Showing posts from April, 2016

Meeting the fantastic: Superman's first feature film

Since its release late this March, BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE continues cleaning up at the box office, demonstrating that audience preference for large-scale superhero features is undiminished. Comics-inspired extravaganzas are as well-designed for adults as for children, given the darker hues in which such dependables as the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel have been presented both on screen and in print. Perhaps such sensibilities are a reflection of the times, but the basic truism of these movies, the hero's surmounting of psychic ills to defeat the super-villain of the moment, still attracts audiences in droves, in addition to the thrills and effects. It's good old Saturday matinee stuff, only on a grander plane, and there's nothing wrong with that.

There was a time in Hollywood when superhero cinema was for kids -- and not just a few grown-ups -- who constituted the Saturday afternoon movie crowd. By the end of the 1940s, there was still a market for the weekl…

Dedication and promise' emphasized by film composer Fielding

(Author's note: The following piece was published in The Post, Ohio University's student newspaper, on Oct. 15, 1979. At the time I was the film critic for The Post and coverage of Jerry Fielding's on-campus address provided me with a rare moment of connection to the Hollywood scene. The films mentioned in this article became classics, although at the time I and others were unaware of their later fame and influence on American cinema. Best known for his TV compositions ranging from HOGAN'S HEROES to MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, Fielding was born Joshua Itzhak Feldman on June 17, 1922, in Pittsburgh. A jazz musician and arranger, Fielding created the scores for such films as ADVISE AND CONSENT, 1962, THE NIGHTCOMERS, 1971, Sam Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS, 1971, and Clint Eastwood's THE GAUNTLET, 1977, in addition to the movies mentioned below. He died of a heart attack in Toronto on Feb. 17, 1980, 4-1/2 months after he spoke at OU. At the time, he was scoring the Canadian-pro…