Wild in Bologna

Greetings from Bologna, Italy, where the Cineteca di Bologna’s annual festival of archival films, Il Cinema Ritrovato, is about halfway through. I’ve helped to program a selection of rarely seen Raoul Walsh films, and today had the pleasure of presenting the first public screening of MOMA’s newly restored print of Walsh’s 1932 comic western [...]

Andrew Sarris 1928-2012

Shall we gather at the river?

The New York Times obituary is here.

Puppets Behaving Badly

Joe Dante probably didn’t do his studio career much good by surgically removing the cute factor from “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” his 1990 sequel to his Spielberg-produced hit of 1984, “Gremlins.” This time around, Gizmo — the adorably wide-eyed fur ball of the original film — has become a vengeance-crazed Rambo, complete with [...]

Too Early, Too Late

I’ve never understood why “Too Late Blues,” John Cassavetes’s second film as a director (1961) and his first for a Hollywood studio, is so seldom mentioned in discussions of Cassavetes’s work. It may not be a fully mature effort, but the outlines of his style and thematic preoccupations are there — more vividly, in [...]

The Browning Version

If ever an actor and a director shared the same wavelength, it was Lon Chaney and Tod Browning, shown above in a publicity still from “The Road to Mandalay.” But there are perhaps some distinctions to be made, even within their tight collaboration, focused on themes of sado-masochism and physical difference. Although both men [...]