Magic, this Lantern ⇒

David Bordwell discusses Lantern, a new search engine for over 800,000 digital pages the Media History Digital Library, on his Observations on film art blog:

I hate to pull a Grandpa Simpson, but when I think of all the time and money and gasoline and air tickets I ran through over several decades to visit libraries holding a few issues of this or that journal . . . and then think about the hours I spent paging through them looking for certain names, terms, film titles . . . and then think about how I painstakingly copied what I wanted onto 3 x 5 cards (photocopy not permitted) . . . I think–Well, what do you think I think?! I think how damn lucky you (and I) are to have all this material so accessible now. For work and play.

Bordwell points to some gems in the treasure trove of material now accessible online, like this 1941 piece by Gregg Toland in International Photographer1 in which the cinematographer offers this advice:

One of the greatest bugbears in Hollywood today, I think, is that the greater portion of all the creative workers—writers, directors, actors, cameramen and all the rest—are making pictures for the approbation of their fellow-workers.

This is an unhealthy condition and leads nowhere except false values in pictures. Motion pictures should be made for the ultimate consumer, the audience. And the creative worker, should, in my opinion, make pictures for the audience and dare criticism of his fellow-workers.

Damn lucky we are indeed.

  1. The opposite page features a nude lady. This is your NSFW warning. ↩︎