Bernard Herrmann

Reviews

Obsession (1976)
Taxi Driver (1976)

Blog Posts

Ebert Club

#155 February 13, 2013

Marie writes: If I have a favorite festival, it's SXSW and which is actually a convergence of film, music and emerging technologies. However it's the festival's penchant for screening "quirky" Indie movies which really sets my heart pounding and in anticipation of seeing the next Wes Anderson or Charlie Kaufman. So from now until March, I'll be tracking down the best with the zeal of a Jack Russell terrier!  Especially since learning that Joss Whedon's modern B/W take on Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" is set to screen at SXSW 2013 in advance of its June 21st US release date; they'll cut an official trailer soon, rubbing hands together!

Far Flungers

It's sometimes wise to call the cops

While he has been called "the Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock has also been called "the Master of the Macabre," and that title is exemplified by his delightful black comedy "The Trouble with Harry" (1955). On the surface, it looks quite atypical compared to Hitchcock's more famous works, but this is a vintage story from a great director with a wry sense of humor, and it is also one of the most liveliest works in his exceptional career. Although somebody is dead, there is no suspense or danger or blond lady in the movie, and all we have to do is leisurely enjoy a pleasant walk with its funny characters as they try to deal with bizarre trouble on one fine autumn day in their ordinary peaceful rural town in Vermont.

Far Flungers

The Devil and Daniel Webster

Like many tales about the good vs. the evil, the evil mostly steals the show from the good in "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1941), a cautionary moral tale based on Stephen Vincent Benét's short story which is sort of a New England version of the tale of Faust. Though it was made 70 years ago, the movie remains as a darkly enjoyable movie with the wonderful moments that can both amuse and chill us with the subtle creepiness pervading its rural background. Sure, we are happy to see the soul of an ordinary American luckily saved from the eternal damnation in the end, but, folks, can we deny that we had a fun with Mephistopheles before the obligatory finale?

May contain spoilers

Roger Ebert

The spheres of the music

What do you think of while you listen to classical music? Do you have an education in music, and think of the composer's strategies, or the conductor's interpretation? Do you, in short, think in words at all? I never do, and I suppose that would make me incompetent as a music critic. I fall into a reverie state.

Scanners

Re-imagining the fate of the Holy Grail of cinephilia

Dave Kehr's blog (where you'll find some of the best discussions about film on the web) is sub-titled "reports from the lost continent of cinephilia." As far as I'm concerned, the Holy Grail of the lost continent of cinephilia is the vanished footage from Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons." (You know the legend: The studio re-shot and re-cut the film to make the ending more, uh, "upbeat" while Welles was off in Rio shooting Carnival footage for "It's All True." The discarded portions of Welles' "Ambersons" were lost -- possibly dumped into the ocean.) Well...

At MUBI, Doug Dibbern has composed a magnificent meditations called "Cinephilia, the Science of Hope, and the Sacred Ground beneath the Grapeland Heights Police Substation in Miami, Florida" in which he fantasizes about obscure objects of desire -- movies seen and unseen (and perhaps unseeable) -- including the lost "Ambersons."

Dibbern begins with Dario Argento fantasies and works his way to Ambersons and a police station in Florida:

Movie Answer Man

Movie Answer Man (12/13/2007)

Q: The box-office returns for "The Golden Compass" last weekend were modest at best. The film is estimated to have cost more than $150 million and will have a hard time making its money back. The financial disappointment could be catastrophic for New Line Cinema. Not to mention the fact that any chance of an adaptation of The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (rest of the trilogy) are now slim to nil. Since you gave the film a positive review, what is your opinion of the box-office returns?