Melvyn Douglas

Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

Over the course of the second half of the 20th century ,an entire cottage industry sprung up around sticking James Dean’s face on things and selling them. Shirts, posters, coffee mugs, license plates, postage stamps, what have you, they’ve all been sold to James Dean fans. And a lot of the imagery stuck on them comes from Dean’s penultimate film Rebel Without a Cause, which was released just a month after the star’s infamous death. Dean’s portrayal of the angry young man in this film has become iconic, prototypical, and is just about as much of a part of pop culture as the actor himself. After he died, his performance in Rebel got elevated up to a mythic standard, it became something that symbolized not just one of Hollywood’s preeminent figures, but an entire generation of disenfranchised youth. Eight years after Rebel Without a Cause exploded onto the screen in full color and became a cultural phenomenon, another movie about a rebellious young man was released. This one was shot in black and white and looked more like a classic Western than it did a modern, youth-centric tale of teenage rebellion. The film was called Hud, and instead of James Dean it starred Paul Newman as a guy who would rather get drunk and throw a punch than put in a day’s work. Who would rather sleep with a man’s wife than support a family of his own. Who would rather sell a contract for the oil on his family’s […]

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A married couple sets out to build a beautiful home in Connecticut. This does not go exactly as smoothly as they’d like. Hilarity, of course, ensues.

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Greta Garbo in Ninotchka

1939 is celebrated as one of the greatest single years of cinematic achievement in the history of the art. In honor of that Golden Era, I wanted to spotlight perhaps the least known Best Picture nominee of that year – Ninotchka.

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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