About…

This blog is all about the wonderful world of movies. As an avid film lover, I wanted to create a space online to pontificate my rather loud opinions on films past and present. Here, you will find articles and opinions regarding the Academy Awards, film reviews, Best and Worst Lists, video ‘Web Rants,’ movie polls, the weekly “Gimme 5″ feature and more. I started this blog in December 2009, and have slowly managed to build content on a semi-consistent basis.

Please feel free to roam about the archives and check out the various articles/reviews. I would also encourage you to follow & become a fan of the site on Facebook (search for the MLF page) and follow me on Twitter @wordguy30.  Of course, I am sure you have your own opinions on certain films and directors, so I encourage you to comment as often as possible.

The Magic Lantern is the forerunner of the modern slide projector. No one knows who invented it, but it is widely believed that Christiaan Huygens developed the original device in the late 1650’s and referred to as the “lantern of fright” because it was able to project spooky images that looked like apparitions. However, other sources give credit to the German priest Athanasius Kircher. In its early development, it was mostly used by magicians and conjurers to project images, making them appear or disappear, animate normally inanimate objects, or even create the belief of bringing the dead back to life. Nevertheless, The Magic Lantern has been used to educate, entertain & mystify audiences for hundreds of years.
Over the period of a little more than 200 years the Magic Lantern developed from basic projectors such as the Sturm Lantern (capable of producing small, dimly lit images) to the magnificent Triunials. In the hands of a skilled showman, these machines could produce huge, brightly coloured, wonderfully animated entertainments for hundreds of people.

1420: The earliest reference cited by The Magic Lantern Society to anything like a projection lantern is from Liber Instrumentorum by Giovanni de Fontana.  The illustration shows a man holding a lamp or lantern, and on the wall is a large projected picture of the devil. Giovanni describes it as “a nocturnal appearance for terrifying viewers.”  Although there is no hard evidence that de Fontana invented the Magic Lantern, Willem Tebra argued very strongly that he “had described the real concept of a magic lantern.”

1589:  Giovanni Baptista della Porta published Magiae Naturalis Libri Viginti, in which he described the ancient art of projecting mirror writing. The book was published in English as Natural Magick in 1658.

1660’s: Thomas Walgensten used his so-called “lantern of fear” to summon ghosts. These misuses of this early machine were not uncommon. By the 18th century, use by frauds was common for religious reasons. For example, Count Cagliostro used it to ‘raise dead spirits’ in Egyptian masonry. Johann Georg Schröpfer used the magic lantern to conjure up images of dead people on smoke. Schröpfer, a performer, ended up going crazy and thinking he himself was pursued by real devils, and shot himself after promising an audience he would later resurrect himself.

Eventually, the magic lantern came to America. It continued to be used by magicians but also to project moving images for entertainment. There were even some examples of pornographic striptease slides starting in the 1920s and proceeding into the first half of the twentieth century. Today, the magic lantern is primarily only used by collectors.

A GUIDE TO THIS SITE’S FILM REVIEW RATINGS

      A Truly Phenomenal Film!!! Instant Classic.
      A Terrific Movie. Do Not Miss This!
      A Very good Flick. Definitely Worth seeing.
      A Fair film. Has Its Ups & Downs.
      I’d skip this one. Not So Hot.
      A Bad Movie. No Way Around it.
      Just Awful. Has Little to no Redeeming Value.
      A Train Wreck. Avoid at all Costs – as you would Syphilis.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

Peter Eramo, Jr. was born and raised in Long Island, NY. He has written several one-act and full-length plays, including Shed A Little Light, “Stipulations,” Escorts, and One Way Street which was produced at Theatre on 3 in New York City. While living in New York, he worked at various theaters as a publicist, playwright, actor and director. He is also the writer of several short stories, critical essays, poetry, and a children’s book, LiliAnne. Mr. Eramo last performed in 2009 for the Broadhollow Theatre and before that, played Bernard in Arena Playhouse Theatre’s production of Boeing, Boeing. In 2009, he completed his screen adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Trial for Telic Pictures. He is currently at work on an original screenplay — and finally trying to finish his latest (untitled) play.

