Good-Morning! fellow bloggers and Wonders in the Dark, readers, this morning I am so happy that the proprietor of, Wonders in the Dark, and fellow blogger Sam Juliano, took the time out of his very busy schedule to sit down and talk with me over a cup of coffee and croissant(s) about how his interest in the cinema began….
Dee Dee: Welcome! Sam Juliano, what a pleasure it is for me to meet you, (I reach to shake… Sam Juliano, hand…) please sit down and…Let me begin by asking you the first question that I ask all my guest and that is… Can you please tell me a little about your blog,
Wonders in the Dark?
Sam Juliano: First of all, Dee Dee, it is my honor to sit down with you. You have been gracing so many blogs with your ceaseless effervescence and good will, not to mention humility and passion. I was moved when you asked me to join with you in covering the Oscars this month, and a number of readers at both blogs have enjoyed the coverage.
Dee Dee: I’am not so sure about my blog, but I ‘am quite sure about yours, methinks, that you are developing a loyal readership and several new friends along the way. But, thank-you, just the same for the very generous compliment.
Sam, excuse me, please continue when was “Wonders in the Dark” launched….Wonders in the Dark was launched late in September by yours truly and my dear friend Allan Fish, who lives in the U.K, (Allan, has written well over 1,200 reviews in a film book.)
Dee Dee: Wow!… I am always very impressed…with Allan Fish, reviews on your blog.
[Editor's Note...Allan Fish, has written well over 1,200 reviews in a film book. Yes, I was aware of the fact, that Allan Fish, had written well over 1,200 reviews in a film book.]
Sam Juliano: As Allan and I are good friends, and speak regularly over the phone and on the computer, the idea came to me, and I asked Allan to set up the blog
(with the help of Tony D’Ambra, http://filmsnoir.net/ and Craig Kennedy, from
http://livingincinema.com/ as he is more skilled than I am on the PC. I came up with the name, and we started posting in late September.)
Dee Dee: Oh! that is wonderful!…to hear or learn how “Wonders in the Dark” was created….
Dee Dee: Sam Juliano, when did you first develop an interest in films or the cinema?
Sam Juliano: As I will elaborate on later, I started at 7 or 8 years old. My father introduced me to my first theatre experience (my father is now 78 and is still a big movie fan too) and then I began to walk to local theatres and to use the television to watch many old films. I was a big fan of Laurel and Hardy and the silent comedians at that time (and still am)….
Dee Dee: Speaking of, films what do you consider your favorite “genre” or “style?”Btw, if I were a betting person…I would bet that you like or appreciate all “genre” and “styles,” of films.
I do love all styles, but I’ll admit that I seem to favor foreign-language drama, independent cinema, musicals, and sci-fi fantasies. But, I also have a lifelong infatuation with horror, and I do love noir, westerns and mysteries as well.
I bet you don’t know I have been a fanatical Agatha Christie fan throughout my life, and have amongst other collections, the entire “Poirot” series.
Dee Dee: Oh! no, I though you were a Sherlock Holmes, kind of, man…Oh! Wow!….an Agatha Christie, fan…hmmm..you can bet that I have the “mother lode” of books, for you!….That is if you don’t own them already.
Dee Dee: I know that this may be a difficult question to answer, but if you were stranded on a desert island with a “portable DVD player” ….what film or films I ‘am sure in your ‘super vast’ DVD collection would you, take with you?
Remember! Sam Juliano, we only have an hour!… Ha! Ha! (Friendly, Laughter!)
Sam Juliano: LOL!!! Dee Dee! OK I’ll pick 51 that I absolutely love, even if there are many more!
City Lights (Chaplin)
The Last Picture Show (Bogdonovich)
Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi)
Tokyo Story (Ozu)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
West Side Story (Wise/Robins)
The Fountain (Aronofsky)
Far From Heaven (Haynes)
Cries and Whispers (Bergman)
The General (Keaton)
The Grapes of Wrath (Ford)
Citizen Kane (Welles)
Marketa Lazarova (Vlacil)
Empire of the Sun (Spielberg)
A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick)
Jean de Florette (Berri)
It’s A Wonderful Life (Capra)
Wuthering Heights (Wyler)
Le Journal d’Un Cure de Campagne (Bresson)
Wild Strawberries (Bergman)
The Third Man (Reed)
Double Indemnity (Wilder)
Goodbye Mr. Chips (Wood)
Dee Dee: What a very impressive list of films Sam.,..at least I am very impressed with all the films that you have watched…and will take with you on a desert island.
Dee Dee: On the other hand, what do you consider your least favorite film and why? Or in other words, a film that you watched for the first time and thought to yourself “Never
Again” will I ever watch that film!
Sam Juliano:There are many bad films released each and every year. I can name so many, but for the purpose of your question I’ll name a critically-praised film that everyone else seemed to love, Sophia Coppola’s LOST IN TRANSLATION, which for me was a tedious and pretentious film that was torturous to sit through, even though I gave it three chances in the theatre.
[Editor's note: I meant to ask Sam Juliano, his least favorite films.]
Dee Dee: Because of your vast knowledge of films and I’ am quite sure your collection is “vast”….I was wondering who introduced you to the “world” of films?
Sam Juliano: I took to film from an early age, maybe 7 or 8. My father introduced me to films in the theatre (Pinocchio was the first I ever saw in one, and I also saw the film Hercules with my aunt and cousins when I was five, and they told me I got my finger stuck in the seat, causing the lights to be turn on in the entire theatre–a sure baptism under fire!
