They Were Calling It the Twentieth Century

 

An excerpt from Dana Stevens’ “CAMERA MAN”

(Greatly updated December 3, 2022)

In this genre-defying work of cultural history, the chief film critic of Slate places comedy legend and acclaimed filmmaker Buster Keaton’s unique creative genius in the context of his time.

Buster Keaton will be celebrated at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive during the month of December, 2022. Starting Sunday, December 4 with SHERLOCK JR. and two shorts and continuing through Wednesday, December 21, five features and 15 shorts will be screened with musical accompaniment. Author Dana Stevens will introduce several programs. Continue reading

Silents, Please!

Anticipating the SFSFF’s Day of Silents Makes My Endorphins Rise

by Meredith Brody

(December 1, 2022)

William Haines and Marion Davies in SHOW PEOPLE

I keep my TV tuned (do we say tuned, nowadays?) to TCM. It’s what greets me when I snap on the TV (do we say snap on, nowadays), and has resulted in me being surprised that The Apartment or The Women or Wild River or Touch of Evil is playing. I pause to watch “for JUST a few minutes,” and end up trapped, mesmerized by The Whole Thing. Continue reading

THE ART OF EATING: THE LIFE OF M.F.K. FISHER Satisfies the Appetite

By C.J. Hirschfield

(Updated December 2, 2022)

Author Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher was smart enough to realize early on that using just her initials when writing in an era of accepted female domesticity would grant her greater opportunity to publish passionately about gastronomy—and life. Her first book of essays was released in 1937, followed by over 30 other books, and hundreds of published articles and essays, until her death in 1992. Her “The Art of Eating” has been in continuous publication for nearly 70 years.

The delicious new documentary, The Art of Eating: The Life of M.F.K. Fisher provides a comprehensive—and very entertaining—look at this strong and opinionated woman, her philosophy, and her legacy.

Continue reading

Memorable and Best Forgotten Thanksgivings

Compiled by Gary Meyer (update November 21, 2022)

The Internet can be a dangerous place to find the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanksgiving as a search subject is especially rewarding.  We present a sampling, mostly from the past. We found vintage greeting cards, Hollywood stars, ads for disgusting sounding foods, awkward family photos and all around nostalgia. You won’t believe what turkeys have been put through but we hope you will laugh and be astonished.

Continue reading

A Few Nickels in the Slot Buys You Lunch at the Automat

(Editor’s note: THE AUTOMAT will show twice on Turner Classic Movies, Tuesday, November 22. There will also be for classics with automat scenes.)

By Gaetano Kazuo Maida

(Updated November 21, 2022; originally published April 2022)

A film that starts off with the instantly recognizable dulcet tones of Mel Brooks gushing, “one of the greatest inventions, insane centers of paradise…” is irresistible even if you’ve never heard of the Automat. For those of us of a certain age from New York or Philadelphia (and yes, I’m one: born and raised in New York, with family in Philly), the Horn & Hardart Automat was a unifying experience of childhood delight and teenage necessity. You didn’t need a lot of money to eat, just a handful of nickels… In its heyday (1920s to the 1970s) it was, in just two cities, the largest restaurant chain in the country by any measure, at one point in the 1940s serving fully 10% of the population of Philadelphia. Continue reading