Thursday



(Adapted from the Foreword)

First, a note on the text: The first volume (1876-1930) begins with various optical devices and ends with the establishment of the sound era. The second (1931-1976) covers Hollywood’s Golden Age and the post-war changes that seemed to revolutionize world cinema; but it ends with the release of a firmly old-fashioned entertainment, Rocky. The final volume follows the movies into the post-studio and digital eras. Each volume is only $2.99 each (USD), and together the three volumes include entries on over 600 films.

My relationship to this Diary is a lifelong, intimate one. In 1964 or so (I was about seven years old) I saw The Fly at a matinee, and I lay awake that night certain that, like Emily Dickinson, “I heard a Fly buzz,” and that Something was in the room with me. That something may well be this Diary, at once mysterious and exciting, a record of what may in the end be trivial--the act of moviegoing--but I’ve never let it go, I’ve kept it with me like a spare pair of eyeglasses you never really need but are happy to have--you know, in case you need to see something.

The Diary seems straightforward enough: The diarist goes to the movies, comes home, jots down impressions and associations and so on; but I find it difficult to describe exactly what he’s up to. Is he writing reviews? Reminiscences? Do the entries form a personal record, or, as with so many other diarists, is there a not-so-secret wish for it to be published as a public document? Well, as for the last, here I am publishing it; but what “it” is remains elusive. Maybe it’s simply a journal of seeing; the diarist is a moviegoer, and he writes to remember what he’s viewed. In doing so, he re-views it, so to speak, by lamplight and screenglow for a long time, and for a long time to come.

--Paul J. Marasa