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?
by Richard Schickel FIRST PARADOX: Barry Lyndon, a story of an 18th century Irish gentleman-rogue, is the first novel of a great 19th century writer, William Makepeace Thackeray. It shows early signs of a genius that would nourish only after creative struggle and personal adversity. In time, this forgotten book [...]
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.
A tragedy of false security by Richard Schickel The film looks as if it had been photographed through the mists of time. Often its characters seem to move with the strange deliberation of figures in a dreamed memory, their outlines softened by the years. Yet its images, its language (and [...]
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.