The Road to Dracula. Dir. David J. Skal. Perf. Carla Laemmle, Bela Lugosi Jr.. DVD. Universal, 1999.
The Road to Dracula is a short documentary film on the creation of Dracula (1931). It describes the origins and creation of the film, its ensuing success, and its enduring cultural impact. It describes some of the aspects of Dracula (1931) that made it popular at the time, such as the appeal of Lugosi as the Count.
The Road to Dracula describes the evolution of the vampire from earlier folkloric and literary incarnations to the first Dracula in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, which became the quintessential vampire novel, despite not being the first. It moves on to discuss Dracula’s first appearances in theater and film, most notably in Dracula’s Death (an unauthorized Hungarian film that was not an adaptation of Stoker’s novel but was Dracula’s first screen appearance), Nosferatu (1922, an unauthorized German adaptation of Stoker’s novel), the stage play Dracula (1924, an authorized adaptation of Stoker’s novel), and the film Dracula (1931, an authorized adaptation of Stoker’s novel based largely off the play).
The documentary discusses how Bela Lugosi’s incarnation of Dracula in the film Dracula became the definitive Dracula that has endured in popular culture to the present day. It also compares Lugosi’s Dracula to the other incarnations, both newer and older. For example, Lugosi’s suave Dracula contrasts greatly with Max Shreck’s hideously rat-like Count Orlok. Various personages speculate as to what aspects of the film Dracula contributed to its enormous success. Some mention that the use of sound impressed audiences, as Dracula was one of the first Universal horror films with sound. The film also benefited from Karl Freund’s (of The Last Laugh and Metropolis) camerawork. Others attribute Dracula’s success to the charisma of Lugosi’s Dracula, with his powerful stage presence and uniquely deliberate delivery. Still others emphasize the commingling of eroticism and vampirism in the film. Lugosi’s preying on young women is intentioned to incite both fear and arousal in the audience simultaneously. This aspect of the film differentiates it from earlier film Draculas and likely contributed to its success. Universal’s advertising campaign for Dracula that, while focusing on its horror elements, also exploited the film’s underlying sexual content, is thought to have been effective in promoting the film as well.
Katz, Robert and Nancy Katz. "Documentary in Transition, Part I: The United States." Hollywood Quarterly Vol. 3, No. 4 (1948): 425-433.
Documentaries attracted widespread public interest after World War II, but during the wartime period, it was mostly shown to the armed forces. To the soldiers who fought in distant theaters, it was a means to political education. It was important for the ordinary GI to know his allies and to the causes and issues at stake. Documentaries such as Frank Capra's Why We Fight series or True Glory politically educated soldiers, but there were also documentaries such as the This Is America series, which portrayed images of normality for the homesick GIs. The first major US documentaries with a definite point of view came during the second Roosevelt administration and included the popular Private Snafu series, but it had to overcome the stigma of being government sponsored. There is also the element of interactive instruction through documentaries (including the Private Snafu series). Such films acted as direct answers to concerns and questions that soldiers had (in accordance to the military viewpoint). It simultaneously satisfied individual curiosities as well as assimilating individual soldiers into the unit; it made these sources of propaganda seem unbiased and trustworthy.
It is important to understand the amount of propaganda that was thrown at soldiers, in order to keep the discontent to a minimum. In addition, it was a form of social control. The constant stream of propagandistic documentaries took a toll on the soldiers as well as priming them for more propagandistic material. Torn between the images of home and normality and the patriotic duty demanded, they were susceptible to additional propaganda. The earlier animations and documentaries geared towards to soldiers were overly conscious of the "official" nature of the work and tried to avoid committing to a concrete message. Instead, the later animations and documentaries struck a clearer chord by gearing the feature to a specific message, whether it is not revealing secrets liberally (Private Snafu in Censor) or why we fight the war. With clear messages in the form of entertaining animation, soldiers become desensitized to constant barrage of propaganda, in other forms besides animation, as well as to the conditions they are exposed to.
Gunckel, Colin. "“Gangs Gone Wild”: Low-Budget Gang Documentaries." The Velvet Light Trap 60(2007): 37-46.
This article discusses gangs and how they are portrayed in the public media through exploitation documentary. It questions whether the way they are being shown is the best way to do so because it glamorizes the gang lifestyle to the public, possibly corrupting the youth’s view of gangs. This article analyses the trend of gang based documentaries and the effect it has on the film industry. Specifically The World Most Dangerous Gang, a documentary on La Mara Salvatrucha portrays the gang in a poor light for the public eye. It uses a sensationalistic and exploitative method turning it into more entertainment than a serious documentary should be. Then it discusses different types of films made for release direct to DVD. These raw documentaries are cheap and easy exploitations to create. Film series such as Bumfights and Girls Gone Wild are cited as examples of the genre of exploitation documentary.
