I have come across a wonderfully inspiring short film about giving and wealth. My personal ideal that money isn’t meant to be hoarded is something I’ve struggled to get across some of the wealthier folks in my social circles but unfortunately few agree. I was floored when I saw this film. It hits home the message and solidifies my ideals and it’s all around good filmmaking. This gem comes to us from some incredibly talented filmmakers from Singapore.
Night Blooming Flower won the 2nd Prize Jury Citation Award at the 33rd Black Maria Film Festival, a festival well known for its dedication to the art of the moving image.
The premiere this weekend will be hosted by the West Orange Film Society at the Essex Green AMC Theater in West Orange, NJ. The show is at 2PM.
Filmmaker’s Description of the work: “We often bring flowers to our loved ones in the hospital and then sitting on the night table in the dark, they become the silent witnesses to the changes the patient makes in their transition from life to death.
‘Night Blooming Flower’ is a meditation on death, memory, acceptance and the passage into the world of the dead, specifically the moment of leaving.
Originally presented as a video installation, this circular film is projected onto a Vietnam era silk parachute that gently sways as if breathing.”
Learn more about Karl by visiting his website at: www.KarlNussbaum.com
I first visited Philadelphia a few years ago for a two day trip of exploration. I used to go on a lot of these kinds of trips and plan on resuming the practice. They’re great for getting to know places you’re not intimately familiar with. Through these brief visits I’ve been introduced to a lot of fascinating places, including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Montauk and everywhere in between. Philadelphia stands out the most, as it is clearly one of the most underutilized locations when it comes to film.
In 2012 I decided to set a portion of a short film I was working on in Philadelphia, or at least, on a fictional island located in the Delaware River, reachable from Philadelphia. “The Island” was created by using two different locations in New York. I ventured to Philly for a second trip so that I could shoot b-roll and other establishing elements for the movie so that I could visually connect the city with the story’s fictional island. The footage has brought up the production value of the project immensely. You can tell this is Philly… not Boston and not New York. It’s Philadelphia. You can watch the short experimental film on Film Skilllet. I am now writing a feature which I plan on setting in Philadelphia. This one is a cop movie/courtroom drama and I’m very excited about it.
What might interest you about Philly? It’s hard to say, but here are some facts to start out with:
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the second largest city on the East Coast of the United States and the fifth-most-populous city in the country. Philadelphia is located in the Northeast at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and it is the only consolidated city-county in Pennsylvania.
Within the Delaware Valley, the Philadelphia metropolitan area consists of five Pennsylvania counties. Philadelphia is nicknamed Philly and The City of Brotherly Love, the latter of which comes from the literal meaning of the city’s name in Greek.
Philadelphia has an enormous history and both historic and modern locations to boot (although some of the more notable locations are operated by the National Park service which isn’t film friendly in the least). I couldn’t even begin to describe the variety of locales available to your average independent filmmaker. Because of its role as the center of economic activity in the commonwealth, the city has spawned a diverse culture on par with New York. Similar to NYC, the city cannot be defined by the sum of all its parts and it’s really up to every individual filmmaker to find their own reason for bringing their project here.
At the visual level, Philly is diverse. The city has a remarkable architectural history that dates back to Colonial times and includes a wide range of styles. The city also features more than ten thousand acres of parkland, adding another feature that gives the Philly a hand up.
Across the Delaware River is Camden, New Jersey, which has a variety of other location options, including the Battleship, New Jersey and an aquarium.
The most notable productions shot on location in Philadelphia, for me at least, is PHILADELPHIA (1993), MANNEQUIN (1987) and ROCKY (1976). There are others too: 12 Monkeys, Trading Places, Unbreakable, National Treasure… and one day maybe your film will be on this impressive list.
*Have you filmed in Philadelphia as an independent producer? What are the pros and cons? Tell me about your experience in the comments section.
