The Medium

US (1951): Musical/Opera
84 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette

With the technical assistance of Alexander Hammid, Gian-Carlo Menotti directed this film version of his opera; it is still the only opera ever put on film by its composer. Menotti had written the libretto in English, so there was no problem of translation, and the movie, made in Rome, doesn't have that deadly air of compromise which poisons attempts to "popularize" opera. THE MEDIUM was, of course, popular from the start, and never labored under what--in movie terms--can be the mixed blessings of greatness. The story is a Grand Guignol thriller about a swindling charlatan of a medium who, in the middle of a fake s�ance, feels a ghostly hand on her throat; visually menacing, it's like an extended episode from DEAD OF NIGHT with music. The roles are expertly handled by the American contralto Marie Powers as the shrewd, blowsy brute of a woman, the 14-year-old Italian coloratura Anna Maria Alberghetti, and Leo Coleman as the mute gypsy.

Meet John Doe

US (1941): Political
132 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

An odd, socially conscious picture, directed by Frank Capra and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, about a man who tries to commit suicide in order to call attention to a right-wing plot. For the sake of a happy ending that would keep Gary Cooper alive, the meanings were so distorted that the original authors sued. The picture starts out in the confident Capra manner, but with a darker tone; by the end, you feel puzzled and cheated. The script is credited to Robert Riskin; with Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan, James Gleason, Regis Toomey, Spring Byington, Gene Lockhart, Ann Doran, Warren Hymer, Rod La Rocque, and Andrew Tombes. Released by Warners.

Meet Nero Wolfe

US (1936): Mystery
73 min, No rating, Black & White

Edward Arnold enjoying himself as the illustrious Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout's omniscient, bullying detective who can trace a killer and his method without leaving the house where he keeps his fine orchids and his special brew of beer. This is one of those thrillers that depend too much upon a lot of things that happened years before to a lot of people whom you can't sort out. You may never be entirely clear about what stirred up the crowd of Barstows and Kimballs some 15 years ago down in South America, or about how that led to the murder at hand. Herbert Biberman directed. With Rita Hayworth, Lionel Stander, Victor Jory, Joan Perry, Nana Bryant, and John Qualen. Columbia.

Melvin and Howard

US (1980): Comedy/Biography
95 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette

This lyrical comedy, directed by Jonathan Demme, from a script by Bo Goldman, is an almost flawless act of sympathetic imagination. Demme and Goldman have entered into the soul of American blue-collar suckerdom; they have taken for their hero a chucklehead who is hooked on TV game shows, and they have made us understand how it was that when something big--something legendary--touched his life, nobody could believe it. Paul Le Mat plays big, beefy Melvin Dummar, a sometime milkman, sometime worker at a magnesium plant, sometime gas-station operator, and hopeful songwriter--the representative debt-ridden American for whom game shows were created. Jason Robards plays Howard Hughes, who is lying in the freezing desert at night when Melvin spots him--a pile of rags and bones, with a dirty beard and straggly long gray hair. Melvin, thinking him a desert rat, helps him into his pickup truck but is bothered by his mean expression; in order to cheer him up (and give himself some company), he insists that the old geezer sing with him or get out and walk. When Robards' Howard Hughes responds to Melvin's amiable prodding and begins to enjoy himself on a simple level and sings "Bye, Bye, Blackbird," it's a great moment. Hughes' eyes are an old man's eyes--faded into the past, shiny and glazed by recollections--yet intense. You feel that his grungy paranoia has melted away, that he has been healed. With Mary Steenburgen, who has a pearly aura as Melvin's go-go-dancer wife, Lynda; Pamela Reed as Melvin's down-to-earth second wife; Elizabeth Cheshire as the child Darcy; Jack Kehoe as the dairy foreman; and the real Melvin Dummar as the lunch counterman at the Reno bus depot. This picture has the same beautiful dippy warmth as its characters; it's what might have happened if Jean Renoir had directed a comedy script by Preston Sturges. Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto. Universal.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Taking It All In.

