News and Commentary – The Magic of the Movies

Finally catching up with Alan J. Pakula’s 1981 paranoid thriller Rollover has us thinking, once again, about the magic of the movies.  Another way of phrasing this question would be: “Why is Rollover so bad?”  But here at Mid Century Cinema, we’re extremely wary of the good/bad thing.  As we emphasized in our review of A. O.

News and Commentary – Another Semester of 70s Films: Sunday Bloody Sunday

This week’s movie was actually John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, but we’ve already written about that one here, and we’re sticking to our stories: (1) if forced to choose, we’ll take the dirty old Times Square over the modern tourist-trap eyesore; (2) except for, you know, the movie ending with Dustin Hoffman dead on a bus, Cowboy has the classic structure of a Hollywood romantic comedy; (3) despite that, however, we do not think that Rasto Rizzo and Joe Buck are meant to be implicitly u

News and Commentary – Something Wild About the Patriarchy?

Last night we eagerly unwrapped the new Criterion Collection special edition of Jack Garfein’s Something Wild, from 1961.  New to us, this was a movie aimed directly at Mid Century Cinema’s sweet-spot: gorgeous time-capsule-perfect street shots of New York City; raw, daring performances by the hip cohort of the Actors Studio that contrasted with and challenged Hollywood conventions; and

News and Commentary – Another Semester of 70s Films: The Graduate

I’m teaching “The Politics of the 70s Film” this semester, and, as we have done previously, Mid Century Cinema will follow along with commentaries related to the movies screened for class—or to movies related to those movies (since we can’t bear to repeat ourselves).  This week we watched The Graduate.  Regarding the general themes of this one, we don’t have much to add to last year’s comments, so we’re going to focus instead on one specific sequence in the film: when Benjamin reluctantly takes Elain

50 Years Ago This Week – Sydney Lumet’s The Deadly Affair

On January 26 1967, Sidney Lumet’s The Deadly Affair opened in America (the UK-based production had its premiere in Britain the previous October).  Largely unnoticed at the time and a flop at the box office (though it did earn five BAFTA nominations), the movie is very much worth revisiting, both on the strength of its own formidable merits and also as an important harbinger of the introspective themes and aesthetic motifs of the emerging New Hollywood.