Tag Archives: Audie Murphy

Don Siegel Centennial

26 Oct

Don Siegel would have turned 100 today, October 26, 2012. He’s a film director who has 49 directing credits on IMDB, 36 of them feature-length films, and is probably best known for INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) and DIRTY HARRY (1971), his two most talked-about films and, arguably, his two best. He happens to be one of the very first directors I began following as a budding film buff in high school, when I saw COOGAN’S BLUFF as a sophomore and, a year-and-a-half later in my senior year, TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA. Then I saw THE BEGUILED and DIRTY HARRY in my freshman year of college and recognized how well Siegel and the star of all four of these films, Clint Eastwood, worked together. This was even before my grounding in the auteur theory, which happened a little later and led me to seek out Siegel’s earlier films on TV and in revival theaters. These included THE BIG STEAL, THE DUEL AT SILVER CREEK, RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11, THE LINEUP, FLAMING STAR, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE KILLERS, and MADIGAN, which I had missed in theaters in 1968. At some point during all of this, I learned that Siegel had directed INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, which I’d seen at a film screening (on 16mm) at a youth program in church when I was about 12 or 13 and had liked very much.

Continue reading

Universal Pictures: 100 years of movies, 20 years of genre classics

14 Jul

Film Forum in Manhattan started a series yesterday (Friday, July 13) celebrating 100 years of Universal Pictures, beginning with a double bill of FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA, both 1931. They’re running 72 films, 60 of which I’ve seen already, and the schedule includes many, if not most of the best films the studio is famous for. To a younger generation of budding movie buffs in the New York area, this will be a rare opportunity to see many genuine classics on the big screen. (It’s also a rare opportunity to see them at all, outside of Turner Classic Movies and the ones that are available on DVD.)

35 years ago, I had a similar opportunity. In 1977, the Museum of Modern Art ran a 65th anniversary retrospective of Universal Pictures, which offered a much more comprehensive program consisting of 325 films, extending from 1912 to a “to be announced” showing of a 1978 release. In looking over the MOMA program, I count 162 films that I’ve seen among its offerings, most in the 35 years since. The MOMA series, curated by Adrienne Mancia and Larry Kardish, was designed to showcase a wide representative sampling of the studio output and not just the “agreed-upon” classics. 53 films in the Film Forum program also ran at MOMA.

 

Continue reading