Orson Welles

10 Great Movies That Appear In 10 Other Great Movies

There are all sorts of reasons to see Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (debuting this week on Blu-ray, via The Criterion Collection), but here’s the one that finally clinched it for me: when they go see it in Middle of Nowhere. By inserting the earlier film into a later one, Nowhere’s director, Ava DuVernay, isn’t just telling us something about the kind of people who inhabit her story; she’s also savvily commenting on the kind of story she’s telling. And she’s not the only filmmaker to employ this very clever trick. … Read More

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The 10 Best Faithful Shakespeare Adaptations on Film

This week, Roman Polanski’s scorching 1971 adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth makes its Blu-ray debut (thanks, once again, to the fine folks at the Criterion Collection). It’s a terrific movie; and noteworthy as being a Shakespeare adaptation that is mostly done “straight” — i.e., basically as written, rather than relocated to outer space or a high school or the mob underworld or anything crazy like that. In fact, it seems more difficult to just do the play, without all the bells and whistles. Here are a few savvy filmmakers who’ve pulled it off. … Read More

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25 Vintage, International Book Covers for H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’

Happy birthday to English author H. G. Wells, one of the fathers of science fiction. His 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, about a devastating alien invasion on Earth, has been published continuously for over 100 years. Orson Welles resurrected the frightening story for his 1938 radio broadcast, narrated by the director as a news bulletin, which led to widespread panic as listeners thought the Martian invasion was real. The War of the Worlds has been adapted dozens of times, most popularly by Steven Spielberg in a 2005 film starring Tom Cruise. But the book itself lives on in the imaginations of readers everywhere. After spotting a stunning collection of War of the Worlds book covers, we selected several vintage covers that span the globe. These images represent the influence of Wells’ story throughout the decades and demonstrate how different countries absorbed the intense, interplanetary tale into the collective consciousness. … Read More

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The Stories Behind 10 Iconic Movie Scenes

Sixty years ago today, Marilyn Monroe stepped on a subway grate and made movie history. She was shooting a film called The Seven-Year Itch in New York City, and the image of her on the grate, the train passing underneath blowing up her skirt, would become one of the most iconic in all of cinema. To commemorate that magic movie moment, we’ve gathered behind-the-scenes tales of that and nine other classic movie scenes. (We didn’t include Raiders. Harrison Ford shot the guy with the sword instead of fighting him because he had the trots. We’re assuming you knew that one.) … Read More

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Watch Orson Welles’ Long-Lost, Pre-‘Citizen Kane’ Movie ‘Too Much Johnson’

Back in 1938, 23-year-old theatrical whiz kid Orson Welles had a bang-up idea: for his Mercury Theatre’s upcoming production… Read More

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Conventional Filmmakers Who Made Adult Films

Adult cinema pioneer Radley Metzger is the subject of a new retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center through August 13. This Is Softcore: The Art Cinema Erotica of Radley Metzger explores the New York City sexploitation director’s colorful career as an erotica auteur and his crossover into the hardcore porn industry. We feature more on Metzger, below — along with a few other “conventional” filmmakers who made the jump into adult cinema. … Read More

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The Many Literary Adaptations of Orson Welles

It’s notable that in My Lunches With Orson — the collection of taped conversations between Orson Welles and Henry Jaglom in the last years of the Citizen Kane director’s life — Welles mentions writers Jean-Paul Sartre, Jorge Luis Borges, Dwight Macdonald, James Agee, Joan Didion, and John O’Hara… but in the capacity of their film criticism, not their novels or nonfiction. Reading the conversations, it becomes clear that Welles was a big reader and obviously had a love for great literature — something also evidenced by the many film adaptations of literature he had a hand in. Here’s a selection of the most interesting. … Read More

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10 Essential Mod Movies

Considering the heavy cycles of biker movies, hippie trip flicks, and “Blaxpoitation” epics that took over drive-in screens and movie theaters around the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it’s a little surprising that the mods were so oddly underrepresented in cinema. But enough representations of the culture made their way into the movies for us to present this little primer of mod at the movies. … Read More

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20 Mind-Bending Movies Guaranteed to Make You Feel Stupid

In 1991, following his brilliant The Thin Blue Line, director Errol Morris attempted something even harder than getting an innocent man off Death Row: making Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time into an accessible, audience-friendly, major motion picture. The resulting film is, at long last, available on DVD and Blu-ray via Criterion. It’s awfully good — though its in-depth discussions of quantum mechanics and black holes and the Big Bang are bound to make those of us who nodded off in science class feel a bit out of our element. Then again, some movies, with their convoluted storylines or surrealistic imagery or intellectual subject matter, have the unintended side effect of merely spotlighting our intellectual shortcomings. Here are a few others that made us feel just a little… Read More

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