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Today in Movie History: June 1

Though it didn’t foster a full-bore revival of the Hollywood musical, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! succeeded in updating the baggy old genre for an entirely new generation. Luhrmann’s trademark attention span deficit and the expert addition of modern pop songs into the mix turned an exercise in empty style into a beloved modern classic, and while I struggle with the film’s abrupt …

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Today in Movie History: May 9

Alfred Hitchcock had his share of classics, and I confess that there are one or two I prefer to this one. But when talk comes around to the greatest movies of all time, Vertigo is usually a prime contender. Jimmy Stewart’s performance may stand as a career best, and Hitchcock’s incursion into forbidden and frankly terrifying corners of the human psyche …

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Today in Movie History: April 12

On the list of great directors whom the Academy shafted, Alfred Hitchcock is pretty high. The only film of his that won Best Picture was  Rebecca, a solid though hardly groundbreaking slice of Gothic based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. Hitch didn’t even win Best Director that year — it went to John Ford for The Grapes of Wrath — and …

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Today in Movie History: March 28

It’s a day of mayhem in movie history, starting with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. After the triumph of Psycho, everyone asked how Hitch was going to top it. He responded by turning back to the writings of Daphne du Maurier, which had already seen him through the likes of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. It became another masterpiece, porting du Maurier’s …

ÒShadow of a Doubt,Ó the 1943 thriller starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten, received an Academy Award¨ nomination for Writing Ð Original Motion Picture Story (Gordon McDonell).  The film is set in Santa Rosa, California, where small-town bliss is interrupted by an evil visitor.

Picture here: Joseph Cotten (left) and Teresa Wright in a scene from ÒShadow of a Doubt.Ó

Today in Movie History: January 12

We have some old-school classics to save us from the glut of January crappola today. It starts with one of the very best: Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, released today in 1943. Having made a splash in Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, Joseph Cotton turned his talents to playing a villain: a killer who arrives in an idyllic …

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Today in Movie History: December 28

It was a fairly quiet date as far as releases go, owing to our perennial post-Christmas malaise. Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound hit theaters in 1945, a second-tier effort from the master, but still notable thanks mostly to Salvador Dali’s haunting dream sequences. (On the more gossip-y end of things, the production involved a secret tryst between stars Gregory Peck and Ingrid …

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Today in Movie History: October 3

The Maltese Falcon belongs in that rarefied air of movies that exists solely to be loved by everyone who sees them. Besides signaling the rise of film noir in the 1940s, it made Humphrey Bogart an icon, launched the brilliant career of director John Huston, and turned its titular “dingus” into one of the most recognizable images in cinema. Small wonder it’s …

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Today in Movie History: August 5

For countless millions of couples, From Here to Eternity represented the epitome of passion and romance. Many of them also found out the hard way that making out on the beach while the tide comes in is a lot less sexy than it looks. The movie opened today in 1953. Exactly thirty years later, we were treated to an interesting, dark and surprisingly complex teen …