Grigori Kozintsev’s Russian-language version of Cervantes’s classic is by far the best film adaptation of the novel to reach the screen. Kozintsev uses the Crimea to re-create the dramatic barrenness of the Spanish plateaus; and a magnificent performance from Nicolai Cherkassov as Quixote makes this one not to be missed (1961).
Erratic exoticism with Greta Garbo as a great white huntress pursued through the jungle by an amorous Japanese prince. Sidney Franklin directed (1929).
The maestro’s 1969 thumb-through of Petronius seems designed as an apology for La dolce vita: by revealing ancient Rome to be as joyless and overheated as modern Rome, he retracts his condemnation of modern life. The problem is not society, but man—who seems to be an intractably ugly, vicious, unhappy sort. But Fellini, in his […]
Revenge of the Nerds
Ted Field, Marshall’s dashing brother, produced this 1984 teen comedy about a group of college misfits who band together to fight for social justice and plant TV cameras in the girls’ locker room. Jeff Kanew (Eddie Macon’s Run) directed; with Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Ted McGinley, and Bernie Casey. R, 90 min.
The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz
The last film of Luis Buñuel’s “commercial” Mexican period (1955, 89 min.), Archibaldo shows the master working without the complete freedom he was granted later on. But Buñuel is still able to put some bizarre—and very funny—personal touches on this story of a man obsessed with the idea that the music box he owned as […]
Flight of the Eagle
Jan Troell’s 1984 Oscar nominee is based on the true story of a Swedish engineer (Max von Sydow) who entered an international balloon race to the north pole in 1897. Three days after taking off his craft floundered, and he and his two companions were forced to make their way back to civilization through a […]
The Big Heat
1 hour 30 min • 1953
An alternative version of the Frances Farmer story, this 77-minute independent film by Sheila McLaughlin and Lynne Tillman concentrates on the cultural forces that defined Farmer as a woman and a star and set her on the path to nervous breakdown. McLaughlin appears as the institutionalized actress; avant-gardist Lee Breuer plays Clifford Odets.
1 hour 31 min
Andre Delvaux’ moody, baroque 1983 Belgian film, about a young journalist who searches out the reclusive author of a famous pornographic novel, and is rewarded with her first-person account of the affair upon which the book was based. Delvaux’ unbridled romanticism is fitfully seductive, but the time-frame games seem unnecessarily elaborate and the casting of […]
Conan the Destroyer
John Huston got all the publicity, but Richard Fleischer kept turning them out; Conan the Destroyer was his 44th film since 1946. There’s nothing very special about it, apart from the sense of relaxed and happy professionalism it exudes. For Fleischer, it’s simply a question of getting the job done with as little fuss or […]
The Seven Samurai
NR • 3 hours 28 min • 1954
Yet another obscure Eddie Cantor musical (1931), costarring George Raft, Charlotte Greenwood, and Frances Dean (Betty Grable), in the tale of a young man (Cantor) who becomes the patsy for a shady fortune-telling gang. The music is strictly unmemorable, but Busby Berkeley staged the dance numbers and Gregg Toland photographed them, which makes the film […]
The Kid From Spain
A rarely seen (in Chicago) Busby Berkeley musical (1932), directed by Leo McCarey and starring Eddie Cantor as a cowardly young fellow mistaken for a famed bullfighter. Look for Betty Grable and Paulette Goddard in the chorus line, and marvel at Gregg Toland’s lensing of some of Berkeley’s most lavish production numbers.