Topic: Film/American cinema

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A Trip Down Market Street

United States Film Library of Congress Film/American cinema Film/Silent films Film/Documentary films United States/Film - American cinema

A Trip Down Market Street is a 13-minute actuality film recorded by placing a movie camera on the front of a cable car as it traveled down San Francisco’s Market Street. The film shows many details of daily life in a major early 20th century American city, including the transportation, fashions and architecture of the era. The film begins at 8th Street and continues eastward to the cable car turntable, at The Embarcadero, in front of the Ferry Building. Landmarks passed in the latter part of the first half include the Call Building (then San Francisco's tallest) and the Palace Hotel (both on the right; Lotta's Fountain is on the left between the two but is in the shade). The film was produced by the four Miles brothers: Harry, Herbert, Earle and Joe. It is notable for capturing San Francisco four days before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which started on the morning of Wednesday, April 18, 1906.

The Miles brothers had been producing films in New York including films shot in San Francisco. In September 1905 they shot the fight between Oscar "Battling" Nelson and Jimmy Britt in Colma, California, just south of San Francisco city limits. The Miles brothers established a studio at 1139 Market Street in San Francisco in early 1906. They shot a railroad descent down Mount Tamalpais as well as the Market Street film. On April 17, Harry and Joe Miles boarded a train for New York, taking the two films with them, but they heard about the earthquake and sent the films to New York while they boarded another train headed back to San Francisco. The Turk Street house of Earle Miles survived the earthquake and subsequent catastrophic fire but the studio did not. The Miles brothers based their business out of Earle's home, and shot more film of post-earthquake scenes; some of this footage, including that of a second trip down a now devastated Market Street, reemerged in 2016. It is likely that the Market Street film survives today because it was sent away before the fire.

Several 35mm prints exist with slight changes in footage. Copies are held at the Library of Congress and the Prelinger Archives. A digital version is viewable online at Internet Archive, YouTube and Wikimedia Commons. In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

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Alan Smithee

Film Film/American cinema Film/Filmmaking Fictional characters

Alan Smithee (also Allen Smithee) is an official pseudonym used by film directors who wish to disown a project. Coined in 1968 and used until it was formally discontinued in 2000, it was the sole pseudonym used by members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) when a director, dissatisfied with the final product, proved to the satisfaction of a guild panel that they had not been able to exercise creative control over a film. The director was also required by guild rules not to discuss the circumstances leading to the movie or even to acknowledge being the project's director.

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Primer (film)

United States Film Film/American cinema Science Fiction United States/Texas

Primer is a 2004 American science fiction film about the accidental discovery of time travel. The film was written, directed, produced, edited and scored by Shane Carruth, who also stars with David Sullivan.

Primer is of note for its extremely low budget, experimental plot structure, philosophical implications, and complex technical dialogue, which Carruth, a college graduate with a degree in mathematics and a former engineer, chose not to simplify for the sake of the audience. The film collected the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, before securing a limited release in the United States, and has since gained a cult following.

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Roar (1981 Film)

Film Africa Film/American cinema Guild of Copy Editors Animal rights

Roar is a 1981 American adventure comedy film written, produced, and directed by Noel Marshall. Roar's story follows Hank, a naturalist who lives on a nature preserve in Africa with lions, tigers, and other big cats. When his family visits him, they are instead confronted by the group of animals. The film stars Marshall as Hank and Tippi Hedren as his wife Madeleine, with Melanie Griffith, and Marshall's sons John and Jerry Marshall in supporting roles.

In 1969, while Hedren was filming Satan's Harvest in Mozambique, she and Marshall had occasion to observe a pride of lions move into a recently vacated house, driven by increased poaching. They decided to make a film centered around that theme, bringing rescued big cats into their homes in California and living with them. Filming began in 1976; it was finished after five years. The film was fully completed after 11 years in production.

Roar was not initially released in North America; in 1981, Noel and John Marshall privately released it internationally. It was also acquired by Filmways Pictures and Alpha Films. Despite performing well in Germany and Japan, Roar was a box office failure, grossing $2 million worldwide against a $17 million budget. In 2015, 34 years after the film's original release, it was released in theaters in the United States by Drafthouse Films. Roar's message of protection for African wildlife as well as its animal interactions were praised by critics, but its plot, story, inconsistent tone, dialogue, and editing were criticized.

The cast and crew members of Roar faced dangerous situations during filming; seventy people, including the film's stars, were injured as a result of multiple animal attacks. Flooding from a dam destroyed much of the set and equipment during its production, and the film's budget increased drastically. In 1983, Hedren founded the Roar Foundation and established the Shambala Preserve sanctuary, to house the animals appearing in the film. She also wrote a book, The Cats of Shambala (1985), about many of the film's events. The film has been described as "the most dangerous film ever made" and "the most expensive home movie ever made", and has gained a cult following.

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The Conversation (1974)

United States Film Library of Congress Film/American cinema United States/Film - American cinema Film/Core

The Conversation is a 1974 American mystery thriller film written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman with supporting roles by John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams, Frederic Forrest, Harrison Ford, Teri Garr and Robert Duvall.

The plot revolves around a surveillance expert and the moral dilemma he faces when his recordings reveal a potential murder. Coppola cited the 1966 film Blowup as a key influence. However, since the film was released to theaters just a few months before Richard Nixon resigned as President, he felt that audiences interpreted the film to be a reaction to the Watergate scandal. The Conversation has won critical acclaim and multiple accolades, including the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film, the highest honor at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival. It was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1974 and lost Best Picture to The Godfather Part II, another Francis Ford Coppola film. In 1995, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

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THX 1138

Mass surveillance Film Film/American cinema Science Fiction

THX 1138 is a 1971 American social science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his feature film directorial debut. It is set in a dystopian future in which the populace is controlled through android police and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotions. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and written by Lucas and Walter Murch, it stars Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence.

THX 1138 was developed from Lucas's student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, which he made in 1967 while attending the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The feature film was produced in a joint venture between Warner Bros. and American Zoetrope. A novelization by Ben Bova was published in 1971. The film received mixed reviews from critics and failed to find box-office success on initial release; however, the film has subsequently received critical acclaim and gained a cult following, particularly in the aftermath of Lucas' success with Star Wars in 1977.

WGA screenwriting credit system

Film Law Film/American cinema Film/Filmmaking

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) writing credit system for motion pictures and television programs covers all works under the jurisdiction of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW). Since 1941, the Screen Writers Guild and then the WGA has been the final arbiter of who receives credit for writing a theatrical, television or new media motion picture written under their jurisdiction. Though the system has been a standard since before the WGA's inception, it has seen criticism.

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