I would have thought that the Letter “U” would be tough. But I was wrong. There are quite a few with a “U” as a header. This time, we are going to both ends of the Millennium, with a couple of films by pioneers and then a view of what their “grandchildren” did with what they learned.
Let’s begin with a man whose thugs helped to create Hollywood. The early 1900’s was marked by the Patent Wars. Inventors such as the Wright Brothers and Alexander Graham Bell spent more time in the court room, protecting their inventions, than in the field advancing them. One of the biggest players was Thomas Edison.
Upset by the lack of speed the courts took in deciding his cases against filmmakers, Edison hired thugs to break up movie sets and filming in the movie-making capital of New York City. Many decided to put some distance between themselves and the inventor. Several investors bought an orange grove near Los Angeles and began making movies there. Thus began Hollywood!
Let’s start with an Edison Studios double feature.
Uncle Josh in a Spooky Hotel (1900)
Uncle Josh’s Nightmare (1900)
Like many film makers, especially those in the States, there are recurring characters. Harold Lloyd had Lonesome Luke. Charlie Chaplin had the Little Tramp. Thomas Edison had Uncle Josh.
Unimagined Friends (2014)
We all drew creatures from our imagination as a child. What if those creatures really existed? What if they couldn’t appear until drawn? What if one was not patient and tries to force the issue of his existence? From Denmark, directed by Sascha Altschuler.
The Umbrella Factory (2013)
A stylish animated retelling of the classic horror story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. Directed by Lexie and Nick Trivundza. Three brothers own an umbrella factory. One night, they give a weary traveler a night at their home and receive a magical item as payment. You know the rest.
Jeff Fong wrote and directed this hilarious short about a woman, played by Liesel Hanson, who discusses her frustrations with the opposite sex and her simple solution to the problem.
Undressing Extraordinary (1901)
How long does it take you to undress for bed? From UK special effects pioneer W.R. Booth, this film is comparable to Melies work. Please note that this is from the BFI Channel on YouTube. The British Film Institute has a huge library of early groundbreaking films. Well worth viewing.
Up Route (2015)
A hitchhiker gets a ride with a strange man who likes plants. Directed by Jason Wippell. Winner of the Best Student Film at Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival 2015.
Once again, we close another letter. By my count, there is only five more letters to go. And two are already classified as Impossible Tasks. Thanks again to YouTube, Vimeo and IMDb. A special shout out to the British Film Institute, which recognizes the need for preservation and accessibility to early, ground-breaking works. You folks are too kind.
What will the future hold? What films will you see? And what about the letter “Z”? Will I do the obvious and show all the short films where zither music is used? Who can tell?
Well, I can as I have most of the films for those articles selected. But, I ain’t tellin’!
See you next time.