The Member of the Wedding

US (1952): Drama
91 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette

The Carson McCullers dialogue is one of the high points of literacy in American films--sharp and full of wit, yet lyrical. Scrawny, cracked-voiced Julie Harris (she was 26 at the time) plays Frankie, the motherless, fiercely lonely 12-year-old tomboy, caught between childhood and adolescence, and fighting them both. Ethel Waters plays Berenice, the cook who looks after her, and Brandon de Wilde is Frankie's owlish little playmate and whipping boy. The setting is a small Georgia town; the time is the summer when these three characters, who have been clinging to each other, are torn apart. Adapted from McCullers' 1950 stage success (with the same cast), the film is weak when it tries to "open up" the material, but fortunately Fred Zinnemann's direction respects Carson McCullers' intensity and humor. This remarkable film failed commercially, perhaps for want of a conventional "story;" it is said that in some towns viewers didn't understand the material and, for most of the film, thought that Frankie was a boy. The movie company then cut a crucial 20-minute segment (which included Ethel Waters' finest scene) and tossed the film into the lower half of double bills; in the 70s the footage was restored in some prints.

The Memory of Justice

Germany-US (1976): Documentary
278 min, Rated PG, Color, Available on videocassette

Centering on the definitions of war crimes formulated at the Nuremberg Trials, Marcel Oph�ls examines the atrocities committed in Vietnam and other places; he attempts nothing less than an investigation of the nature of war guilt, and the film runs 4 hours and 38 minutes. Striving for complexity, Oph�ls extends his inquiry in so many directions that he loses his subject; despite some remarkable footage, the film is chaotic, plodding, and excessively self-conscious. Released by Paramount. and
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book When the Lights Go Down.

The Men

US (1950): War/Drama
85 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Marlon Brando made his first screen appearance as the paraplegic Second World War hero, rebelling furiously and helplessly against his condition; paradoxically, Brando gives an overpoweringly physical performance. He's amazingly sensitive and intense--no one before him who smoldered on screen ever gave off so much heat. Fred Zinnemann directed, with sureness and tact, using the paraplegic patients in a California veterans' hospital as part of the cast. With Jack Webb, Teresa Wright, and Everett Sloane. Produced by Stanley Kramer; conventional melodramatic banalities mar the Carl Foreman script, but it's an economical, vivid narrative. Released by United Artists.

Men in War

US (1957): War
104 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette

This film came and went quietly and too quickly. A platoon in the Korean war is surrounded by the enemy; the attempt to get back to its own lines is the substance of the film. Under Anthony Mann's direction and with the performances of Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray, and Robert Keith, this attempt is charged with desperate anxiety. As Time put it, "�there comes a moment when any averagely sensitive person will begin to get that cold sensation along his spine, and to realize a little how a fighting man feels when he is buying a Section Eight." Written by Philip Yordan. Released by United Artists.

Men in White

US (1934): Drama
80 min, No rating, Black & White

Clark Gable seldom suggests the high-strung and brilliant young surgeon-hero of the Sidney Kingsley Pulitzer Prize-winning play--the man whose idealism overrides any financial or romantic considerations. Nor is Myrna Loy exactly at her best when she is called upon to contemplate "Humanity." The director, Richard Boleslawski, is engrossed in the pictorial aspects of the wards and laboratories and internes' rooms; he loves the shadow of a microscope on a wall, the barred lights from venetian blinds across a sickbed, the glint of knives and pincers in the operating room. The characters don't fare so well, but then their problems are fearfully strained and prestigious anyway. With Jean Hersholt, Elizabeth Allan, Otto Kruger, and Wallace Ford. Adaptation by Waldemar Young; cinematography by George Folsey. MGM.


Germany (1985): Comedy
99 min, No rating, Color, Available on videocassette
Also known as M�NNER�.

