Wednesday, July 15, 2009

He's Pixillated

A large crowd gathered to harken back to another era of economic distress when the Wesleyan Film Studies program hosted the second in a series of films highlighting Frank Capra's work with some of Hollywood's most important leading men.

The story is wonderful, and vintage Capra (and screenwriter Robert Riskin).

I'd forgotten that the Faulkner sisters from Mandrake Falls, Vermont call Cooper's character, Longfellow Deeds, "pixillated." That is, inhabited by pixies. These days the word means something different. With the advent of "pixels" as measurement for resolution on TV, computer and electronic display screens of all kinds, when something is pixillated, it means the resolution is compromised. Something that only happens to film after years of abuse.

I also noticed Capra's tendency to propel the story forward with the use of newspaper headlines. I wondered, while watching, if in films to come, film stories might be propelled forward with screenshots of computers showing headlines from TmZ or Huffington Post.

Actor Edward Herrman did a wonderful job introducing Capra's film, and providing an insight as two how Mr. Deeds Goes To Town was a pivotal film in Capra's career. In fact, Marc Longenecker, from the Film Studies Program, did a great job introducing Herrmann.

Next week, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It is not the story of anyone currently there.

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