Buster Keaton's Our Hospitality opened ninety years ago today. It takes place ninety years before 1923, and features a velocipede, Stephenson's Rocket, and builds up to some really breathtaking stunts over a waterfall. Full movie.
This short animation of Sylvia Townsend Warner reciting her poem "Go the Long Way, the Long Way Home" seems to have been made from a photograph and an LP recording, and is perched partway up the slope of the Uncanny Valley, a place she would not necessarily disapprove.
Buster Keaton's Three Ages opened 90 years ago tomorrow. In the first, prehistoric, segment, he introduces many of the caveman gags that would become standard caveman tropes. There's caveman golf (above), an adroit caveman baseball gag that reputedly took hundreds of takes to get, and the ever-popular dragging a cavewoman around by her hair. Though the scene where he rides on a brontosaurus' head, later copied by The Flintstones, was itself swiped from Winsor McCay's 1914 animated short, Gertie the Dinosaur.
I wish I'd been to this screening of the classic swordfighting movie Orochi at the East Asian Studies Center of Indiana University, which featured a katsudo benshi, or live narrator. You can watch the complete film with a modern music track here. There are some nice dissolves, including one at 10:05 that superimposes a shot of a guarded gate on the textured paper of an official decree.
Forty years ago today the first Roger Moore Bond film Live And Let Die opened in theatres. It's the only blaxploitation Bond, the only one with Yaphet Kotto, the only one with a theme song by a Beatle, and still the one with the best boat race. It's also the musical apex of Linda McCartney's career. She wrote the bridge: "What does it matter to ya? When you've got a job to do, you've gotta do it well, you've gotta give the other fella hell!"
In this scene from A Day at the Races, Harpo Marx uses a combination of whistling and charades to get the point across to Chico. The whistling imitates the melody of spoken English, crossed with a canary, and is kind of like the whistling language silbo gomero found on the isle of La Gomera. In the Canary Islands!