Dee Dee: Wow!….I guess you, can call it “A “sure” or “true” baptism under fire!”.
Dee Dee: Sam Juliano, continue, with discussing your introduction to films before I so “rudely” interrupted you….I began to watch films incessantly on television, and took graduate and undergraduate film classes, all the while collecting films originally on Beta, then VHS, then laserdisc and currently on DVD.
Dee Dee: Oh! by the way, when it comes to your DVD collection…I can just “imagine” how vast it’s…because every time a film is mention (by me, Alexander or any of your readers) you, seem to have a copy of the film.
Dee Dee: Are there any film(s) that you have not had the privilege of watching yet?
Sam: Absolutely. Tony D’Ambra, at Films Noir has uncovered some, as had Alexander (Coleman) and of course Allan (Fish).
I have seen a massive number of films, (especially as, I am a man over 50) but I need to see a lot more.
Dee Dee: Sam Juliano, I received an invitation I ‘am quite sure like all the readers that post here on Wonders in the Dark, inviting us to your Oscars @ party…and what I would like to know is this can you, please fill those of us who are not in the know in….When did you and wife Mrs. Lucille Juliano, start to host Oscars parties? And what happens at the party?
Sam Juliano: I married Lucille in 1995 at the age of 39. (she was 30 at the time) I had been running the party myself in my parents’ house (with whom I lived) since 1983. So, I have been hosting the party for about 25 years, with maybe 13 with Lucille and I together. We generally get about 35 to 40 people in attendance and run an Oscar “pool” with the winner determined simply by seeing who had the most right of the 23 categories.
Lucille and I always provide a rather elaborate spread of food and drink (last night we served homemade eggplant rollatini, chicken parmigiana, rigatoni and tomato sauce, meatballs, escarole and beans, and a wide array of cold cuts and salads. Beer and soda was also served as well as snack foods.
Dee Dee: hmmm….What a buffet…That sounds like a well-rounded variety of food that was offered to your guest at your Oscars@ party.
Sam Juliano: The show is watched on our downstairs plasma television (52 inches) and also on the first floor in the living room. Those in attendance usually move up and down. There are usually some outbursts from some people when favorites win (or lose) and I invariably provide some commentary throughout the night, as I often “get excited” and then realize afterwards what a fool I was. LOL!!
Dee Dee: Ha!Ha!… I don’t think that you were being “foolish” after all it was an Oscars@ party!
Dee Dee: Sam Juliano, with the Oscar@ airing tonight I would like to know what film do you feel was overlooked during this Oscar@ season that you feel should have received more attention?
In other words,
What film do you feel should have been acknowledged by the Academy of Arts and Sciences, but was ‘overlooked” this year?
Btw, Sam Juliano, have you every read TCM host Robert Osbourne, book about the Oscars@ entitled 80 years of Oscars?
The animated WALL-E was in my opinion the best film of 2008. Therefore this is the film that more than any other received the worst slight from the Academy this year. Being nominated in the “animated”category means very little in the grand scheme, and a nod for Best Picture should not have been denied this film. It’s one of the greatest animated films in many years.
Robert Osbourne book. Absolutely, Dee Dee. I have owned this book for many years, and find it an invaluable reference tool for the Academy Awards. Osbourne is incomparable
Dee Dee: Finally, Sam Juliano, Yes, I do post on your blog and I notice that you have a superb writing staff and I was wondering if you can tell me and the readers, a little about each writer on your staff.
Sam Juliano: Allan Fish is the most prolific writer on the staff, and his endless reviews of classic and foreign language cinema, have provided a backbone at the site, and a continual update of material on a daily basis. Allan’s knowledge of world cinema, since its inception has been staggering, and I think his work is surely among the very best on any site on the net. I don’t know anyone who has seen more films than he has, and he has written over 2,000 reviews, and has an incredible section of ratings and film guides in a collection that is better than any on bookstore shelves.
Tony D’Ambra, who runs FilmsNoir.net and ‘Another Cinema Blog’ is a veteran film buff, who also happens to be a distinguished writer and researcher. Tony’s reviews for Wonders in the Dark have been very popular and have attracted among the highest numbers of total comments of any pieces posted at the site. Tony’s specialty of course is film noir, but our fruitful association has unearthed an equal knowledge and appreciation.
Kaleem Hasan is a film scholar, whose intellectual writing has often provided some of the sites most impassioned discourse. Mr. Hasan is well-versed in philosophy, psychology, sociology and literature in addition to film, and he often bridges the gaps here with some thought-provoking, albeit challenging discussion.
Jenny Bee Boulton is a new staffer, who recently contributed a marvelous Ten Best of the Year list, which examined each of her ten choices masterfully. Ms. Boulton is a fecund and descriptive writer, with a strong background in music. WitD is thrilled to have her aboard.
Dennis Polifroni is another new addition, who will be tapping into a lifetime of moviegoing, which he admits himself has often been an obsession. Polifroni is an animation specialist with a strong bent for populist cinema. he is also a talented writer.
Others who have posts published at the site include: “Pierre de Plume,” Peter Danish, Marco Tremble, “Sartre,” and Broadway Bob Eagleson.
Dee Dee: Sam Juliano, from over there at Wonders in the Dark, I want to thank you, for stopping by and sharing some of your time with me in order to discuss your interests in films, your family, friends, and the Oscars,@ but of course!
Thank-you! Sam Juliano, for joining me… for coffee and croissants and I truly appreciate the time you have spent with me this morning.
Sam Juliano: Thank-you! Dee Dee, and a special thanks for being the incomparably wonderful person that you are! You make the net a so much better place to be!