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Ray Olson


Ray Olson writes from St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • More On Noir and Two Additional Silents You Should See

    By Ray Olson | January 09, 2015
    One responder to my previous post, “Notes on noir”, asked why so many movies are called film noir when, by my lights, they’re not. The simple, somewhat cheeky answer is “brand creep”: film noir is a bankable label for a crime movie, so it’s come to be liberally applied.
  • Notes on Noir

    By Ray Olson | November 20, 2014
    I’m watching lot of film noir lately, from the 1940s (the style persisted through the 1950s, so there’s much more to be seen), and wondering about noir in general. What is “pure” film noir? Why is film noir so enduringly popular?
  • Fritz Lang’s Liliom: Less Catholic, still Christian?

    By Ray Olson | September 05, 2014
    On February 7, 2011, Art Livingston posted to this blog a discussion of the early Hollywood talkie, Liliom (1930), based on the play of the same name by the popular and prolific early-twentieth-century Hungarian dramatist, Ferenc Molnár.
  • Why you should see the silents, part II

    By Ray Olson | August 06, 2014
    It’s all very well to say, as I do, that you should see the silents because in them you will see every development in film style—except synchronized sound—freshly created and, in most cases, as artfully exploited as they ever have been. But the proof is in the viewing.
  • Why you should see the silents, part I

    By Ray Olson | July 22, 2014
    Silent movies are to movies in toto as classical Greek and Roman drama is to all of European drama.
  • The Big Change

    By Ray Olson | June 16, 2014
    Because the movies are a by-product of modern technology, it’s understandable that significant changes in the medium are presumed to be technological. Sound, color, and digital recording are the usual suspects for having caused cataclysmic upheaval.
  • Kurosawa begins

    By Ray Olson | April 24, 2014
    Whenever the president of the Rockford Institute and I chat about movies, the conversation always runs into the brick wall of the Japanese cinema.
  • Love stories for guys

    By Ray Olson | March 28, 2014
    I’d long wanted to see more Raoul Walsh movies. Renowned as an action specialist and he-man director without peer, Walsh made every kind of adventure film—war, western, swashbuckler, gangster, fantasy (the Douglas Fairbanks Thief of Baghdad), naval, bandit (Carmen twice!), even biblical—during his 51-year career.
  • With DVD and Remote in Deepest Filmland

    By Ray Olson | March 07, 2014
    Remember Nick and Nora Charles, the movies’ Thin Man and wife? Of course, you do.

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