Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Ultimate Map: The Best Films of All Time

While the cinema has been profiled, categorized, divided, highlighted and chronicled in a variety of "best of " lists, this by far is one of the most ingenious and creative I have seen.

It lists the best films of all time on a map that looks like the New York subway. Developed by the French film site Vodkaster, films were chosen based on their popularity on the Internet Movie Datebase (IMDB) and broken down by genres and subtopics from "Dark and Weird Drama" to "Masterpiece about Show Business." So based on your interests, you can go from The Wizard of Oz, take a crosstown transfer at Stand by Me and end up at Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Sounds alot more exciting than the #4 Lexington Avenue Line at rush hour. (Strangely I didn't see The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 listed).

(For more on the map click the Vodkaster link above).

Many thanks to Tricia Lewis for locating this on Fast Company.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Twenties Cinema Style

I spent the past Friday morning at one of my favorite and familiar LA haunts, the Margaret Herrick Library (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) which is a treasure trove of documents, stills, books, drawings and letters of everything imaginable from the cinema. (I am in the process of putting the final photo submissions to bed for my film book to be released next year).

My research led me to some incredible images from sets in the twenties filled with Mediterranean, Turkish and Art Deco influences. (Perhaps one of my favorite designs is the picture perfect Pleasure Crazed (1929) shown above). While film design was certainly in its infancy, it was an exciting time where art met technology, Art Deco fused into Modernism and the most stylish films were aimed at stories about the rich and famous --anything to take the Depression off the minds of the moviegoing audience.

Arches, ornate ironwork, symmetry, gloss and the inimitable Greta Garbo seemed to be the order of the day....

Cobra (1925)

Garbo in The Kiss (1929)

Greta Garbo appeared in several highly stylized films such as A Woman of Affairs and The Kiss. Designed by Cedric Gibbons, The Kiss introduced moviegoers to Art Deco. While not adaptable to every American household in real life, it was a popular film decor.

The Kiss (1929)

Thief of Bagdad (1924)

The big budget extravaganza was introduced in the twenties and you can see the effects designs from the fantastical Thief of Bagdad with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. had on other film interiors of the day.

The Wonder of Women (1929) also designed by Cedric Gibbons

A Woman of Affairs (1928) above and below

Check Turner Movie Classics for these films or you might get lucky on Blockbuster.

Photo Credits: Fox, MGM, Margaret Herrick, Paramount Pictures