where are all the films for white people? And most importantly: Can you still fight the good fight with a mouthful of popcorn?The book is available from Faber here. Valerie Complex's Deadline article mentioned on the show is available here.
  • 143. Michael Schulman on the Oscar Wars

    From Harper Collins: A Best Book of 2023The author of the New York Times bestseller Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep returns with a lively history of the Academy Awards, focusing on the brutal battles, the starry rivalries, and the colorful behind-the-scenes drama.America does not have royalty. It has the Academy Awards. For nine decades, perfectly coiffed starlets, debonair leading men, and producers with gold in their eyes have chased the elusive Oscar. What began as an industry banquet in 1929 has now exploded into a hallowed ceremony, complete with red carpets, envelopes, and little gold men. But don’t be fooled by the pomp: the Oscars, more than anything, are a battlefield, where the history of Hollywood—and of America itself—unfolds in dramas large and small. The road to the Oscars may be golden, but it’s paved in blood, sweat, and broken hearts.In Oscar Wars, Michael Schulman chronicles the remarkable, sprawling history of the Academy Awards and the personal dramas—some iconic, others never-before-revealed—that have played out on the stage and off camera. Unlike other books on the subject, each chapter takes a deep dive into a particular year, conflict, or even category that tells a larger story of cultural change, from Louis B. Mayer to Moonlight. Schulman examines how the red carpet runs through contested turf, and the victors aren't always as clear as the names drawn from envelopes. Caught in the crossfire are people: their thwarted ambitions, their artistic epiphanies, their messy collaborations, their dreams fulfilled or dashed.Featuring a star-studded cast of some of the most powerful Hollywood players of today and yesterday, as well as outsiders who stormed the palace gates, this captivating history is a collection of revelatory tales, each representing a turning point for the Academy, for the movies, or for the culture at large.