Mary Poppins

Today in Movie History: August 26

The House of Mouse has enjoyed its share of triumphs over the years, but only a scant handful can compare to Mary Poppins, the live-action/animation mash-up that won Julie Andrews an Oscar, let penguin waiters upstage Dick Van Dyke, and sent dictionary editors scrambling to justify the formal addition of “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to the language. It opened today in 1964; long may …

wizard-of-oz

Today in Movie History: August 25

There are movies that merit discussion, exposition, analysis and explanation. Then there are movies that are so tightly woven into our cultural DNA that no further word is necessary. And while it found its audience on those famed CBS broadcasts year in and year out, this was the day its magic officially began. The one and only Wizard of Oz opened today …

BriefEncounter1

Today in Movie History: August 24

It’s a reasonably quiet day, so we’ll start with a reasonably quiet film: Brief Encounter, David Lean’s affecting romance about a married woman (Ceia Johnson) who meets a handsome stranger on the train and considers having an affair with him. It helped cement Lean’s reputation and opened the door to one of the most fruitful careers in the history of …

The Big Sleep

Today in Movie History: August 23

No contest as to what we’re starting with today: The Big Sleep Howard Hawks’ adaptation of the famed Raymond Chandler novel, now widely regarded as one of the greatest detective movies ever made. Its status as a staple of film noir hides a few too many twists – who the hell did kill that chauffeur? — but with Humphrey Bogart …

Marx

Today in Movie History: August 19

It’s Friday, which means we could all use something light. We’ve got two great comedies for you: one old and one new. We’ll start with the Marx Brothers, whose Horse Feathers still stands as one of their very best. It’s the usual cocktail of vaudeville gags, but story and plot were never the point, and for sheer comic lunacy, these boys …

Brian

Today in Movie History: August 17

Everything’s turning up Jesus today… though not quite in the way you might expect. We’ll start with Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, the legendary comedy troupe’s follow-up to Holy Grail that ignited the expected firestorm of controversy among those least able to appreciate what it was trying to say. It remains brilliant, of course, and while time has blunted the …

Usual

Today in Movie History: August 16

Film lovers often talk about the joy of being surprised: walking into a movie expecting nothing more than a couple of hours’ worth of entertainment, and delighted to discover a masterpiece in its place. So it was with The Usual Suspects, a seemingly by-the-numbers crime thriller than morphed into something extraordinary. Two Oscars later (one for Kevin Spacey and one for …