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Archive for December 17th, 2012

by Sam Juliano

The following is the transcript of classroom introduction, and post-film discussion in an undergraduate cinema studies class held in the Margaret Crowden Auditorium at Jersey City State College on the morning of Friday, September 10, 1972.

Professor Harold KeatonHello ladies and gentleman.  My name is Professor Harold Keaton and I would like to welcome you all to ‘Introduction to Cinema Studies till 1941’ Please check your schedule and make sure you are presently in the right class.  This is the Margaret Crowden Auditorium.  The class will convene every Friday morning from 8:30 till 11:40 A.M.  Depending on the running time of some of the features you can generally figure on a 15 minute break, at which time you are welcome to indulge in a snack that either was brought in or obtained at the student union building directly across from the entrance to this building.  I do not permit smoking in my class, so for those who indulge, you can avail youself of the break time outdoors.  The current fall semester, as many of you are already aware will run for fourteen weeks until the first week of December, when final exams will be administered.  The grade you earn in this class will be based on three components.  The first will be the cumulative average of two term papers that will deal with assigned topics that tie in with the weekly screenings.  The topics will be given out on the third week of class, and will be accepted voluntarily.  The best strategy is to complete the first before the halfway point, so that the final seven weeks can be utilized to negotiate the second one.  The second component is the final exam, which will be given during the second week in December.  The exam will take into account the films that are screened and the lectures and discussion that preceed and follow the viewings.  The last requirement to figure into your final grade will be active participation in class discussion and analysis.  I will closely monitor the contributions of each and every one of you, and can only advise you to be as animated as possible in your invlovement in class discussion.  I’d go as far as to say that this component may well be the weightiest of all three.  If there are any people who define themselves as shy, I’m sorry to say that this is not the class for you.  The first three weeks will cover silent comedy, with today’s sceening of The Gold Rush set to launch during today’s session.  Has anyone in this class ever seen the film, or have heard of the director and lead actor, Charles Chaplin?  Please state your name at all times before responding.

James Woods: I have seen a few shorts by Chaplin, that were once shown on Ch. 13, but I haven’t seen The Gold Rush.

Brian Leary: (coughing) I saw it once, but I can’t remember too much about it.  My father took me to some theatre across the river in Manhattan when I was about 11.  I remember my father laughing himself silly, and a few times I joined him. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The darkest Christmas season ever in the nation’s consciousness has come to pass, and the words “unspeakable,” “unconscionable” and “inconsolable” immediately come to mind, if indeed anyone can ever come to terms with anything connected to this unbearable sadness.  My site colleague Maurizio Roca in a telling e mail said with haunting simplicity: Better left this tragedy unspoken of.  The lovely Laurie Buchanan in Crystal Lake, Illinois, send me a deeply-moving e mail, that looks at this terrible act as one ‘close to home.’  Teachers remain shell-shocked, and life over the last four days has been understandably compromised, as many almost feel guilty to do anything, much less entertain themselves.  There is beauty and heartbreak in this life, and what happen in a Constitution State elementary school this past week is really something that can never be forgotten even as life must go on.  For those who would prefer not to even mention this horrifying episode, I more than understand.  I didn’t want to say a word here, but anything that comes after it is virtually meaningless.  This may be true of any tragic ocurrence, but there can nothing quite as devastating as the grief that so many must endure for the remainder of their lives.

Yes life goes on.  And one must find a way to lessen their pain and sadness by attempting to focus on matters that will at least offer a temporary reprieve.  Over in Ipswitch, east of London, the wonderful Judy Geater at Movie Classics  is working hard on her incomparable Dickens December series that has not only enhanced our appreciation of timeless classics, but has unearthed some rarities that deserve referencing.  Judy as usual has imparted her expertise and passion on one of the worthiest of subjects.  Our beloved friend Dee Dee reported this week some further progress on the signings of the “John Garfield petition,” a project being fostered by the tireless blogger and her friends Barbara La Motta and Lori Moore.  The corresponding link can be negotiated on the sidebar under the acting icon’s photo.

It never seemed like we’d ever get there but here we are – the final five days of the comedy countdown after over four months of weekday posting.  By way of quality of writing, readers interest, page views and extensive comments this project has been a huge success (much as the musical countdown was in 2011) and the blogging community deserves credit for giving it their best day in and day out.  The final week will no doubt feature some of the very best presentations of all, and I urge readers to take note.  I will offer a final round-up next week.  Today’s post will cover the #5 selection, and on Friday we will unveil #1, with #4, #3 and #2 slated for Tuesday through Thursday.  A technical gliche will unfortunately prevent us from presenting the individual vote placements for the final five. (more…)

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