Penny Allen Talks: Interview With The Director Of Late For My Mother’s Funeral (2013), screening Dec. 16, 2013/7:00 PM @ Whitsell Auditorium,
December 8th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · News, Oregon director, Oregon film
November 15th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · News
Not all Oregon film historians are women, but this first group was. Left to right: Heather Petrocelli, Anne Richardson, Ellen Thomas, Rose Bond. Not pictured: Michele Kribs, unavailable because she was out riding her motorcycle.
Dateline: 2033, 20 years from now.
The Oregon Film History Initiative celebrated its 20th birthday today by blowing out candles on 20 virtual cakes scattered throughout the state.
Founded in 2013 by a group of librarians and historians, OFHI’s original mission was to ensure that key documents and artifacts essential to a full understanding Oregon’s unique film history were successfully archived within the state.
The Initiative began unofficially with the acquisition of James Ivory’s papers at the U of O. A trickle of film scholarship triggered by Richard Herskowitz’s 2013 James Blue Tribute turned into a steady stream. Portland’s silent film industry, Oregon’s McCarthy era Westerns, Godard’s trip through the Pacific Northwest with Jon Jost in 1972 – books on these subjects transformed public understanding of the intersection between Oregon film history and American film history.
Few can remember the time before a full length biography of Portland musician Melvin Jerome Blank, aka Mel Blanc, radically re-positioned pre-Portlandia Jazz Age Portland as an engine of American pop culture, and launched a new cultural tourism industry.
Oregon Film History Initiative brought together a truly diverse set of stakeholders. While UO collected papers of Oregon filmmakers, Oregon Cartoon Institute opened up a storefront catering to tourists. Oregon Heritage Commission, in cooperation with Travel Oregon and Oregon Cultural Trust, supported the restoration of downtown theaters in rural Oregon towns.
NWFC continued their trademark events. OSU began a media literacy summer school for teachers. PSU, working in cooperation with Oregon Cartoon Institute and Northwest Animation Festival, began hosting a biennial animation studies conference. OHS secured a digital humanities grant to tell the story of Lew Cook, Homer Groening, and Frank Hood, three WWII vets whose passion for 16mm filmmaking would re-ignite Portland’s independent film scene.
Meanwhile, the Initiative’s popular annual fundraisers provide homesick Oregon film artists in LA and NY an annual reason to fly home for a visit.
Virtual candles for the 20th birthday celebration were blown out in Salem, Astoria, Eugene, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Joseph, Grants Pass, Bend, Baker, Klamath Falls, Jacksonville, Oregon City, McMinnville, Sandy, Brownsville, Corvallis, and all four quadrants of the city of Portland.
James Blue Retrospective @ Schnitzer Cinema Begins Nov. 13, 7:00 PM/Gerald O’Grady Introduces The March (1964)
October 20th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · Oregon director
Richard Herskowitz was astonished to read on Oregon Movies, A to Z that James Blue (1930 – 1980), one of the most respected and influential documentary filmmakers of all time, was an Oregonian, and a graduate of the University of Oregon. He immediately went into high gear organizing a five month retrospective to celebrate the life and work of this distinguished artist.
The retrospective begins on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 7:00 PM at Schnitzer Cinema inside the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene.
Gerald O’Grady arrives from New York, where he taught with James Blue at the Center for Media Study at SUNY-Buffalo. O’Grady will introduce The March (1964), James Blue’s 33 minute documentary of the historic 1963 March On Washington.
The second event of the series will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 7:00 PM.
Richard Herskowitz, the director of the Schnitzer Cinema, will continue to pair selected films by James Blue with speakers - friends, colleagues and film scholars - who knew the filmmaker personally. Since James Blue made films around the globe, it is likely that the speakers will come from far and wide as well. On Dec. 11, the film will be the 35 minute A Few Notes About Our Food Problem, which received an 1968 Oscar nomination.
I’m looking forward to the way this series will illuminate Oregon’s regional specialty of creating dynamic writer-producer-directors. James Blue, born at the dawn of sound filmmaking in 1930, was one of the first.
Who was James Blue?
James Blue arrived in Portland with his family from Tulsa in 1942. He began making films on 8mm while attending Jefferson High School, and majored in theater at University of Oregon, graduating in 1953. Ten years after graduation, he won the Critics Prize at Cannes, an honor never before given to an American. He won for The Olive Trees Of Justice, a narrative feature shot in Algeria, with a cast which included non professional actors. Returning to this country, Blue would combine teaching and filmmaking for his entire career, excelling in both fields.
