Gloria Swanson's (1897-1983) last two film projects were made in 1974: "Killer Bees" and "Airport 1975." She made an appearance in 1974 at the Telluride Film Festival as did German actress/film director Leni Riefenstahl. Gloria was adored while Leni was reviled as the creator of the 1935 Nazi sponsored propaganda film "Triumph of the Will." She is still considered the greatest woman film director in film history. For years actress/directorJody Foster had nourished a project to make a film about Riefenstahl with Foster playing the lead role. Nobody would fund it.
I first became obsessed with photography and motion pictures while growing up in post WW2 Manila in the Philippine Islands in the late 1940's/early 1950's. Film noirs were a particular influence.
But my first love remains the theater. I acted in numerous amateur productions from 1958 to 1978. In 1979 I earned a MA in drama from the University of Arizona; earlier getting a BA in English from the University of Minnesota, where I co-founded the first film society on campus and ran it for four years. While at the U of A, I studied with the master black and white photo essayist W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) the last year of his life. I am the last person cited in Jim Hughes' definitive biography of Gene, as I wrote about attending his final...
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