This West German comedy was written and directed by the 31-year-old Doris D�rrie, and people go to it hoping to see men through a woman's eyes. The disappointment is not just that you don't see men through a woman's eyes. D�rrie's characters have no substance; they're not quite human--you don't see anybody through anybody's eyes. When the handsome self-centered Julius (Heiner Lauterbach), a Munich advertising executive, discovers that his wife (Ulrike Kriener) has been having an affair with the oafish Stefan (Uwe Ochsenknecht), a long-haired bohemian, he wants to know what Stefan's attraction is, so he assumes a false name and moves in with him. Julius takes some kind of revenge by turning Stefan into an orderly bourgeois with a regular job; while that happens, whimsical gags are tossed together with a jocular feminist expos� of men's attitudes toward women. The picture is harmless and insipid, in the mode of French farces such as COUSIN, COUSINE; it sags in the middle and then collapses in an absurdist ending. In German.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Hooked.


France (1986): Comedy
84 min, No rating, Color, Available on videocassette
Also known as TENUE DE SOIR�E.

The first half hour of this sex farce is wonderfully brisk and slam-bang provocative: the writer-director Bertrand Blier violates old formulas and experiments with ideas of subversion and chaos. G�rard Depardieu, huge, and with the belly of a bear, is the burglar who, at night in a caf�, overhears a callous bitchy wife, Miou-Miou, bawling out her loving husband, Michel Blanc--a wisp of a man, meek, sad-eyed, and bald--because he can't make enough money to please her. Enamored of the mousy husband, Depardieu slugs the wife, throws a mess of money at her, and then takes the two along on his surreally easy burglaries and showers the loot on them, waiting for his chance to bed the man. During the house break-ins, Blier has a comic inspiration: the rich victims are so bored that they love the excitement of being robbed. But he drops this and concentrates on Depardieu's seduction of Blanc, which is only briefly amusing. It's the first step in Blier's screwball-fable demonstration of how arbitrary sex preferences are. By the time that Miou-Miou has been sold to a pimp and the two men are in drag, working as prostitutes, Blier is trying so hard to be outrageous that he loses the beat; the outrageousness comes to seem another kind of bondage to formula. Depardieu has learned how to push everybody around and take over the screen; he's an accomplished clown (and that jaw of his is hilarious when you first see him made up as a woman), but his other qualities aren't in evidence here. With Bruno Cremer. In French.


France (1926): Drama
60 min, No rating, Black & White

Dmitri Kirsanov, a young Russian emigr� who worked as a violinist in a Paris moviehouse, made one of the greatest of all experimental films--an exquisite, poetic 40-minute movie that is one of the least known masterpieces of the screen. Working by himself, apart from even the experimental filmmakers of the period, he developed a technique that suggests the movement known in painting as Futurism. The extraordinary editing is, at first, confusing and upsetting, and, finally, dazzling. The story is of two sisters who are both betrayed by the same man; the performance by Nadia Sibirskaya as the younger of the two is surpassingly beautiful. In one scene she is seated on a park bench next to an old man who surreptitiously shares his food with her--it's as great as anything in Chaplin. Silent.


Hungary (1981): War/Drama
135 min, No rating, Color, Available on videocassette

Istv�n Szab�'s indictment of a soulless actor, Hendrik H�fgen (played by Klaus Maria Brandauer), who, because he wants to go on performing, truckles to those in power and becomes the leading actor in Nazi Germany. (Hendrik H�fgen is based on Gustaf Gr�ndgens, who was married during his early years to Thomas Mann's daughter Erika; the movie is loosely adapted from the 1936 novel Mephisto, by her brother Klaus Mann, who is believed to have been Gr�ndgens' lover.) Szab� sets up the willful, unpredictable H�fgen as a symbolic actor--a man who has no substance, who is merely the sum of the roles he plays offstage and on, and at the outset Brandauer, who has gleaming cat eyes and a seductive, impish smile, suggests an enfant terrible, a baby-faced killer-genius, like the young Orson Welles. H�fgen isn't allowed to be a great actor, though, and he seems too small for the epic scale of the attack. The picture is like CITIZEN KANE with somebody like John Dean at its center. The film is gripping but its stern air of rectitude produces discomfort; essentially Szab� seems to be condemning H�fgen for being an actor. With Rolf Hoppe as the General, a G�ring-like figure, and the superb, feline Karin Boyd as H�fgen's dancer mistress, and a multinational cast--some of them dubbed. The script is by Szab� and P�ter Dobai. This West German-Hungarian co-production was originally 2 hours and 40 minutes long; the version that opened in the U.S. runs 2 hours and 16 minutes. Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. In German.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Taking It All In.

