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In the Month of His Birth, A Little Touch of Shakespeare in the Night

Shakespeare, he’s in the alley with his pointed shoes and his bells …. —Bob Dylan You read me Shakespeare on the rolling Thames, that old river poet who never, ever…

“Double Indemnity’s” Seven Oscar Nominations Helped Ignite the Film Noir Boom

While channel-surfing the other night, I found myself watching the beginning of a film I’d already seen and had no intention of seeing again. That’s Fred MacMurray slumped at a…

Struggling Couples, Silly Love Songs, and a Valentine’s Day Conception

Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs …. —Paul McCartney from “Silly Love Songs” By all rights, George Stevens’s 1941 film Penny Serenade should be to Valentine’s…

It’s for Real — Observations on Love, “Homeland,” and “Downton Abbey”

Last week people all over the country were in mourning for Downton Abbey’s Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay). The brutal, shocking demise from postpartum eclampsia of the youngest and most…

Beginning the New Year With Memories of Ravi Shankar

Many might ask why re-release Raga now [2010]? The answer is simple: it was a very special period of my life. —Ravi Shankar (1920-2012) The 1960s without Ravi Shankar, who…

Investing in “Breaking Bad” — A Matter of Life and Death

I believe in Walter White, his family and his friends. They aren’t just objects of interest and curiosity and occasional sympathy …. I actually care deeply about whether they live…

“Rio Bravo”: Fellow Feeling, Human Frailty, and the Pleasure Principle

If I were asked to choose a film that would justify the existence of Hollywood, I think it would be “Rio Bravo.” —Robin Wood in Howard Hawks (1968) “One of…

“Let Pops Tell It”: A July 4 Celebration of David Simon’s “Treme”

Season 2 of HBO’s Treme (pronounced Trem-ay) ends, movingly, with sometime DJ Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn) back at the WWOZ microphone from which he was unceremoniously separated in Season 1.…

The Other “Moonrise”: Frank Borzage and “The Wondrous Inner Life of Lovers”

Borzage never needed dream worlds for his suspension of disbelief. He plunged into the real world of poverty and oppression, the world of Roosevelt and Hitler, the New Deal. and…

History Is Made at Night: Supreme Moments on the Titanic

So far I’ve watched the unsinkable ship sink in the German Titanic (1943), in the Hollywood Titanic (1953), in the British docudrama, A Night to Remember (1958), and, most spectacularly…

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