On This Day In Film Interview
On Location Tours recently sat down with Russell Farnham, the creator and editor of On This Day In Film
, to discover more about his website and his extensive knowledge of film.
What is On This Day In Film?
On This Day in Film is a website, Twitter account, Facebook page and Pinterest profile that looks at film events from the past. It uses film release dates, actors birth and death dates and any other significant event in film history to report facts on that day, giving us cinephiles a chance to relive the fascinating world of cinema. It tries to display a broad range of film tastes from the silent era, to popular film, to world cinema allowing for every fan to have their favourite moments retold.
What inspired you to start your website?
Two words really, film and Twitter. I have always loved film, I studied it at university and worked in the industry for a few years before training to become a teacher. I am intrigued by cinema’s vast changes in its relatively short history and how it has such a effect on culture and society even though it pretty young in comparison with other art forms. But it really started when my working circumstances changed and I wanted to use my time for some benefit. It was then that I started to realize how Twitter was a great platform for relaying knowledge and interesting facts (I am often behind with such new mediums, hence why I only started this account in February 2014). As the account began to get some interest I decided that I could use this to create a website where I could review, discuss and write lists about cinema history. What started off as a bit of an experiment now takes up most of my day, and I really enjoy the discussions and connections with people all over the world.
What are your top 5 favorite films?
I always find this question difficult to answer, sometimes impossible. So, I dwelt over my answers for some time, and I came up with this, but if you ask me next week it will probably be different again. I won’t give them an order as I cannot decide:
The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994) – probably the film that began my love of cinema. I watched this film late one night on TV with my father in around 1997, I had no idea what it was and we watched it into the early morning. Both of us were enthralled by the story, the acting and most of all the script. I love it, not only because of the film itself, but also due to of the arbitrary way I came across it.
Festen (Thomas Vinterberg, 1998) – I’m a big fan of the Dogme ’95 films and think that this one uses the manifesto in the best way imaginable. I see Festen as pure film, no well-known actors, no fancy special effects, no studio settings, just a great story, filmed. A superb piece of cinema, in my eyes.
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) – one of those films that I never get bored of watching. It has so much to it that I find something new every time I watch it. So many great performances, so many quotable lines, and a complicated knit of plot lines makes it one of the films that always sits in my top 5.
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) – this classic represents almost all of Hitchcock’s films, I could have put Vertigo in its place, or The Birds as I love the way Hitchcock made movies. Psycho has so many interesting camera shots and plot twists that it still works as a great film 54 years on. It also brought about many changes in the cinema industry, for instance, it was the first film that required the audience to be there at the beginning of the movie, there were no late entries allowed. Before that audience members could come and go as they pleased.
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) – again this film sits as a representative of Kubrick’s films. It has, as do many of Kubrick’s movies, the cinematic impact that groundbreaking cinema should have. He was constantly trying new things, implementing new technology & bending cinematic rules, but all without sacrificing the film’s story or standpoint. Alongside Hitchcock, Kubrick is one of my favourite directors of all time.
If you could meet one actor (dead or alive today), who would it be and why?
James Stewart, because I don’t think I’ve seen bad movie with him in it. He also worked in an era of film that, I feel, saw cinema in its prime. He worked with some of the best directors, actors and screenwriters, I would have loved to sit at a bar with him and let him tell me stories of his time in Hollywood.
What is the #1 question you’d love to ask him?
What was Alfred Hitchcock like to work with? (Hopefully, this would lead to many stories and anecdotes about the Master of Suspense)
What top 3 exterior film locations would you most like to visit?
Manhattan Bridge: I have never been to New York and would love to see Manhattan Bridge as it is the focal point of many movies set in the Big Apple. I also feel that it personifies New York as a film location.
Bodega Bay: the setting for The Birds. I think a trip here would be a creepy and intriguing visit. I’m sure its a beautiful place regardless of the film, but I would love to go and see the playground next to the school – one of the great scenes in cinema history.
Timberline Lodge: the hotel in The Shining. Timberline Lodge was used as the exterior shots for the Overlook Hotel and I would love to stay over, although I’m sure it would be pretty spooky.