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The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Friday, July 25, 2014

Screen Gems

  • Screen Gems — Royal blood: "Queen Margot"

    The centerpiece of this sprawling French historical romance is the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, which erupted on the night of Aug. 23, 1572, one of the red-letter dates in the history of human slaughter.

  • Screen Gems — The Big Uneasy: "Panic in the Streets"

    Panic in the Streets, Cold War thriller, not rated, Center for Contemporary Arts, 3 chiles

  • Screen Gems -- Mr. Sandman: "Lawrence of Arabia"

    It is safe to say that there has never been a more electrifying career launch in movie history than Peter O’Toole’s in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). He wasn’t the first choice for the role. Producer Sam Spiegel and director David Lean wanted Marlon Brando, which provides grist for imaginative what-ifs to rival the prospect of Ronald Reagan as Rick Blaine in Casablanca. But Brando turned the part down, as did Albert Finney. And so a star was born.

  • Monster mash

    Abbott and Costello weren’t even around when Mary Shelley introduced the world to Frankenstein’s monster. But they met up with her literary creation when Universal Studios paired the former burlesque comics with Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman in a 1948 film that critics consider one of the best horror comedies of all time.

  • All you can eat

    Right from the start, Night of the Living Dead becomes a tale of survival as one character gets knocked out cold by a lumbering ghoul whose pursuit of his hapless and hysterical sister is relentless. “Relentless” is a good way to characterize the entire film, which is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and is regarded by some fans today as political.

  • Fertility rites and wrongs

    The story of a British police officer who travels to the remote Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, the 1973 film The Wicker Man is akin to John Fowles’ novel The Magus and Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.”

  • Look back in Angora

    Viewing Plan 9 From Outer Space, Ed Wood Jr.’s masterpiece (when compared with the rest of his films), one can be forgiven for wondering what the other eight plans were. This particular plan involves outer-space invaders shooting long-distance electrodes into the pineal and pituitary glands of the recently dead, bringing them back to life in an effort to persuade earthlings to stop creating weapons of destruction.

  • Robby in the lobby

    For author George R.R. Martin, the best science-fiction film ever made remains MGM’s 1956 Forbidden Planet. “At that time the big difference between science fiction in print and in movies was that science-fiction films were stupid," he said. "But Forbidden Planet got much of it right.”

  • A Yiddisher papa

    After Sholem Aleichem had immigrated to the United States in 1905, a judge introduced the Ukraine-born Yiddish playwright and author at a conference as “the Jewish Mark Twain.” Twain, 
also attending the event, replied to the judge, “Please tell him I am the American Sholem Aleichem.”

  • Time machine

    If not for Mohandas Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin might not have made Modern Times, the 1936 comedy that is considered one of Chaplin's crowning achievements.

  • Trick or terror

    On Oct. 25, 1978, film audiences at four movie theaters in Kansas City, Missouri, got the nation's first peek at Halloween, a new independent horror movie directed and co-written by an under-the-radar filmmaker named John Carpenter.

  • Outing apartheid

    Come Back, Africa opened the eyes of the world to the corrosive consequences of apartheid in South Africa. Lionel Rogosin clandestinely shot the 1959 film, mostly in Sophiatown, a shantytown on the outskirts of Johannesburg ...

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