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Today in Movie History: October 18

Musicals don’t come any better than West Side Story, a brilliant re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that freed the genre from the opulent event pictures that had dominated it in the 1950s. Robert Wise kept a steady hand on the tiller during a deeply troubled production — co-director Jerome Robbins suffered a breakdown midway through, though his stunning choreography remains …

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Today in Movie History: July 1

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who adore Big Trouble in Little China, and deluded, misguided souls who make me sad. John Carpenter’s semi-satirical wuxia mash-up tanked upon its initial release, but found a new audience (as so many 80s films did) on home video. It is currently hailed as one of the cornerstones of Western civilization, thanks to a cunning …