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Today in Movie History: April 19

Two big films and three smaller-but-notable ones today. We start with La Dolce Vita, Frederico Fellini’s ode to Rome, the jet set, and sexy girls splashing around in fountains. It took the world by storm when it was initially released, and for my money remains Fellini’s best film. It was released in the United States today in 1961. For a …

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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 he claims, and in the process helped reinvent an entire genre. A Fistful of Dollars opened today in the U.S. in …

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Today in Movie History: December 29

It was a good day for bad men at the movies, starting with Sergio’s Leone’s legendary The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, released in the U.S. on December 29, 1967. Leone wrapped a strange anti-war message into her farewell to The Man with No Name, as well as providing the great Eli Wallach with his finest role. Sam Peckinpah had …

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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 …

Dirty Harry

Today in Movie History: December 23

  Nothing says Christmas more than Clint Eastwood blowing holes in child-abducting psychopaths. The original Dirty Harry hit theaters today in 1971, bringing holiday cheer and police brutality in equal measures. (Star Trek fans take note: the mad killer in this film was played by Andrew Robinson, who went on to play Garak — one of the coolest Trek characters ever …

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Today in Movie History: July 13

We’re giving the top spot today to The Dead Pool, the fifth and presumably the last of the Dirty Harry franchise. It actually ranks as one of the better ones, with a surprising sense of humor to go along with Clint Eastwood’s thundering political context. But that’s not why it tops the list. It tops the list because it contains one of …

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Today in Movie History: June 30

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may have taken more liberties with the beloved source novel than the Tim Burton effort a few years ago, but it found the spirit much more readily… mostly because it treats Willy Wonka as mysterious and more than a little scary instead of one of Burton’s patented misunderstood misfits. There’s a reason why this one …

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Today in Movie History: May 10

Two brilliant comedic troupes hit high points today. We’ll start with the boys in Britain who, with a successful TV show behind them and absolutely zero money to back them up, put together a comic take on the Knights of the Round Table that we’re pretty sure you’re familiar with. Monty Python and the Holy Grail opened today in 1975. …