VOTD: The Significance & Importance of Movie Props

Pulp Fiction - Christopher Walken

While there are certain movie props such as a lightsaber, a time machine or a briefcase that have become iconic pieces of cinema, it’s easy to forget that movie props are everywhere when we’re looking at any single frame of a motion picture. Sometimes a movie prop is so important that it’s in the title of the film and the driving force of the entire story, as with The Maltese Falcon or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and other times they just add to the authenticity of any given scene.

A new video essay takes a look at the importance of movie props on film, whether they’re big or small, subtle or in your face and how they enhance the characters, story or setting of films across the board. Watch! Read More »


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summer movies of 1982

Among cinephiles, sometimes discussion turns to what the best summer ever for movies was. Everyone has their own idea of the greatest summer for blockbusters, and a new retro TV clip from 1982 just might give the definitive answer.

Entertainment Tonight is mostly a bastion of gossip and garbage today, but they used to be much more focused on real entertainment, and that’s where this sneak preview clip of movies hitting theaters in the summer of 1982 comes from, and your mind will be blown by the sci-fi titles that were released in that season.

See the retro sneak preview of the summer movies of 1982 after the jump! Read More »

Casting Elliott in ET

I really love what The Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences has been doing lately with their Academy Originals series of videos which take a look at the art and stories behind the making of the movies we love. The latest video features Casting director Marci Liroff (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Mean Girls) recounting the story of how Henry Thomas was cast as the lead in Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

As it turns out, Thomas was not the first choice for the role of Elliot. Liroff describes how a game of Dungeons & Dragons at screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who is finally returning to screenwriting for Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG) changed the corse of a cinema classic, leading to the audition video I’m sure you’ve seen before. Hit the jump to watch the video now.

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Early ET concept art

We know the history of Steven Spielberg‘s film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and we even know some of the fine details. For example, we’ve seen the early alien designs created by Rick Baker for the aborted project Night Skies. It’s obvious that some of those designs made their way to the stream of concepts that influenced ET when that film was born in the wake of Night Skies being scrapped.

Now we’ve got some rarely seen early ET concept art from Ed Verreaux, who worked with Spielberg as production illustrator starting on Raiders of the Lost Ark. The art by Verreaux shows more of the process of Night Skies alien designs being mutated into the friendly guy we know and love at the center of ET. Read More »

Gremlins poster easter egg

The poster for Joe Dante‘s Gremlins is classic. I use to even have a gigantic french version of the one-sheet on my wall in my old /Film office. Despite that, I never noticed this fun little easter egg on the poster painted by legendary poster artist John Alvin. /Film reader Paul Bullock alerted me to this hidden tribute to producer Steven Spielberg. Can you see it? Uncover the Gremlins poster easter egg now, after the jump.

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Marko Manev - Arnold

Two of the most promising rising artists in the pop culture art world are teaming up for a massive show. It’s called Influences;Marko Manev and Matt Ferguson are the artists; and the Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, NY is the venue.

The theme is basically just films that have influenced not only these two artists, but pop culture as a whole. That means we’re talking very big properties: Jurassic Park, E.T., Predator, Batman, Total Recall, Flash Gordon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and many more. Below, check out a small preview of the show that opens Friday February 28. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

/Film reader Paul Bullock discovered an awesome television profile on 34-year-old director Steven Spielberg which was aired on Japanese television in the Christmas of 1982, and has been virtually unseen by American audiences. If you’re even half the Spielberg-fanatic that I am, you’ll need to watch the entirety of the special. The special features a tour through Steven’s early Amblin’s offices and his Los Angeles home, behind the scenes footage of Spielberg directing his segment from Twilight Zone: The Movie. We get to see interview clips featuring Spielberg’s mother Leah Adler, Melissa Matheson (screenwriter of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) and his young secretary just turned producer Kathleen Kennedy (now the head of LucasFilm), Spielberg’s thoughts on 1980’s television (Cheers, St Elsewhere, Hill St Blues…etc), his then attestant Kathleen Switzer (later a producer on movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Apollo 18), and many others. We get to drive with Spielberg to the studio lot with his dog on his lap, Robert Zemeckis talking with his two mentors John Milius and Spielberg while they eat eel and pumpkin pie together. We get to spend some time with Spielberg sitting at the piano with John Williams talking about their music collaborations. Interspliced with clips from his early films and even some behind the scenes b-roll footage. The special also features all the vintage commercial breaks, filled with fun Japanese commercials. Watch this now, or bookmark this link to watch later.

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Over the summer, /Film was lucky enough to premiere a gorgeous Mondo poster for E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. It was their first poster for the magical film and only the fourth film of Steven Spielberg‘s to get the Mondo treatment, after Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park and a very old Jaws poster.

Two of those films are now getting their second poster from the company, and both images are stunners. Mike Mitchell, one of the most popular artists currently on the scene, did a poster for E.T. The Extra Terrestrial and Laurent Durieux, who is also on an absolute tear, took a very unique peak at Jaws. Check out both images below. Read More »

As photo (or video) ops go, this one is among the best: video footage of Steven Spielberg and John Williams tapping out an early draft of the main E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial theme on a piano. Whether the camera just happened to be there, or if this was designed specifically as a publicity stunt matters to some extent — it would be nice to know this was really a spontaneous moment — but either way it’s neat to see the birth of one of the more recognizable ’80s movie themes.

Watch below. Read More »