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Today in Movie History: September 25

Like a surprising number of classics, The Princess Bride didn’t do particularly well when first released in theaters. Audiences weren’t sure what to expect from the combination of gentle satire and straight-faced romance, and largely stayed away… only to discover it on video like so many other films of the era. Today, of course, it’s an indispensable part of the canon: one of …

dog-day-afternoon

Today in Movie History: September 21

Based on a real-life botched bank robbery, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon now stands as a landmark of 70s cinema. Its anti-authoritarian tone shines through in every scene — thanks to Al Pacino’s iconic turn as an amateur criminal whose master plan goes straight out the window — and the overall sense of doom was much in keeping with the …

Heat of the Night

Today in Movie History: August 2

We have two movies about the night, and what happens in them on this date. We’ll start with In the Heat of the Night Hollywood’s always-late-to-the-party attempt to discuss the changing face of race relations in America. Though straightforward and by-the-numbers in many ways, Norman Jewison’s murder mystery plot — in which a black Philadelphia detective (Sidney Poitier) is tasked …

Bad Day

Today in Movie History: January 7

And then came that moment when we found ourselves staring eyeball to eyeball with the Nicolas-Cage-needs-money turd Season of the Witch — released today in 2011 — and said “what the heck, we’ll start the column with it!” We’re not proud, but there it is. (Incidentally, today is also Cage’s birthday. We hope he celebrates by watching one of his …