All posts by Pam

Pam Hassebroek is founder and editor-in-chief at Movies on Chatham. A passionate researcher in the field of communication, her broad focus is information security, countering cybercrime and terrorism, to which she contributes by studying communication in film. She earned the MS in Petroleum Engineering degree from The University of Texas at Austin, and MS and PhD degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology. Past positions include petroleum reservoir engineering and teaching.

Suriya’s Street Art: Who Are Movie-Watchers in La La Land?

Two hours of one movie can sometimes have a bigger impact on us than two weeks of our day-to-day lives at our jobs and homes.   . . .  that art and life can have a tangible relationship, is a hopeful one for anyone who has felt that their life has been changed by an album, an old movie, a painting, or a TV show.

It’s an optimistic way of viewing the world – one that is as open to the observer as the performer.
—Anna Leszkiewicz, In Defence of La La Land

A Hollywood Landmark You May Recognize

If you’ve been to Hollywood, then you may have seen the mural “You Are The Star,” which is located on the side of a building on Wilcox Ave at Hollywood Boulevard.

Tom Suriya painted the street art in 1983 “during the run-up to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, when the city was putting on a bit more of a show for visitors” (Reeves, 2019). Suriya’s career in TV and motion picture digital effects began in 1987.

"You are the star" mural, Photo: Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress
A bicyclist passes the “You Are the Star” mural by Tom Suriya, Photo: Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress

Demonstrating its scale, photographer Carol Highsmith captured the mural as a bicyclist passed in front.

If you saw the award-winning movie, La La Land, then you may recognize Suriya’s street art as the outside of Lipton’s Restaurant.

Suriya's street art, "You are the Star" mural, as backdrop for a scene in La La Land movie
Suriya’s street art, “You are the Star” mural, as backdrop for a scene in the movie, La La Land


Okay, here’s what we have learned.

A “street art” mural was painted by Thomas Suriya in Hollywood in 1983 for the LA Olympic games. Thanks to its use in the movie, La La Land, this Hollywood landmark is now even more a tourist attraction.

Hollywood Actors That We Know You Can Name

Now, here’s where you come in.

PLEASE HELP US ANSWER OUR QUESTION!
Suriya’s street art image is shown at the top of Our Mission page.  In the  mural are some interesting movie-watchers that we are sure you will recognize. Please help us identify the actors in the painting.

If you look around on the web, a lot of people have written about this mural, and have identified some of the famous faces. We recognize some of them too, but not all. We need your help.

Using the comment form below, just add names of actors in the mural that are missing in our list. We will be forever grateful!

REFERENCES

Chazelle, D. (2016). La La Land [MOTION PICTURE]. USA: Lionsgate.

Highsmith, C. M. (2013). A bicyclist passes the “You Are the Star” mural, painted by Tom Suriya, on a wall in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California [PHOTOGRAPH]. Library of Congress. Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/item/2013631596/.

Leszkiewicz, A. (2017, Feb 6). In defence of La La Land. New Statesman America. Retrieved from https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/film/2017/02/defence-la-la-land

Reeves, T. (2019). Filming Locations for La La Land | 2016 in Los Angeles. movie-locations.com Retrieved from http://movie-locations.com/movies/l/La-La-Land.php

Wayne, G. (2019). The “You are the Star” mural. Seeing Stars. Retrieved from https://www.seeing-stars.com/ImagePages/YouAreTheStarPhoto3.shtml

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, Apr 12). 1984 Summer Olympics. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1984_Summer_Olympics&oldid=892159256

Where and How Did Our Oil and Gasland Begin — Do We Really Want to End It Abruptly?

If you’ve ever had any doubt that movies influence, look no further than to consider the effects of this month’s movie, Gasland (Fox, 2010). It is difficult to imagine how a propaganda film that presents such a complex technical topic to a public audience could garner much interest, let alone stir so many in our nation toward irrational fears.

However, as we have noted in our past commentaries, fearmongering is a great way to attract attention and to create public unrest.

Continue reading Where and How Did Our Oil and Gasland Begin — Do We Really Want to End It Abruptly?

Propaganda: Activating Flawed Ideologies

Regarded by cinema historians as ‘the best propaganda film of all time,’ and a film that continues to inspire violent debate, Triumph of the Will linked Riefenstahl forevermore in the public record with fascism and Hitler.
—Felicia Feaster, Turner Classic Movies

Neither is there anything to be gained by ignoring her skill as a filmmaker, her place in film history, or her influence. Rather, we hope that this retrospective . . . will contribute to a discussion of the unsettling power of cinema and the relationship between documentary and propaganda, as well as the complex but crucial interplay of aesthetics and ideology.
—Leni Riefenstahl • UCLA Retrospective, UCLA Film and Television Archive

Throughout this year as we examine the theme of propaganda, it is useful to introduce a few simple concepts along the way that can help us to see why a film may fit into this theme, and if it does, to decide whether or not its communication succeeds in its intended influence given its design. Defining propaganda can help us with the first task, so that is where we will begin. Continue reading Propaganda: Activating Flawed Ideologies

2018 Golden Globe Nominations & Winners

The 2018 Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Seth Meyers, aired on Sunday Jan 7, live at 8 pm EST on NBC. (live-streamed online for the first time.) The all-black red carpet of this year’s Golden Globes, the black outfits of attendees and Time’s Up pins, were designed as visible protest against the abuse of women in Hollywood.

The Golden Globe nominees in the Motion Picture category are shown below, with winners highlighted.