Sources: Wikipedia | Greater Philadelphia Film Office
The 1993 dramatic film PHILADELPHIA is a prime example of how good mainstream film-making used to be. Hollywood doesn’t make films like this anymore and if they did, it would hardly ever be as successful as this Academy Award winning masterpiece. It’s a different business with a different core audience.
Philadelphia was directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Philadelphia is an important work of cinema because it was among the earliest of films to tackle the subject of HIV/Aids and homosexual discrimination in a mainstream format.
The film is a little more than loosely inspired by the real life Geoffrey Bowers case, where he sued his employer for wrongful termination. The importance of the film is often overlooked on many of the film lists I’ve been reading lately, but its production and release is vital in understanding the improved social attitude regarding homosexuality and sexually transmitted diseases in North America.
The film opens up with a wonderful montage of images from the great City of Philadelphia, some dramatic in style, a-typical landmark shots to solidify the setting of the story, but most of the images are seemingly documentary or news-like. Often times Demme allows the “extras” on the street to break the forth wall and wave to the camera as it moves along the streets. This sequence engages the audience head on and makes one thing clear: this is a very real story about a very real problem. The sequence screams: Listen up! This is YOUR world and YOUR neighbors we’re portraying here so don’t think for a second that we’ve made any of this up for your entertainment. The sequence plays beautifully against the incredibly heartbreaking Bruce Springsteen single “Streets of Philadelphia”, which Demme had commissioned specifically for this film. It was important for Demme to have the film appeal to as broad an audience as possible and having Springsteen whip up this amazing song worked wonders.
The movie is largely a courtroom drama, with witness testimony and bureaucratic nonsense. But it’s also a relatively light approach to what is normally a heavy, depressing subject matter. There is also a great deal of humor peppered throughout, but the spine of the story is always there, as it should be. The general “vibe” of the movie is clear in the trailer:
I am pleased to be adding this to Film Anthropology’s Essential Cinema list, under the General Category. If you’ve seen the film, please post your thoughts here. Were you old enough to attend the original release when it hit theaters? If so, I’d love your memories and a description of the audience reaction at your local theater.
DISCLAIMER: About FA Essential Cinema List: The General Category list is not numbered, but a drop of essential titles that everyone in the movie watching world should know inside and out. Philadelphia is the first to be added to the list publicly, but it is not the most ‘nor least vital title here. There are more and they are all equal.
From the get-go, I have always understood the importance of music in film and video media.
I made my first independent film in 1999, completed the first pass in 2000 and re-edited in 2002 when I got access to new technology. In 2002 I made my second film. In 2005 my third. In 2008 my forth, 2009 my fifth and sixth and so on. Regardless of the difficulty of the production of the intricacy of the script, the only constant with all of these productions is that it was easy for me to acquire music that I could lay into the soundtrack of each project. For Sixteen Stories, my first movie, I was able to get a friend from a neighboring town to compose three original pieces and on top of that I acquired, free of charge, the sync rights to a handful of relatively popular songs that were getting airplay in the Portland, Maine area the year I shot it. For the second film, Hero for a Day, I once again was able to obtain an original score and had a new score re-done when I re-cut the project in 2009. Every single project I’ve tackled, I’ve managed to pull through with some of the most kick-ass music tracks an indie filmmaker could expect on a no-budget production.
In 2011, for the first time, I paid for a music score when I hired a very talented musician named Peter Dmitriyev to compose themes for my medium length fairy tale film Caroline of Virginia. Additionally, I was able to acquire the sync rights to three different pop songs that to this day I’m still listening to on my MP3 player. Lipstick Lies had one of the best scores I’ve ever had in a movie, a variety of original compositions by the incredibly versatile Omer Ben-Zvi. Omer managed to mix an old fashioned sound with a contemporary feel to create an emotional work that aided in holding up what I consider to be a very fragile story. His cue in the last scene of the film plays perfectly over Samantha Cole’s performance, which is heartbreaking and inspiring. Omer went on to create an original piece for the mission video I directed for the American Lung Association, again adding a level of production value to a remarkably underfunded project and making my work seem a million times more professional.
