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Diversity in SF Film: Things to Come (1936)

21 Dec Things to Come (1936) -- H.G. Wells

This is my third post on diversity in Science Fiction films. I started with Metropolis (1927), and then skipped two decades to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Largely, my reason was that there weren’t any options for the 30s or 40s available on Netflix. Apparently, there aren’t very many SF films within that twenty year period.[1] I’ve decided to skip Frankenstein  although the novel is one of the first, if not the first, SF novels — because the classic film has more in common with horror than SF. I feel much the same about King Kong. Therefore, I settled on Things to Come (1936), which is based upon the H.G. Wells’ novel published in 1933 entitled The Shape of Things to Come. I know I’m risking a bit of confusion by going backward here, but I felt it was too important to skip. Also:  keep in mind that I don’t think I read the novel. At least, I don’t remember having read it.[2] So… Things to Come. Continue reading

Diversity in SF Film: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

15 Oct The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

I thought I’d seen this film before, but apparently not. For a film made in the early ’50s — the era when post WW2 women were told to return to their “feminine roles” — it’s pretty inclusive. From the beginning, we see PoCs as part of the world’s population — even as part of the American population. They may not always have lines, and they may not be a big part of the action, but they exist in the background. Watch an American film today and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Not only do non-model-worthy people not exist, but neither do PoCs. Mind you, the British newscasters say things like “Throughout the Empire and the rest of the world,” and we see shots of these colonials in their colonial-ness — but hey, they EXIST. Wooo. Continue reading

Metropolis (1927), Feminism, and Influence

25 Sep Metropolis (1927)

Since there seems to be so much noise these days about the Golden Age of SF, I decided to begin rewatching (or in some cases, watching) classic genre films in order to get a more sound foundation in my chosen genre. If I do this with novels, why not films? In this case, I’m glad that I did. One of my graphic design professors had us watch Metropolis in class. I’d vaguely remembered it as stylish — it’s a fine example of Art Deco design — and only a little coherent. At the time, I wondered why anyone would sit through the whole thing. It made no sense. The professor didn’t mention that the film had been censored. I’m not sure she was aware of how much it’d gotten cut as she didn’t mention it in the introduction. When I looked for it on Netflix, I found two versions. The first claimed to have restored footage and an 80s soundtrack. The second also had restored footage. What I failed to notice was that the first print was one hour and fifteen minutes long. The second? Two hours and fifteen minutes. I recall the version I saw in class was less than an hour. Wow.

Continue reading

Flick Bits: Game of Thrones DVD Sales Slash Record

16 Mar

Reuters reports through Yahoo AU that the DVD sales of Game of Thrones have crushed a previous sales record for HBO.  From the article in question:

Season one DVD sales reached about 350,000 units in the first seven days following its March 6 release, the network said on Thursday. That pace ranks ahead of other popular HBO series including “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City” and “True Blood.”

Cue a geek celebration of enormous magnitude.  There is something deeply satisfying about this news.  As a fan of the TV series (and, now, the books), I worry about things like ratings and sales.  There is so much story left to tell.  With so many TV shows coming and going, I’m always afraid that HBO will pull the plug after the second season, or the third, or, dare I think it, the season right before the final moments of George R. R. Martin’s enormous story!  That would be awful.

But we’ve got good news.  Huge DVD sales.  Good job, geeks!  Now we just have to wait until April for Season Two…

Flick Bits: Darkover to Hollywood! (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

17 Feb


Producers Ilene Kahn Power and Elizabeth Stanley have secured the rights to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s renowned “Darkover” novels and are currently developing a multi-platform television series around the saga, the pair announced today.

A gifted and prolific science-fiction and fantasy writer, Bradley, who garnered the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2000, was the author of over 66 books and 105 short stories.

More good news, right?  Of course, this news is far from the real news we want to see:  Darkover to the screen!  But it’s a big jump in the right direction!  Marion Zimmer Bradley is one of the most important authors in SF/F and one who well deserves a debut on our television screens.  Let’s hope this comes true!

And Darkover does seem to be in good hands:  Ilene Kahn Power is perhaps best known for producing TV Movies and miniseries, such as TrafficGia, Buffalo Soldiers, and Roswell.  Elizabeth Stanley produced The Dark Path Chronicles and Trailers From Hell.  We wish them all the success in the world for bringing this to the small screen! has some quotes from Power and Stanley, which might be of interest to you all, in part because they demonstrate a certain love for the books on the part of the now-producers.  I think it takes a bit of love to make something like this work, don’t you?

Flick Bits: Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom For Sale Optioned!

31 Jan

From the man himself:

Warner Brothers has optioned Terry Brooks’ best-selling MAGIC KINGDOM OF LANDOVER series of books for Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures and Andy Cohen’s Grade A Entertainment. Goldsman and Cohen will produce with Weed Road’s Kerry Foster and Alex Block overseeing for Weed Road. Warner Brothers’ Matt Cherniss brought the book series into the studio and will run point. Brooks was represented by Anne Sibbald of Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

Weed Road is in preproduction on A WINTER’S TALE written and to be directed by Goldsman. Recent credits include PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 and FAIR GAME.

Cohen last produced UNTRACEABLE starring Diane Lane. He’s currently working on the stage show, HEATHERS – THE MUSICAL and the indie film, IN SIGHT.

I’ve said it before:  this kind of news always makes me grin.  Brooks is a widely read author.  While I haven’t read any of his novels, I did read his book about writing, which I found incredibly fascinating (more autobiography than writing text).  If you’re of the writing persuasion, I’d recommend it.

And since I haven’t read Brooks’ novels, I have to ask:

Have any of you read them?  If so, what did you think?  Do you think Magic Kingdom For Sale will make a good movie?

The comments are open to all of you!

Flick Bits: Tad Williams’ Otherland + Warner Bros. = Feature Film (Your Thoughts?)

21 Jan

If you haven’t heard already, Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to Tad Williams’ science fiction series (Otherland).  From Variety:

Warner Bros. is heading to “Otherland,” acquiring feature rights to Tad Williams’ sci-fi book series and setting it up with Dan Lin to produce.

Studio has tapped John Scott III to script the film, based on the four books published by DAW-Penguin USA between 1996 and 2001 as “City of Golden Shadow,” “River of Blue Fire,” “Mountain of Black Glass” and “Sea of Silver Light.”

Good news?  You bet.  Some of the folks attached to this project have been involved in Sherlock HolmesSherlock Holmes:  Game of Shadows, Gangster Squad, Terminator Salvation, The Departed, etc.  John Scott III is currently penning an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Caves of Steel, which better turn out great if he knows what’s good for him…

The good thing about this is that it shows how valuable SF/F has become to the Hollywood community.  There have been so many announcements for pending or currently-being-produced adaptations in the last five years that it’s rather surprising there are any properties left to snatch up (hyperbole police, anyone?).  And if we’re really lucky, maybe Philip K. Dick won’t be the only classic SF/F author to have over 10 of his works adapted for the small or big screen (I’ve intentionally taken H. G. Wells and Jules Verne out of the equation because, from a generic standpoint, they are only SF/F authors in retrospect; science fiction was not codified as a generic tradition until decades after Well and Verne had released their most popular genre works.  But you can ignore me on this point and include Wells and Verne as high contenders for the SF/F-author-with-the-most-film-adaptations Award.)

In any case, Tad Williams is a fairly recent author.  I haven’t read any of his work, but I’m told he’s quite good.  Have any of you readers/listeners read the Otherland series?  Do you think it will make a good movie?  Why or why not?

More importantly:  what do you all think about all these film adaptation announcements?


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