Friday 10 August 2012

Disclaimer and Process of Identifying

Hi. I would like to thank you for taking the time to view my blog and particularly this post. This blog is a labour of love in my spare time and has been going in its present form for more than 10 years! (ignore the date above). In that time access to films has improved with more streaming sites popping up all over the Internet, including many free ones. There have also been changes to Blogger; some good and some annoying, but I carry on using this platform because it is easier and cheaper than creating a website and using a back-end database system which I have no desire to learn. I'm sorry about the adverts, but ultimately they help me to continue by paying me approx 2 to 3 GBP every month. Before using Blogger I had a bunch of documents on my computer that I created for my own pleasure, but I thought that other people may be interested so I started this blog.

I just want to say that this blog is updated and maintained by me (Ian T) and only me, though I have had some very generous help from time to time by individuals with the same interests providing me with information, particularly when there is a gap or I've got it wrong. This is welcome anytime, but it is not easy to trust every scrap that comes in without evidence, so I pick and choose when and how to use it. Don't be offended. This is the Internet and it's not easy to trust everything you read. Extensive biographies on this blog would take up too much space and so I keep it to a minimum. Dates usually come from IMDB until otherwise refuted, a dangerous exercise I know.
The process of identifying actors and actresses in films is often a difficult one. There is a process that I go through time and again which is as follows:
1. Firstly I watch the film in its entirety. This is the case for about 90% of the time. I rarely dip into a film to find a particular person, although this may happen more often in the future as I get older in an effort to move this blog forward at a greater pace.
2. While watching the film I keep an eye on a list of possible participants and what characters they are supposedly playing. IMDB is the most complete list but is now riddled with errors so I keep that in mind. Some errors come from the film's own credits (e.g. Killer Dill (1947)) which erroneously lists someone as appearing in the film, but who has probably been replaced last minute or during production. I have also noted errors in films of who plays what character (e.g. Four Daughters (1938)). It is for this reason that watching the film is the most important part of the process.

3. After I think I have identified an actor or actress in a film based on other people's assumption, I'll enter the picture into the blog. I then look for another film they may have been in around the same time. This is the part of the process that takes the longest, sometimes years, owing to the fact that I don't have all the films I need to do it. If I don't have the DVD or it is not streaming somewhere, then I have to hope that I can find it on YouTube, Dailymotion or another legal site. 

4. After taking care to identify as many actors and actresses in the film I still can get it wrong. There have been a handful of occasions where the identity has plagued my mind and I eventually delete it because I'm not satisfied. There are also those that have been identified by others using, I'm assuming, paperwork relating to the film, but I cannot find them in it. This does not mean that they were not in the film, just that the version I have does not clearly show them or I've missed them completely. [Can someone please tell me where Irving Bacon is in 'Nancy Drew...Reporter (1939)?] It may be that I have a TV edit of the film, for example, which means that minutes may have been cut out to satisfy a channel schedule. Shameful in my opinion, but what can I do.

5. 99.999% of my pictures come directly from the film. In the early days I was tempted to use studio stills but it didn't really appeal to me to re-show what is already on another site. There are one or two examples where it is impossible for me to get a shot of an actor or actress owing to the film being lost or not available to me. The post for Leota Lane, one of the four Lane sisters, springs to mind and also a couple of Lon Chaney films where I've used studio stills.

After all of this painstakingly laborious but enjoyable effort, there are still mistakes on this site. If you feel inclined to tell me about them I would very much appreciate the feedback. Just use the comment section underneath the actor or actress in question. Thanks.

IMDB, Mubi and others

When all the effort has been made to extract these pictures from the films themselves and sometimes improve them using software to clean them up, it is highly disatisfying to see them appear on other sites. Just a couple of clicks and no effort will allow you to add them to some sites and you can imagine them giving you a jolly good pat on the back for it. Well done! They then walk away with a slightly improved website at no cost to them. I can't imagine for the life of me how that gives anyone any satisfaction, but if it does then I'll take full credit for your happiness. At the end of the day, what can I do. I don't own any of the films in this blog, but then neither do the sites in question. Let's all claim fair use for educational purposes.

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