Donald Ogden Stewart: Katharine Hepburn’s Secret Weapon in KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1943)

You may not recognize Donald Ogden Stewart’s name but if you are a classic film fan you’re probably familiar with his work. Stewart’s ability to write snappy dialogue and adapt popular plays for the screen made him one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s. And throughout his career, Stewart regularly worked with actress Katharine Hepburn. The pair made five … Continue reading Donald Ogden Stewart: Katharine Hepburn’s Secret Weapon in KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1943)

Survival Instincts: THE INSECT WOMAN (1963)

THE INSECT WOMAN (’63) is not easy viewing. Shôhei Imamura’s film recounts the hard-fought life of Tome (Sachiko Hidari), a fatherless peasant woman born into abject poverty in rural Japan. Beginning with her birth in 1918 and concluding sometime after WWII, the film takes place over three turbulent decades in which Tome faces sexual abuse at the hands of her dimwitted stepfather and is provoked … Continue reading Survival Instincts: THE INSECT WOMAN (1963)

Culture Clash: RUDE BOY (1980)

“We felt that the whole machine was teetering on the brink of collapse. Some amazing things went down in Britain during the ’70s—the government decided they could disempower the unions by having a three-day week, for instance. Can you imagine that? … There were garbage strikes, train strikes, power strikes, the lights were going out—everything seemed on the brink, and looking through youthful, excitable eyes … Continue reading Culture Clash: RUDE BOY (1980)

Six Months of Movie Morlocks: May – Oct. 2016

It’s been an interesting, busy and to be honest, an extremely stressful year due to some ongoing medical issues I’m dealing with that you can read more about here: Vertigo: Hitchcock was wrong. In turn, I’ve been terribly lax about updating the blog but due to looming work related developments that I’ll be sharing soon, I thought it was time to finally play catch up … Continue reading Six Months of Movie Morlocks: May – Oct. 2016

An 80s Pop Music Extravaganza: Absolute Beginners (1986)

I recently wrote about the often overlooked 1980s pop music extravaganza ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS (1986) for The Cultural Gutter. The film has grown on me a lot over the years thanks to a central performance by the one and only David Bowie and a a growing respect for what (I believe) director Julien Temple was trying to achieve. Here’s an excerpt: “The film’s ‘80s inspired neon … Continue reading An 80s Pop Music Extravaganza: Absolute Beginners (1986)

The Strawberry Statement (1970)

Stuart Hagmann’s THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT (1970) is often dismissed today as a dated relic of the early ‘70s. During its initial release it was singled out for being exploitive and failing to be a straightforward adaptation of the book it was based on. Many critics claimed that Stuart Hagmann’s direction was erratic and too creative for its own good, which supposedly diminished the film’s political message. When I recently set aside some time to watch THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT I prepared myself for the worst. I expected to see a confusing, opportunistic, dated and laughable Hollywood film made to cash in on the political zeitgeist of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. But I came away from the movie with an entirely different opinion and immediately understood why it had been nominated for a Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1970 and walked away with a Jury Prize. Continue reading The Strawberry Statement (1970)

Filmmaking & Politics in 1968

The following four videos make up a fascinating 40 min. film by D.A. Pennebaker called Two American Audiences: La Chinoise – A Film in the Making. It chronicles a meeting that took place in 1968 between director Jean-Luc Godard and NYU film students who discuss Godard’s film La Chinoise, filmmaking and politics. Two American Audiences: La Chinoise – A Film in the Making Part I. … Continue reading Filmmaking & Politics in 1968

Everything is politics

“The apolitical does not exist – everything is politics.” —Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (1924) President John F. Kennedy with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1963) The 2008 political season is in full swing and it’s been an unforgettable year so far. Watching the first African-American to accept a presidential nomination at the Democratic convention last week was staggering. It was an incredibly important historical moment … Continue reading Everything is politics