The Olive Trees Of Justice is a rare film. I have never seen it. It is not on DVD. Thankfully, Richard Herskowitz knew where to find it. He is including it in the retrospective, date to be announced. A very rare opportunity!
The first two events of the five part series are announced on the Schnitzer Cinema website.
For more information about James Blue, the best source is this guide created for a previous retrospective in 2005.
The following filmography comes from the Facebook page Remembering Documentary Filmmaker James Blue (1930-1980):
Hamlet (1951-52, 8mm) made at UO
The Silver Spur (1956, 16mm) made in Portland
Une Tragedie en Trois Mauvaises Actions (1958, 35mm, at IDHEC in Paris)
Le Voleur (Algeria, 1960, 35mm, 20 min.)
Amal (Algeria, 1960, 35mm, 21min.)
La Princesse Muette (Algeria, 1960, 12 min.)
L’Avare (Algeria, 1960, short)
Le Jardin des Roses (Algeria, 1960, 18 min.)
L’Endormi (Algeria, 1961, 35mm, 10 min.)
Le Menuisier (Algeria, 1961, 35mm, 10 min.)
Le Match-de-Catch (Algeria, 1961, 12 min.)
Les Oliviers de la Justice (Algeria/France, 1962, 35mm, b/w, 90 min.) winner at Cannes
Letter from Columbia (US, 1962, 35mm, 10 min.)
School at Rincon Santo (US, 1962, 35mm, 10 min.)
Evil Wind Out (US, 1962, 35mm, 10 min.)
The March (The March to Washington, US, 1963-1964, 35mm, 33 min.) Blue’s most widely seen work.
Prologue to George Roy Hill’s Hawaii (1966)
A Few Notes On Our Food Problem (US, 1968, 35mm, color, 35 min.) Nominated for an Oscar.
Karate Texas (1971-1973, Super-8, color, unfinished)
Kenya Boran (with David MacDougall, 1974, 16mm, color, 66min.)
Who Killed The Fourth Ward? (1976-1977, Super-8 and video, color, 3 one-hour segments)
The Invisible City: Houston Housing Crisis (Super-8 and video, color, 5 one-hour segments)
The events in the James Blue Retrospective are free. The Schnitzer Cinema is located within the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, just north of the Knight Library, on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.
For the final event of the series, Richard Herskowitz is coming to Portland on April 24 -26 to partner with the Northwest Film Center and the What is Documentary film festival at the White Stag Building.
Amazing! This celebration of Oregon genius began with a simple post on Oregon Movies, A to Z.
“More About Goofy: Pinto Colvig, Oregon Animation Pioneer” with Ben Truwe/Oct. 12, 7:00 PM @ 5th Avenue Cinema, Free With Student ID And/Or Portland ASIFA Members
October 6th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · Oregon animator
Vance DeBar “Pinto” Colvig, with Goofy
Pinto Colvig may be the first Oregon animator.
Inspired by the commercial and artistic success of Oregon cartoonist Homer Davenport (1867-1912), Pinto Colvig began by cartooning for newspapers. He moved from cartooning to animation, a transition Homer Davenport would have made if he had lived long enough. Only five frames survive of Pinto Colvig’s 35mm feature length animated film, Creation, made in San Francisco in 1915.
That’s the year D. W. Griffith made Birth Of A Nation.
That’s the very sunrise of cinema.
On October 12, Oregon Cartoon Institute and Portland ASIFA partner up to bring Medford historian Ben Truwe to Portland to tell us more about this forefather of Oregon animation and cartooning.
The following timeline is taken from Ben Truwe’s webpage about Pinto Colvig.
1892 Born in Jacksonville, Oregon
1899 Dances the cakewalk on Jacksonville stage
1905 Performs as a musical clown on the street in Portland during the Lewis & Clark Exposition
1906 Fails admission exam for high school, instead hangs out with Frank Willeke, the Medford Main Street railroad flagman, whose voice and personality he would later adapt for the character Goofy
1910 Enrolls at Oregon Agricultural College (now OSU) in Corvallis
1915 Directs the early (some say the first) feature length animated film Creation (lost film) in San Francisco
1919 Directs early color animated film Pinto’s Prizma Comedy Revue (lost film) in San Francisco
1930 Begins working as a writer for Walt Disney
1932 Voices Goofy in The Whoopee Party, continues to voice Goofy for decades
1937 Voices Sleepy and Grumpy in Snow White
1939 Voices Gabby in Gulliver’s Travels
1946 Voices Bozo the Clown for Capitol Records, records which make more money than God
1967 Dies in Los Angeles
Here’s how much Walt Disney admired Pinto Colvig – he modelled his official Walt Disney logo after Pinto’s own rounded signature, which you can see below.