Something has changed in the past two years since then. I have had the darnedest of trouble finding music and I do not know why. With my feature film The Spaceship in post-production, I’ve been prowling the forums and reaching out to everyone I’ve ever known, in an effort to find the right tracks for scenes that require different genre songs. Because of the kinetic nature of the story and its hop from one location to another, I have made it a point to find music from artists based out of or at least originally from the areas in which scenes are set. These are in no way areas of the globe that are strapped artistically – Maine for one, has numerous indie bands with professional sounding records that could easily be made available for consideration and New York… well get outta here, we know there are musicians a plenty. So why is it that this one film seems to be getting the snub over all of these other short and experimental projects?
I would love some of your ideas on how to find good, original, independently produced music and if you’re a filmmaker, your experience in dealing with the situation of music, specifically score.
MovieMaker Magazine has finished publishing their list of the Best Places to Live & Work as a MovieMaker in the year 2014, for the category BIG CITIES. MovieMaker will continue to post a new city everyday this month, the next category is SMALL CITIES and TOWNS. Once each list is complete, we will re-blog the list here for your convenience. The list is posted below, with their 2013 list immediately after. Have you lived and worked in any of the cities listed?
Do you agree with their placement on the list? As artists, our working environment and our community is incredibly important. Please comment and let us know if MovieMaker got the list right and if not, what cities do you think should be included?
10. San Francisco, California
09. Memphis, Tennessee
08. Portland, Oregon
07. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
06. Boston, Massachusetts
05. Seattle, Washington
04. Los Angeles, California
03. Austin, Texas
02. New York, New York
01. Chicago, Illinois
The reasoning for the selections are many, including availability of resources and talent, to friendliness of locals toward the arts and film-making community.
The list differs quite a bit from the 2013 list, located here.
10. Atlanta, Georgia
09. New Orleans, Louisiana
08. Albuquerque, New Mexico
07. Boston, Massachusetts
06. Detroit, Michigan
05. Portland, Oregon
04. Los Angeles, California
03. Seattle, Washington
02. New York, New York
01. Austin, Texas
Included here is an open letter from Martin Scorsese to his daughter Francesca on the future of cinema as an art and a business. Since I am heavily devoted to reporting about the Future of Film here and through other publications, I feel obligated to re-post it. I do not agree with everything Scorsese has written here but I feel if we’re to further demystify the medium and secure its future, all voices should be heard and considered.
I’m writing this letter to you about the future. I’m looking at it through the lens of my world. Through the lens of cinema, which has been at the center of that world.
For the last few years, I’ve realized that the idea of cinema that I grew up with, that’s there in the movies I’ve been showing you since you were a child, and that was thriving when I started making pictures, is coming to a close. I’m not referring to the films that have already been made. I’m referring to the ones that are to come.
I don’t mean to be despairing. I’m not writing these words in a spirit of defeat. On the contrary, I think the future is bright.
We always knew that the movies were a business, and that the art of cinema was made possible because it aligned with business conditions. None of us who started in the 60s and 70s had any illusions on that front. We knew that we would have to work hard to protect what we loved. We also knew that we might have to go through some rough periods. And I suppose we realized, on some level, that we might face a time when every inconvenient or unpredictable element in the moviemaking process would be minimized, maybe even eliminated. The most unpredictable element of all? Cinema. And the people who make it.
I don’t want to repeat what has been said and written by so many others before me, about all the changes in the business, and I’m heartened by the exceptions to the overall trend in moviemaking – Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, David Fincher, Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, James Gray and Paul Thomas Anderson are all managing to get pictures made, and Paul not only got The Master made in 70mm, he even got it shown that way in a few cities. Anyone who cares about cinema should be thankful.
