Rent it now: Ed McBain classic via Japan, ‘High and Low’

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American crime fiction heavily influenced French filmmakers Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard who turned to lesser-known U.S. novelists David Goodis and Lionel White for the great films “Shoot the Piano Player” and “Pierrot le Fou.” The Japanese director Akira Kurosawa loved our crime novelists, too. Although he is most famous for his historical epics, Kurosawa’s […] [Read More]
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‘Of Gods and Men’: austere terror in a monastery

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Xavier Beauvois’ film “Of Gods and Men” was the official French submission in last year’s foreign language film Oscar race, but the panel that picks the five nominations left this one off the list. The decision will, no doubt, have an impact on the movie’s commercial life in this country — the publicity value of […] [Read More]
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Fabled flops that gave ‘Spider-Man’ a run for its money

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After I caught the matinee of “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” that I wrote about in this space last week, I picked up Steven Suskin’s 2006 book “Second Act Trouble” (Applause Books) and had a great time reading accounts of legendary Broadway flops such as “Kelly” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The only real difference between […] [Read More]
Categories: General

‘Anything Goes’: Ethel & Frank at the dawn of television

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With a fresh production of the Cole Porter classic “Anything Goes” in previews in New York — starring Sutton Foster — the new Entertainment One DVD of a 1954 TV version of the musical is perfectly timed. The special boasted an incredible cast, with Ethel Merman in the role of Reno Sweeney (which she did in […] [Read More]
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Natalie Dessay returns to the scene of an earlier triumph

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The great French soprano Natalie Dessay played a key role in blowing some of the cobwebs off the Metropolitan Opera four years ago when new general manager Peter Gelb plastered strikingly dramatic posters of the singer all over town. Gelb in effect made Dessay the face of the new Met. The poster (below) showed Dessay in […] [Read More]
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Rent it now: Francois Truffaut’s ‘The Wild Child’

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Black-and-white moviemaking more or less ceased in the mid-1960s when the movie studios began to receive significantly lower fees from TV networks for movies that were not shot in color. Despite the fact that some of the most notable pictures of the early 1960s were not filmed in color — “Psycho,” “The Hustler” and “The […] [Read More]
Categories: General

‘Spider-Man’ goes back to the drawing board

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After filing my report here on the Sunday matinee of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” — where the widely reported technical problems with the show finally seemed to be under control — the musical was once again plunged into chaos by the announcement Wednesday that a new director and writer were being brought in to […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Redford vs. Goldman on ‘All the President’s Men’ creation

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An excerpt from Michael Feeney Callan’s new biography of Robert Redford in the April Vanity Fair should stir up controversy in Hollywood. The book fragment is about the making of the 1976 classic “All the President’s Men” and in the course of the piece the producer-star Robert Redford asserts that screenwriter William Goldman left the […] [Read More]
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