THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE (John Huston, 1951)

Tubercular Stephen Crane died in 1900, falling short of his twenty-ninth birthday. Although it isn’t quite in the league of masterpieces by Herman Melville (Moby-Dick, The Confidence Man, Pierre) and Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Pudd’nhead Wilson), his Red Badge of Courage is a great American novel, easily the finest ever written about […]

SABOTEUR (Alfred Hitchcock, 1942)

Few, if any, rank Saboteur among Alfred Hitchcock’s great works, but many find it an engaging thriller nevertheless, and it was an enormous popular success. Saboteur is indeed one of the most compulsively watchable films by cinema’s most compulsively watchable artist-entertainer. At three in the morning, popping Antonioni or Pudovkin into the machine is an […]

SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959)

Cleopatra (1963) notwithstanding, writer-director (and producer) Joseph L. Mankiewicz made some incredibly entertaining films, chief among them his gloriously bickering Oscar-winning best picture All About Eve (1950), for which he won his third and fourth Oscars. (He had also won writing and directing Oscars for A Letter to Three Wives, 1949). If I had to […]

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (Peter Jackson, 2003)

The final installment of Peter Jackson’s financially enormous J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy, which a friend of mine aptly described as “unmagical,” is an exhausting piece of work full of stress and fuss—a production rather than a film, to which—brace yourself—more than 400 technicians contributed. The credits list ten producers, co-producers and executive producers: ten. And for […]