No film is ever really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

Orson Welles

A long-playing full shot is what always separates the men from the boys. Anybody can make movies with a pair of scissors and a two-inch lens.

Orson Welles

There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.

Frank Capra

A film should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order.

Jean-Luc Godard

The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.

Orson Welles

A tip from Lubitsch. Let the audience add up two plus two. They'll love you forever.

Billy Wilder

Cinema is vice. I love it intimately.

Fritz Lang

A film that can be described in words is not really a film.

Michelangelo Antonioni

There's nothing that says more about the creator than the work itself.

Akira Kurosawa

For ten years we had all been told to go out and die for freedom and democracy, but now the war was over. The Red Shoes told us to go out and die for art.

Michael Powell

When the last dime is gone I'll sit on the curb outside with a pencil and a ten-cent notebook and start the whole thing over again.

Preston Sturges

Most Recent Blog Posts

A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch Grand Hotel (1932)

"Grand Hotel...always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens."Grand Hotel took home the Best Picture Oscar for MGM in 1933, beating another MGM release, The Champ, as well as Samuel Goldwyn's Arrowsmith, Fox's Bad Girl, First National's Five Star...

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Second Sight Cinema Live Coverage From Hollywood
at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival!
[April 28-May 1]

2016 TCM Classic Film Festival

TCMFF 2016: A Breathless Diary

Greetings, gentle reader! After another refreshing 5 hours of sleep I'm off to the day's delights and trials, of which more in a moment. Here's what happened yesterday: I hot-footed it down to breakfast at Club TCM, where I got to shake Leonard Maltin's hand, miss...

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Fasten your seat belts—TCMFF 2016 has begun

Greetings, gentle reader, from Hollywood!Here is a breathless post to begin my coverage of the festival, before I head out into Day 1. First stop: Karie Bible's tour of Hollywood Forever, the cemetery where many classic film Titans found their final rest. That's at...

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Second Sight Cinema live coverage from TCM Film Festival 2016

The countdown is on! TCMFF 2016 opens Thursday, April 28, and Second Sight Cinema will be your eyes and ears from opening night on the red carpet to the closing night party. I'll be posting capsule reviews, photos, and videos from screenings and events throughout the...

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A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch Grand Hotel (1932)

"Grand Hotel...always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens."Grand Hotel took home the Best Picture Oscar for MGM in 1933, beating another MGM release, The Champ, as well as Samuel Goldwyn's Arrowsmith, Fox's Bad Girl, First National's Five Star...

Day 6: Order in the Court! The Classic Courtroom Movie Blogathon concludes (in extra innings)…

Oyez, oyez!Welcome to Day 6, the final day of our courtroom extravaganza! In the first five days we saw, among others, posts on Hitchcock worth knowing better (The Paradine Case), lynching (Fritz Lang's Fury), Louise Brooks's Lulu in Pandora's Box, Kramer vs. Kramer,...

Disembodied: Waldo Lydecker, the Voice in the Dark in Laura (1944)

 "McPherson, if you know anything about faces, look at mine. How singularly innocent I look this morning. Have you ever seen such candid eyes?" "Laura considered me the wisest, the wittiest, the most interesting man she'd ever met. I was in complete accord with...

Anatomy of a scorcher: Mary Astor on Filming the Steamy Kiss in Red Dust

Mary Astor's memoir A Life on Film is fantastic—she's a wonderful writer, and her sharp observations on the industry and what went on behind the cameras are fascinating and incredibly useful to anyone who writes about classic film.Astor writes of being asked by a bank...

Rising from the Ashes: Buster Keaton’s Most Amazing Stunt

Remember: If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it isn't. —Lester (Alan Alda), Crimes and MisdemeanorsThere was nothing funny about it when Buster Keaton broke. Keaton's fall is legendary. Most of the time it's told sketchily, and too often as if it were the end. As...

Elizabeth Taylor’s Best Actress Oscars: BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Elizabeth Taylor won two Best Actress Oscars, for BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). The first she perhaps rightly dismissed as a pity vote. The second she won fair and square, and I hope it meant something to her. Until fairly recently I...

A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch the Cinematic Collaboration of Humphrey Bogart and John Huston

John Huston and Humphrey Bogart made six movies together, six points of intersection over their long careers. Three of the six were crucial in the careers of both men: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), and The African Queen (1951)....

A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch The Gang’s All Here (1943)

Fasten  your seat belts. The Gang's All Here is too much. It's the thrill ride of Hollywood musicals. If you've not seen it but have seen other Busby Berkeley movies you're thinking, Yeah, got it. But all the fabulous excesses of Berkeley in black-and-white pale in...

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend! Welcome to the You Must Remember This…A Kiss Is Just a Kiss blogathon!

We're live! Welcome to the You Must Remember This... Blogathon! Kisses blistering and chilled, delirious and hard-boiled, Judas kisses, cartoon kisses, and of course the kiss-off...Here's our Valentine's Day celebration of screen kisses. New entries will be posted as...

Dickie Moore (1925-2015), Lost and Found

Where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved... —H.I., Raising Arizona It's an intense little face. The Cupid's Bow mouth and tiny, turned-up nose sit beneath large, dark,...

Newsreels of the Early 1930s: Two Huge Stories About the Two-Way Mirror Between Fact and Fiction

Real life and entertainment, politics and policy. The Bonus Army—Herbert Hoover, FDR, and William Randolph Hearst, Gabriel Over the White House; Busby Berkeley and "Remember My Forgotten Man" in Gold Diggers of 1933 The movie industry's successful smear campaign...

Strangers in a Strange Land Pt II: Marlene Dietrich in Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express (1932) and The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Part II Deceit, Desire, and Survival: Marlene Dietrich in Josef von Sternberg's Shanghai Express (1932) and The Scarlet Empress (1934) A missionary wins the heart of a poetic warlord, a woman of mystery wins back her untrusting lover, and a promiscuous princess wins...

Strangers in a Strange Land: The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932), Shanghai Express (1932), and The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Here are three pre-Code films about women from the West who find themselves in dangerous situations in exotic lands (China in two, Russia in the other). The women are thrown upon their own resources, their ability to adapt and survive, with little or no support or...

“Acting is a ridiculous profession…” —notes on Peter Lorre

      This post is part of the 2014 What a Character! blogathon. To see more, click graphic (above).  "Acting is a ridiculous profession unless it is part of your very soul."  —Peter Lorre Even people who have never seen Peter Lorre in a movie know his...