Looking for a movie about making a movie ...
July 1, 2011 6:52 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for recommendations for an old film -- old enough to be in the public domain -- in which characters are making a film, so that there are shots of cameras, and of the movie filming. Ideally there'd be some kissing going on, getting filmed. I'm going to use the footage in a music video, so the audio/audio quality isn't important. In case it's not clear, I don't have a specific film in mind, but am just looking for footage from any film that fits the bill. And ideally the film would have been released widely enough that my library's extensive DVD collection would include it. Thanks in advance for any help.
posted by troywestfield to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
Is this a Postal Service song? :)

Wellman's A Star is Born (1937) seems to fit your criteria.
posted by rokusan at 7:00 AM on July 1, 2011

I don't know if it's in the public domain yet, but one of the earlier "Lil' Rascals" films (with the original 1920's cast) takes place in an early Hollywood movie studio, and features the kids getting up to their usual mischief as a film is being made. Dogs of War, from 1923.
posted by LN at 7:06 AM on July 1, 2011

The Cameraman (1928), starring Buster Keaton.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:29 AM on July 1, 2011

There are a lot of shots you could use in The Man With The Movie Camera (also some editing, people getting out of bed, IIRC some putting on of makeup, etc.
posted by johnofjack at 7:32 AM on July 1, 2011

rokusan: Actually a song my friends and I recorded. I'll post it to Projects when it's done. Then you can help us go viral until we're as big as ... the Postal Service! And thanks for the suggestion.
posted by troywestfield at 7:38 AM on July 1, 2011

Carmen Jones, which is in black and white, has a wonderful tracking scene of Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte walking down a city street. You can see the entire camera crew reflected (unintentionally) in the store window.
posted by TheRaven at 7:52 AM on July 1, 2011

Carmen Jones is not in black and white. At least, none of the versions I've seen...
posted by hermitosis at 7:57 AM on July 1, 2011

After the Fox starring Peter Sellers from 1966. Don't know if that's old enough for you.
posted by PaulBGoode at 8:57 AM on July 1, 2011

Take a look at Buyout Footage--they have a lot of PD films. Or Archive.org, where you can download clips.
(After the Fox isn't PD--it's Universal, Carmen Jones isn't PD either.) istockphoto also has some materials that might be suitable, but while it's cheap, it's not free.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:16 AM on July 1, 2011

Sherlock Jr - a Buster Keaton film - has a lot of neat camera trick movements, including one in which a man leans in to kiss a woman, the scene behind him changes and the woman disappears and he tumbles over. Keaton plays a movie projectionist, but there may also be scenes with movies being filmed, can't remember.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:46 AM on July 1, 2011

I appreciate the suggestions, but some of the more intriguing ones -- Sherlock Jr would be an example -- do not seem to me to be public domain. This would keep me from including any footage, as I'd like to keep open my options for distributing the video I make from the footage.
posted by troywestfield at 10:29 AM on July 1, 2011

Erk, sorry about that.

One possibility would be Edison's short movies; I know there is a DVD collection of them that your library might have.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:04 PM on July 1, 2011

Keep in mind that even if a film is in the public domain, specific prints may not be -- like if they're remastered or something, that version will be under a new copyright. Some more info in this Ask.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 8:15 PM on July 1, 2011

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