50 Years Ago This Week – Sydney Pollack’s First

The closing days of 1965 saw the release of The Slender Thread, the first feature film directed by Sydney Pollack, who had been scuffing around as a TV actor (and director) for the previous decade.  Thread marked the start of an impressive career for Pollack as a movie director (and subsequently as a notable producer as well).

News And Commentary – Haskell Wexler Est Mort

The great cinematographer Haskell Wexler died on December 27, six weeks shy of his ninety-fourth birthday.  Over the course of his long and extraordinary career, which straddled documentary and fiction films, Wexler was probably best known for his incisive photography on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Mike Nichols, 1966).  Nominated for five academy awards, he won twice, for Woolf and for the Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory (Hal Ashby, 1976).  Other notable efforts included his work on America, America (Elia Kazan, 1963), In the Heat of the Nigh

50 Years Ago This Week – The Spy Who Came In From the Cold

Producer/Director Martin Ritt’s outstanding The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, based on the John le Carré novel, opened in America on December 16 1965.  The liberal-humanist Ritt (who was blacklisted in the 1950s) had a reputation for often wearing his politics on his sleeve, which is not typically a recipe for dramatic intrigue.  His first film, Edge of the City (1957) has an outstanding cast (including John Cassavetes, Sidney Poitier, and Jac

News And Commentary – Fritz Lang 125!

A milestone birthday celebration for Fritz Lang, who was born on December 5, 1890.  Lang, a child of Vienna, would become one of the great directors of the thriving Weimar cinema that flowered in Germany during those tumultuous years between the end of the First World War and the Nazi seizure of power.  Best known for the Sci-Fi dystopia Metropolis (1927), Lang also directed the silent classic Dr Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) and The Testament of Dr.

News And Commentary – Last List: The Greatest Films of the 1980s and 1990s

Finally, the fifth and last list of favorites—twenty-five films from the 1980s and 1990s.  Again, and as always, it’s important to follow the Rules of the Game, but one reminder I will mention explicitly: only one director per list (and so any other films from that director which would have otherwise found a place on the list follow in italics).  Wonderful films abound here—great films have always been made, and will always be made, even in the most dire of cultural settings.

News And Commentary – More Greatest Films – The Eagerly Awaited List Four: The Seventies!

So here they are, my top twenty-five from the seventies, (once again in order of domestic release date by country of origin).  Obviously, this was the hardest list of all—looking back, it turns out this decade contributed TEN to my twenty-five greatest of all-time list; as always, those films noted by an asterisk.

News And Commentary – More Greatest Films – The Lists of Others: Auteur Edition

Wow.  There must be something in the air.  Here at Mid Century Cinema we’re been compiling our “best of” lists, and just by coincidence – we assume – those invaluable folks at the Criterion Collection have put up a link to this French website which has posted a slew of “to