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A Tribute to Black Women in Film

Presented by Blacklight, this program consists of two hour-long films. Debra Robinson’s I Be Done Been Was Is is a study of black women comedians (and will be introduced by Chicago comic Wandachristine); A Different Image is Allie Sharon Larkin’s story of a young woman’s attempts to get ahead in a male dominated culture (introduced […]

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The Emigrants

The acclaim for this 1971 151-minute revisionist epic on the settlement of America still mystifies me. Uncommitted, tedious, and often dishonest, Jan Troell’s movie works all of the obvious chickenhearted changes on the Fordian model. Instead of epic sweep it has slow, lumbering forward movement; instead of nobility it has scratching desperation. But all of […]

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Ziegfeld Follies

Vincente Minnelli, in his high delirious period (Yolanda and the Thief), couldn’t have asked for a better vehicle than this unplotted MGM revue film, featuring every star on the lot with a claim to musical ability and a few without. The comedy sketches are atrocious, but Minnelli shines in the lavish musical numbers, which include […]

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Operation Petticoat

A very funny pairing of Cary Grant and his ace protege Tony Curtis as two submarine officers (Grant older and wiser, Curtis young and ripe for deflating) with a cargo of women on their hands. Blake Edwards directs with his customary wit, breeziness, and acute sense of pacing (1959).

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48 HRS.

Nick Nolte as a surly, Neanderthal cop and Eddie Murphy as the fast-talking convict he springs to help him catch a pair of killers. This coupling of the physical and the verbal is one of director Walter Hill’s favorite ploys; if it doesn’t come off here quite as meaningfully as it does in Hill’s Southern […]

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Light-years better than the television series it inspired, this charming, frothy comedy-romance (1947) involves a widow (Gene Tierney) who rents an old house and finds she’s gotten the ghost of its former owner (a salty sea captain marvelously embodied by Rex Harrison). Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz before his humor turned cold-blooded; adapted by Philip […]

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Gabriela

Brazilian sex bomb Sonia Braga reteams with director Bruno Barreto (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) for the story of an unwashed peasant girl who becomes maid and then mistress to a bar owner (Marcello Mastroianni) in the Bahia of 1925. With Antonio Cantafora; based on a novel by Jorge Amado.

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The Man With the Golden Arm

Otto Preminger’s 1955 adaptation of Nelson Algren’s novel is something of a crossroads movie, suspended between the swirling expressionism of Preminger’s early career and the balanced realism that would later become his forte. Frank Sinatra, as the drug-addicted poker dealer, plays a reasonably naturalistic character, but he’s surrounded by a collection of bizarre archetypes (Eleanor […]

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Black and White In Color

More on the absurdity of war, with some cute moments and a lot of ennui as a band of French colonists in Africa, belatedly learning that World War I is on, attack their German counterparts across the stream. Pretty tedious, and a sad waste of Catherine Rouvel, Renoir’s luminous vision of femininity in Picnic on […]