The Crank: ‘The Man on the Eiffel Tower’ Program Notes (4/25/13 Screening)

The Crank is a graduate student organization that runs weekly screenings of the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s extensive holdings. The Crank shows films that either are not widely available on video or are such spectacular specimens of nitrate and celluloid that merely to see them on a television set would be a crime both to the student of film and to the canon of film history.

When Jean Renoir viewed a print of The Man on the Eiffel Tower, he said, “These are pictures of Paris you can never photograph again.” Upon its release, Burgess Meredith’s directorial debut was lauded for its equally unique and unprecedented images of postwar 1940s Paris. Whether exploring the city streets, scrambling upon rooftops, or balancing atop the Eiffel Tower, the cat-and-mouse game between Charles Laughton’s Inspector Maigret and Franchot Tone’s devious Johann Radek provides a thrilling story set against a picturesque background.

While Meredith is credited as the sole director of the film, his role as a knife-grinding murder suspect allowed for others to take the helm. A friend of Meredith, Laughton took up direction when he stepped in front of the camera. Likewise, in the few scenes where both Laughton and Meredith appear, it was Franchot Tone who sat in the director’s chair. While the multiple directors brought the risk of creating a hodgepodge of styles, the common vision of the three friends, along with the always collaborative pre-planning created a consistent, fun, and thrilling picture. Continue reading “The Crank: ‘The Man on the Eiffel Tower’ Program Notes (4/25/13 Screening)” »

The Mediascape Q&A: Stephen Mamber, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies

The Mediascape Q&A is a series of interviews designed to explore the work of UCLA faculty and graduate students beyond the classroom.

Dr. Stephen Mamber

Matthias Stork: Could you tell us about your academic background? Where did you go to school and what first drew you to studying media, specifically film?

Stephen Mamber: I was an undergraduate at Berkley, where I had a double major in Math and Drama because there wasn’t a film program there yet, but I took a class from Ernest Callenbach, who was the editor of Film Quarterly at the time, and that really affected me greatly. And it occurred to me somewhere in my junior year that film might be something to actually be able to study. I came down here to Los Angeles that summer and took a couple of classes from Howard Suber, and that really struck a chord with me. And from then on I knew I wanted to study film. My timing was good, I guess. This was the late ’60s, early ’70s, and I came down here for my master’s degree and fell in with some interesting people. One of my best friends while I was a graduate student was Paul Schrader, who was a year ahead of me. We went to the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies. He was in the first-year group of fellows. It was a different kind of place back then. It was at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills and they took 10 people every year. In the second year, partly through his encouragement, I applied and got in. So I was in the group that included Terry Malick and David Lynch and various other people who turned out to be very talented filmmakers. It was an amazing experience then too because they were bringing in every great filmmaker you could imagine. One week it would be Rossellini and the next week it would be Jack Benny, the week after it’d be Alfred Hitchcock, it was like every major name. So I just thought this was heaven and this was what I wanted to do. Continue reading “The Mediascape Q&A: Stephen Mamber, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies” »