Wednesday, October 20, 2021

To Be or Not to Be (1942), a Daring Mixed-Genre Satire from Ernst Lubitsch

This Hollywood-savvy item appeared in the December 1932 issue of Vanity Fair,   “…although a German director [he] is now claimed by America. His gay and cynic touch, his dramatic use of detail, have reconditioned many an otherwise anemic script and saved it from the shelf – until at one time the studio wise-crack of the hour was always, “For God’s sake, send for Lubitsch.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Belmondo before "Breathless" and the comeback of Jean Gabin

Tributes to Belmondo and Gabin Kick Off a 17-Film Noir Series

One Sunday near the end of February 2020 I spent a sunny afternoon in the dark at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco watching the first two films in what was to be a monthly program featuring French, American and British screen adaptations of the fiction of Georges Simenon, one of the fathers of film noir. The program, curated and produced by Don Malcolm and his MidCentury Productions, was called “Simenon 2020” and, as fate would have it, the series began and ended on that day, a day that also marked the last time I was inside a movie theater. Covid 19 was about to change everything.

But that was then. Now, this month, French noir returns to the Roxie when MidCentury Productions resurrects its groundbreaking annual series, The French Had a Name for It. Seventeen films made over five decades, most of them rarely seen outside of France, will be shown in three installments, on October 24, from November 12 – 14, and on December 12.