Halloween Editor’s Pick: Psycho (1960)

by on October 24, 2011Posted in: Editor's Pick

Playing Mon Oct 31 at 1:00, 4:40, 8:50 at Film Forum [Program & Tix]
*Dbl Ftr w/ OBSESSION (De Palma, 1976)


Where to begin? Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological slasher film changed the face of the movies, and it will make fine viewing on all Hallow’s Eve at Film Forum before you head out to your party. You can go as Norman Bates in drag, or maybe do an homage to Janet Leigh’s white bra vs. black bra duality if you want to get lucky. I’m assuming nobody is going to want to go to a Halloween party as Vera Miles’s Lila or John Gavin’s Sam, but trust me, there are plenty of writers who have found interesting things to say about those characters, too.


(Editor’s Note: Psycho plays in the second week of Film Forum’s “Bernard Herrmann” festival, thru November 3. Read Dan’s Alt Screen feature on the prolific film composer here.)

First, the heavy hitters…

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Wednesday Editor’s Pick: The Magnificient Ambersons (1946)

by on October 19, 2011Posted in: Editor's Pick

Playing Wed Oct 26 at 1:00, 4:10, 7:20, 10:30 and Thurs Oct 27 at 1:00, 4:10 at Film Forum [Program & Tix]

Film Forum keeps rolling out the hits in their Bernard Herrmann festival (thru Nov 3). Although we can always summon some prerequisite enthusiasm for Citizen Kane screenings, we are most hotly anticipating Welles’ followup, horribly mutilated by the studio but still – by hell or high water – a masterpiece.


As Andrew Sarris cheekily proclaims:

I much prefer it to Citizen Kane. So sue me.


Francois Truffaut, who allegedly referred to the film as his “Bible”:

If Flaubert reread Don Quixote every year, why can’t we see The Magnificent Ambersons whenever possible?


Essential Reading reminder: Dan Callahan’s Alt Screen feature on the film’s master composer.

Dave Kehr for the Chicago-Tribune:

There have been few darker days in the history of movies…


The 88-minute “Magnificent Ambersons“ that survives today is a ruin, but it is a magnificent ruin. Even in its shattered form, the film remains a work of immense beauty and power, blending an epic social vision with an acute and intimate personal tragedy. “Ambersons“ is a film of great warmth, humor, and nostalgia; at the same time, it is absolutely terrifying in its vision of human spitefulness, isolation, and waste.

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Bernard Herrmann at Film Forum (Oct 21 – Nov 3)

by on October 19, 2011Posted in: Essay

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Monday Editor’s Pick: North by Northwest (1959)

by on October 17, 2011Posted in: Editor's Pick

Playing Sun Oct 23 at 1:00, 3:30, 6:00, 8:30 and Mon Oct 24 at 1:00, 3:30, 9:30 at Film Forum

[Program & Tix]


There’s both everything and nothing left to say about Hitchock’s great comic thriller – thought by many to be his best, and certainly one of his most entertaining – which screens as part of Film Forum’s two-week tribute to the composer and key Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Hermmann.


Let’s kick things off with a guided tour by Hitch himself:


J. Hoberman for the Village Voice:

North By Northwest is Alfred Hitchcock’s ultimate wrong-man comedy. An empty Brooks Brothers suit (played with splendid insouciance by Cary Grant) is pushed further into the void when he inadvertently assumes the identity of a nonexistent secret agent. Thus cast in a role he cannot understand, the Grant character is a superb textual effect whose fantastic misadventures include the most bravura piece of editing in the Hitchcock oeuvre-the nearly silent rendezvous with himself in the horrifying vacuum of a midwestern cornfield.

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