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About ThelmaTodd

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  1. Thank you all for a very interesting and charming topic! Classic era film makers made heavy use of model trains. It was very common to show a distance shot of a supposed train rolling through the landscape that was actually a model train. Model trains were also useful when the story called for a crash or derailment. Digital techno fakery was not invented and destroying real trains expensive- so they settled for models! You will see many examples of this on old TCM films, and many studios used this trick. For the studios, the go to guy for these models was San Francisco based model maker R
  2. Here is a short segment showing the breathtaking restored version. The contrast with older prints of this film are stunning. Surrealism was not just the domain of "fine artists" like Dali. There was a lot of pop-culture Surrealism in Hollywood films as well. A whole orchestra appearing out of a giant grand piano represents a surrealist imagination. How do you embed a video on this site? I haven't done it in ages.
  3. An extraordinary spectacle- so unlike anything that would be made today. The highlight tune of the film is Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue, performed by the orchestra that made it famous. There was an element of pop-culture Surrealism to many of the scenes, like the big Paul Whiteman Orchestra playing inside a giant grand piano. And no, it was not "computer generated"; people had to live in work in the "real world" back then! Carpenters and painters had to actually create that set and build it in a big sound stage. The colors from that early 2 strip Technicolor process look soft, dreamy an
  4. For the last couple of years, I have been watching a lot of 1930's German films on youtube, as so much has been uploaded. When speaking of Third Reich era films, there has been a tendency for film historians to emphasize a few key films. Because the German market was so large, people overlook the fact that numerous film features were produced during that era, and most of them were escapist entertainment. Goebbels and Hitler were big film buffs and knew people went to the movies to be entertained and to escape their cares. (Both men watched a lot of Hollywood films, which gave them a templa
  5. I've read the book, and it was helpful towards understanding the film. There were some things implied or mentioned in the book that were not so easy to get away with in film back then. Geiger's antiquarian bookstore was a front; he "rented" pornography out of his back room. Possession of pornography, like possession of drugs, was very illegal. In order for Geiger to get "protection" for such a racket, he had to be under a bigger racketeer, in this case Eddie Mars. Geiger rents a house owned by Eddie Mars and does a side business in getting rich young girls doped up, photographed compro
  6. THE SINKING OF THE LUSITANIA (1918) Cartoon by Winsor McCay Tonight TCM lived up to it's splendid heritage as a classic movie channel that sometimes shows pioneering work from the earliest days of the cinema! Shown were the animation works of cartoonist Winsor McCay, a wildly imaginative artist who I believe was one of the real pioneers of surrealism. McCay loved the whimsical, but for this documentary cartoon rendering of that great tragedy, he played it straight as an arrow. This animation, while showing great artistic sensibility, was graphic and realistic- a rare early example of a
  7. Hi slaytonf! It gets very, very complicated over there! The Balkan region features two important civilisational fault lines: ethnicity and religion. It is impossible to draw a neat boundary line separating two peoples over there, and ethnic states have overlapping territorial claims upon one another based upon past history. The area also has conflict stemming from Catholic (Croats) vs. Eastern Orthodox (Serbs and Russians). Add Islam to the mix (Bosniaks and Albanians), as well as the long sad history of mutual massacres- and you have a lot of gasoline vapor in the air! The Balkans is the
  8. Thanks slytonf! This map shows the alliances of 1914. As you can see, there were not too many neutral states, hence it was a domino effect if and when the "Central Powers" got into a spat with one of the green colored nations. (In this case, it was caused by a declaration of war between Austria and Serbia ) Such arrangements put Germany at risk for a two front war. Poland was a part of the Russian Empire, and so Russia and Germany were adjacent states. Austria was not really geared up for large scale war with Russia, who played the role of Serbia's "protector". The Austrians relied
  9. Hi Palmerin, Many bad results came from that war. In a future post I will elaborate what they were, given that I'll have have enough time and enrgy to do so! Many bad political effects, but possibly the worse was the worldwide influenza epidemic that claimed 50 million lives. I believe this was a proximate result of the war itself- there was a breakdown in public health, nutrition and sanitation that helped the virus to spread, given that so many immune systems were vulnerable.
  10. Sorry I mistyped your name! I caught it and fixed it!
  11. Hi Hibi, Thanks for reviving this thread! The subject of WW1 is profound, and yet our collective understanding and memory of it has faded. This war was a pandora's box! It had terrible long term consequences that continue to this day and may possibly continue into the future.
  12. Was Kaiser Willie as bad as this? Was he the original "Axis Of Evil", a megalomaniac wanting all nations and peoples to bow down to him? The background is eerily reminiscent of of the flag of one of Germany's future allies- Japan. Puttin' that poor Devil out of work! The closest he ever came to a mea culpa: "My conscience stands clear before God and history; I did not want the war." =========================================================== My assessment of Kaiser Wilhelm II was that he was an ambitious and opportunistic militarist and impe
  13. Thanks Fred, you're amazing! The resulting English subtitles are off a bit, but that's because I've never sen any language translation software that produces really good results. Translating one language into another would require a very complex algorithm, needing to cover all possible idiomatic expressions, multiple meanings etc. But it's very helpful- better than nothing if you don't know German. I agree about the historical value. On another thread, you were discussing contemporary references and sources (Meaning sources from the historical time period in question) Even when they ar
  14. Hi Fred, I tried that, but the only language choice I see offered is Estonian, which around here, doesn't help very much. I don't see English offered as a menu choice.
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