Expertise: Classic Movies, Film History
Available for in-person lectures in: Central Florida
Available via Zoom? No
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Hall of Fame Actresses
It brings a smile to any movie lover’s face to remember the greatest actresses the silver screen has known. They’ve demanded our attention, inspired us, and broken our hearts. Young or old, rich or poor, these actresses have stood the test of time to become icons of their profession. In this hour-long lecture, clips and images from Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Meryl Streep and more will showcase what made these actresses unforgettable, and why we still revere them today.
Hall of Fame Actors
They’ve been heroic, downright nasty and as sweet as can be. But the greatest actors of all time share one unique quality: their humanity. These larger-than-life stars had the uncanny ability to morph into a variety of individuals from vastly different walks of life, and did so with what appeared to be the greatest of ease. This hour-long lecture celebrates the men who’ve moved us, and in one instance, changed acting for the foreseeable future. Clips and images from Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant and more make this a lecture you will not want to miss.
Hall of Fame Directors
Great directors know how to emotionally stimulate, manipulate, and even tease their audiences for maximum effect. This hour-long lecture looks not just at the greatest directors of all time, but also at how these directors were often able to work in a variety of genres and maintain success over the span of decades. Clips and images from Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Steven Spielberg and more showcase each director’s unique style in a way that’s sure to be eye opening for anyone who loves movies.
Hall of Fame Comedians
Let’s face it, we could all use a laugh. Thankfully, the greatest comedians the big screen has ever seen made us laugh hard and often, and did so over a long period of time. Why they were so funny and what stirred their creative juices will be discussed in this hour-long celebration of the funniest people in film history, including clips from their most memorable performances. Featured comedians include Charlie Chaplin, Mel Brooks, Peter Sellers and more.
Breakout Roles: The Movies That Made The Stars
They all had to start somewhere. This hour-long lecture looks at the early hits of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and examines what, if any, qualities were on display early on that would become their iconic trademarks. Clips from the breakout roles of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand and more will be shared as we attempt to answer the question: What makes a star?
Breakout Roles: The Movies That Made The Stars Part II
In this continuation of the extremely popular “Breakout Roles,” we look at more early hits of our favorite stars. This hour-long lecture examines how Marlon Brando changed acting as we knew it in A Streetcar Named Desire, how Dustin Hoffman was seduced in The Graduate, and how Cate Blanchett’s performance as Queen Elizabeth catapulted her to stardom. And as an added perk: You’ll see Tom Cruise in his underwear!
Great Musical Moments I: The Hollywood Musical from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s
The dawn of the “talkie” in the late ‘20s didn’t just bring spoken words to the big screen – it also brought songs! This hour-long lecture chronicles the era of the Hollywood Musical, highlighted by Busby Berkeley’s choreography, Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers, the great Gene Kelly, and many more. Clips and images will be shared in what is sure to be a toe-tappin’ and informative good time!
Great Musical Moments II: The Hollywood Musical from the 1950s to the Present
With the era of the Hollywood Musicals complete, the mid-1950s saw a shift in production. No longer were song and dance sequences stuck inside a studio; now musicals were shooting on location with bigger budgets, which allowed the genre to get bolder, more experimental, and in some cases, more satisfying. But like many good things, it didn’t last. Clips and images from West Side Story, Grease, Chicago and more will be featured in this hour-long lecture that covers great changes both in the genre and the industry itself.
Game Changers: Five Movies That Changed The Film Industry Forever
Some films are so revolutionary that they change how movies are made. Some provide audiences with such a thrill that they change what viewers demand. This hour-long lecture focuses on five notable titles – The Birth of a Nation, The Jazz Singer, Citizen Kane, Jaws, and Avatar – and how each changed the film industry and audiences forever.
Famous Moments, Famous Movies: Behind The Scenes Of The Most Iconic Moments In Film History – Part I
The greatest moments in film history stick out in our memories as if we saw them just yesterday. It’s Cary Grant running from a plane in North By Northwest. Peter Finch screaming that he’s “mad as hell!” in Network. And Clark Gable telling Vivien Leigh he no longer gives a “damn” in Gone With The Wind. This hour-long lecture takes you behind the scenes of these great movie moments and more as we reveal what makes them so unforgettable.
Famous Moments, Famous Movies: Behind The Scenes Of The Most Iconic Moments In Film History – Part II
The shower scene in Psycho. The flying bikes in E.T. The title song in Singin’ in the Rain. All are memorable movie moments that have been cherished for generations and will be cherished for years to come. In this hour-long lecture, you’ll enjoy an insightful look at these scenes and more, sharing the stories, backgrounds and secrets that made them so unforgettable.
Box Office Champs: The Real Top Ten Movies Of All Time
You may know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the all-time domestic box office champ at $936 million. But when you adjust for inflation, it’s actually #11. What’s in the top ten? This hour-long lecture looks at the real top ten highest-grossing movies of all time after you adjust for inflation. Clips and images from Snow White, E.T. and The Sound Of Music highlight this fun and engaging lecture. You may be surprised at what’s on the list!
When Oscar Gets It Wrong: Best Picture Winners That Should’ve Lost, And The Movies That Should’ve Won
Is Ordinary People better than Raging Bull? Is How Green Was My Valley better than Citizen Kane? According to the Oscars, yes! This hour-long lecture examines the politics, voting patterns, and cultural influences that led the Academy to overlook movies we now consider classics.
Note: When Oscar Gets It Wrong Part II focuses on the actors/actresses who won, and the better remembered/overlooked performances from those same years.
