LONELYHEARTS (Vincent J. Donehue, 1958)

It is remarkable how oppressively dark Vincent J. Donehue’s film of Nathanael West’s 1933 novel Miss Lonelyhearts, by way of Howard Teichmann’s 1957 stage adaptation, remains. Updated to the present, it spares the protagonist, an idealistic young advice-giving newspaper columnist, the death to which a trail of ironies pitilessly leads in the book; and, indeed, […]

IT HAPPENED TOMORROW (René Clair, 1944)

Depending on the source, either a story or a play by twentieth-century Anglo-Irish author Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany) is credited as a basis for René Clair’s comedy-fantasy It Happened Tomorrow, which itself may have inspired the U.S. television series Early Edition starring Kyle Chandler. Dudley Nichols and Clair […]

THE SHOE (Laila Pakalnina, 1998)

Liepaja, Latvia, the setting of The Shoe, from Latvia, Germany and France, is writer-director Laila Pakalnina’s hometown; the former documentarian’s first feature film, therefore, is personal. Yet it is bookended by extreme long-shots of the Baltic Sea beach that a surveillance vehicle traverses slowly in opposite directions, and a rigorous formalism mostly pervades the mise-en-scène: […]