Ben Truwe will illustrate his talk with film clips and photos, and will read an excerpt from Pinto’s unpublished autobiography. Bring your questions – Oregon Cartoon Institute believes in audience Q & A.
More About Goofy: Pinto Colvig, Oregon Animation Pioneer is presented by Portland ASIFA and Oregon Cartoon Institute The evening is free for members of Portland ASIFA and for students. For non-members and non-students, admission is $3.00.
More About Goofy: Pinto Colvig, Oregon Animation Pioneer takes place at 5th Avenue Cinema, 510 SW Hall Street, Portland, Oregon at 7:00 PM on October 12.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/234922229992860/
September 5th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · 1960's, Oregon film new definition, Oregon writer
It looks like love and mutual regard. The characters played by Paul Newman, the titular “Hud”, and Melvyn Douglas actually hate each other.
Screenwriter Harriet Frank, Jr. teamed up with her husband/writing partner Irving Ravetch to adapt the Larry McMurtry’s first novel, Horseman, Pass By. They were working with Martin Ritt and Paul Newman, with whom they had previously collaborated on The Long Hot Summer.
Hud was nominated for seven Oscars, and won three: Best Cinematography (James Wong Howe), Best Actress (Patricia Neal) and Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Melvyn Douglas).
Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank were nominated for Best Screenplay Based On Material From Another Medium.
I hereby claim Hud as an Oregon film on the basis of the contribution made by Oregonian Harriet Frank, Jr.
Strange But True:
James Wong Howe grew up in Pasco, Washington, and spent 1915-1916 in Portland, in a failed attempt at a boxing career. He got his first job in the movies in LA through a boxing connection. He never crossed Portland paths with Harriet Frank, Jr., however. She was born there in 1917.
Paul Newman would come to Oregon to make Sometimes A Great Notion in 1971.
Larry McMurtry would marry Faye Kesey, Ken Kesey’s widow, in 2011.
September 5th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Oregon film new definition, Oregon writer
Sally Field and Barbara Baxley, on the mill floor in Norma Rae
Here’s what goes into a Oscar winning performance.
Screenwriter Harriet Frank, Jr., born into the radical middle class of Progressive Era Portland, was tapped by Martin Ritt, a former blacklistee, to adapt the true life story of Crystal Lee Sutton, a North Carolina textile mill worker turned union organizer. Frank writes Norma Rae in tandem with her husband, screenwriter Irving Ravetch, the son of a New Jersey rabbi. Together they fictionalize Crystal Lee Sutton’s real life mentor, Eli Zivkovich, transforming him from a West Virginia coal miner to a New York labor organizer.
The passion behind the filmmaking is authentic. Quite likely every single person working on this film belonged to a union. Norma Rae was nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. It won for Best Music, and Sally Field won Best Actress.
I hereby claim Norma Rae as an Oregon film on the basis of the contribution of Oregonian Harriet Frank, Jr.
September 5th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · Oregon writer
Irving Ravetch & Harriet Frank, Jr.
Oregon has produced lots of writer-directors, our regional specialty. Writers, in the sense of published authors whose work is adapted, we have plenty of. But Oregon grown screenwriters, not so much.
Harriet Frank, Jr. is the exception to that rule. Born in 1917 in Portland, and raised here, she entered MGM’s writer training program after graduating from UCLA. At MGM she met her future husband and writing partner, Irving Ravetch.
Here’s the writing process which produced The Long Hot Summer (1958), Hud (1963), Conrack (1974), Norma Rae (1981) and Stanley & Iris (1989), among many award winning others.
FRANK: I sit at the typewriter, and Hank (Irving Ravetch) paces around. We always work in the mornings, nine to one, five days a week. Usually, we’d get about three pages done each day, and those pages are finished pages. We’d polish them as we go, over and over again, doing our revising as we proceed. So when we’re finished, we’re really finished. We very seldom do any revising.
INTERVIEWER: How long does a script usually take?
FRANK: About ten weeks.
(Ten measley weeks! If you think that sounds to good to be true, listen to Ravetch’s description of life on set.)
RAVETCH: We made eight films with Marty Ritt, and on every single one of those pictures, we were with Marty from the preproduction and casting to the final advertising campaign. We were also on the set every single day, and he invited us to the rushes every single morning. It was a true collaboration, and we always had a marvelous time.
Harriet Frank, Jr., with Irving Ravetch, was nominated for an Oscar for Hud (1963) and for Norma Rae (1979).
