"There is no Hollywood movie more insouciantly amoral than Ernst Lubitsch's 1932 Trouble in Paradise, screening at LACMA on July 9 to open the four-week series Laughter in Paradise: The American Comedies of Ernst Lubitsch." J Hoberman for the LA Weekly: "Originally released in the depths of the Great Depression, Lubitsch's urbane comedy concerns a swank pair of thieves, played by Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins, who not only live together in sin but — after successfully fleecing Kay Francis's rich and equally charming widow — taxi off into the sunset utterly unrepentant.... At once sophisticated and vulgar in his taste for orientalism and theatrical bric-a-brac, Lubitsch was a cannier, less pretentious and more cosmopolitan entertainer than his peers Fritz Lang and FW Murnau — closer in his showbiz sensibility to the Hollywood moguls."
"And if you miss Paradise, which you should try not to, don't miss Lubitsch," advises Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. "He understood the power of the big screen and this is your chance to experience it just as he wanted us to."
The IFC Center's Yasujiro Ozu retrospective opens tomorrow and runs through November 7, which may explain why New York's media isn't racing to cover it just yet. They've got four months to catch up with it, after all. In the meantime, see the January entry on BFI Southbank's Ozu season in London and the June 25 entry on I Was Born, But... (1932).
"Whatever truth may still come through the legend of Nicholas Ray — America's cinema poet of outlaws, outsiders, and adolescents, a self-destructive artist ruined by alcohol, drugs, and being too good for Hollywood — it's no longer a truth that Ray needs." Chris Fujiwara in the Boston Phoenix: "When much of his work was all but unknown and the 'auteur theory' was a minority position held by a band of reputed cranks, special pleading was necessary. But the battle for Ray as a major artist has been won — a victory of which there can be no better sign than the Harvard Film Archive's current retrospective: all his films from his time as a productive commercial filmmaker, from 1947 to 1963, in 35mm prints." Nicholas Ray: Hollywood's Last Romantic is on from tomorrow through August 9.
Francesco Rosi's "films from the 1960s and 70s evince the common roots of aesthetic and ethic, exhibiting what can only be called an ardor for the analysis of social conditions — both their mechanisms and mentalities." Max Goldberg in the San Francisco Bay Guardian: "Though still relatively unsung among the major Italian auteurs, of which he is certainly one, a career-spanning retrospective at the Pacific Film Archive makes the case for the writer-director's staying power." Modernist Master: The Cinema of Francesco Rosi opens today and runs through August 28. Michael Guillén has more.
"How Clint Eastwood went from being the Man With No Name to the eponymous subject of a giant retro at Lincoln Center is a tale as elementally macho as a spaghetti western's," writes Rob Nelson in the Voice. "Already a heat-packing enforcer by '71, the year Dirty Harry cleaned up Frisco, he figured he'd like to shoot with a camera as well. As the living legend tells Richard Schickel in The Eastwood Factor, a biographical doc that screens on opening night of The Complete Clint Eastwood: 'The great American fantasy is [that of] the guy who's self-reliant... He has to handle everything on his own.' In other words, Eastwood wanted to do it all, not least to direct."
Blogging for TCM, R Emmet Sweeney selects one film to focus on: "His entire early 80s output, from Bronco Billy (1980, also on Netflix Instant) through Sudden Impact (1983), is extraordinary and relatively forgotten, but Firefox , perhaps due to its bizarre sci-fi trappings, has been judged harshly and dumped into the late-night cable dustbin."
The series opens tomorrow and runs through July 27; next Friday, that is, July 16, New York's Film Forum will throw a Chaplin Festival lasting through August 5, and the L Magazine has chosen to offer an overview of both events in one fell swoop. See also: "Eastwood @ 80."
Image: Lubitsch with Jeannette MacDonald on the set of The Merry Widow (1934), screening at LACMA on July 23.
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