Friday, July 29, 2016

THE CIMINO LEGACY, by F.X. Feeney

My late friend Michael Cimino scaled Mount Everest twice, making the movies he had in his head. Those twin peaks were The Deer Hunter and Heaven’s Gate. In each case he spent a lot of money and pissed off a lot of people. His roughneck tactics cost him greatly. He made only seven films in the 22 years between 1974 and 1996, a period in which any other director of his powerful skill-set might have made twice as many – four times as many if he’d kept filming at full strength between 1997 and 2016.


So what? He’s dead now. As complicated and even difficult a man as he was, he wasn’t some vampire – there is no need to put a stake through his heart, as Peter Biskind seemed hell bent on doing in The Hollywood Reporter this past July 12th with his article: "Michael Cimino’s Twisted, Tortured Legacy."

“Twisted, tortured?” Really?

Monday, July 18, 2016

THE GREAT BUDD BOETTICHER, by Dennis Bartok

If I had to pick three films to show why Budd Boetticher is such a great American director, then certainly Bullfighter and the Lady (1951), 7 Men From Now (1956) and Ride Lonesome (1959) – all screening July 21 – 24th at the Aero Theatre – would come damn close.  Two of these, Bullfighter and 7 Men, were among his personal favorites and the films he was proudest of making.  By coincidence or fate, both of these were rescued by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from being essentially “lost” films, at least Boetticher's preferred versions – and he lived long enough to see them both beautifully restored, a gift he was deeply grateful for.

Budd Boetticher (right) on the set of 7 Men From Now with John Wayne and Randolph Scott

Thursday, July 14, 2016

THE ART OF THE FILM CON, by Susan King

While fanboys, sci-fi geeks, and fantasy aficionados flock down to San Diego from July 21-24 for Comic-Con, the American Cinematheque is having its own “Con” celebrating flim-flam men, smooth talkers, slick operators, and more than a few swindlers.


“Con-Con: Scams on Screen,” opens July 21 at the Egyptian with two con comedy classics from 1988: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and A Fish Called Wanda. The series, which continues at the Egyptian and the Aero through July 27, also features such comedies as the Best Picture Oscar winner The Sting, Paper Moon, Trouble in Paradise, and The Lady Eve, as well as the stark dramas The Hustler and Night and the City and even foreign cons The American Friend and The Story of a Cheat.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A FRESH LISTEN TO THE MARY PICKFORD SILENT CLASSIC "LITTLE ANNIE ROONEY"

On July 16, 2016, the American Cinematheque, The Mary Pickford Foundation, Seeking Our Story, and Rack Focus present a silent classic with a modern soundtrack: the surround sound premiere andnitrate restoration of Little Annie Rooney at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. This 4K high definition restoration with an original modern soundtrack provides today's audience with the ultimate viewing experience of this 90-year-old film.


Friday, July 8, 2016

SEEKING OUR STORY: MARY PICKFORD AND THE FEMINIST FOUNDATION OF HOLLYWOOD, by Samantha Shada

This post originally appeared on Women in Hollywood.

For five years I passed the signs on Venice at National; the only billboard sized image in Los Angeles with a woman behind a movie camera. Raised on a healthy dose of silent cinema, I could not believe that I had yet to see a Pickford film. I’d watched Charlie escape those Keystone Cops, seen Buster’s stunts while riding The General, even watched Douglas swashbuckle his way through the original Zorro. Why don’t I know more about Mary Pickford? I thought all those years, waiting for the light to turn green. Shaking myself from passive acceptance, I finally committed to learning Mary Pickford’s story.

Pickford on the set of Little Annie Rooney
The first American movie star and second actress ever to take home an Oscar statuette, Mary Pickford appeared in over 250 film credits spanning from the inception of the art form through the introduction of talking pictures. Pickford controlled and shaped her own image by negotiating a producer’s contract in 1916 that gave her story and hiring rights over all of her pictures. She worked out of her co-owned Pickford-Fairbanks Studio, now known as The Lot in Hollywood, and employed a bevy of female support including the highest paid screenwriter of the time, Frances Marion.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

TATI AND GODARD AGAINST AMERICA, by Scott Nye

The Marshall Plan, a 1948 American initiative to aid European recovery following World War II, brought much-needed relief to the continent, but carried with it an assurance of greater U.S. involvement. Help was on its way, but that help would also be telling them how to use it. This brought the world closer together, aided business and partnerships, and created an environment ready-made for the soon-to-boom tourist industry. But it also caused beliefs, customs, and social structures to collide, and what once could be shrugged off as a cultural difference was now plopped down in the backyard. The postwar European cinema contends a great deal with this rush of modernity, and the sudden closeness of a country that was nearly isolationist just a few years prior. This American influence can be felt strongly in the "French Favorites for Bastille Day" series, coming up at the Aero Theatre.