The Merchant of Four Seasons

Germany (1971): Drama
88 min, No rating, Color, Available on videocassette

A measured, distanced study of a victim (Hans Hirschmuller)-a rejected son of a middle-class family-and how he loses the will to live. The film is considered by many to be a masterpiece, but the style of the director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, doesn't have enough authority; an American viewer may be uncertain how to react to the distancing devices, and how to react to the masochism and the misogyny and the view of women as cold-hearted betrayers. When is Fassbinder being sardonic, and when is the degradation and futility meant to be taken straight? The picture, which has some conceptual resemblances to the later films of Robert Bresson and to Dreyer's GERTRUD, and some psychological resemblances to such Emil Jannings films as VARIETY, is an art thing, all right, but perhaps not a work of art. And most important of all, it isn't likable. With Irm Hermann and Hanna Schygulla. In German.


Germany (1926): Fantasy/Drama
120 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

H.G. Wells called this German silent "quite the silliest film;" Hitler was so impressed by the conception that many years later he tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade its director, Fritz Lang, to make Nazi movies. Lang's prophetic city of the 21st century (suggested by his first view of New York) has two levels: one for the rich and pleasure-loving, another--labyrinthine, underground--for the slave-workers who tend the machines. The industrialist-tyrant who runs Metropolis plots to incite riots so that he can crush the workers' rebelliousness. His son has gone down to the workers and fallen in love with the saintly firebrand Maria (Brigitte Helm). The tyrant plots with an inventor, Rotwang (a mad, medieval type like Dr. Caligari and, with his mechanical arm, father to Dr. Strangelove), who, in a phenomenal science-fiction laboratory sequence, creates a steel double for Maria--the false Maria, who leads the masses to revolt. But the destruction gets out of hand, the children of the workers are about to be caught in a flood, and all of Metropolis would be destroyed were it not for the final alliance of the industrialist, his son, the true Maria, and the workers. One of the last examples of the imaginative--but often monstrous--grandeur of the Golden Period of the German film, METROPOLIS is a spectacular example of Expressionist design (grouped human beings are used architecturally), with moments of almost incredible beauty and power (the visionary sequence about the Tower of Babel), absurd ineptitudes (the lovesick hero in his preposterous knickerbockers), and oddities that defy analysis (the robot vamp's bizarre, lewd wink). It's a wonderful, stupefying folly. With Alfred Abel as the industrialist, Gustav Fr�hlich as his son, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, and Heinrich George. Script by Thea von Harbou (who did go to work for the Nazis); cinematography by Karl Freund and Gunther Rittau, with Eugen Sch�fftan shooting the special effects. Note: In 1984, Giorgio Moroder did a "reconstructed" version, with tinting that (supposedly) attempts to follow Lang's original specifications; he has gone in for a lot of hocus-pocus with the footage, and put on a pop score--it includes contributions by Loverboy, Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, Billy Squier, and Bonnie Tyler.

Mexicali Rose

Columbia (1929): Drama
No rating, Black & White

Barbara Stanwyck called the film "an abortion," and she wasn't being too rough on it. Though she had an impressive stage reputation, she was still a novice in movies (she had appeared in a silent in 1927, and then had made her first talkie earlier in 1929), and this picture, in which she's cast as a hip-wiggling tart, almost finished her career. (Her next, Frank Capra's LADIES OF LEISURE, was to make her a star.) With Sam Hardy and William Janney. Directed by Erle Kenton. Columbia.

