Archive for the ‘obituaries’ Category

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Farewell New Yorker Films

February 24, 2009

In today’s New York Times it was announced that New Yorker Films, the oldest arthouse film distribution company in the U.S., is closing down, another victim of the recession, and one of the more personally painful for me. New Yorker Films, which has been in business since 1965, gave me my first job in New York, and my first start doing what I love. Ironically, it was a similar New York Times article in 1990, announcing that Dan Talbot’s Cinema Studio was closing down, that led me to write to Dan asking him for a job at his distribution company. I was hired to work on their catalogue (a veritable history of post-’50s international cinema), taught how to use PageMaker and spent many a lunch break watching 16mm prints of Straub-Huillet films and Herzog shorts in their screening room. I left in 1991 but I have continued editing, and occasionally writing, their catalogue ever since and I owe them a lot. They will be sorely missed.

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Movie poster of the week: Paul Newman R.I.P.

September 28, 2008

COOL HAND LUKE

I was busy working on my list of great movies I’ve never seen, in response to Filmbrain’s tag, when I heard that Paul Newman had died. I’d just been writing that there were very few major films I’d never seen, having picked through all the canons and pantheons over the years, but reading about Newman reminded me I’ve never seen either Cool Hand Luke or Hud, a situation I should rectify right away. (As an Altman completist I’d seen him in the execrable Quintet long before I searched out his defining roles. Though Torn Curtain—which just happened to be on TCM the night he died and I channel-surfed right past it—is one of the few Hitchcock films I’ve never seen.) The Hustler and The Color of Money were always my favorite Newman performances, and, like most everybody else, I loved him in Nobody’s Fool. I had also forgotten, until I read Adrian Martin on Dave Kehr’s blog calling it a masterpiece, that he had directed Joanne Woodward in the 1987 film of The Glass Menagerie: a forgotten gem. It goes without saying that one of the all-time good guys has left the building.