Daily Archives: November 1, 2017

August Humor

From the Soho News (August 20, 1981). — J.R.

Film India: Indian Film Festival Museum of Modern Art, through August 23

Buster Keaton Film Festival Lincoln Plaza, through September 19

Directed for Comedy Regency, through October 17

Honky Tonk Freeway Written by Edward Clinton

Directed by John Schlesinger, opens August 21


AUGUST 7: The first movie I see for this column isn’t a light comedy, but it sure puts me in a sunny mood. The prospect of a three-hour Indian film in Temil with no subtitles is a little off-putting, I would say -– wouldn’t you? On my way into the sparsely populated auditorium of the Museum of Modern Art this afternoon, I hear not one but two separate senior citizens crack jokes about what a nice opportunity this is for a nap.

And yet, just as Indian film buff Elliott Stein has predicted, I have surprisingly little trouble following the plot and action of Chandralakha (1948). The quaintly illusionistic charm of a black-and-white movie like this, about a good and bad brother vying for the throne in a mythical kingdom – with a large palace protected by a drawbridge –- is part of its primal pull from the beginning.… Read more »

Responses to Spielberg Poll

Given to Indiewire in March 2013:




You may vote for up to 5 films.

1. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2. 1941
3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

You may vote for up to 5 films.


1. 1941
2. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind


You get five votes. Remember to list both an actor’s name and the title of the film he or she appears in.


1. Haley Joel Osment (David) in A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2. John Belushi (Captain Wild Bill Kelso) in 1941


You get five votes. Remember to list both an actor’s name and the title of the film he or she appears in.


1. Teddy (teddy bear/prop/special effect) in A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2. Jude Law (Gigolo Joe) in A.I. Artificial Intelligence

You get five votes. Feel free to include an explanation of why a certain scene/moment/sequence made your list.

1. last scene in A.I. (emotional virtuosity and bleakness)
2. restaurant sequence in 1941 (technical virtuosity and exhilaration)

You get five votes. Include the character name and the film in which he/she appears.

1. Haley Joel Osment (David) in A.I.Read more »

Orson Welles, Volume 2: Hello Americans

From Cineaste (Fall 2006). — J.R.

Orson Welles: Volume 2: Hello Americans

by Simon Callow. New York: Viking Adult, 2006. 528 pp., illus. Hardcover: $32.95.

“It seems to me there is a plain, if many-layered, truth to be told,” Simon Callow writes in his Preface to the second volume of his Welles biography — noting his impatience with academics whose sense of the truth is so far from plain that they can only countenance the term between quotation marks. It’s an understandable position for him to take, but he doesn’t always stick to it himself, and it’s hard to see how he could. In his second chapter, he asserts that, although no evidence supports Welles’s claim that Booth Tarkington had been his father’s best friend, it doesn’t matter at all “one way or the other; what is significant is that Welles believed it to be true, and wanted it to be true, and his conception of [Eugene Morgan in The Magnificent Ambersons] is certainly an idealized version of his father.” In other words, Callow is privileging one kind of truth over another — like all of us who write about Welles, including those pesky academics. Like it or not, it comes with the territory.… Read more »