Micki + Maude

US (1984): Comedy
118 min, Rated PG-13, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

A light screwball farce with Dudley Moore as a TV reporter who becomes a bigamist through his tender regard for the feelings of two pregnant women--the blazing Ann Reinking and the pearly Amy Irving. The director, Blake Edwards, working from a screenplay by Jonathan Reynolds, brings out the bigamist's living-in-the-moment hopefulness. He's convinced that everything will come out all right because he doesn't feel he's done anything wrong. And the audience is put in the position of sharing his loony optimism. The movie may seem insipid to people who want something substantial, but there's a special delight about the timing of actors who make fools of themselves as personably and airily as Dudley Moore and Amy Irving do here. He's romantic in the silken, self-effacing manner of Cary Grant, and her acting is a form of heavenly flirtation. There are a couple of slapstick sequences in which Edwards shows some of his love of free-for-all lunacy, and Moore turns into a comic projectile hurtling into walls. With the deep-voiced Richard Mulligan, Lu Leonard, H.B. Haggerty, George Gaynes, Wallace Shawn, John Pleshette, Priscilla Pointer, Robert Symonds, and George Coe. Columbia.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book State of the Art.


US (1939): Comedy
94 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette

Rapturous fun. Slim-hipped, wide-eyed Claudette Colbert, stranded in Paris in an evening gown, gets involved with rich, aristocratic John Barrymore, who is trying to regain the affections of his straying wife, Mary Astor, who is hooked on dapper gigolo Francis Lederer. This romantic comedy, directed by Mitchell Leisen for Paramount, from a script by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, is one of the authentic delights of the 30s. The cast includes Hedda Hopper, Monty Woolley, Elaine Barrie, Rex O'Malley, and Don Ameche. Actually, Ameche has an important role; he isn't bad--for Ameche. Based on a story written for the screen by Edwin Justus Mayer and Franz Schulz.

Midnight Cowboy

US (1969): Drama
113 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Jon Voight as Joe Buck, a dishwasher from a small town in Texas, who hopes to make a living in New York by servicing rich women, and Dustin Hoffman as Ratso Rizzo, the crippled petty thief and con man he meets. The director, John Schlesinger, uses fast cutting and tricky camerawork to provide a satirical background as enrichment of the story, but the satire is offensively inaccurate--it cheapens the story and gives it a veneer of almost hysterical cleverness. The point of the movie must be to offer us some insight into the two derelicts--two of the many kinds of dreamers and failures in the city. But Schlesinger keeps pounding away at America, determined to expose how horrible the people are--he dehumanizes the people Joe Buck and Ratso are part of. If he could extend the same sympathy to the other Americans that he extends to them, the picture might make better sense. His spray of venom is just about overpowering, yet the two actors and the simple Of Mice and Men kind of relationship at the heart of the story save the picture. Hoffman's raspy voice and jumpy walk and Jon Voight's pallor and blue eyes and hurt, bewildered stare provide a core of feeling. With Brenda Vaccaro, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Barnard Hughes, Ruth White, Gil Rankin, Jennifer Salt, Anthony Holland, Bob Balaban, Viva, Taylor Mead, Paul Morrissey, Ultra Violet, Paul Jabara, and International Velvet. From James Leo Herlihy's novel, adapted by Waldo Salt; cinematography by Adam Holender. Produced by Jerome Hellman; United Artists.

Midnight Express

US (1978): Prison/Biography
121 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Puts the squeeze on us right from the start. It's single-minded in its manipulation of the audience: this is a clear-cut case of film technique split off from any artistic impulse. The film is based on the story of Billy Hayes, a vacationing American college student who was caught smuggling two kilos of hashish out of Turkey and imprisoned. But its juiciest episodes are inventions; the screenwriter, Oliver Stone, and the director, Alan Parker, have subjected their Billy (Brad Davis) to the most photogenic sadomasochistic brutalization that they could dream up. The film is like a porno fantasy about the sacrifice of a virgin. It rushes from torment to torment, treating Billy's ordeals hyponotically in soft colors--muted squalor--with a disco beat in the background. The prison itself is more like a brothel than a prison. All of this is packaged as social protest. With John Hurt as Max, Randy Quaid as Jimmy, Bo Hopkins as Tex, Paolo Bonacelli as Rifki, Mike Kellin as Billy's father, and Paul Smith as the Turkish head guard, Hamidou, who looks like a Picasso bull. Music by Giorgio Moroder; shot in Malta. Released by Columbia.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book When the Lights Go Down.

