Leo

David Thomson on Films: ‘The Last Command’ (1927)
January 22, 2011

It’s about time for this column to look back for a moment and delve into our library of DVD treasures. The reason is obvious: Most people passionate about film now spend as much time with that library as with new pictures. I’m talking about 1928, a very good year. An odd, sentimental gesture attended the first Oscars—but only those top prizes. The awards were held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929, when awards were being delivered for the years 1927-28.

The Best and the Fastest
August 31, 2009

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome By Christopher Kelly (W.W. Norton, 350 pp., $26.95) Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia From the Bronze Age To the Present By Christopher I. Beckwith (Princeton University Press, 472 pp., $35) The extraordinary reputation of Attila and his Huns requires an explanation, because they had so much competition.

Redemption Film
April 26, 2005

Maybe--hopefully--it was just a one-time concession, an effort to get the Chinese censors off his back once and for all. Regular readers may recall my review last year of Hero, the gorgeous, innovative martial-arts epic by Zhang Yimou that concluded with an appalling paean to authoritarianism in general and the "one China" policy of Tibetan and Taiwanese subjugation in particular. Zhang's followup effort, thankfully, is less morally fraught.

Vanity Blair
December 18, 1995

He's been called Bill Clinton's smarter younger brother. The best Tory tacticians are terrified of him. At lunch-tables round Westminster, the prime minister's allies whisper about the looming electoral slaughter. As business leaders defect and opinion polls give Labour a stratospheric lead, there is now a fixed assumption in Britain that the next prime minister will be Tony Blair. A young-looking 43, he is a slim but strongly built man whose fast smile and self-deprecating patter convey the impression of relentless, perpetual movement.

Vanity Blair
December 18, 1995

By all measures, Gordon Brown’s Labour Party is going to be trounced at the British polls next month by either the Tories or the newly ascendant Liberal Democrats (or both). With Brown’s popularity lagging, it’s easy to forget that the Labour Party once represented an exciting modern progressive party—particularly back when Tony Blair was on his way to becoming prime minister, and he and Brown were heralded as the party's future.