Paul Bartel’s sweet-spirited comedy of murder (1982) is almost literally a home movie, filmed on weekends when the cast and film stock were available. It isn’t completely successful, but it’s funny and personal enough—Bartel manages to open a niche between the esoterics of independent filmmaking and industrial Hollywood product. Bartel himself stars with his longtime […]
Eeny Meeny Miney Moe
An early effort by Jan Troell (1968), the director of The Emigrants. In a small town in Sweden, an unhappy schoolteacher takes his frustrations out on the children in his class. In Swedish with subtitles. 110 min.
The New Land
2 hours 41 min • 1973
Strategic Air Command
Anthony Mann never quite manages to make much of this quasi-documentary film about an air force pilot (James Stewart) in peacetime. Too much of the footage is devoted to military muscle flexing, and the ever-cloying June Allyson helps matters not at all as Stewart’s wife (1955).
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
1 hour 48 min • 1967
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 […]
A middle-aged bachelor, left alone when his beloved mother dies, resolves to change his life and joins a lonely hearts club; his first date is with a suspiciously young and beautiful woman. Norman Kaye and Wendy Hughes star in this romantic comedy from Australia; Paul Cox directed (1982).
Strike Me Pink
Eddie Cantor and Ethel Merman paired up for a Sam Goldwyn musical, costarring Sally Eilers as a token representative of the human race. Harmless enough, I guess, but a little Cantor goes a long way with me. For trivia fans, the film features an appearance by a Greek dialect comedian who performed under the name […]
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 […]