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy

US (1982): Comedy
88 min, Rated PG, Color, Available on videocassette

Woody Allen's overrefined reworking of Bergman's SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT; it has a meticulous art atmosphere and Mendelssohn on the track. This time, it's an American weekend in the country, early in the century, and Woody Allen is the host; he works on Wall Street but dabbles in inventions--small, winged contraptions for flying, and mystical devices such as a "spirit ball" for getting through to the other, unseen world. Mary Steenburgen plays his wife, and the guests are Jos� Ferrer, a pompous genius professor who is a free thinker in sexual matters but is contemptuous of psychic research; Mia Farrow, the prof's glamorous young fianc�e; Tony Roberts, a lecherous doctor; and Julie Hagerty as a nurse who's the most trusting and gullible of all human creatures, and is avid for sex (she's the best thing in the movie). The group is rather amusing, but the talk seems somnambulistic and nothing really develops. Woody Allen is trying to please, but his heart isn't in it, and his talent isn't, either. He is so much a man of our time that his comedy seems denatured in this classy, period setting. Written and directed by Allen; cinematography by Gordon Willis. Orion.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Taking It All In.

Mighty Joe Young

US (1949): Fantasy/Adventure
94 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

King Kong domesticized and turned into a children's pet. Terry Moore plays an orphan girl, raised in Africa, who buys a sweet, docile gorilla, Joe, who adores her; Robert Armstrong (who discovered King Kong) finds them and transports them to a Hollywood nightclub. Joe, a 10-footer, holds Moore and a grand piano up in the air on a platform while she beats out "Beautiful Dreamer." But Joe turns out to be a moralist who disapproves of drinking and carrying on, and eventually he wrecks the nightclub in an impressive fury. He engages in a pretty funny tug-of-war with a team composed of Man Mountain Dean, Primo Carnera, and some other oversize types. Ernest Schoedsack directed this nonsense; it has some spectacular effects, but a wretched script. With Ben Johnson, Frank McHugh, and Douglas Fowley. RKO.

The Mikado

US (1939): Opera
90 min, No rating, Color

Malice, Victorian style, with decor of the finest counterfeit Japanese--the D'Oyly Carte performers bounce through Gilbert & Sullivan's lyrical parody of the institutions of love and justice. Martyn Green's giddy Lord High Executioner and Sydney Granville's thunderous Pooh-Bah are just about perfect, and even anti-Gilbert & Sullivanites will have a hard time resisting the hirsute charms of Katisha. As box-office lure, Kenny Baker was tossed in as Nanki-Poo; he is quite passable. Directed by Victor Schertzinger.

Mike's Murder

US (1984): Mystery
109 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette

Debra Winger, in a superb full-scale starring performance, as a radiantly sane young bank teller in LA who has an affair with a curly-haired clear-faced young tennis instructor called Mike (Mark Keyloun). It's a wobbly affair: she hears from him randomly over the course of two years--whenever the mood hits him, he phones her. One night, he's supposed to come over late, but he doesn't show. When she gets a call telling her he's dead, it's abrupt, bewildering. She can't let go of him so quickly, and she tries to find out everything she can. Winger has thick, long, loose hair and a deep, sensual beauty in this movie. James Bridges, who directed, wrote the role for her after directing her in URBAN COWBOY, and her performance suggests what Antonioni seemed to be trying to get from Jeanne Moreau in LA NOTTE, only it really works with Winger--maybe because there's nothing sullen or closed about her. The picture is atmospheric yet underpopulated; at times, it feels thin, and it turns into overheated melodrama in a sequence featuring Darrell Larson. But its view of the cocaine subculture (or culture) of LA is probably Bridges' most original and daring effort, and it has a brief, intense appearance by Paul Winfield (as the record producer who brought Mike to LA) that's right up there with Winger's acting. With Brooke Alderson, Robert Crosson as Sam, and Daniel Shor as Richard, the performance artist. The Warner executives refused to release the picture until Bridges made some cuts and changes, and they probably breathed a few sighs of relief as they buried it.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Hooked.

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