Noel Murray Biography
Some of the most popular movies of all time are based on true stories or pieces of literature that have actually been adapted before. “Premakes” looks at the similarities and differences between a classic film and the lesser-known work that beat it to the marketplace.
Batman made his first comic book appearance in 1939, but it wasn’t until 1972 that the Mego Corporation got the bright idea to mass-produce a line of toys featuring the superhero and all his gadgets, vehicles, sidekicks, and adversaries. Ever since then, the character has been a staple of the toy aisle, even during the years when his comics weren’t selling so well.
The musical never completely died as a movie genre, but it did lay dormant for a good long while throughout the 1980s and ’90s, with only the occasional throwback like Pennies From Heaven, Newsies, or Everyone Says I Love You popping up, like an old memory. Back then, the movie business largely conceded its tradition of song-and-dance to Disney cartoons and MTV, assuming — wrongly — that the idea of flesh-and-blood actors breaking into big numbers in the middle of narrative feature films had become too cornball for the modern mass audience.
Horror is one of the most flexible film genres, encompassing everything from the broadly fantastical to the disturbingly real. Because of that, it’s sometimes hard to nail down exactly what belongs on a “best horror” round-up and what doesn’t. Undoubtedly, genre aficionados will quibble about what’s on and what’s off the list below, not just because of differences of opinion over quality, but because of disagreements over definition.
Given how much space physical media takes up, it’s hard for movie buffs to say no to the great promise of “cloud storage,” and the idea that we could summon anything we want to watch with just a couple of clicks. But so far, reality hasn’t matched the hype. Streaming services have been focused on exclusives and original programming, to the extent that the only way to have access to everything available is to spend hundreds of dollars a month on subscription fees. Meanwhile, older films keep disappearing from the digital archives; and even items that cinephiles “own” sometimes become inaccessible whenever software updates or a site shutters.
For hundreds of years, we lived in a world where clowns were popularly understood to be funny and whimsical ... or, at the least, not absolutely freaking terrifying. Pop stars sang songs like “Everybody Loves a Clown” and “Send in the Clowns.” Parents hired entertainers in colorful satin outfits to do magic tricks and make balloon animals at their children’s birthday parties. Ronald McDonald sold us hamburgers. Emmett Kelly and Red Skelton were TV staples. We had a tacit cultural agreement not just to tolerate clowns, but to look forward to having them around.
Some say the world will end in fire; others, in ice. But whichever way we go, we can take comfort from knowing that once civilization slides into dystopia, some screenwriter will distill our downfall into a few sentences at the start of a movie.
Has any one person meant as much to the DC Universe over the past 25 years than Bruce Timm? When the animator and TV producer co-created Batman: The Animated Series with Eric Radomski back in 1992, he and his team at Warner Bros. offered a fresh take on an iconic character, finding a balance between the breezy fun of the ’60s Batman and the darker Dark Knight of the ’70s and ’80s. Timm then went on to co-create one of the more entertaining versions of Superman in another animated series, debuting in 1996; and in 2001 he carried the lessons from those two shows into Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, which together comprise some of the best superhero television ever made.