A Somber Tune for Alec Guinness

Nearly every Guinness film we’ve shown in this series has been a comedy. But the films that likely turned Alec Guinness into Sir Alec Guinness were his dramas. His big dramas — Kwai, Zhivago, Twist, Arabia — are widely known by film fans. But the lesser seen Tunes of Glory is another stand out that we’re… Continue reading

Sublime Crime with The Ladykillers

Before our Alec Guinness series gets all serious with Tunes of Glory, we feature one of his finest comedies The Ladykillers? How fine is it? Fine enough that Greatest American Filmmakers (to some), Joel & Ethan Coen chose it for the first film they every tried to remake. Of course, their remake… Continue reading

Hitch finds his muse with The 39 Steps

Alfred Hitchcock defined himself in 1934-1935. Although he was an established director with specialty in tense filmmaking, these years saw him go from being a director to the Alfred Hitchcock. In 1934 his original version of The Man Who Knew Too Much established one of Hitch’s main career touchstones: the… Continue reading

Kurosawa’s modern-day crime thriller: High & Low

Our month of Kurosawa Sans Samurai ends tonight with High and Low, his classic film of crime, kidnapping, greed and society. One of a long line of adaptations directed by Kurosawa, High and Low‘s plot comes from the police thriller King’s Ransom. But like The Bad Sleep Well or Yojimbo, Kurosawa again transforms the non-Japanese source into… Continue reading

Jamel Shabazz: Street Photographer

The birth of hip hop is a curious thing. It’s both hotly disputed (which borough ‘created’ it, who really invented scratching, etc.) and remarkably well documented. The creation of an entirely new culture inside the cultural capitol of, well, the world, created a weird feeding frenzy of lovers and opportunists… Continue reading

Lancaster/Frankenheimer Team Up!

Lancastic rolls on this weekend and Burt finds himself trapped in two very different situations. In Birdman of Alcatraz, he’s trapped by prison walls. In The Train, he’s trapped between the French resistance and a Nazi train laden with stolen art. Both are directed by John Frankenheimer, whose career was given a… Continue reading