July 4th, 2013 by Anne Richardson · 1960's, Scorecard series
When James Blue adapted Jean Pelegri’s novel to make The Olive Trees Of Justice (1962), he cast Pelegri himself (above, left) as one of the leads.
Oregon’s independent film scene sprang to life after Will Vinton won an Oscar in 1975, right?
There’s no question that Will Vinton changed Oregon film history. But Oregonians made independent films before 1975. They just didn’t make them in Oregon.
Here’s a look at our history during the decade preceding Vinton’s game changing win.
In 1962, James Blue made the The Olive Trees Of Justice, his first feature, in Algeria. It was the first American film to win the Critic’s Prize at Cannes. Blue grew up in Portland. He graduated from Jefferson High School and from University of Oregon.
In 1963, one year later, James Ivory (Klamath Falls), made his first feature, The Householder, in India.
The “imports vs exports” scorecard below compares 1960s films which were made in Oregon with 1960s films which feature contributions by Oregon film artists, but which were made elsewhere.
A third list is of films made in Oregon by Oregonians. The 1960s is the first decade since the silent era that this category of Oregon film begins to show signs of life. These films have been traditionally claimed as Oregon films because they were shot within the state border.
I propose that all films made by Oregonians, whether made within state boundaries or far, far outside them, be included in Oregon film history, and added to the long standing “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Animal House, The Goonies” list of Oregon films.
Turning to the actual films:
I’ll point out that the films we traditionally embrace as “Oregon films”, because they were shot here, are far less interesting than the films made by Oregonians (whether inside or outside the state).
Especially notice that Oregon artists show no interest in the Western, a genre which dominates the “imports”. By ignoring/excluding the films made by Oregonians outside the state, we have drastically limited our understanding of the size of Oregon’s role in American film history. We have done much more than supply backdrops for Hollywood Westerns.
The third category of films, of films made in Oregon by Oregonians, contains a news documentary written by television journalist Tom McCall, a stop motion short made by Derek Muirden & George Hood (foretelling a future Oregon specialty), an experimental short by Portland ad man, Homer Groening, and an experimental short by a young filmmaker in Eugene, Ron Finne. The diversity of this list bodes well for the following decade, the 1970s, when Oregon indigenous filmmaking begins to progress at full throttle.
N.B. These lists are not comprehensive. Far from it!
All The Young Men 1960 (Sidney Poitier, Alan Ladd) Mt. Hood
Ring Of Fire 1961 (David Janssen, Frank Gorshin) Vernonia
Shenandoah 1965 (Jimmy Stewart, Andrew McLaglen) Eugene
The Way West 1967 (Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum) Central Oregon
Paint Your Wagon 1969 (Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin) Baker
Mackenna’s Gold 1969 (Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif) Eastern Oregon
Nude On The Moon 1961 (Doc Severinsen) LA
Heaven & Earth Magic 1961 (Harry Smith) NY
101 Dalmations 1961 (George Bruns, Marc Davis) LA
The Olive Trees Of Justice 1962 (James Blue) Algeria
Hud 1963 (Harriet Frank, Jr.) LA
The Sword and the Stone 1963 (George Bruns) LA
The Householder 1963 (James Ivory) India
The March, 1963 (James Blue) Washington DC
Kissin’ Cousins 1964 (Gene Nelson, Ellis Carter) LA
Shakespeare Wallah 1965 (James Ivory) India
Gentle Giant 1967 (Walt Morey) Florida
The Jungle Book 1967 (Ralph Wright, George Bruns) LA
The Mother Of All Demos 1968 (Douglas Engelbart) Menlo Park
Pollution In Paradise 1962 (Tom McCall) Portland
Little Plastic Hearts 1965 (Derek Muirden & George Hood) Portland
A Study In Wet 1966 (Homer Groening) Portland
How Old Is The Water 1968 (Ron Finne) Eugene
Huge budget Hollywood: 3
Low budget Hollywood: 2
No/low budget indies: 9
Written by a future governor of the state: 1
Stop motion animation: 2
Made by Oregon writer-directors, our regional specialty: 7
Made in other countries: 3
Academy Award nomination: 1 ( George Bruns, for the score for Sword And The Stone )
Trace the evolution of Oregon’s regional specialty of producing talented film artists:
→ No CommentsTags: Alan Ladd·Andrew McLaglen·Clint Eastwood·David Janssen·Derek Muirden·Doc Severinsen·Douglas Engelbart·Ellis Carter·Frank Gorshin·Gene Nelson·George Bruns·George Hood·Gregory Peck·Harry Smith·Homer Groening·James Blue·James Ivory·Jimmy Stewart·Kirk Douglas·Lee Marvin·Omar Sharif·Robert Mitchum·Ron Finne·Sidney Poitier·Tom McCall·Walt Morey
July 3rd, 2013 by Anne Richardson · 1960's, Oregon director, Oregon film new definition, Oregon producer, Oregon writer, Videos
Four years after Douglas Engelbart (1925 – 2013) invented the computer mouse, he sat down to demonstrate it to 1,000 of his closest friends. Because he was from Oregon, and thinking this way comes naturally to us, he made sure his 90 minute presentation was captured on video.