Best Picture Oscar Talk
Journey into this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees in this discussion of why each film was nominated and which is the odds-on favorite to emerge victorious. Clips and background information about all nominated films will be shared, and a discussion of the Academy’s voting process and habits will lend perspective to choosing the likely winner. Oscar history, trivia, and other major categories will also be covered! It’s a lively, insightful and fun hour-long lecture that’s not to be missed! Attendees are encouraged to see as many of the nominated films as possible before the lecture.
Note: This presentation can only be done in Feb./March 2023.
The Oscars: Aftermath
A day after the Oscars: What happened, why, and are you kidding me? We’ll explain why the winners won, why the losers lost, and other highs and lows from Hollywood’s biggest night. Note: This is not a formal lecture; it is an informal reflection in which Dan Hudak shares his thoughts on the big night and answers questions.
Top Five Years For Movies
A year in the life of movies can be groundbreaking, transcendent, unforgettable. At best, it captures the zeitgeist of a time period through a variety of genres, and by showcasing the talents of a number of terrific stars and directors. This hour-long lecture looks at five of the single greatest years in film history, and explores what the movies told us was clearly on our minds in each year. Clips include The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, and The Phantom Of The Opera.
You Can’t Show That! The Story Of Film Ratings And Censorship in America
In 1922, The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Of America was created by studio executives to stave off government censorship and ensure the wholesomeness of Hollywood films. It later morphed into the MPAA ratings we have today, and is now known as the MPA. How did we go from a couple not being allowed to share a bed to steamy sex scenes? This hour-long lecture explores how and why the MPA has evolved to where it is today. Clips and images from King Kong (1933), Some Like It Hot, MASH and more are featured.
Hollywood Scandal: The Most Salacious, Notorious And Awful Events Of Hollywood’s Past
If there’s one thing the media loves more than championing the virtues of Hollywood’s biggest stars, it’s exposing the sleazy details of stars’ indiscretions. This hour-long lecture looks back at some of Hollywood’s biggest scandals – some true, some not-so true, some downright criminal. Every effort will be made to discern fact from speculation, whenever possible, in the interest of discovering the truth surrounding these sordid events from Hollywood’s past. The stories of Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Grahame, Lana Turner and more will be shared.
Great Movie Monologues
It’s an actor’s dream: A long monologue that allows them to lose themselves in their character, and showcase their talent by keeping us captivated. We’ve been moved to tears, led to laugh, think. This hour-long lecture examines some of the best and most famous monologues in film history, including why they have endured so well over time. Featured clips include Wall Street, Network and The Great Dictator.
The Worst Movies Ever Made
No filmmaker sets out to make a terrible movie, but sometimes things simply never come together. Or the filmmaker had no business making a movie in the first place. Through a combination of terrible reviews and poor box office, these ten films stand above (below?) the rest as the most awful we’ve ever seen. In some cases, a cult-like fondness for how bad it is has led to infamy. This hour-long lecture examines what made them so bad, and why they’re still known today even though they’re terrible. Featured clips include Ishtar, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and Heaven’s Gate.
Best Duos: The Actors
They’re great on their own, but together they’re legendary. This hour-long lecture looks at what brought the greatest screen duos in film history together, what made them terrific, and ultimately what pulled them apart. Clips from the work of Hepburn & Tracy, Astaire & Rogers, Lemmon & Matthau and more will be discussed as we explore the scintillating dynamics of film history’s greatest screen duos.
The Unsung Heroes
They are the gears that power the engine of the film industry, yet many movie fans may not know the names of some of Hollywood’s most important contributors. This hour-long lecture examines the people behind the scenes whose work you’ve probably loved for years, and will immediately recognize. Note: This talk does not include actors or directors – they always get the headlines. Instead we’ll study Drew Struzan, Don LaFontaine, Rick Baker, and more (remember: you may not know their names, but you certainly know their work!).
Best Supporting Actors
We know their faces and love their work, even if their names have never been at the top of the marquee. This hour-long lecture looks at the greatest supporting actors and actresses of the silver screen, the men and women who have a terrific habit of making everything they’re in better. Clips from the greatest moments of Claude Rains, Thelma Ritter, Shelley Winters and more will be shared, along with insight into their careers and success.
The Films Of Barbra Streisand
From Funny Girl to The Guilt Trip, Barbra Streisand has made us laugh and cry for more than five decades on the big screen. This hour-long look at her film career takes us behind the scenes of some of her best remembered performances (and directorial efforts), and provides an appreciation for her contributions to the film industry. Includes clips from Funny Girl, The Way We Were, Yentl and more.
It’s Love, Actually: The Top Ten Romantic Comedies In Film History
They can be cheesy, sweet and sentimental. At their best, they’re also downright hilarious. This hour-long look at the greatest romantic comedies in film history examines how the genre has evolved over the last century, and highlights some of its greatest stars and moments. The best romantic comedies, as we’ll see, push the genre’s conventions in unexpected and invigorating ways. Clips include When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, and more.
From Caddyshack To The Brat Pack: Movie Comedies Of The 1980s
You could make the argument that the 1980s were the greatest decade ever for movie comedies. Consider the talent at the top of his/her game: Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, John Hughes and his “Brat Pack,” Steve Martin, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, Bette Midler, and more. This hour-long lecture examines the culture and creative atmosphere that allowed these talents to flourish, and we’ll of course enjoy clips of some of the funniest moments ever put on screen.