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All Movie Talk

Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

All Movie Talk

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All Movie Talk, Episode 44

Show contents, with start times:

  • Director Spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock, Part 1 (1:36)
  • Trivia Question: Smallest Movie Set (19:16)
  • Film Buff's Dictionary: Frame Rate, Undercranking, Overcranking (19:41)
  • Top 6: Great Remakes (25:51)
  • Pitch: Harry Potter 7 (46:39)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (55:00)
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Show Notes:

Director Spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock, Part 1

"There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

Alfred Hitchcock, one of the greatest directors, is also one of the most accessible. The master of the macabre is the rare great artist who was always a commercial success, in no small part because he was always able to use his technical mastery to serve compelling stories.

He was drawn to dark stories in which (mostly) innocent people were tormented in equal parts by sinister forces and their own consciences. Hitchcock never shied away from exploring his own neuroses within his films -- his style led to the development of the auteur theory of cinema -- which makes it even more surprising just how commercial his films were.

As a filmmaker, he was often as exacting and precise as the elaborate suspense stories he told. Hitch carefully planned his shoots and films, but they rarely feel cold or overly technical. First and foremost he always made great entertainments, films that are often as enjoyable today as they were on their first releases.

In the coming weeks, we will take an in-depth look at his complete filmography.

Trivia Question: Smallest Movie Set

The smallest movie set ever isn't quite Fantastic Voyage, but it is this great movie about a cramped space.

Film Buff's Dictionary: Frame Rate, Undercranking, Overcranking

The frame rate, usually expressed in "frames per second," is the speed at which film moves through a camera or projector. Film has been standardized at 24 frames per second since the early sound era; previously it had varied from around 18 fps through the mid 20s. The need to synchronize picture and sound required that there be a standard projection speed, and 24 fps was decided.

Because filmmakers know the speed at which a film is projected, they can achieve interesting effects by capturing film at different speeds. Undercranking the camera means running film through the camera at less than 24 fps. When the film is projected at 24 fps, it is sped up, creating faster than normal motion.

Likewise, overcranking refers to filming at a rate faster than 24 fps, causing motion to appear to slower when projected. The word "cranking" dates back to the early days of cinema, when film was hand-cranked through the camera. Camera operators had to have steady cranking speeds or else things would appear too fast or too slow.

Top 6: Great Remakes

See our separate Top 6 entry for more information about our picks.

Pitch: Harry Potter 7

Note: This segment was recorded before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released and before either of us knew the plot. The segment is therefore free of spoilers, and any similarity with plot twists revealed in the book are purely accidental.

Trouble brews at Harry Potter's funeral when his archenemies show up to gloat over his death and attack the gathered mourners. But not all is as it seems in the exciting conclusion (or is it!?) to the beloved film series.

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