So in 1978, it was no surprise he decided to try out his directing chops, co-directing with Buck Henry (screenwriter of The Graduate) to direct the fantasy comedy Heaven Can Wait, which made Beatty the first person since Orson Welles on Citizen Kane (1941) to earn Oscar nominations as producer, director, writer and lead actor. We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment and little by little we went insane.” (A) No film is more linked to its “making of” story than Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.

Like the Pacino-De Niro showdown in Heat (1995), the diner scene is an iconic duel between two of the era’s biggest stars.

But for a close relationship that can last us through all the years of our life, no doll can take the place of aces back to back.” This is the advice given by wiseguy Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) to his crap-game colleague Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) in an early restaurant scene from Guys and Dolls, a tale of crooks, cons and courtship, all emanating from the bustling streets of Times Square.

Young Spielberg (Jaws) and Young Lucas (American Graffiti) understood film history — which is more than many of their fanboys can say — with references to John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) in both Close Encounters and Star Wars, before teaming on Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

Scholar David Thomson put it best: “Like Coppola on The Godfather, Spielberg asserted his own role and deftly organized the elements of a rollercoaster entertainment without sacrificing inner meanings.” This, my friends, is the essence of The Film Spectrum, a website that urges future filmmakers to find that “sweet spot” of riveting first-time experience, yet increasing depth on repeat viewings.

I loved what they created, and I thought something would happen to me, too. Continue reading “The companionship of a doll is a pleasant thing, even for a period of time running into months.

It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. I came to Paris to study and to paint because Utrillo did, and Lautrec did, and Roualt did. Standing in for Paul Heinreid’s Victor Lazlo in this case is Henri Baurel (Georges Guetary), who completes the love triangle of An American in Paris as both Jerry’s good friend and Lise’s fiance.(A) Continue reading Call it the scariest horror flick ever made, a Moby Dick action adventure, a social commentary on beach towns and greedy mayors, a humanistic family story of science and wonder, one of the best film adaptations of a best-selling novel, one of the pioneering summer blockbusters and the winner of three Academy Awards (editing, sound, score).Or, if you’re GQ magazine, you can take a more cynical approach and call it the beginning of the end for the Hollywood Renaissance: “It’s now a movie-history commonplace that the late-’60s-to-mid-’70s creative resurgence of American moviemaking — the Coppola-Altman-Penn-Nichols-Bogdanovich-Ashby decade — was cut short by two movies, Jaws in 1975 and Star Wars in 1977, that lit the fuse for the summer-blockbuster era.” Still, just because many of their starry-eyed followers went on to make effects-heavy garbage for short-attention spans, doesn’t mean that Spielberg and Lucas themselves made garbage.If that wasn’t enough, Marlon Brando threatened to take his million dollars and run, annoyed at the production delays.While he ultimately agreed to stay, he showed up overweight without having read the film’s source novel, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899).Meanwhile overseas, the French New Wave had shattered every convention known to man.