6 Degrees Film Round-up for April

This April, 6 Degrees is focusing on the great films that are found on the small screen. Our big screen blockbusters have often been eclipsed by the amount of content that has been available to everyone through streaming and all the online services. Even the Oscar winner CODA made history (which was overshadowed by ‘the slap!,’ by being released through a streaming platform and not a traditional studio. Another big event was the Best Director Oscar going to a woman for the third time! There is change afoot, but it is always a bit slow… Turner Classic features Strong Women on Film   There are always great movies with strong female leads on Turner Classic. This month, my favorite picks are Ninotchka, The Harvey Girls, The Philadelphia Story and Rachel & the Stranger. The Harvey Girls and Rachel & the Stranger deal with the real-life background stories of women who were true pioneers. The Harvey Girls were women who had the courage to move out west and try to bring ‘civilization’ to the rough and tumble world that existed past the Mississippi River! And Rachel & the Stranger dealt with the reality that occurred when your spouse died. It meant that the need to replace a strong worker was real, and it came before love or romance or anything else when you were out on a farm on the lone prairie! The Philadelphia Story is beloved for the scene where Cary Grant thinks better of assaulting his ex-wife and instead pushes her down. This is one of those controversial moments in old films. because it would be considered an acceptance of violent acts against women in modern times. In this case, it somehow fits the storyline and also tells us that there are and were characters such as Katherine Hepburn, who could fight back with words as well as deeds to make the men appear small! And Ninotchka is well-known from the Golden Age of Hollywood for the great publicity line, “Garbo Laughs!” This was a rarity in Garbo’s career, as she didn’t appear in many comedies.   Books on Film   For National Library Week, we have tried to highlight the many great books that have been written about film. Some are listed on the website and each Friday, in 6 Degrees of Film at the Movies, we feature the best recommended blogs as well as books and reviews on film. This week, we have recommended some books I love including “Film Noir” -edited by Alain Silver & Elizabeth Ward. There’s a great pictorial guide from Life Magazine-“Life goes to the Movies.”  And “The Story of Film” is a short history of film by Mark Cousins. There’s one with all sorts of great stories from films Golden Age called “The Great Movie Stars” from David Shipman. Another reference volume I love is “The Movies,” from Griffith & Mayer. Another good read for writers is “Writers in Hollywood” by Ian Hamilton.  And one of the more recent books that I really like is from Alicia Malone: “Girls on Film: Lessons from a Life of Watching Women in Movies.”  And finally, of course you can take a short walk through the history of film with my own “6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village. ”  We are celebrating our ninth year in publication with a new Ebook Addendum out soon! From the Friday Flix Files   Finally, on the topic of resources for film, there is our Friday Flix magazine.  Friday Flix has a mix of articles on the Golden Age of film as well as news about the latest adventures in Hollywood (Yes, the ‘slap’ is there as well!) Some of the latest not-to-miss topics include: Life Changing Movies: The Atlantic delves into the question of what elements can make a movie life changing; And from my book, I have a post about films that did affect my life. Some films can definitely be life-changing… Coen Brothers: The unique film-making qualities that comprise the films made by the Coen Brothers are the reason that their films have been so successful. In this piece, there are ten tips that make their films stand out from the rest… Critics Choice: One of the unique tidbits that we found out this past week concerned the invention of the “Two thumbs up” sign for a movie’s success or failure. Siskel & Ebert were the great film critics out of Chicago who dominated the film review industry for years. Ebert’s widow, Chaz, has put together a special article that lists some of the reasons that Roger Ebert was one of the great film critics of all time. 50 Years of The Godfather: Friday Flix features several articles celebrating the fifty years since one of America’s most beloved films made its debut. Some facts about the making, some behind-the-scenes look from the cast members and some thoughtful pieces that try to pinpoint why this film has made such a powerful impact upon the psyche of our lives and times. How Star Wars changed the Film Industry   And finally, Cine-vue.com has a piece that marks the definitive ways in which Star Wars has impacted and changed the film industry since its 1975 debut. That is also one of the sections that is covered in my book, “6 Degrees of Film.” Here is a short excerpt: “…Peter Bogdanovich said, “There’s a general juvenilization of movies that’s happened over the last ten years that’s pretty scary. The other day, somebody read a script that I was working on and said, ‘Oh, I get it: This is an adult comedy.’ I said, ‘What do you mean—that it’s a comedy FOR adults?  He said, ‘No, no, no, it’s a comedy ABOUT adults.’ Most of the comedies, the rest of the comedies, are about kids. I think a lot of things have gone wrong. Movies are far less complex in their structure and in their execution than they’ve ever been.” In their defense, let’s remember Spielberg

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