film history


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

We need the wisdom, leadership, and perseverance of Martin Luther King, Jr.​, now more than ever.

Here is what we can learn from Ava DuVernay’s inspirational and electrifying MLK drama Selma, by Matt Barone.
Restored 'Race Films' Find New Audiences
Some of the earliest movies by African-American filmmakers from the 1910s through 1940s languished in film archives over the years on poor-quality film prints. Now some have been digitally restored.
An Edwardian Color Film Hiding In Plain Sight

A couple months ago, I made a post about a little bit of film history hiding in plain sight in a documentary… and much to my surprise, it happened again!

I was watching a documentary on the Hope Diamond and this little clip caught my eye:

Notice the localized flickering, and the slow motion. I did some contrast correction, and then tinted the frames in alternating red-cyan, and then this happened -

Another bit of Kinemacolor film hiding in a documentary! The way this worked was that the camera had an alternating red-green filter, and shot at twice the usual speed of 16 frames per second. The filtered black and white film was screened with an identical filter in the projector, also at twice the regular speed, creating a color picture… albeit with some rather nasty flickering. Technicolor this ain’t, but it gives an idea of the what the scene really looked like.

Given the history of the company, this clip dates back to at least 1914. I gotta watch more documentaries about the era.


Town Hall and Tribeca are proud to present a special screening of Jean Cocteau’s cinematic classic La Belle et la Bête, featuring a live score by Philip Glass, whose celebrated interpretation will be performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble for one night only on Thursday, April 20th, 2017. Plus, don’t miss a pre-screening conversation with the master himself.

Get your tickets now.

Portrait of actress Carolle Drake. Label on back: “Carolle Drake, soon to be seen in "Band of angels,’ a Warner Bros. production.” Stamped on back: “Photo by Bert Six, Warner Bros. License to reproduce with copyright notice granted to newspapers, magazines and other publications.” Handwritten on back: “Drake, Carolle, actress.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
  • Crisp fall days are w wonderful time to walk around and look at the leaves changing color, but sometimes the wind makes it a bit too chilly and you want to pop inside for a bit. How about a movie? Welcome to the Crystal Hall. This proto-movie theater entertained Union Square at the turn of the century. Each tiny machine pictured here provided you with a peek at a short film for the cost of a penny. This hall of amusements also featured other coin operated arcade games such as punching bags, a shooting gallery, and stationary bikes. Eventually a movie theater was installed in the building and for 5 cents you could see two reel “flickers”. Places like these were eventually pushed out of business by the advent of nickelodeons and movie theaters showing feature films. But, the Crystal Hall was gutted by a fire before being demolished and replaced by retail.
    Byron Company (New York, N.Y.)
    Building, Automatic Vaudeville & interiors (48 East 14th Street).
    DATE: ca. 1904
    Interior of the Automatic Vaudeville theatre, 48 East 14th Street, N.Y.C.

In 1963, Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field. When presenting Poitier with his Oscar statuette, the actress Ann Bancroft congratulated him with a kiss on the cheek, a gesture that caused a mild scandal among the show’s most conservative audiences. Poitier accepted his award with grace and said in his speech “…it has been a long journey to this moment.” [x]