THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS (Billy Wilder, 1957)

James Stewart is wonderful as Charles Augustus Lindbergh in Billy Wilder’s thrilling, moving, mesmerizing The Spirit of St. Louis. It centers on the young former army airmail pilot’s historic 1927 trans-Atlantic flight, from New York to Paris, in a small, minimalist airplane he helped design. This incident inaugurated two eras: those of aviation (which the […]

AMARGOSA (Todd Robinson, 1999)

Enchanting. Except for a silly passage purporting to show photographic evidence of ghosts, this documentary set in Death Valley Junction, a ghost town in California with a population of ten (mortals—presumably there are many more ghosts), is lovely. It revolves around an authentic American “character” (as in “a real character”). Ichabod Crane, Pudd’nhead Wilson—these characters […]

UNDER THE FLAG OF THE RISING SUN (Kinji Fukasaku, 1972)

Kinji Fukasaku’s Gunki hatameku motoni may not be the worst Japanese film I’ve seen, but it certainly is the flimsiest and silliest. It is launched by a Second World War army widow’s attempt to discover the true circumstances of her husband-warrior’s death. Presumably Sergeant Katsuo Togashi was court-martialed and executed, perhaps for desertion, perhaps on […]