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Models or reality – where’s the border?

A woman philosopher(!) questions our divisions between models and reality:


Play it again, Sam

It’s well known that “Play it again, Sam” is a line that doesn’t occur in Casablanca (1942). Where you can hear it, however, is in The Spoilers (1955), an undistinguished Western (imdb rating 6.0) directed by Jesse Hibbs with Anne Baxter, Jeff Chandler and Rory Calhoun. You can hear Anne Baxter ask her piano player in a saloon about a third of the way through the film.

The film itself was the fifth version of an original play by Rex Beach from 1906. The film also has numerous credited screenwriters so I can’t tell you whether the line comes from Beach.

You might be surprised to see Anne Baxter playing a competent and sexy saloon owner. Earlier versions apparently starred John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper.

Technological wizardry behind some 2015 Oscar films

If you weren’t bowled over by the scientific history behind the leading Oscar films for 2015, you might be blown away by the technological advances in some of the other contenders.

As the U.K.’s Guardian reported in an article by Fred Wagner on 4 March 2015, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood took 12 years to film.

You knew that.

But did you knew that a state law prohibits contracts lasting over seven years. So the actors could not commit legally. So any of them could have walked out before the end.

Birdman, filmed by Emmanuel Lubezki, looks as if it was filmed in one shot.

Russian Ark, now 13 years old, pioneered this amazing technique to make the point about the massacre of the oblivious St. Petersberg haute-bourgeosie with a mob waiting outside their windows. But its marathon filming effort produced a film of 96 minutes, while Birdman runs for two hours in mostly cramped quarters.

Wagner also notes that Jean-Luc Godard shot most of his most recent film, Goodbye to Language, on a Canon 5D – a “non-professional” camera (costing around $4000).

The enigma of François Truffaut

The film career of François Truffaut (1932-84) is an enigma. How could such a skillful, knowledgeable film-maker turn out so many dreary films? Geneva’s international film festival offered a pointer to the answer with a couple of interviews from the French TV series Cinéastes de notre temps. As a result, I blame the baleful influence of Hitchcock.

But first a look back at his career…

Read more…

Check on early films from amazing film directors

mental_floss, a great site for “amazing facts”, has put together links to the early short films from 12 directors such as Tim Burton, David Lynch and Martin Scorcese. It’s worth checking out. Amazing how many had already found their voices. David Lynch’s shortie, for example, is Six Men Getting Sick.

A philosopher mines pop for its messages

University of Washington Ph.D. student Joseph Len Miller runs a Swiss-based blog on philosohy and pop music.

I like his 2 July 2014 post on the difference between metaphysics (I'm sexy) and epistemology (and I know it).

He's quoting the rapping duo LMFAO by the way.

See also, 2 June 2014: One Direction Has Really Weak Epistemic Standards.


How to spend $650,000 in a minute

A 30-second commercial in The Big Bang Theory will cost you $326,260 this fall, according to Mashable.

Using info from a bar chart produced by statista, the statistics portal, from Adweek sources, Mashable notes this is $50,000 more than its nearest rival The Voice.

Two and a Half Men, also on CBS, is likewise in the top ten, charging $204,176 per half-minute. The Simpsons rates fourth at $256,963, followed by New Girl and Family Guy, two other Fox airings.


Oddest appearance, for me, is NBC's The Blacklist at number 10. Maybe it's the pulling power of James Spader.