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Entries - Entry Category: Films - Starting with I

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Detailing her childhood in Stamps (Lafayette County), as well as in St. Louis, and San Francisco, Maya Angelou’s autobiographical novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was first published in 1970 by Random House and nominated for a National Book Award. It was the first of a series of eight autobiographical novels that cemented her place as one of the great voices of African-American literature. The title of the book comes from the poem “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, which describes perseverance in the face of oppression. The book chronicles the racism Maya, a young incarnation of Angelou, encountered in the segregated town of Stamps and other places she lived, along with the sexual abuse she faced at the …

I’m from Arkansas

With a screenplay by Marcy Klauber and Joseph Carole (based on a story by Klauber), director Lew Landers attempted to blend romance, rustic Ozark comedy, and country music into the 1944 film I’m from Arkansas. Unfortunately, some of the Arkansas characters are portrayed as ignorant hillbillies, and the numerous musical numbers tend to muddle the story line. The plot centers upon Esmeralda, a sow, who has excited the tiny town of Pitchfork, Arkansas, by giving birth to yet another massive litter of piglets. The news quickly spreads and draws a number of visitors to the town for myriad reasons. Bob Hamlin (Bruce Bennett), a citizen of Pitchfork who has become a country music star on the radio, takes his orchestra—including …

It’s Alive!

Larry Buchanan was a producer and director of very low-budget films, with titles such as Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966) and Mars Needs Women (1967). In his autobiography, Buchanan cheerfully called himself a “schlockmeister.” In the late 1960s, Buchanan formed Azalea Pictures to make cheap films for American Independent Television, the TV arm of American Independent Pictures (AIP), which specialized in low-budget B movies (though not as cheap as Buchanan’s) made by Roger Corman and others. Buchanan recalled that his instructions from AIP were: “We want cheap color pictures, we want half-assed names in them, we want them 80 minutes long and we want them tomorrow.” By “half-assed names,” AIP meant actors whose names would be familiar to audiences …