And I’m also moved by the artists who are continuing to get their pictures made all over the world, in France, in South Korea, in England, in Japan, in Africa. It’s getting harder all the time, but they’re getting the films done.
But I don’t think I’m being pessimistic when I say that the art of cinema and the movie business are now at a crossroads. Audio-visual entertainment and what we know as cinema – moving pictures conceived by individuals – appear to be headed in different directions. In the future, you’ll probably see less and less of what we recognize as cinema on multiplex screens and more and more of it in smaller theaters, online, and, I suppose, in spaces and circumstances that I can’t predict.
So why is the future so bright? Because for the very first time in the history of the art form, movies really can be made for very little money. This was unheard of when I was growing up, and extremely low budget movies have always been the exception rather than the rule. Now, it’s the reverse. You can get beautiful images with affordable cameras. You can record sound. You can edit and mix and color-correct at home. This has all come to pass.
But with all the attention paid to the machinery of making movies and to the advances in technology that have led to this revolution in moviemaking, there is one important thing to remember: the tools don’t make the movie, you make the movie. It’s freeing to pick up a camera and start shooting and then put it together with Final Cut Pro. Making a movie – the one you need to make – is something else. There are no shortcuts.
If John Cassavetes, my friend and mentor, were alive today, he would certainly be using all the equipment that’s available. But he would be saying the same things he always said – you have to be absolutely dedicated to the work, you have to give everything of yourself, and you have to protect the spark of connection that drove you to make the picture in the first place. You have to protect it with your life. In the past, because making movies was so expensive, we had to protect against exhaustion and compromise. In the future, you’ll have to steel yourself against something else: the temptation to go with the flow, and allow the movie to drift and float away.
This isn’t just a matter of cinema. There are no shortcuts to anything. I’m not saying that everything has to be difficult. I’m saying that the voice that sparks you is your voice – that’s the inner light, as the Quakers put it.
That’s you. That’s the truth.
All my love,
Making the number two slot on Film Anthropology’s Essential Cinema list is the 1940 masterpiece THE GREAT DICTATOR directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin once commented that had he known the extent of the atrocities of the Nazi regime he might never had made this movie, but this film is one of the most meaningful and important works in cinema history. The speech Chaplin gives at the end (which will be included below) is relevant, even today. This film is a good example of how film can influence progress. Films like this are a great service to society and unfortunately not enough movies like this are being made.
Charlie Chaplin’s Final Speech in “The Great Dictator”
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….
!/images/photos/0000/0874/Great_Dictator_Pub_140-6_normal.jpg! The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..
Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Forget about money, hype and fan-base for a moment. Let go of the desperation, finance talk and box office chatter. As 2013 comes to a close I want to take a moment to reflect on the films and film related events of this historical year and hopefully find a mechanism to connect with filmmakers and their support base. I want to talk about the art of cinema and the importance of integrity in creation. 2013 was tumultuous at best and for me, at least, started out great and somehow, some way, morphed into absolute conflict, both at the social and professional levels and creatively. That conflict has finally begun to settle back down and while we’re not quite out of the woods yet, there is at least some light in the distance and creatively I’m bouncing back and better than ever before. From the feature film I wrote, directed and produced and am now in post-production of to my work behind the scenes of the New York festival circuit – things were crazy. How 2013 will be remembered is still up in the air, but one thing is for sure: 2013 was a significant year for me and a whole lot of other filmmakers and film enthusiasts.