From his NY Times obituary:
For the event he sat on stage in front of a mouse, a keyboard and other controls and projected the computer display on a 22-foot-high video screen behind him. In little more than an hour he showed how a networked, interactive computing system would allow information to be shared rapidly among collaborating scientists. He demonstrated how a mouse, which he had invented just four years earlier, could be used to control a computer. He demonstrated text editing, video conferencing, hypertext and windowing.
You can see the entire presentation on Youtube. Here’s the Youtube description.
On December 9, 1968, Douglas C. Engelbart and the group of 17 researchers working with him in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, presented a 90-minute live public demonstration of the online system, NLS, they had been working on since 1962. The public presentation was a session in the of the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, and it was attended by about 1,000 computer professionals. This was the public debut of the computer mouse. But the mouse was only one of many innovations demonstrated that day, including hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking, as well as shared-screen collaboration involving two persons at different sites communicating over a network with audio and video interface.
I hereby claim Douglas Engelbart: The Mother Of All Demos as an Oregon film, on the basis of Oregonian Douglas Engelbart’s contribution as producer, director, writer and star.
Murder, Doubt & Angelina Jolie/Without Evidence (1995) @ Mission Theatre, June 13, 7:00 PM/With Gill Dennis & Phil Stanford
May 31st, 2013 by Anne Richardson · News
Angelina Jolie as Jody Swearingen, in Without Evidence (1995)
When Frank Gable was found guilty for the 1989 murder of state prison administrator Michael Francke, the case was closed for everyone except Michael Francke’s brother. Without Evidence (originally titled Gathering Evidence) is about Kevin Francke’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding Michael Francke’s death, and his anguished, outraged search for the true killer.
Angelina Jolie arrived in Salem in 1995 to play Jodie Swearingen, the teenage runaway who provided pivotal testimony in the murder investigation. At that time she did not yet have three Golden Globes, six children, one Oscar and a price tag of $10 million per picture. The film in which she was to appear had impeccable indie credentials: produced by Oregonians, co-written by Oregonian Phil Stanford, directed by Reedie Gill Dennis, and shot by Victor Nunez, the king of Florida indies, who had just written-directed Ruby In Paradise.
On June 13, as part of the Oregon True Crime @ Mission Theatre series, Gill Dennis will introduce a rare screening of his director’s cut of Without Evidence, and writer Phil Stanford will join him in a post film discussion.
Strange but true: The director’s cut survived on a VHS tape only, making this once-in-a-lifetime screening scrupulously period authentic.
Q: Who is Gill Dennis?
A: Gill Dennis is a Master Filmmaker-in-Residence at American Film Institute in Los Angeles. An award winning theater director, he is best known for writing James Mangold’s biopic of Johnny Cash, Walk The Line, and deserves to be better known for writing Walter Murch’s fearlessly strange Return To Oz. David Lynch cast him as the Man With A Cigar in Eraserhead, but you didn’t see him because that part was edited out. When I asked if he would show Without Evidence at the Mission Theatre, he gamely dove into a dusty closet to retrieve the only surviving copy of the director’s cut.
Q: Who is Phil Stanford?
A: Phil Stanford is a journalist specializing in true crime. He covered the Francke murder case as a columnist for The Oregonian. The screenplay for Without Evidence, which he co-wrote with Gill Dennis, is based on those articles. He is the author of Portland Confidential, and the forthcoming White House Call Girl.
Without Evidence is the second in a two film series, Oregon True Crime @ Mission Theatre. The first film, Portland Expose (1957), screens on June 12, 7:00 PM.
Both Portland Expose and Without Evidence are rarely seen on the big screen. This is your big chance!
What: Without Evidence (1995)
Where: Mission Theatre, 1624 NW Glisan
When: June 13, 7:00 PM
Who: Director Gill Dennis and writer Phil Stanford
Oregon True Crime @ Mission Theatre on Facebook
June 12, Portland Expose
June 13, Without Evidence