Mark Twain Tonight!

Mark Twain, most often classified a humorist, was indeed that, in the very best and deepest sense of the term. Comedy, we know, is far more difficult than tragedy. The humorist must be a canny observer of the human experience, learn life's lessons, and then share with us what  ...

Madame Bovary

Flaubert's 1856 novel, Madame Bovary, is a masterpiece, a pioneering work of nineteenth century realism which resulted in an 1857 obscenity trial, as much instigated by Flaubert's scathing observations of middle-class pretentiousness as by its depiction of the heroine's sexual escapades. The story of Emma, a country girl with  ...

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Our review of the 2003 Broadway production with Vanessa Redgrave For Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey Into Night was an act of contrition and a personal confrontation with his tumultuous family history. That he could translate his anguish into an autobiographical drama  ...

Le Corsaire – American Ballet Theatre

Buckle on your swash me hearties, the pirate ship is heaving into view. Those on board include dashing brigands, skulking villains, scantily clad harem beauties, a lecherous pasha and various maidens in distress. If you want to dress for the occasion, anything from a turban to a tutu  ...

King Lear

Filmed in 1998, this adroit BBC/WGBH-Boston production of William Shakespeare’s King Lear is of particular note for preserving Ian Holm’s celebrated stage performance in the title role. Stellar interpreters of Lear haven’t always been so fortunate. Laurence Olivier was frail and in ill health by the time he was  ...

Jazz

Ken Burns' new documentary series Jazz completes the trilogy that began with The Civil War and continued with Baseball. It is less a celebration of a musical idiom than his latest attempt to define the very essence of America. "Jazz music objectifies America," Wynton Marsalis says over the  ...

Jonathan Winters: On the Loose

Jonathan Winters is a difficult talent to categorize, which may help explain why he has been so under-utilized by Hollywood. The latest example of this dropping of the ball is the recent flop Rocky and Bullwinkle, in which Winters has three roles, none of them lasting more than a  ...

Howard Hughs: His Women and His Movies

When most people hear the name Howard Hughes, his career in motion pictures is probably not the first thing to spring to mind. The more likely image is that of an old man with long hair and fingernails, wearing Kleenex boxes for shoes, sitting in a sterilized environment atop  ...

Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The Early Years (1955-1970)

A ski lodge, 1965. Well-scrubbed teenagers lounge around the fireplace, lazily sipping hot chocolate. In walk four black men, nattily dressed in identical hooded floor-length dusters with enormous white lapels. One of them sports a mountainous, perfectly coifed pompadour. Heads turn: they might as well be aliens. One  ...

Hitchcock, Selznick & the End of Hollywood

Suggested reading: Hitchcock and Selznick:The Rich and Strange Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick in Hollywood (1999), Leonard J. Leff Hitchcock's Notebooks: An authorized and Illustrated Look Inside the Creative Mind of Alfred Hitchcock (1999), Dan Auiler Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings  ...