Today in Movie History: March 17

You’d think that St. Patrick’s Day would invite a flood of Irish-themed movies into cinemas but no. The Quiet Man opened in August, Michael Collins in September, Darby O’Gill and the Little People in June… even Leprechaun dropped the ball on this one.

Instead, we get Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal masterpiece of the French New Wave: incredible, but decidedly not Irish. Shot chronologically in a documentary style and with a lot of emphasis on improvisation, it became an international sensation and today enjoys a semi-permanent place at the top of the movie canon. It opened in its native France today in 1960.

Elsewhere… we’re not the biggest fans of Julia Roberts around here, but we have to admit that — if you’re going to give her an Oscar — then you probably ought to do it for her brassy (and frankly irresistible) performance as a legal clerk turned environmental activist in Erin Brockovich, which opened today in 2000. It was the right role for the right actress, and we won’t begrudge her the immense success she enjoyed because of it.



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