This article relates to The Warriors in that it exploits the gang genre, in a manner that glamorizes the gang lifestyle. It creates allure to the violent life led by gang members. With all the glamour, it could possible cause viewers of the film to get overly excited by the film and act irrationally. This violence might extend into real-life and cause serious injury or death, as occured in the days following The Warriors's public release. The gang exploitation film genre has been designed in such a way using rap soundtracks and flashy images of gang members that it would appeal to viewers similarly to how it has been argued that The Warriors appeals violence to its viewers.
A juxtaposition of philosophical narration and visual montage, presented in the form of a woman's voice, reading and commenting upon the letters she receives from "Sandor Krasna," a freelance cameraman who travels the world, particularly focussing on those "two extreme poles of survival," Western Africa and Japan. His reflections concern filming, time, memory, history, ritual, and civilization.
This documentary harshly examines the life of a comic book illustrator from Philadelphia. The film shows the way in which Crumb’s persona was developed through his childhood and family. By L. Pardue
The Dixie Hummingbirds are depicted in We Love You Like a Rock as the preeminent gospel group. The documentary includes interviews with Stevie Wonder, Paul Simmons, Bobby Womack, and other figures in the music industry praising the Dixie Hummingbirds for their influence on gospel music and African-American music. The documentary is screened at the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema. By L. Pardue
tagged documentary gospel_music pfdoctype_newspapers_articles_&_reviews pffilmtitle_we_love_you_like_a_rock:_the_dixie_hummingbirds pfpeople_bobby_womack pfpeople_paul_simmons pfpeople_stevie_wonder philadelphia_festival_of_world_cinema the_dixie_hummingbirds by wellske ...on 13-DEC-06
Cipriano interviews Van Blunk and Rosanio about their 15-minute documentary on six synagogues in south Philadelphia, only one of which was active at the time the film was shot. The film examines the growth and decline of the Jewish population in south Philadelphia and the corresponding closures of synagogues and Jewish businesses. By L. Pardue
This film was filmed in Doylestown, a suburb of Philadelphia. It is a look at an alternate treatment for psychotic outbursts in which the patients live under the supervision of families. The film highlights the Delaware Valley Mental Health Foundation, an important Philadelphia institution. In his review, Roger Greenspun talks about the controversial methods of treatment being practiced as well as their effects. He calls the Cinéma-Vérité style film tactful, although, he says as a movie the subject matter is not as interesting as it is in its own right. By S. Stein
from the website -
The 55 minute documentary film while replete with humorous anecdotes is one of the most serious and disturbing assessments of the rampant use of this inexpensive and highly addicting drug.
CRACKHEADS GONE WILD is a new and contemporary version of “Scared Straight” an earlier documentary on juvenile crime and the negative road to prison that youth can expect with continued criminal involvement.
The documentary shows the destructive nature of Crack Cocaine through the eyes of actual users who have experienced the devastation of addiction, and how the users cover the racial, ethnic and socio-economic spectrum of our society.
Call#: University Museum Library Desk VHS TX945.5.S54 F56 1989
Rating: Not yet rated
In Theatres: June 28th, 2006
Keating,P . "The Fictional Worlds of Neorealism." Criticism [0011-1589] 45.1 (2003). 11-.
Unlike Yau's Recon-figuration:Revisiting Modernity and Reality in Deleuze's Taxonomy of Cinema (Wide angle [0160-6840] 20.4 (1998). 51-.) Patrick Keating disputes previous claims that Neorealism exist solely in a plane of constructed reality because of conventional cinematic attributes . Keating does not refute that neorealism is constructed and stylized reality, but it is his assertion that neorealism is closely related to documentary in its scope and tradition as well. To support his claims, Keating points to Benjamin Harshav's theory of Internal and External Fields of Reference, a literary theory that explains how a work of fiction does not truly exist outside of reality, but rather the realms of fiction and reality are interrelated through a frame of reference (fr). Each frame does not exist in a separate world, but rather inhabits and contributes to a larger frame, called a field.
In the Bicycle Thieves, Keating sees a "double-decker" reference of reality where there is the fictionalized Rome that de Sica constructs (internal), and the Rome outside of the mise en scene (external). In other words, a viewer is getting a glimpse into the world of Antonio and Bruno AND late 40's post-war Italy. These two references do not exist in separate spheres, yet they are distinct and should not be interpreted as being one in the same, but the viewer still is shaped by the depiction of father and son shown in the film. The reality in the Bicycle Thieves is not based solely on content, but rather the importation of reality to the film and the subsequent exportation of this reality as art.