Best Picture — Drama

  • Call Me by Your Name
  • Dunkirk
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Picture — Comedy or Musical

  • The Disaster Artist
  • Get Out
  • The Greatest Showman
  • I, Tonya
  • Lady Bird

Continue reading 2018 Golden Globe Nominations & Winners

Injustice Served at Enron, AA&Co: The Roles of Michael Chertoff and Sherron Watkins

The collapse of Enron and the conviction of its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, mark a critical juncture in American business and political life. Not only the accounting profession but corporate America as a whole—and those charged with regulating it—must now confront what has been learned, what is at stake, and what can and should be done to restore public confidence in the integrity of the markets.
Bigger than Enron, Frontline 2002

Before we watch the documentary film, Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room (Gibney & Kliot, 2005), let’s assess our knowledge of the Enron scandal.1 Do we even remember the rise and fall of the Enron Corporation very clearly? After all, a new generation has emerged since the company’s December 2, 2001 bankruptcy. And, noting the date, did some simply discard that news, since we were then, and are still, adjusting to the devastation resulting from the bombing of the World Trade Center towers?

Comparing the Enron Case to 9/11

Enron trademark
Enron trademark, positioned in front of Enron’s Houston Headquarters

We can compare the two events in time, but maybe very little else to compare otherwise. Of course, the collapse of Enron was earth-shaking to many people around the world who had invested in the company and had faith in its positive pronouncements. And, it was earth-shaking to others who had benefited from Enron’s philanthropic largess.

However, were lives lost? Were there lasting injuries? Unfortunately, we must answer “Yes” to both. Continue reading Injustice Served at Enron, AA&Co: The Roles of Michael Chertoff and Sherron Watkins

Dr. Martin Luther: Persuader–Not Simply a Humble German Monk

Filmed in Wiesbaden, West Germany, this month’s movie, Martin Luther (Pichel, 1953), received Oscar nominations in 1954 for Best Cinematography, Black and White, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black and White.

The Lutheran Church in America is one of the producers of this movie, which suggests a protestant bias, although we expect an unbiased historical accounting from its statement as part of the credits at the beginning of the movie,

This dramatization of a decisive moment in human history is the result of careful research of facts and conditions in the 16th century as reported by historians of many faiths.

Martin Luther, Augustinian priest
Dr. Martin Luther, Augustinian Priest

Often described as “a humble German monk,” Dr. Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) was also a gifted scholar, having attained the highest level of university education.

He served as Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg for his entire career, and as a Catholic Augustinian Priest until his excommunication by Pope Leo X in 1521. Continue reading Dr. Martin Luther: Persuader–Not Simply a Humble German Monk

Fake News: Are You Persuaded to Join the Herd?

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.
Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807

Amazing isn’t it that Thomas Jefferson expressed such skepticism about what is reported in the newspaper. And, that was in a smaller and simpler, yet less connected world. Now, when we are better equipped to get access to information, we seem to be much more easily misled.

Through our movie this month, The Witness (Solomon, 2015), we see how an entire nation of over 300 million people—through well-known and well-practiced, but perhaps unwitting, techniques of persuasion—can buy into a common, but false, understanding based on newspaper reporting. In this case, the fake news persisted over some 50 years. Continue reading Fake News: Are You Persuaded to Join the Herd?

In Gaslight: Wife’s Dependency and Husband’s Secrecy

George Cukor carefully avoids the obvious effects in telling this story of a husband (Charles Boyer) attempting to drive his wife (Ingrid Bergman) insane; instead, this 1944 film is one of the few psychological thrillers that is genuinely psychological, depending on subtle clues  —a gesture, an intonation—to thought and character. Boyer and Bergman are superb, and Angela Lansbury makes her debut as a cunning cockney maid. It’s also one of the few films to expand the use of offscreen space, not simply to the sides of the frame, but to the areas above and below the image as well. With Joseph Cotten and Dame May Whitty.
—Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

In this month’s  movie Gaslight (Cukor, 1944), Charles Boyer’s character, Gregory Anton, sets out to enact a well-planned strategy of deceit, to gain the possessions of a famous opera singer. He almost succeeds because his wife, Paula, is such an easy victim of his treachery. Her vulnerability comes from being a female ingénue, having grown up in the opera singer’s (i.e., her aunt’s) London household.

Continue reading In Gaslight: Wife’s Dependency and Husband’s Secrecy

Propaganda, Mind Control, and Engineering Public Opinion

Mind control is an interesting concept. This terminology most often conjures up notions of intrigue, sci-fi, destructive cults, MK Ultra, and maybe thoughts of Jason Bourne. In describing Patty Hearst at her trial, her defense team highlighted Hearst’s terror and the abuses of her captivity, suggesting that she may have been drugged into a “disordered and frightened” state.

The idea that many believe about her circumstance is that she was brainwashed, “also known as coercive persuasion or manipulative thought reform” (Morabito, 2014, Apr 15), and developed what is known as “Stockholm syndrome,” a mind condition where she unconsciously abandoned her own earlier belief systems and took on the mindset of her captors (Jameson, 2010).

What does it mean to be brainwashed? Continue reading Propaganda, Mind Control, and Engineering Public Opinion

The Use of Images in Persuasion: Miracles and Magic in Montage

Now and then, we must re-visit our history to know what we’ve gained in our progression of movie-watching. When we began our film exploration in January 2010, it was simply that, an exploration. However, even then, we looked at films that revealed important ways in which the movie and the spectator interact to build their stories and to reveal their biases.

Since then, that exploration has evolved into a somewhat more systematic treatment of our focus of study. Through the use of themes and the occasional “film on film,” we are developing a better vocabulary for talking about our movies, and a better understanding of various aspects of film communication. Continue reading The Use of Images in Persuasion: Miracles and Magic in Montage