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Posts Tagged ‘Nicholas Ray’

Reset! Check Out Frame by Frame from 2011 To The Present!

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Click on the button above to check out this blog from the first entry to the present!

Frame by Frame began more than three years ago with a post on Rebel Without A Cause – now, with more than 590 posts & much more to come, we’re listed on Amazon, in the New York Times blogroll,  the Film International blogroll and elsewhere on the net, as well as being referenced in Wikipedia and numerous other online journals and reference websites. With thousands of hits every day, we hope to keep posting new material on films and people in films that matter, as well as on related issues, commercial free, with truly open access, for the entire film community. So look back and see what we’ve been up to, and page through the past to the present.

There are also more than 70 videos on film history, theory and criticism to check out on the Frame by Frame video blog, arranged in carousel fashion to automatically play one after the other, on everything from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to film aspect ratios, to discussions of pan and scan, Criterion video discs, and a whole lot more. So go back and see what you’ve been missing – you can always use the search box in the upper right hand corner to see if your favorite film or director is listed, but if not, drop me a line and we’ll see if we can’t do something about it. We’ve just updated our storage space on the blog, so there will be plenty more to come, so check it out – see you at the movies!

So click on the button & see what you can find!

Frame by Frame Videos on Film History, Theory, and Criticism

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Here’s a carousel of more than sixty videos in my Frame by Frame series; click here, or above, to play!

Frame by Frame is a series of short videos I made with Curt Bright on film theory, history, and criticism — each is about 3 minutes long or so. Episodes of Frame by Frame cover The Hollywood Blacklist, Ridley Scott, Commercials in Movie Theaters, Inception, 3-D, Film Critics, War Movies, Film Composers, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Subtitles vs. Dubbing, The Aura, John Ford, Remakes, Special Effects, John Huston, Ridley Scott, Fritz Lang, Howard Hawks, Alice Guy Blaché, Oscar Micheaux, Horror Movies, Deep Focus, Pan and Scan, Jean-Luc Godard, Camera Movement, Metropolis, Psycho, Movie Trailers, Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, Minorities in American Film, The King’s Speech, Alfred Hitchcock, The Great Gatsby in 3-D, Digital Cinema, Special Effects, John Huston, Manoel de Oliveira, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Westerns, Nicholas Ray, Busby Berkeley, Claire Denis, Woody Allen, Film Archives, George Cukor, Roger Corman, Billy Wilder, trailers, the Hollywood Ratings System, and many other topics.

Check it out! Useful for your classes; feel free to download as you see fit; use as you wish.

Nicholas Ray — Rebel With A Cause

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Originally published in 1990 in French, and superbly translated into English for publication in Britain by the late Tom Milne in 1993, Bernard Eisenschitz’s Nicholas Ray: An American Journey finally makes its US appearance in an excellent edition from the University of  Minnesota Press, available in paperback or hardcover — the paperback especially is an outstanding value for less than $17 on Amazon.

Eisenschitz’s book is one of the finest biographies I have ever read of a film director, or of anyone else, for that matter; meticulous in detail, elegant in its prose, perceptive in its readings of Ray’s films, and brilliantly researched, rich with the detail without becoming overstuffed with trivia. Nicholas Ray (or Nick Ray, as he preferred to be called) was an artist in a business that then as now was primarily interested in the bottom line; his films as director include the legendary Rebel Without A Cause, Johnny Guitar, In A Lonely Place, Bigger Than Life, On Dangerous Ground and numerous other films for a variety of Hollywood studios, until the system finally crushed him with endless rewrites, front office interference and a lack of compassion for someone who clearly was making films as a personal statement, rather than simply to make films for cash.

Nicholas Ray: An American Journey spans Ray’s entire career, from his boyhood in Wisconsin to his final work as a teacher at Harpur College in Binghamton, New York, where the students lucky enough to work with him completed an experimental feature film which was written, directed, and edited as a communal effort by the entire class. Never a robust man, Ray also abused his body with drugs and alcohol, and took his work very personally; not a company man by any means, Ray used the studios to make films that identified with the lonely, the lost, the marginalized in society, to rip away the façade that covers up the bleakness of mainstream society. No wonder that James Dean, Dennis Hopper and other Hollywood “outlaws” were so eager to work with him; Ray changed the rules of American cinema.

Everything Ray directed took a toll on him, and yet he pressed on, creating work of brilliance and depth right up the end of his life. Eisenschitz’s biography is a superlative achievement; whether you’re interested in film or not, this is a book you should read. It’s a testament to an artist working within a system that often didn’t understand what he was up to, and was often hostile and unsympathetic to his work. Yet Ray ultimately triumphed over all who opposed him, although in the end, as F. Scott Fitzgerald might have put it, “the price was high.” This is a compelling, mesmerizing biography, clocking in at nearly 600 pages, and yet a book that is absolutely impossible to put down once you dive into it. In fact, you’ll probably finish it  in one sitting.

Open it anywhere; you’ll be hooked. Ray was a one-of-a-kind visionary, and Nicholas Ray: An American Journey is the best book about him in English, available at last in the US  – don’t miss it.

About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an internationally recognized scholar and writer of film history, theory and criticism. He is the author of thirty books and more than 100 articles on film, and appears regularly in national media outlets discussing film and culture trends. Frame by Frame is a collection of his thoughts on a number of those topics. All comments by Dixon on this blog are his own opinions. To contact Prof. Dixon for an interview, reach him at or

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