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While watching Home, a comical animated spin on alien-attack thrillers with the usual tacked-on touchy-feely messages, I began to get bored as did the families…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Interview with Vincent Canby

Vincent Canby was born in Barrington and got his first newspaper job in 1948 on the old Chicago Journal of Commerce. In 1951, he left Chicago to take a job with lousy pay at Variety in New York. That job eventually led to his present one - as principal film critic of the New York Times. But in a more abstract way, he sees his move as a small personal example of an American turning of the tide. And that's one theme of his new novel, "Living Quarters," (Knopf, $6.95).

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Chris Burden: The "body artist"

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"'The Volkswagen piece?'" Chris Burden was saying. "Let's see. I was standing on the rear bumper of a VW bug, nailed to the roof of the car through the palms of my hands. The car was inside a garage, and the spectators were outside.

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Interview with Ann-Margret

There are lots of things to ask Ann-Margret about "Tommy," I kept thinking. About being directed by Ken Russell, and about what she thought the meaning of the original rock opera was, and about what Roger Daltrey was like, and . . . somehow I kept drifting back to the baked beans.

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Interview with Robert Ardrey

Robert Ardrey is a talkative, expansive man in his mid-60s with a not especially large store of modesty, even though his many critics often suggest he has much to be modest about. He's the author of such best-sellers on human evolution as "African Genesis" and "The Territorial Imperative," and the thesis he develops in his work is that man evolved as a fighting animal, makes many of his decisions for aggressive reasons and finds the defense of his home territory more important and more absorbing than anything else - even sex.

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Maggie Smith, "Private Lives"

A great deal of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" is given over to characters being frightfully rude to one another, and perhaps, Maggie Smith thinks, that has a lot to do with the play's perennial appeal."I think it rather intrigues an audience," she was musing the other day. "Perhaps they're rather envious that people can behave in such a way."Of course, the rudeness, that blunt honesty for comic effect, was a very Coward thing. I did his 'Hay Fever' too, and that was full of people being beastly. I think, too, that a play like 'Private Lives' must have been very shocking when it first appeared; people weren't so used to marriage being bandied about like this."While she talked, Miss Smith made herself up in her dressing room, for a matinee of "Private Lives," which opened Tuesday in an elegantly mounted revival at the Blackstone. This production was first staged in London in 1972 (with direction by John Gielgud) and is at the midpoint of an American tour."'Private Lives' has been revived several times in this country," she said. "But it hadn't been done in Britain for a while, and of course it's a play every actor wants to do. It's very witty, even after all the times I've appeared in it, I still find the lines so funny. I've tended to appear mostly in classical plays. . . . But then I imagine 'Private Lives' is a classic by now, isn't it?"The play involves a good deal of verbal and physical abuse among its four main characters. Miss Smith plays Amanda, John Standing plays her former husband, Elyot, and they meet again in France while on honeymoons with their new spouses. They elope, the rejected spouses follow and both the second and third acts end in pitched battles."If you read the original text," Miss Smith said, "it actually reads even more violently than the way we're doing it. People get thrown about the stage and all that sort of thing." She thought she had a copy of the original text in her dressing room somewhere, rummaged around for it, couldn't find it and promised to get organized by this time next week."In those days," she said, "plays in Britain had to be approved by the lord chamberlain, and he was very much disturbed by all the physical stuff, the violence, in 'Private Lives.' Noel had to go and act it all out for him, a scene I would very much have liked to witness."Noel Coward starred with Gertrude Lawrence in the original production of his play, and one of the problems, Miss Smith said, "is to get the sound and rhythm of Coward out of one's head. I keep trying desperately to forget that phonograph record he made of the play!"Wondering aloud why the play has retained so much of its appeal 44 years after its first production, she said it was well to remember that it came out, "not in the Roaring '20s, but in 1930, with bad times just around the corner and a real hunger for some sort of desperate gaiety. in fact, perhaps that's something of the appeal it has now."

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Susannah York, "Gold"

"Gold" isn't exactly the best movie Susannah York has ever appeared in. But it brought her to Chicago on a promotional tour, and that was one considerable item in its favor. She sat cross-legged in a suite at the Whitehall, worked through a bunch of grapes and said "Gold" had been a good place to start again after two years away from the movies.

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Karel Reisz, "The Gambler"

minute biography of Isadora Duncan, starring Vanessa Redgrave, and its original version inspired praise but not much business. Its American distributor chopped whole scenes and sections out of it, released it as "Loves of Isadora," saw it do even worse business, and for a time made Reisz almost unemployable.

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Interview with 'Deep Throat' director Gerard Damiano

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He directed "Deep Throat" and "The Devil in Miss Jones," which were the two most notorious and successful hard‑core films ever made, but Gerard Damiano believes the porno flick will soon be a thing of the past. "The only thing that's kept hard‑core going this long is the FBI and the Nixon administration," he says. "Without censorship to encourage people's curiosity, the whole thing would have been over six months ago."

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