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Modernity and the Maniac:
The Fall of Janet Leigh

Like Louise Brooks and James Dean, Janet Leigh has come to embody a potent vision of cinematic modernity. Actors who do this are not great in a theatrical sense, which is why Katherine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier could never have been icons in the way Brooks, Dean, and Leigh have become. Theirs is less the "presence by accumulation which characterises classical acting" as French theorist Nicole Brenez puts it. More the vivid brush strokes of affect vivified by the dynamic interaction of presence and absence which only cinema can confer.
Russian Film Week in New York
This year's Russian Film Week presented a varied picture of contemporary Russian film. By designating a film by Valery Todorovsky called My Stepbrother Frankenstein for the opening night, the organizers led with a strong suit. Additional films included the WWII drama Svoi; a story of paternal love and vibrant violin music, Papa; and the lushly photographed but tightly plotted A Driver for Vera.
The 42nd New York Film Festival
The geography of the festival selection seems to be shrinking; France dominates all other countries with eight entries. Three additional entries co-produced by the French come from Third World countries. Of the rest, there were Names: Mike Leigh (at his most yawningly didactic), Pedro Almodovar (at his raciest gay ever), and Ingmar Bergman. However, considering the festival selections, no worthy films seem to have been made elsewhere in Europe, East or West. Now, this may be true—I have not traveled much this year—but it still looks fishy.
In Search of Masculinity:
Martin Ritt's Hud and John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy

In both Hud and Midnight Cowboy, America's gender constructs are inflated, conflated, and deflated. The single concept of the independent male becomes the greedy, mysogonistic, indifferent male in Hud. Fortunately for Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy, however, his transformation from living within the hyperreal to living within a limited subjectivity emerges from his connection with another person, his sidekick Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman).
Striking Chords and Touching Nerves: Myth and Gender in Gone With the Wind
America's relationship to Gone With the Wind is more complex than "popularity" suggests and might be characterized as one of love/hate--for the subject matter, the characters, even for the film's notoriety. Second, this love/hate relationship is rooted, I believe, in the ways in which American myths, particularly those related to sex and gender, are both referenced and then violated in this film, particularly in the character of Scarlett O'Hara.

The most popular feature articles from past issues of Images:

Monster at the Soda Shop: Teenagers and Fifties Horror Films -- by Cyndy Hendershot

Billy Wilder: About Film Noir -- an interview by Robert Porfirio

Samuel Fuller: About Film Noir -- an interview by Robert Porfirio and James Ursini

The Parlor Scene in Psycho: Images of Duality -- by Michael Schmidt

Modernity and Mise-en-Scene: Terry Gilliam and Brazil by Keith James Hamel

Cleopatra Jones 007: Blaxploitation, James Bond, and Reciprocal Co-optation by Chris Norton

Goosing Mother Goose: The Fairy Tales of Tex Avery by Gary Morris

The Glory of Cary Grant and Other Girlish Delights by Elizabeth Abele

The Films of George C. Scott -- an interview by Paul Riordan

The Process of Life in 2001: A Space Odyssey by Greggory Moore

The Golden Age of Exploitation -- an interview with Felicia Feaster and Bret Wood, authors of Forbidden Fruit, interview by Gary Johnson

Vertigo: Love, Desire, the Image, and the Grave by Robert Baird

Close-Ups: The French New Wave and the Face by Iain Morrisson

Deconstructing Francis: Apocalypse Now and the End of the '70s by Darren Haber

Savages, Swine, & Buffoons: Hollywood's Selected Stereotypical Characterizations of the Japanese, Germans, and Italians in Films Produced During World War II by Ralph R. Donald.

A Master of His Craft: Eli Wallach -- an interview by Paul M. Riordan

Sinsational Sinema: Following the Grindhouse Circuit with Eddie Muller -- an interview by Gary Johnson

The Machine-Art of Dziga Vertov and Busby Berkeley by Nicole Armour

Features archive
To see a complete list of all the feature articles published by Images, go to the features archive.