News and Commentary

News And Commentary – More Greatest Films – The Eagerly Awaited List Four: The Seventies!

So here they are, my top twenty-five from the seventies, (once again in order of domestic release date by country of origin).  Obviously, this was the hardest list of all—looking back, it turns out this decade contributed TEN to my twenty-five greatest of all-time list; as always, those films noted by an asterisk.

News And Commentary – More Greatest Films – The Lists of Others: Auteur Edition

Wow.  There must be something in the air.  Here at Mid Century Cinema we’re been compiling our “best of” lists, and just by coincidence – we assume – those invaluable folks at the Criterion Collection have put up a link to this French website which has posted a slew of “to

News And Commentary – The Greatest Films of All Time

What is your favorite movie?  We are often asked that question here at Mid Century Cinema, and our stock response is to reject the question with a dismissive, even haughty wave of the hand.  “Favorite”?  “Best”?  “The Greatest”?  Just what are those words supposed to mean when talking about the movies?  And to compare one to another?  Impossible.  Philistine!  How can you even ask?

News And Commentary – Truffaut’s Day for Night

Worth seeking out is Francois Truffaut’s 1973 masterpiece Day for Night (La Nuit Americaine), just released in yet another characteristically marvelous special edition from the Criterion Collection.  Day for Night is a movie that is in love with the movies—Roger Ebert called it “not only the best movie ever made about movies,” but also “a great entertainment.”

News and Commentary – Robert Altman’s HealtH

A visit to the Harvard Film Archive afforded an opportunity to see Robert Altman’s HealtH.  The film, shot in 1979, was screened in 1980 but shelved by a hostile studio-in-transition, and not properly released until 1982.  One of Altman’s most obscure films, it remains largely unavailable and so despite its modest reputation the chance to catch it in the theater was irresistible. 

News And Commentary – Noir Week (3): Out of the Past and Chinatown

Noir week at MCC reached its conclusion with the pitch-perfect classic Out of the Past – one for the time capsule if you were looking to preserve the essence of noir for future generations – before wrapping up class with a consideration of neo-noir, and a very close read of Chinatown.  (In Hollywood’s Last Golden Age I called Chinatown “the Citizen Kane of th

News And Commentary – Noir Week (2): Gilda and The Big Sleep

Noir week continues at Mid Century Cinema (and at Cornell’s Adult University) with two classics, The Big Sleep and Gilda.  The justly beloved Big Sleep comes with a famous backstory—in the can in 1945, the film was shown to American servicemen overseas, but with distribution schedules juggled by the end of the war, Sleep was held back from general release until 1946.  In the interim, Lauren Bacall’s second picture was poorly received (in contrast to her head-turning debut alongside Humphrey Bogart in Howard Hawks’ To Have and Have Not).