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

News And Commentary – Still Celebrating the Orson Welles Centennial

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. 

50 Years Ago This Week – Alfred Hitchcock’s Last “Hour”

On May 10, 1965, “Off Season” the last episode of season three of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour was broadcast on NBC.  Not what you would call “must-see-TV,” nevertheless, for a number of reasons the fairly routine, thinly-motivated, and at times only tenuously credible drama effectively holds one’s attention throughout.  The first few minutes offer a strong and artfully done night-for-night suspense sequence culminating in a shoot-out, and from there a well-turned civics-lecture about the imperatives and responsibilities inherent to the use of force by the police that remains distress

News And Commentary – Happy 100th Birthday, Orson Welles!

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.