[joe-frank-list] Memories by Joe Frank (film vs radio)

B T uhohjf at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 4 23:08:03 PDT 2006

(where are you all Frankophiles?)

I just recently re-signed up to joefrank.com and listened/watched that rare
film, "Memories" by Joe Frank.  

Though I've enjoy(ed) Joe on the radio with his voice and ambient music in the
background all these years, these films have really opened the possibilities of
putting Joe's stories/thoughts on film.

In one extreme, you have a film such as "After Hours" which has a scene or two
directly from Joe's work.  But while watching it, you don't get that Joe Frank
feel--that dark milieu--mostly his raspy voice, the droning beats that's all
part of what we know as the Joe Frank experience.  Sure, some may argue that
his programs do have parts with non-Joe characters interacting with other
characters without background music, and still you feel that it's a Joe
program.  But there's something lacking in the above film.

Films that work for Joe's programs have several nuances.  First, they're black
and white.  It brings you back to days long gone when color was only in the
imaginations.  Perhaps it is like this very discussion of film vs radio where
radio was what existed before television. It's not too new as to lose it's
original appeal.

Second, there are dream like sequences to them. Not only in content, but in how
we are shown what is going on. In "Memories," some shots are done very smoothly
by a talented steady cam operator moving from place to place as if we were
hovering. It relates to some of Joe's programs where the listener is really
just hovering above listening in on a conversation or more compelling, the
inner thoughts of a character or Joe himself.

Thirdly, the use of blurring. Characters are at times left unfocused. This
works wonderfully to enhance what is being said by the narrator, mostly Joe.
You aren't so much observing what they are wearing or how they look but
listening in on their thoughts.  It allows us to watch the film and yet, still
have the priority be on what you hear.

Forthly, the pace. It's slow compared to hollywood's 21 min weekly half hour
shows where they try to cram in as much information to have a resolution to
their story. The slowness allows you to take in what you're listening. It's
like when Joe finishes a part of his monologue, and the music continues so as
to indirectly say, 'there, now ponder over it.'

Fifthly, and most important, the film MUST have Joe's voice and music
interspersed within it.


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