Joseph Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra, from 1963, has a terrible reputation, and it’s richly deserved. It suffers primarily from the sin of good taste — from creatives choices meant to avoid excessive vulgarity, to suggest sophistication and intellect. God forbid! These are … Continue reading
If the Los Angeles of the 40s and 50s (back when it was pronounced Los ANGLE-ess) sparks your imagination, the above will bring you 14 minutes of sheer bliss. I’m guessing the footage was made to serve as plates for … Continue reading
Very Enjoyable Reading Who says the short story is dead? I gave this collection of fourteen stories a try, although I hadn’t read any “western” fiction since Lonesome Dove. Mr. Fonvielle does the genre proud with realism, stark situations and … Continue reading
Western movies used to be referred to, usually dismissively, as horse operas. It’s not a bad term for them. Like classical operas, they might have silly plots or bad acting, but these things might be redeemed by beautiful music, or … Continue reading
Not a great critic, perhaps, but a great communicator of his love for movies, a champion of many good but neglected films, a supporter of obscure but worthy up-and-coming talent. He was the guy at the barbershop who turns the … Continue reading
It would not be an exaggeration to call The Virginian, by Owen Wister, from 1902, the most important work of Western fiction ever published. It almost singehandedly made the Western novel respectable and almost singlehandedly created the modern myth of … Continue reading
Forty years (!) after its release, after a deluge of explicit pornography has washed across and nearly drowned our culture, this film has lost its capacity to shock as it once shocked, with its sexual frankness embedded a well-made film … Continue reading
A few nights ago I watched Cary Fukunaga’s 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s not a perfect film but it’s brilliant in many ways, and a number of them derive from the script … Continue reading
You could, with some justice, dismiss this latest of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien movies as self-indulgent, guilty of inflating modest story content to immodest lengths — or you could just adjust your sensibility to Jackson’s leisurely narrative pace, go with it … Continue reading
The trailers for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, and the poster above, which depicts the man as a kind of bas-relief sculpture, suggested that the film was going to be a chore to get through — a pious civics lesson about the … Continue reading
Meet Me In St. Louis joins my list (along with The Searchers and Rear Window) of Blu-ray editions that belong in every home — that are in themselves worth buying a Blu-ray player for. Meet Me In St. Louis is … Continue reading
The first three Star Wars movies, like the first Indiana Jones movie, were the products of a brilliant conceptual leap. Lucas and Spielberg decided to makes films based on the B-movies they loved as kids but in a different register … Continue reading
I can’t retrace the journey precisely now, because I didn’t know I was on it — I just woke up one day and realized I had become a Westerner. Because I was born in North Carolina and spent a lot … Continue reading
Movie set, Utah, 1958. Click on the image to enlarge.
16mm home movies of Las Vegas from 1962. The soundtrack doesn’t quite fit but the image are priceless. With thanks to reader Jim Erskine.