Stanley Kauffmann on Films: Inheritances
December 06, 2012
The Other Son Dangerous Liaisons Barrymore THE MONTAGUE-CAPULET pattern has been used a lot lately, fitting easily the Middle East situation. The girl is Israeli, the boy Arab, or vice versa. Now, in The Other Son, it is altered. Two young men, seemingly Israeli and Arab, are discovered to be brothers, victims of a mistake in a hospital, a Jewish one. Once again racial difference roars. The French director, Lorraine Levy, aided by Nathalie Saugeon and Noam Fitoussi, does not use her variation on this basic split as a trick for funny or saccharine effects.
From time to time these days, one meets young people—film students even—who can’t quite place Gary Cooper. Come May 13, he will have been dead for 51 years; and on May 7—the day I’m writing—he was born in 1901, up in Montana.
TNR Film Classics: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (January 6, 1947)
December 16, 2011
Frank Capra, Hollywood’s Horatio Alger, lights with more cinematic know-how and zeal than any other director to convince movie audiences that American life is exactly like the Saturday Evening Post covers of Norman Rockwell. It’s a Wonderful Life, the latest example of Capracorn, shows his art at a hysterical pitch. Capra’s moralizing, which is driven home in films packed with absurdly over-simplified characterizations and unbearable whimsy, is presented with great talent almost wholly through visual detail.
TNR Film Classic: 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' (1939)
August 26, 2011
Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is going to be the big movie explosion of the year, and reviewers are going to think twice and think sourly before they’ll want to put it down for the clumsy and irritating thing it is. It is a mixture of tough, factual patter about congressional cloakrooms and pressure groups, and a naïve but shameless hooraw for the American relic—Parson Weems at a flag-raising. It seems just the time for it, just the time of excitement when a barker in good voice could mount the tub, point toward the flag, say ubbuh-ubbah-ubbah and a pluribus union?
November 06, 1995
Bill Clinton was being treated to the good side of Newt Gingrich. When congressional leaders gathered at the White House in July for a dinner devoted to foreign affairs, the Speaker was, recalls a top Clinton official, like Wellington opining on world affairs. Gingrich lamented those Republicans who would slash contributions to the U.N.
TNR Film Classic: 'The Verdict' (1982)
December 20, 1982
The Verdict Twentieth-Century Fox Blessed be pluralism. Just when you’re feeling depressed by the gargantuan success of An Officer and a Gentleman, not because it’s a wretched picture but because it’s a throwback to a pre-Vietnam social perspective that glorifies military sentimentalities—pygmy John Fordism—along comes a picture out of a contrasting social perspective, the Common Man syndrome: Frank Capra with updated language and sexual frankness.