Trading Places is one of the most emotionally satisfying and morally gratifying comedies of recent times. Eddie Murphy demonstrates the powers of invention that signal the arrival of a major comic actor, and possibly a great star.
It is, I think, a measure not merely of Chaplin’s art, but of his really incredible ego, that one simply cannot find an article that presumes to criticize him—or even to view his life and work with decent objectivity—which does not begin as this one has: apologetically.
By taking a book by an author who is at the center of the craze for the supernatural, and turning it into a refusal of and subtle comment on that loopy cultural phenomenon, Kubrick has made a movie that will have to be reckoned with on the highest level
Kubrick’s virtuosity as a filmmaker, and the range of his subjects, have served to disguise his near-obsessive concern with these two matters—the brutal brevity of the individual’s span on earth and the indifference of the spheres to that span, whatever its length, whatever achievements are recorded over its course.
Frank Capra is a brave man. He might be called a premature auteurist, since long before that critical theory was enunciated he believed that the director was the logical person to be the author of a movie. “One man, one film” was his credo and he was not modest about taking credit for his work.
I suspect that James Dickey, who adapted his best-selling novel Deliverance for the screen, and John Boorman, who directed it, are trying to tell us something fairly important by subjecting four sober, settled, middle-class gentlemen in their thirties to a series of wilderness trials that test their courage and cunning in a manner we usually associate with the initiation of adolescents into primitive tribes.
There’s nothing fun or funny to be found here. It offers us only the absorption of good acting and good storytelling combined with a plausible anthropology of a strange, terribly relevant culture. What more could we possibly want from a movie? How often, these days, do we get anything like all that?
In a December 1975 cover story, TIME Magazine examines Barry Lyndon and the many paradoxes of Stanley Kubrick, covering the filmmaker’s Herculean task in bringing the 18th century novel by William Makepeace Thackeray to the screen and the near impossibility of selling a three hour art film spectacle to the masses.
For a director like Stanley Kubrick, a novel like Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange must have seemed an irresistible challenge. Kubrick is essentially a daring imagist, yet he has twice before been tempted by projects that pose powerful problems of language for the film maker.
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis has correctly been hailed as a return to the old, great form of its director, Vittorio De Sica.
The theme is sexual obsession. The stars are Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The director is Stanley Kubrick. Who could look anywhere else?
Raging Bull began as Robert De Niro’s obsession, but the only man he believed could film it, Martin Scorsese, wasn’t interested—until the director’s near-fatal collapse gave him a visceral connection with the story of troubled boxing champion Jake La Motta.