A comedy both shiny and monstrous, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington uncritically blurs the line between populism and fascism, inadvertently exposing the dangers to democracy during the Great Depression. Written by Sidney Buchman from a motion-picture story by Lewis R. Foster (who won an Oscar), and produced and directed by Frank Capra, the film was […]

MAURICE (James Ivory, 1987)

I have not read Maurice (pronounced Morris), the novel that Britain’s E.M. Forster wrote after his first major success, Howards End, but arranged to withhold from publication until a year after his death in 1970. Presumably, the reason for this arrangement is the homosexual content of the plot. (Forster himself was homosexual.) James Ivory, who […]

OTHELLO (Orson Welles, 1951)

Filmed in Italy and Morocco, Orson Welles’s Othello took the top prize at Cannes, in 1952, under the Moroccan banner. Three years later it had a very limited distribution in the United States, where, some perhaps felt, the spectacle of a dark-skinned man killing his fair-skinned wife not even the esteemed name of Shakespeare would […]