SECRETARY (Steven Shainberg, 2002)

2002 was a terrific year for American film comedies. I have already enjoyed Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze’s Adaptation, Dylan Kidd’s Roger Dodger, and (to my own and apparently everyone else’s surprise) Jeff Nathanson and Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can; and now I’ve caught up with Secretary, written […]

ANGEL (Ernst Lubitsch, 1937)

Whereas Ernst Lubitsch’s Cluny Brown (1946) no longer seems as fresh as it once did, his Angel, a glorious sophisticated comedy teetering on the satin-covered edge of upper-class marital tragedy, is far better now that I grasp the stakes involved.*      Marlene Dietrich is wondrously clear—crisp, delicately poignant—as Maria, the neglected wife of a conference-addicted English […]