My name is Joe Amodei and this is what I guess we should call Blog #1. Real original eh? But truth be told I created this website, well the web guy did along with my staff, not only to let folks know about Virgil Films & Entertainment and what it has to offer but to also get a chance to talk. About movies that is. About my passion. My love. My reason for being. That is of course next to wife, children, grand children, family and friends. But the passion for films and everything about them is what drives me. And I like to talk about them. Not just Virgil Films product but all kinds of movie related stuff. My thoughts, opinions and sometimes even my dreams will come forth in this blog. So I hope you come back on a regular basis and check it out. And of course, feel free to leave those comments we all love to read.
A little bit about me. My first movie theatre memory? A Disney film titled “Moon Pilot” with Tom Tryon and Brian Keith. The year was 1962 and it was a family comedy about the new space program our country was getting into. The place was a now torn down Philadelphia movie theatre known as the Merben. It was like a fairy book castle to me. It has a long winding staircase that led to a lobby downstairs and a screen as big as anything I had ever seen. I knew from that experience that this was something I really loved. Then came a helping of Saturday matinees. One hour of color cartoons billed as “color” cartoons, a Three Stooges short and then a feature film. “Captain Sinbad” “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” or “Abbott and Costello’s Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Morgan the Pirate” and “The Thief of Baghdad” with Steve “Hercules” Reeves, Elvis Presley movies and every Jerry Lewis movie ever made. There were so many. And all for a mere admission cost of thirty-five cents. Heaven was right there in Philadelphia in a darkened movie house.
Movies began to seriously shape my life when a year or two later I saw two films that altered my being. These weren’t Academy award winners or serious minded adult dramas. But nonetheless they changed and enhanced my life. The first was the Rat Pack musical “Robin and the Seven Hoods” which started a lifelong obsession with everything Sinatra. And the second was John Sturges “The Great Escape” The true story of how a group of RAF flyers tunneled their way out of a German POW camp towards the end of WWII brought me to a new level of movie worship. Steve McQueen, a motorcycle and a fence. It’s all I needed. In a lot of ways it’s still all I need.
My passion grew as a teen and I began to seek out and study the masters of American film. Chaplin, Capra, Hawks, Walsh, Ford, Hitchcock, Welles, Keaton and Wilder were just the beginner’s class. Many more would follow in their footsteps as my love went international with Bergman, Murnau and Truffaut along with many many more. There was always another film and filmmaker to discover.
Between now and then a lot has happened. I’ll speak about a lot of that in future posts. I was lucky enough to get into the film business on the distribution side early in my career and have been there ever since. Over thirty five years in the business. That’s a lot of movies to release. I’ve worked on some good, some bad and luckily to say some great films as well!
So my plan is to use this blog to just, well, talk about movies and maybe some music as well. The best thing is I can talk about whatever I want. I’ll also be creating a list of other sites I recommend to visit. These are some of the best film related sites to hang out at. Like I said, I’ll talk about what’s on my mind. If you like it, come back again. If not, well then that’s cool as well.
In two days I venture up North to attend the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ll try and see as many films as I can in between meetings, food and a little bit of sleep. And then after a short rest it’s down to Maryland for the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Show. Two completely different festivals but with one thing in common. They both celebrate the art of motion pictures. Kinda cool!
Sites to visit…