David Thomson

Stewart holds court in Anatomy. (Columbia Pictures/Photofest)

A Centennial Tribute to Otto Preminger

If this has happened before, I cannot remember it. So I am grateful, but still mindful that in Los Angeles there should be a tribute to Otto Preminger running always. Yet, just as von Stroheim made his first impact on Hollywood during the Great War, playing Hun officers and advising......
De Havilland to Errol Flynn: ''I want respect for difficult work well done.'' (Photo by Kevin Scanlon)

Heiress Olivia

Onscreen, she was romanced by Errol Flynn, James Cagney, Leslie Howard, Charles Boyer, Henry Fonda, Montgomery Clift, Richard Burton and Robert Mitchum. In life, she was perhaps the great love in the turbulent career of John Huston. She was responsible for the decisive legal action that freed contract players from......
The Night of the Hunter

Shadow Man

Very little about the life and career of Stanley Cortez was plausible. He carried himself like a retired espionage agent in a Graham Greene novel, equal parts languid, sinister and bored. He was a great cinematographer, and yet he spent extensive periods of his life working on minor pictures with......
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

On Lambert

A year ago, LACMA might have had Gavin Lambert himself — proper, shy but wicked, and crammed with stories — to introduce a season of films that he had worked on, or which meant a lot to him. Of course, he died last year and now a memorial tribute is......

Speak, Memory

Photo Courtesy Paramount PicturesWhen it opened, in 1970, The Conformist was revolutionary: A thriller and a love story; a noir in passionate color; and an autopsy on Italy in its self-ordained demise, from around 1920 to 1943. Did it help to know Italian history? Of course; but any country could......

The Architect of Space and Time

Photo by Floriano Steiner/SonyPictures ClassicsBeginning tonight, Los Angeles will enjoy a superb monthlong retrospective of the films of Michelangelo Antonioni. These are movies to which one can apply a lifetime of viewing. There’s a temptation to say that they are films about alienation, love affairs that do not last, and......

Remembrance of Things Passed

The Criterion CollectionThis really happened. Laurence Olivier’s Henry V was an enormous emotional event as it opened in Britain in the spring of 1945. It was the most expensive film ever made in that war-torn nation. It cost nearly half a million pounds, and the ambitious producer, Filipp De Giudice,......

Mainly About Gavin

Photo by ShimabukuroWhen Gavin Lambert died 12 days ago, I put myself in the company of many people who owed him plenty — not least the notion that an English public schoolboy crazy about movies might actually come to live in California one day. And end up wishing he’d come......

The Man in the Black Tower

Illustration by Eric Jahnke When Lew Wasserman died, in June 2002, at 89, obituaries spoke to the enormous respect in which he had been held. They mentioned the fear, too. But by 2002, Wasserman’s empire — started at MCA and developed at Universal — was in ruins. As for the......
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