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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 19

We start off today with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who appeared in one of their very best collaborations, Woman of the Year on this date in 1942. Director George Stevens knew how to bring their incomparable comic chemistry to life, and though this was only their first movie together, it proved to be the spark that lit the flame. They …

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Today in Movie History: January 18

Once upon a time, a TV cowboy named Clint got handed a script for a low-budget Italian Western that he immediately recognized as a hastily redressed version of Yojimbo. He took the job for a free trip to Italy (or so he claims), and in the process helped reinvent an entire genre. A Fistful of Dollars opened today in the …

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Today in Movie History: January 17

Children of the 80s doubtless remember the California Raisins, an advertising phenom created by the Claymation artists at the late Will Vinton’s studios. The same studio produced a rather marvelous animated feature shortly thereafter: The Adventures of Mark Twain, a fantastical collection of the celebrated author’s short stories loosely wrapped around the premise of Twain himself (along with his most …

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Today in Movie History: January 16

January movies usually consist of either Christmas hits playing out their run, Oscar contenders going wide, or embarrassing monster movies the studios are hoping to quietly dump. Every now and then, however, one of those last types steps up and surprises you. Case in point: Fallen, a nifty little supernatural thriller that sends Denzel Washington’s cop on the trail of a killer with …

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Today in Movie History: January 15

Riddle me this, Caped Crusader: how do you produce the greatest Shakespeare adaptation of all time without using a single line of Shakespeare? You give it to Akira Kurosawa, that’s how. Throne of Blood — his magnificent, peerless, stunningly powerful samurai version of Macbeth — opened in Japan this day in 1957. The great Toshiro Mifune turned in one of numerous …

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Today in Movie History: January 14

Roger Corman didn’t have big-budget hubris on his side, and we respect his earnest efforts (as well as those of director Daniel Haller) to adapt the notoriously unadaptable work of H.P. Lovecraft. But their version of The Dunwich Horror — reimagined through the psychedelic transcendentalism of the late 1960s — is a hot mess. At least it’s an interesting hot mess, …