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Today in Movie History: January 27

At the top of today’s list Danny Kaye’s The Court Jester, released in 1956. It stands as a high point of Kaye’s career, both for the marvelous way he sends up Errol Flynn-style swashbuckling (complete with Basil Rathbone as the villain) and for the marvelous wordplay of the script (“the pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the …

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Meet the Hero

In The Hero with A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell posited two poles of human perception. At one end sits waking, conscious life, which is mainly taken up by the necessities of existence: jobs, bills, children, family, chores. At the other sits deep sleep – sleep without dreams – in which we commune with whatever cosmic forces lie beyond this level …

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Movies for the Resistance: Escape from New York

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …

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Today in Movie History: January 20

Show of hands: who wants to watch a bracing 104 minutes of Soviet-era propaganda? I knew you would! Sergei Eisenstein’s October opened today in 1928: generally regarded as one of the masterpieces of Soviet cinema and granting its director license to expound upon numerous cinematic theories — like montage — that today have become standard practi- You in the back, quit falling …

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Today in Movie History: January 13

If you need some John Wayne in your life, today had it, with the release of Mark Rydell’s The Cowboys in 1972. As late-era Wayne goes, it’s hard to top… and Bruce Dern is still living down what his character did to the Duke in this movie. On a completely different note, visual effects maestro Stan Winston made a rare stint as …

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Today in Movie History: January 6

The big opener today took place in 1948, with the release of John Huston’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Besides adding another classic to Humphrey Bogart’s resume, it earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Huston’s father Walter. (Huston also directed his daughter Anjelica to an Oscar, the only director to have pulled off such a feat.) Other notable releases today …