This past year, my peers in the independent film community have helped me realize just how truly important this art is to our culture and why maintaining a sense of professional integrity is vital in a world where one can easily throw their peers under the bus for the slightest bit of attention. My friends in the festival circuit have helped me to understand how much their series’ and annual events are teetering on the brink of existence and how a little bad press from the most sour of people can devastate one of these smaller, family run festivals. This year I ended my relationship with two film festivals so that I could concentrate my time on both my film and film writing but it’s important that I continue to support them in other ways just as it’s important that all indie filmmakers in the NYC community continue to support them. Boutique indie film festivals are in danger and they need all the help they can get to survive. With some of the more well sponsored organizations working night and day to quite literally take over the NYC film festival world, we need to step up our support of the smaller events or indie filmmakers will not have a mechanism to screen ‘nor a home base to build support for their work. I am thankful for the film festivals that I’ve been involved with and had an opportunity to screen at over the past few years and I would hope that all of you are thankful too. More so I am thankful they have given me the opportunity to continue supporting them, not just as a selected filmmaker but subsequently as a volunteer and in some cases hired help. If you’re a filmmaker who has screened at a festival this past year, make sure to reach out to the organizers and thank them for supporting your endeavors and if you have the time, offer to volunteer for them in their follow up season. There are few actions that will impress them more.
At the latter half of 2013 I began writing news, oped and a bi-weekly column for Renegade Cinema and have been working to get moving with similar endeavors for various other publications. I’ve also been developing a plan to expand Film Anthropology. Most of the news I have been writing revolves around the future of film as a business and as an art form and other pieces deal with DC Comics news (as it relates to films being made out of DC material). The column I started is titled “The Case For” and every other week I make my case for why certain films deserve better treatment when they are released on DVD. The latest to be released was published on Christmas Eve and in it I make my case for why the Sydney Pollack film THE INTERPRETER deserves a Criterion spine. The most popular installment came two weeks ago when I made my case for the Sundance Award Winning Film RHYTHM THIEF. The column was started right here on Film Anthropology when I published the first incarnation: “The Case For Angus” (which was edited and published as the first installment of the RC column).
The beginning of 2013 was probably the best part of the year for me. From January through the first part of April I was in pre-production of THE SPACESHIP, my new sci-fi feature I directed and filmed almost exclusively on Staten Island. While the principle photography portion of the production which started in mid-April and ran through the first week of May was one of the worst experiences of my life (next to my time at film school), the footage is impeccable and the film in its current state is solid. While there is an enormous list of tasks that remain to be done (vfx, sound work and a huge reorganizing of the project on the business side) my hope is to have the film ready for festivals by the end of 2014 so we can offload it to a distributor and move on to other projects. It’s a long road ahead for this ballsy project but the fact that we’ve got it shot and are now on the 3rd pass edit is HUGE. The Spaceship is a film I wrote & directed and produced in partnership with quite a few other people and it was the first movie I directed that was shot under the union umbrella (which I’ll never do again as an indie filmmaker) and it was the first movie I directed that I didn’t shoot myself. On this project we hired a professional cinematographer with Hollywood grade gear to help us capture this highly original and entertaining story. To date it is the most expensive film I have made. Be sure to connect with the film by subscribing to the Facebook and Twitter feed.
Other People’s Movies
My favorite indie film from 2012, the musical comedy Welcome To Harlem finally made it’s way to DVD thanks to Amazon’s on-demand distribution service. While I feel that this film deserves a professional grade release, I understand the difficulties in getting a distributor to take a risk on indie work (even a high end production like WTH). In the grand scheme of indie film, this is never a bad way to go and I’m excited for filmmaker Mark Blackman and his cast & crew. They did a great job with the film and I hope that their DVD sales skyrocket. Pick it up here.
Other indie films that went on to do well this year were Shari Berman’s “My Life As Abraham Lincoln“, Mike Rader’s “Man vs. Ultraman” and the short film “Hope’s Portal” from filmmaker David Allensworth. I am a fan of all of these movies and all of these filmmakers and hope to see continued success with these films and their subsequent works.
