THE WOLF MAN (George Waggner, 1941)

Sometimes it happens that an intelligent script is turned into a movie by a rank incompetent and the result as a consequence falls short of the scenarist’s substantial intent. Such is the case with The Wolf Man, which Curt Siodmak wrote and George Waggner directed. Siodmak, Robert’s younger brother, was a novelist and a scholar […]

MARIE ANTOINETTE (Julien Duvivier, W. S. Van Dyke, 1938)

Leslie Fiedler, my doctoral dissertation director, enjoyed telling about a showing of The Birth of a Nation (1915) he attended with a group of Italian communists. Apparently D.W. Griffith so successfully infused the action with his reactionary propaganda that, contrary to their own politics, during the film’s big chase the communists audibly rooted for the […]

MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES (Jennifer Baichwal, 2006)

The world that Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky shows us—our world—bears the heavy footprint of industrial humanity; it is “transformed” by dumps of e-waste, polluting factories, the rape of mines and rock quarries. In Jennifer Baichwal’s sensitive, engrossing, at times piercing documentary Manufactured Landscapes—the term is his—Burtynsky indicates what he is after: “In one frame, you […]