Mr. Eramo attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and later graduated from Hofstra University (B.A., Theatre). He received his M.A. from Columbia University’s Teachers College (2001). In addition to his writing and performance work, he has worked as an English and Drama instructor (high school & college). He also has extensive experience in public relations, working 8+ years for some of the most prestigious firms in NYC, with clientele that included: The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, Circle in the Square Theatre, WPA Theatre, Phoenix House, The Anne Frank Center, AmeriCares, in addition to personalities such as Laurence Fishburne, Mercedes Ruehl, Anthony LaPaglia, Dominic Chianese, Olympia Dukakis, Martin Landau, among others.

A film fanatic at a very young age, he continues to go to and see as many films as possible. Because he has a tendency to voice his (very loud) opinions on film (even when nobody really cares what he has to say), he felt it would be a fun, productive, & interesting idea to start writing this film blog, (named after the autobiography of one of his most favorite filmmakers). An all-around animal lover, Mr. Eramo lives in Virginia with his adorable pug, Lily where he works for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Before that, he was the publicist for the Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre – and wrote on film for the online entertainment magazine Brightest Young Things.

If you would like to contact Peter, please do so by commenting on the site or emailing him at wordguy30@yahoo.com.

THE LANTERN’S NAMESAKE

As a small child, Ingmar Bergman was beyond upset when his brother received a cinematograph for Christmas, and not him. Later that night, Bergman proposed a trade: his 100 tin soldiers for the cinematograph. The magic lantern was his. The following is an excerpt from Bergman’s autobiography, The Magic Lantern:

 

The next morning I retreated into the spacious wardrobe in the nursery, placed the cinematograph on a sugar crate, lit the paraffin lamp and directed the beam of light on to the whitewashed wall. Then I loaded the film.

A picture of a meadow appeared on the wall. Asleep in the meadow was a young woman apparently wearing national costume. Then I turned the handle! It is impossible to describe this. I can’t find words to express my excitement. But at any time I can recall the smell of the hot metal, the scent of mothballs and dust in the wardrobe, the feel of the crank against my hand. I can see the trembling rectangle on the wall.

I turned the handle and the girl woke up, sat up, and slowly got up, stretched her arms out, swung round and disappeared to the right. If I went on turning, she would again lie there, then make exactly the same movements all over again. She was moving

8 Responses to About…

  1. Hi Peter,

    I really enjoy your blog.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I lifted one of your images for my recent post on ‘True Grit’.

    http://permanentplastichelmet.com/2011/02/15/motherfuck-him-and-john-wayne/

    If you’d prefer I remove it, just let me know.

    Thanks,
    A

  2. clairepacker says:

    Hi Peter, fantastic site! You’ve got some fab content and I really like reading the ‘Gimme 5′ posts. It’s clear you’ve put a lot of time and thought into the site. Out of interest, how do you create your Top 10 lists? Does an idea pop into your head and then you write it all in one go or do you keep coming back to it?

    • Hi Claire! Thanks for visiting and for your very kind comments. It is greatly appreciated. I do put too much time into this actually, but I enjoy writing about film and hopefully soon, I will have enough content up here to try and seek employment for doing so. The Gimme 5 is a lot of fun and I enjoy reading people’s input. My Top 10’s take a while to compile so I don’t do as many as I would like. An idea just comes at random (maybe it is while I am watching a movie, perhaps someone else’s idea or just one I think would be fun). I have a number of great Top 10 ideas I really need to get to…

  3. Nora says:

    I liked reading your history of the magic lantern… very interesting. Thomas Walgensten freaks me out. Wonder if he was able to summon any ghosts!!?!

  4. P says:

    What do you think about Pan’s Labyrinth? Considering watching it…

    • I would surely watch it. It is a fantastic achievement…beautiful to look at and its script/story is unique and wonderous. There are some graphic moments to it and can be a bit rough to watch at times (not for kids or faint of heart), but overall, it is a very good film.

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