50 Years Ago This Week – Adlai Stevenson Leaves the Building

Adlai Stevenson, Governor of Illinois and two-time Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party (he lost to Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956), died on July 14, 1965.  He succumbed to a heart attack while walking in London with the actress and politically active socialite (and occasional paramour of director John Huston) Marietta Tree.  An overview of his life can be found in this New York Times obituary.

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).

News And Commentary – Noir Week at MCC: Double Indemnity

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.

50 Years Ago This Week – Godard’s Alphaville in Berlin

The favorite filmmaker of many a young, hip cinephile, John-Luc Godard was at the apogee of his movie-god status in 1965 when Alphaville, his dystopian sci-fi noir took home the Golden Bear at the fifteenth Berlin film festival.  The New Wave legend made an astonishing fifteen feature films from 1960 through 1967 (and eight shorts as well), heights he would never command again.

50 Years Ago This Week – Woody Allen’s First Screenplay

What’s New Pussycat? premiered on June 22, 1965, and despite its very promising cast – including Peter Sellers, Peter O’Toole, and Romy Schneider – we at Mid Century Cinema are Not recommending it.  It was never very good and has not aged well.  (Even the venerable Andrew Sarris, then purportedly rallying to Pussycat’s defense against its many detractors, noted its “serious flaws” and observed that it was “a loud picture, and its failures are loud failures.”) 

50 Years Ago This Week – Claude Sautet’s Second Try

In 1960, Director Claude Sautet released Classe Tous Risques, an outstanding escaped-killer-on-the-run drama featuring Lino Ventura and an unknown Jean-Paul Belmondo.  For his efforts he won the enormous respect of his peers (Jean Pierre Melville grabbed a hold of Ventura and made a similarly themed if very different picture, Le Deuxieme Souffle) but not much pr

News And Commentary – More from Ethan Hawke on the New Hollywood

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