Category Archives: movies

Thoughts Triggered by “Next Stop, Greenwich Village”

I’ve been working on a revised edition of Something Wonderful Right Away, my oral history of the founding and early days of Second City. It was originally published in 1978 and, inevitably, many of the people I interviewed for the … Continue reading

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“People on Sunday”–a film of pre-Nazi Berlin

Have started reading Joseph McBride’s new book, Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge, which naturally led to my watching People on Sunday, a silent film co-directed by Robert Siodmak and Edgar Ulmer (with assists from Curt Siodmak, Fred Zinnemann and … Continue reading

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Men in White, Sidney Kingsley, and Ancillary Thoughts

I recently read Sidney Kingsley’s play, Men in White (1933), and last night I watched the 1934 film adaptation directed by Richard Boleslawski. (Interesting that Boleslawski directed the film version of a work that had been directed on Broadway by … Continue reading

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From “Crime in the Streets” to “West Side Story”

Watched a clumsy but fascinating film called Crime in the Streets. It started as a 1955 live TV play by Reginald Rose presented by the Elgin Hour, directed by Sidney Lumet. A young John Cassavetes starred as Frankie, a member … Continue reading

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Encountering Rose Franken

Continuing to wander through obscure corners of American playwriting, I have stumbled across a forgotten phenomenon.  A writer named Rose Franken created a character who appeared first in a series of stories for Redbook, then in a series of eight … Continue reading

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Wandering Through History

Sometimes I think of the past as a huge black box, and any time you read a book of history or a biography or a historical novel it’s like shining a concentrated beam of light through that darkness, briefly bringing … Continue reading

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“Mockingbird” — Stage and Screen

Kristine and I just watched the film version of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird a few days after seeing the play. The differences between the film and the stage play are instructive. In the film, the Finches’ housekeeper, Calpurnia, has maybe … Continue reading

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Ramblings about “The Sea Gull” (or “The Seagull”)

I finally got around to seeing Michael Mayer’s film adaptation of The Seagull. The best reason to catch it is for Annette Bening’s performance as Arkadina. Arkadina is an actress who can’t stop performing when she’s offstage, and Bening nails … Continue reading

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