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Film History Pop Culture

Watching ‘Mank’? Listen to these podcasts for more Hearst, Welles and 1930s America

The new David Fincher film Mank, a tribute to old Hollywood and an elegant inspection of the studio system, is one of the most lavish original Netflix films ever. California history buffs will find it especially fascinating. Some of the more interesting moments actually have to do with the gubernatorial campaign of Upton Sinclair. And […]

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Bowery Boys Movie Club Film History

‘When Harry Met Sally’ and the return of postcard New York (Bowery Boys Movie Club)

The new episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club explores the film When Harry Met Sally and the rich historical context of late 80s New York City. An exclusive podcast for those who support us on Patreon. I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING. When Harry Met Sally, directed by Rob Reiner and written by Nora Ephron, […]

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Bowery Boys Movie Club Film History

Seven New York City Documentaries to Watch This Week

Looking for a good documentary on New York City history — particularly the 1970s and 80s? Try out one of these recent releases, now available for streaming at home: FEAR CITY: NEW YORK VS. THE MAFIA The FBI takes down the Five Families — New York’s major organized crime syndicates — in this extremely attractive […]

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Amusements and Thrills Film History

Come to the Airdome! Over 100 years of outdoor movies in NYC

It may be some time before we all get to truly enjoy the inside of a movie theater again. Hopefully soon! But outdoor movies — in particular, drive-in movies — have had a bit of a renaissance, a socially distanced way to enjoy blockbusters on a big screen. Mommy Poppins has a great round-up of […]

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Film History

The first film ever made outdoors in New York – May 4, 1895

Ever wonder what the very first movie ever shot in Manhattan was? It also happens to be the first American film ever shown to a paying movie audience.Woodville Latham and his sons Otway and Gray Latham had invented the Eidoloscope projector (also called the Pantoptikon), running very crudely like a film projector today. However its […]

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Film History Podcasts

Nickelodeons and Movie Palaces: New York and the Film Industry 1893-1920

The historic movie studio Kaufman Astoria Studios opened 100 years ago this year in Astoria, Queens. It remains a vital part of New York City’s entertainment industry with both film and television shows still made there to this day. The Museum of the Moving Image resides next door in a former studio building. To honor […]

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Film History

The Fantastic Mr. Fox: A legendary Brooklyn movie producer and his overwhelming media legacy

A ghost hangs over an American media empire. Over one hundred years ago, a Brooklyn-based movie impresario named William Fox helped shape the direction of the nascent motion picture industry, building a film-production empire in New Jersey and New York and operating a string of theaters that would introduce millions to the possibilities of moving […]

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Film History

Does Pauline Kael like it? A new documentary looks at the New Yorker film critic’s tenacious career

Could you imagine Pauline Kael‘s opinions of Netflix and Amazon growing influence over the motion picture industry? What would she say about watching The Irishman — made by one of her favorite film directors — on an iPhone? Would she be a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? (I think we can predict that answer.) […]

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Film History

“Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?”: Reliving six New York City movie scenes from 2019

Is it just me or was there more New York City than ever before in TV shows and movies in 2019? Granted, there is simply more of everything — more TV shows than ever, on a growing number of streaming platforms. And generally speaking there were a lot of films released in 2019 — even […]

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Brooklyn History Film History

Motherless Brooklyn: 10 things to know before checking out Edward Norton’s detective film

Motherless Brooklyn, a radical retro transformation of Jonathan Lethem’s book of the same name, refits the bright noir of the movie Chinatown into 1950s New York City. Edward Norton, who wrote and directed this adaptation, also stars as its central figure — Lionel Essrog or simply Brooklyn, a detective with Tourette syndrome and a photographic […]

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Film History

New York City stories: Great documentaries about the Apollo Theater, Statue of Liberty and the Bronx

One positive side of the near-infinite television choices we now face in 2019 — more documentaries than ever! And in the past two weeks, HBO Documentaries and PBS’ Independent Lens have given us films that are firmly rooted in New York City history and culture. The Apollo Premieres tonight on HBO Few building embody American […]

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Bowery Boys Movie Club Film History Podcasts

Once Upon A Time In Five Points: The Bowery Boys Movie Club revisits Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York”

As a celebration of filmmaker Martin Scorsese (whose film The Irishman opens this month), we’ve just released an episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club to the general Bowery Boys: New York City History audience. This is an exclusive podcast for those who support us on Patreon. For current patrons, we’ve also just released a […]

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Film History

The Current War: The new film about Edison and Westinghouse is a sublime jolt for history lovers

The Current War, an epic detailing the battle for electrical power in the 19th century, was supposed hit theaters in the fall of 2017. But its distributor was the Harvey Weinstein Company and its release date was delayed by more important matters. Flash forward to the fall of 2019 and The Current War has finally […]

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Film History

The World of Today: How the New York World’s Fair connects to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The New York World’s Fair of 1939-40, held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, was an extravagant wonderland of ideas, filled with technological wonder and futuristic imagination. It was fun for all ages — if you could afford it. Children were a key audience, of course, and the fair was advertised to them in a variety […]

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Film History

Celebrating New York City history at the Oscars: Julius Bar, Minetta Lane, Madison Square Garden

Films honored annually at the Academy Awards usually have a historical backdrop — lavish sets and period-accurate costumes plucked from the past. Most of the nominees for Best Picture this year take a time machine to a past generation. The Favourite peers at the backroom (and bedroom) intrigues of Queen Anne. Roma dives into Mexico City in the early 1970s; BlacKKKlansman visits […]