...NEVER TO END
My Own Version Of Love For The Cinema
Brian Paul Bach
It’s almost as if – before I knew they even existed – I could hardly wait for the movies. To see them, experience them. To dive right in, and dive deep. When that time came, and my subconscious anticipation found its outlet, I was not disappointed. Movies were more than I ever could have imagined. One of life’s frosting-on-the-cake gifts.
That’s the thing about film, it’s a realization of things previously unimagined. Or else it’s the fulfillment of dreams actually imagined. Or more commonly, ‘That isn’t how I thought it would be at all!’ – which can be a good thing or a bad thing.
My interest in, appreciation of, and love for the cinema goes way back.
I started out with the silents. Not the Silent Era, which was a tad before my time, but via 8mm home movies my dad shot, documenting our family from time immemorial. During screenings, all we could hear was the projector running. That was perfectly fine because, as Gloria Swanson said in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, ‘We had faces then!’ Talkies naturally followed, but in professional film gauges, like 35mm and even 70mm.
TV was certainly accessible, but in bluish black & white, often with lousy, snowy reception. Consequently, the big screen became super-special, even sacred – and an experience in front of it was an event.
Disney & Co. provided the usual fare at first. You know, Hayley Mills crush, the 20,000 Leagues submarine, Swiss Family/Castaways wonders, etc. Then there came the exciting horrors of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Atlantis, The Lost Continent. Plus all those Jerry Lewis matinees in the company of howling, snotty kids who were a little too interested in spit-wads and throwing milkshakes at the screen. (For years I regarded Lewis’ solo films as pretty miserable, until giving them a second chance in DVD form and finding inventive comedies, more for adults than for no-neck monsters.) But then came Lawrence of Arabia, and the world changed. The flickering floodgates opened. It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’, The Blue Max, In The Heat Of The Night, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, The Godfather, Eraserhead...others...
Well, everyone has their movie memories, and mine go on and on. Still! However, while most young people understandably regarded movies as simply entertainment, I was one of those who, amidst the general absorption, noticed stuff like backgrounds, the music score, the style of lettering in the main title sequences, the studio logos (20th-Fox my favorite), the screen process, names in the credits, and so much more. After all, a film is nothing but details, assembled, after much fiddling, into a kinetic whole. ‘How did they do that?’ was my most frequently-asked question.
After enough technique was noted, enjoyed, and familiarized, the way opened to more mature considerations, such as the drama itself, acting technique, dialogue, and editing. I always liked handling a camera, but because of my impromptu film ‘studies’, I began to think more like a producer/director. I added ‘writer’ to the combo when I figured out, again thanks to Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, that writing was – ahem – pretty important, too.
There’s so much to admire, to fascinate, to critique, and to love in the cinema. It’s not necessary to define it further, except to say, there’s something for everyone. I follow most genres (including foreign films; why limit oneself to Hollywood?), and I try to keep up when I can, but my specialized focus tends to be the Golden, Silver (and often the Silent) ages of film, though the ages of Brass and Lead have amazing offerings here and there. No need for any sort of snobbishness, but like everyone else, I have preferences. There’s far too much product to take in on a regular basis.
As a Complete movie fan, small-scale filmmaker, and most pertinently, as a writer, I tossed all this interest, this appreciation, knowledge, instinct, tons of details, names and notions, ballyhoo, personalities, characters, inventions, lore, scandal, danger, ecstasy, theory, sensibility (and sensuality) – this love – for film and its consequences, into the four-tiered hopper of my production mechanism. My own ‘studio’, as it were. Then I pushed the button marked blend, and after much chugging and steaming, thrashing and streaming, groaning and screaming, out came my Epic-Noir-Satire saga: The FORWARD TO GLORY Quartet, with TEMPERING [the Actor’s struggles] comprising the first act, to be followed by EXPOSITION [the Actor’s rise], APOTHEOSIS [the Actor’s climax], and concluding with BEYOND FIN [the Actor’s legend].
It’s going the be a GREAT SHOW!
EPIC in its SCOPE!
NOIR in its TURNINGS1
SATIRE by its PLAYFULNESS!
TWO CENTURIES IN THE MAKING!
A CAST OF THOUSANDS – PERHAPS EVEN MILLIONS!
Forward to Glory: Tempering
Butterbugs is a nobody, a nothing. But that’s not why he’s compelled to drive to Hollywood and hurl himself upon the mercy of the cinematic capital. His only dream is to act. Without any plans, resources or friends, he throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey to the City of Angels. The trials that result pose only one question: will Butterbugs remain a non-entity, or will his big dream come true?
Facing the movie monolith’s prospects alone, Butterbugs attempts to perform dramatic scenes in front of the homeless and amongst the inebriated. Living in his car, and with dwindling reserves, he searches for opportunities, takes on a hazardous scaffolding job, and makes desperate pleas to bankers for clemency. Isolation leads to alienation, from fringe existence to bare survival, all in a city which cradles high achievement and bottomless failure. Despite his rough start, Butterbugs is strangely attractive to other outcasts turned possible allies: Heatherette – a mysterious force for good whom he weirdly rejects, and who in turn, rejects him; Starling – the thief who tries to love him; ProwlerCat – who might indeed save him, though it is far too early to know for sure. At one of his bleakest moments, Butterbugs receives his first sign of hope that his dreams remain alive: a screen test and the chance to be an extra in a major production. But now, with his first opportunity in hand, nothing seems as it should, except his going forward.
Abundant with movie lore and invention, Forward to Glory I: Tempering by Brian Paul Bach is an ode to the cinema and the bewitching power of entertainment.
Purchase from Amazon UK
About the author:
Brian Paul Bach is a writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer; he has worked across the entertainment business, in theatre, music and as an academic. He now lives in central Washington State with his wife, Sandra. His previous works include The Grand Trunk Road From the Front Seat, Calcutta’s Edifice: The Buildings of a Great City, and Busted Boom: The Bummer of Being a Boomer.
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/340808.Brian_Paul_Bach
Goodreads FORWARD TO GLORY page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34416505-forward-to-glory?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/brianpaulbach/