The foundation for my love of film is a deep appreciation of where it all began. For instance, the early inventions that led to the birth of cinema were peepshow devices. Tools of entertainment mainly used to give the people of the late 1800s a little thrill are ultimately responsible for one of the greatest industries in the world, an art and pastime that’s become apart of daily life for many. I’ve been lucky enough to get up close and personal with a couple of these authentic optical toys at a coin operated arcade on San Francisco’s infamous Pier 45.
If that score doesn’t make you feel, does anything?
While memory often fails us, ink on paper endures…unless you’re prone to fires or floods, memory loss or freak accidents then you, my friend, better start getting tattoos of the important stuff.
I started out with productive intentions, packing up my apartment, getting ready to move out at the end of the month, but somehow I ended up sitting around and looking through some of my journals. Sitting around with notebooks turned into sitting around with my MacBook, browsing the internet, hunting for notebooks, journals and doodles belonging to some of the most famous creatives of the past. It’s comforting to see that some of my greatest inspirations prescribed to a methodical madness that looks somewhat like mine.
“A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard.” – Billy Wilder (June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002)
I don’t know how else to communicate my love for Billy Wilder, especially on his 106th birthday, other than confessing that all throughout Script Frenzy, this had been my desktop image:
I adore this man and not only because he was first and foremost a writer, but also because of his thoughtful cinematic eye, his unrelenting wit and his love for making pictures that always translates onscreen. Double Indemnity (1944) is the first Wilder film I’ve ever seen and set the standard for every film noir I’ve screened since. Even though the number of times Fred MacMurray’s Walter Neff says “baby” is worthy of a drinking game, the delivery and commitment to the role is on point. Playing opposite of MacMurray, Barba Stanwyck’s Phyllis Dietrichson is a femme fatale in every sense of the term. The cinematography is stunning and the narrative is so artfully pieced together that it achieves an impressive level of suspense and entertainment without all the CGI and digital tricks of modern filmmaking. It also has lighter, amusing moments like the scene where Walter stops at a drive-in, orders a beer, drinks it in his car and is free to drive off. Oh, what it would be like to live in the 1940s.
Other classic Wilder must-sees:
- The Lost Weekend (1945)
- Sunset Boulevard (1949)
- Sabrina (1954)
- The Seven Year Itch (1955) (Currently on Netflix instant)
- Some Like It Hot (1955)
- The Apartment (1960)
Happy birthday, good sir. The legend lives on.
Photos via Tumblr