It’s a week of Noir at Mid Century Cinema—I’m teaching a class on the subject at Cornell’s Adult University. Today we visited the bookends of the classic period: John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958), before diving into a close reading of Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944), one of the greatest films ever made. With source material from James M.
News and Commentary
Two months ago we discussed Ethan Hawke’s absorbing interview in the spring issue of Cineaste in which the actor elaborated on the influence of the New Hollywood on his career choices; part two of that conversation appears in the magazine’s summer issue, and is again of great interest to fans of the seventies film. “If the point of making a movie is to make a
Between 1969 and 1972 filmmaker Costa-Gavras and actor Yves Montand teamed up for three compelling political thrillers, two of which, The Confession (1970) and State of Siege (1972) have just been released in excellent new special editions from the Criterion Collection. Criterion had previously issued
Celebrating Orson Welles’ 100th birthday isn’t something you do in just one day, or even a month, and here at Mid Century Cinema we’ve been in a very Wellesy state of mind. If you have not much familiarity with Welles (or even if you do), take a look at this entertaining and informative six minute video essay by film critic and Welles scholar Jonathan Rosenbaum.
Orson Welles would have celebrated his 100th birthday on May 6. I’m posting this a week before the official date because Welles was one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, and I thought I’d send my card in a little early, ahead of the tidal wave of good wishes that will soon flood every conceivable media platform.
Odd Man Out, which took home the prize for best British film of 1947, is just out in a sparkling new special edition from The Criterion Collection. One of the great films of the 1940s, it had not previously been officially available on disc in North America. Johnny McQueen, the man who finds himself more than just out – he is face down and bleeding on the street as his comrades idle, indecisively, nearby – is played by James Mason, who delivers an outstanding performance that served
The spring issue of Cineaste features an insightful interview with Ethan Hawke, who has some interesting things to say about the New Hollywood, how he made career decisions “based on a 1970s ascetic,” and that he and his contemporaries, like the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, were “chasing the old-school definition of a New York actor—meaning the actor-artist. Not the actor-movie star.”
Alice’s Restaurant is out this week on DVD and Blu-Ray (Olive Films). Arthur Penn’s 1969 film, inspired by the Arlo Guthrie song/shaggy dog story (and starring the young singer), is a sympathetic but cautionary ode to the counter-culture. Made in the midst of Penn’s most fertile period as a director—after Mickey One and Bonnie and Clyde and before Little Big Man and Night Moves—Alice does not stand in the first rank of his best work, but it is a thoughtful and serious film.