----------------------------------------- CRIMINAL MASS ( documentary )-------------------
- A journey through the Critical Mass Bicycle Ride and America’s right to assemble. Filmmaker Christopher J. Ryan ( Warriors: the Bike Race, Still We Ride, Team Spider Television ) has spent the last 18 months tracking his personal experiences as a Critical Mass bike rider, as well as his subsequent journey through the New York State Criminal Court system. The colorful, poignant, and often funny story is told through video footage that includes video diaries, bicycle chase scenes, paddy wagon interviews shot by Chris’ handcuffed hands , voyeuristic NYPD helicopter footage, as well as daring video exposing the presence of NYPD’s previously denied undercover agents ( recently used as the basis of a recent New York Times cover story ). Throughout his extensive journey, Chris tries to juggle his time- consuming legal battles and courtroom appearances, with his day-job working, ironically, on television’s “Law and Order” where he lights the large courtroom sets that are used to pretend to prosecute the city’s real crimes. His misadventures are intertwined with a colorful cast of characters, including:
-His fellow arrestees, who form a legal aid group known as FREEWHEELS, as they become unwilling participants in the cat & mouse style police chases and exhaustive legal battles. -Chris’ VIDEO CAMERA, a character unto itself as the beaten and bruised little camcorder is repeatedly smashed to pieces and miraculously brought back to life by a sympathetic television news technician named “FLIP”. -Chris’ Father, KEVIN, a military officer and Vietnam veteran, who, horrified at the recent treatment of Cindy Sheahan, becomes heavily involved in his son’s legal battles. -Dozens of unlikely “criminals” such as 8-year old JENNA, who can’t understand “why the police arrest bicyclists” and SHARON, who, at seven months pregnant, when sent to jail for standing on the sidewalk with her bike the night of a Critical Mass ride. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------------------------
- Criminal Mass examines the erosion of the American people’s personal freedoms, privacies, and the right to assemble, while celebrating the unexpected positive effects, communities and friendships forged in the face of injustice.
May 28, 2006
No Free Samples for Documentaries: Seeking Film Clips With the Fair-Use Doctrine
By ELAINE DUTKA
THE film producer Alicia Sams viewed "Wanderlust," a documentary about American road movies, as a way of introducing a new generation to Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise, and other giants of the genre. Films like "Five Easy Pieces," "Easy Rider" and "The Grapes of Wrath," she was convinced, offered a window into the American character.
The 90-minute documentary, to be broadcast Monday night on the Independent Film Channel, was also a window into the frustrations of making a clip-intensive film dependent on copyright clearance, which has become hugely expensive in the past decade. Initial quotations for the necessary sequences came to more than $450,000, which would have raised by half the cost of the IFC film, directed by the Oscar-nominated team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini ("American Splendor").
"Paramount wanted $20,000 for 119 seconds of 'Paper Moon,' " Ms. Sams said. "The studios are so afraid of exploitation that they set boundaries no one will cross. Even after the prices were cut, we were $150,000 in the hole."
Unwilling to pay those fees, IFC's general manager, Evan Shapiro, helped Ms. Sams pursue another, more aggressive, tack, which may point the way for documentarians who want to tap movie iconography without paying studio prices. Its strategy involved some negotiating hardball, backed up by a willingness to fall back on the tricky legal doctrine known as fair use.
Mr. Shapiro called in a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer, Michael C. Donaldson, who drilled him on copyright law. Under the 165-year-old fair-use doctrine, Mr. Shapiro was told, filmmakers, news gatherers, critics and educators can access material at no cost if they add something to it (like a voice-over), don't undermine its value or use more than needed to make a point. Free speech trumps private property when a project is in the public interest, a term broadly defined.
"Fair use is the lubricant that allows creativity and copyright law to coexist," said Mr. Donaldson, a former president of the International Documentary Association.
Rating: Not yet rated
In Theatres: June 28th, 2006
This article focuses on sharks and how Americans’ views on sharks have evolved since around the 1970s. Author Stephen Papson writes about how the use of documentary films on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week 90” has shaped the terror-filled relationship between humans and sharks. Papson also acknowledges Jaws as the first movie to “elevate the shark to celebrity status.”
As Papson states, it is easy to be mislead by the manner in which sharks were represented in early films due to the fact that many moviegoers’ first shark encounters occurred while watching one of those films. In Jaws, Steven Spielberg uses an oversized replica of a great white shark in conjunction with various “Hitchcockian devices” with which to involve the audience in the film while simultaneously maintaining a certain sense of reality so as to not lose the viewers.
However, 1971 marked the first significant contribution in film pertaining to sharks, particularly the great white shark -- Peter Gimbel and James Lipscomb’s documentary “Blue Water, White Death.” Many early films that involved sharks, including Gimbel and Lipscomb’s film, regarded sharks as evil man-eating machines. It was Spielberg’s Jaws that first cast sharks in a different light. The shark in Jaws was given “personality and internationality” which in turn led to the international media coverage of new shark encounters (including Time Magazine’s June 23, 1975 cover page). The opening scene, in which the audience experiences the action from the shark’s perspective, draws on humans’ primal fear of being attacked and eaten by a shark.
As one can see, Americans have been educated on the nature of sharks primarily through documentary film, but movies like Jaws helped in attaining global coverage of shark activity that eventually led to the production of “Shark Week 90,” giving Americans a trustworthy source of information on sharks.