Before I end this and bid 2013 a farewell, I wanted to reach out to every filmmaker working and just starting out, whether an ultra indie artist or a mainstream director – I wanted to remind you that Film is a responsibility. This seems to have been forgotten by so many creatives this past year, especially with all the box office records being broken and the slumping economy. Film is one of the few art forms that actually affects us in ways that influence our behavior and aspirations. It is a medium that transcends art and commerce and is so phenomenally unpredictable that it is almost assuredly its own consciousness. Film influences the way we think, act, socialize and in some cases affects our decision making. It does so because it affects our subconscious and in some ways affects our dreams or more accurately the way we dream. To work in a medium this influential to the human mind is a serious responsibility and I don’t feel that enough filmmakers take this responsibility as seriously as they should. More and more I find that studios and indie filmmakers alike are trying to decipher what audiences want to see and not necessarily what they need to see and because of this have created a system of production that turns out lesser quality and utterly simplistic material that could otherwise be world changing content.
Film is not disposable entertainment and should not be approached as such as it would be irresponsible to continue to produce films for the wrong purposes (hype, box office etc). Forget the money, forget the 3D and the IMAX… let’s go back to story and let’s make a difference again. In the words of the great Jonas Mekas: “the real history of cinema is the invisible history – - history of friends doing the thing they love”. Let’s get together and do it because we love it and for no other reason.
-Eric Norcross for Film Anthropology
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) is an important staple of seasonal movie watching, at least in America. On top of that it is one of the most influential films for every American child, right along with The Wizard of Oz. Directed by George Seaton, the film stars Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, a young Natalie Wood (8 years) and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. The plot: “Doris Walker a no-nonsense Macy’s executive, desperately searches for a new store Santa. She hires Kris Kringle who insists that he’s the real Santa Claus. But, he has many skeptics like Doris and her six year old daughter, Susan. So Kris goes to court to try and prove it. Is he the real Santa Claus?“[ref]
The film isn’t only uplifting with its incredibly original story and striking performances, but is an achievement on the production end for many reasons and should be regarded as one of the first ultimate NYC movies. The “New York” genre of film is a special thing, many films exist in this very small group of titles, but to identify what the first movie was to embody the spirit and vibe of New York is always going to be up for debate. Miracle is most definitely one of my selections for this category. An interesting fact about the Thanksgiving Day Parade sequence of the film: the footage of the parade was shot while the actual 1946 Macy’s parade was taking place and actor Edmund Gwenn really did play Santa for that year’s installment. He even went as far as to fulfill all Santa duties including addressing the crowd from the marquee of Macy’s after the parade was over.
Here are some more Trivia about the film:
Both the actual Macy’s and Gimbel’s department stores were approached by the producers for permission to have them depicted in the film. Both stores wanted to see the finished film first before they gave approval. If either store had refused, the film would have had to been extensively edited and reshot to eliminate the references. Fortunately at the test viewing, both businesses were pleased with the film and gave their permission.
Actors take note: According to Natalie Wood‘s biographer, during the shoot, the young actress was convinced that Edmund Gwenn was actually Santa Claus (by all accounts, Gwenn was a very good-natured man on the set). It wasn’t until Wood saw him out of costume at the wrap party that she realized he wasn’t Santa.
Despite the fact that the film is set during Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck insisted that it be released in May because he argued that more people went to the movies during the summer. So the studio began scrambling to promote it while keeping the fact that it was a Christmas movie a secret.
Sometimes the studio doesn’t know its own assets: 20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was very much against making this film because he thought it too corny to succeed. He finally agreed to a medium-sized budget provided writer/director George Seaton would accept his next three assignments unconditionally. Seaton, who desperately wanted to get the picture made, agreed.
Just a quick note to those who might feel the desire to quip about the 1994 remake starring 90′s child actress Mara Wilson: I am not normally a fan of remakes and often scoff at the idea no matter who, what or how. But I rather dug the remake of Miracle and while it’s not a part of my Essential collection, when viewed with the original back to back, it does give some interesting insight into how different decisions can affect a story. Many decisions were changed, some remained the same, the outcome was the same and a comparison at some point, might be worthwhile for some of you. Additionally, the remake is the reason I ended up taking up American Sign Language back in 2005. :)
Cheers and Merry Christmas,
Eric & FA