BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Juraj Herz, 1978)

Juraj Herz, whose brilliant Cremator (1968) is a very dark comedy about Nazism, wartime occupation, and the Holocaust, ten years later would make perhaps the most beauteous film ever that’s drawn from fairy-tale material. This is Panna a netvor (The Virgin and the Monster), from Mme Leprince de Beaumont’s eighteenth-century “La Belle et la Bête.” […]

BELLS FROM THE DEEP: FAITH AND SUPERSTITION IN RUSSIA (Werner Herzog, 1993)

Werner Herzog has made brilliant, beautiful documentaries (Fata Morgana, 1969; Land of Silence and Darkness, 1971; Herdsmen of the Sun, 1988), incompetent, worthless ones (Lessons of Darkness, 1992; The Wheel of Time, 2003), and ones of intermediate quality. Glocken aus der Tiefe—Glaube und Aberglaube in Rußland, from Germany and the U.S., belongs in the exalted […]

TOMORROW (Joseph Anthony, 1972)

Joseph Anthony made howlingly bad movies based on stage plays, for example, The Rainmaker (1956), starring Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, and The Matchmaker (1958), starring Shirley Booth, Anthony Perkins and Shirley MacLaine; but the howlingly worst is the deadly dull, painfully protracted Tomorrow, indirectly taken from William Faulkner’s 1939 story by way of Horton […]