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Posts Tagged ‘Google Doodle’

Today’s Google Doodle is dedicated to one of the true pioneers and master directors of cinema: Sergei Eisenstein.  In fact, the splash page illustration of Chapter 1 of Moving Images is inspired from one of Eisenstein’s most famous films, The Battleship Potemkin.  Funny enough, you can look to the last post on mediateacher.net to see a reference to the core of one of the key aspects of Eisenstein’s work and the innovations in editing that he and his peers were establishing in their work, montage style of editing and the meanings that can be forged through the relationships and juxtapositions of shots.  The example used there is expressed in the idea known as the Kuleshov Effect.  For more, here is a fine recent article on Eisenstein and another of his celebrated films, October, by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian

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1442501489740“Any girl can be glamorous,” Hedy Lamarr once said. “All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”  Well, Hedy Lamarr did much more than that: along with being one of the most glamourous actresses of her era, once she had become bored with her life being typecast as an exotic seductress in movies she became a successful inventor; her early work brought forth versions of wireless technology that led eventually to what we know as wi-fi and bluetooth.  The exceptional Google Doodle that is being unveiled today is a superb little movie in its own right and a fine homage to this inspiring and very interesting woman.

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Saul Bass titles for Delmer Daves's "Cowboy"

Saul Bass titles for Delmer Daves’s “Cowboy”

Today’s Google Doodle is a clever visual pièce-de-résistance quite worthy of its subject, Saul Bass.  A year ago, I wrote a blog post about this brilliant American creator in Saul Bass, Visual Innovator.  As well as checking out my post you should also see this piece by the Doodle’s creator, Matthew Cruickshank, or this Washington Post blog that features many video links.  Have fun watching this little movie and guessing the big movies it celebrates!

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A page from Winsor McCay’s comic “Little Nemo”

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the work of groundbreaking artist Winsor McCay, whose creations are ripe for investigation when exploring the material of Inventions and Origins in Moving Images.  McCay’s explorations of motion picture language and the ways that one can play with frames and sequences in films such as Gertie the Dinosaur reflect the sense of discovery and invention that one sees in recent transitions during our own digital age, and they can initiate fruitful discussion and inspiration in the classroom.  Moreover, Little Nemo‘s visual storytelling and intricate artistry serves as one of the best and most beautiful examples of sequential art that one can find.  For further information on McCay, John Canemaker‘s biography is excellent (as usual; his writings on the Disney studios, such as Nine Old Men, are also highly recommended) and here is an interesting blog page on this innovative and very interesting creator.  (And definitely check out the full animation of the Little Nemo doodle — it’s superb and quite worthy of the artist and vaudevillian McCay; in further celebrations of moving images, last month’s Google Doodle for the 46th anniversary of Star Trek was a real winner too!)      

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In a blog post from two months ago, I featured a google doodle that highlighted cinema pioneer Eadweard Muybridge, and today they have another excellent animated doodle (yes, it’s a real winner, check out the entire animation!).  This time it is for the anniversary of the opening of the first drive-in theater in the United States 79 years ago, when Richard Hollingshead Jr. opened the first drive-in theater on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey.

Many questions can be raised when thinking and talking about drive-ins: why did drive-ins begin, when and why did they flourish, and why did they dwindle away?  Why are drive-ins a particularly American phenomenon?  How have people experienced moving images over the years?  How do you experience them today?  How have the economics of movie distribution and of independent theaters (such as drive-in cinemas) evolved over the past century?  What percentage of a movie theater’s profits derive from its concession stand (which in turn brings up one of the most iconic aspects of drive-ins: the history of advertising linked to concession stands)?

Northfield Drive-In in Massachusetts and New Hampshire

Fascinating investigations can be made on how motion picture marketing, distribution, and screening occur, particularly from the vantage point of a local perspective.  What are the theaters in close proximity to one’s community?  Are they only chain theaters?  Are there other public venues for watching motion pictures?  What options exist for television and cable viewing?  What is the percentage of viewing that you do through streaming sources?  How often are you paying any motion picture creators when you watch moving images?

In the projection booth

In my own region, a favorite theater of my family has been the Northfield Drive-In in Northfield, Massachusetts.  Like many of the drive-ins still in operation, it has a rich history of entrepeneurship and family ownerships.  It is also entertaining to consider the full social, aesthetic, and gastronomic aspects of moviegoing, of which drive-ins offer many provocative angles!

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