50 Years Ago This Week – Who’s Afraid of the Production Code?

A milestone on the road to the Seventies Film, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, an adaptation of Edward Albee’s Tony Award winning play starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, was released fifty years ago.  Successfully bringing the play to the screen – with the explicit approval of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) – marked the beginning of the end for Hollywood’s draconian but eroding self-censorship system, overseen for over thirty years by its Production Code Authority (PCA).

News and Commentary – Taxi Driver: The Man Who Wasn’t There

The sensation that was Taxi Driver settled in as the eleventh screening at our semester of the seventies film.  Directed with brilliant, baroque virtuosity by Martin Scorsese (on the heels of his breakthrough Mean Streets and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Taxi Driver was the result of an extraordinary convergence of the talents of three young men: Scorsese (collaborating with cinematographer Michael Chapman),

News and Commentary – Shampoo: Holding a Mirror to the Left

A semester of seventies films offered with its tenth entry a (modest) respite from the usual darkness and despair, with the sex-comedy Shampoo (1975).  Of course, everything is relative—it’s still the seventies out there, and we surely don’t get the ending we were rooting for, leaving George (Warren Beatty) as diminished, desolate and despairing as Harry Caul was at the end of The Conversation.

News and Commentary – A Semester of Seventies Films (9): Network

Another week, another landmark movie – business as usual for a semester of seventies films.  Network (1976), comes in the final year of the New Hollywood (in 1977 the writing was on the wall as Network and Taxi Driver lost best picture to the feel-good entertainment that was Rocky, as the morally unambiguous Star Wars was poised to lay waste to the industry’s entire business model).  But the semester still has some weeks to go—let’s accentuate the positives.