Godard: The Inflection Point
Jean-Luc Godard would definitely be included in any French film ‘Mount Rushmore.” His impact on world cinema over the course of 50+ year career is unquestioned. For many people, however, there is a delineation within his filmography around the year 1967. Godard felt that film was life and vice versa, and for certain periods his films spiraled in on themselves as Godard worked out an idea, an ideal, a subtle or obvious point or attempted to push the medium beyond anyone else’s understanding or capabilities. By 1967, he had made, among other films, Breathless (’60), A Woman is a Woman (’61), My Life to Live (’62), Contempt (’63), Alphaville (’65), Pierrot Le Fou (’65) and Band of Outsiders (’64); each a classic and influential film, as well as among his most popular and famous films. For Godard, 1967 was an inflection point because his life was changing and his interests no longer aligned with popular film culture or techniques. For life and for cinema there had to be a change.
Perhaps it was the end note on his film Weekend (’67), noting ‘end of story’ ‘end of cinema,’ that put on film what Godard was feeling. His political beliefs kept him making films, but he was largely uninterested in participating in the commercial pursuit of film. Before then, however, his output forever changed the landscape and understanding for what cinema could and should be. He influenced generations of filmmakers from all over the world, including Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar-Wai, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino. His films in the early to mid-sixties were accessible and filled with pop references and “meta” allusions to other films. More importantly, they were alive with energy, radiating an effervesce, even as the characters faced poverty, the police and death, that was unparallel among his contemporaries, his predecessors or his disciples.
Could it have been the impact of the end of his collaboration with actress Anna Karina that so profoundly changed Godard? To call her his muse simplifies his attitude towards film. Cinema was his muse, but there is no doubt that Karina influenced not only the 7 films they made together from 1961-1966, but several of his other films during that period. She could be argued as the sole distraction that Godard had from the pure belief in cinema as life. The couple’s relationship weighed heavily upon each of Godard’s films, from the utter adoration his camera captured in A Woman is a Woman (’61), through the dissolution of their marriage in 1965, reflected in Peirrot Le Fou to the end of their collaboration in Made in the U.S.A (’66). Even in films, like Contempt (’63), where Karina doesn’t even appear, her presence is palpable in the creation and performance of the female lead. That that personae could leak into a character played by Bridget Bardot is truly amazing given the strength of her presence and performance, but such was the interconnected nature of Karina and Godard.
While neither was able to recapture the co-dependent greatness of their collaboration, it cannot be understated that its strength lies in the sum of its parts. Watching the films it clear the arc is often painful and joyless, yet also moving and emotional, sometimes in the same film, and casts an emotional center to Godard’s films in this period. Years after their life together ended Karina repeatedly called Godard the love of her life. Not surprisingly, Godard’s comment was more pointed, but less direct, when he said “the cinema does not quarry the beauty of a woman, it only doubts her heart, records her perfidy, and only sees her movements.” Perhaps their love and collaboration was unbalanced, but these comments spoke to nothing more than a difference in perspective; Karina’s based in reality/life and Godard’s, not surprisingly, remembered through the lens of a camera.
Michelle Pfeiffer was viewed as a controversial choice for the part of Frankie in the Gary Marshall directed adaptation of Terrance McNally’s off-Broadway play “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.” The part of Frankie was originated by Kathy Bates and written as a world-weary waitress who “hadn’t dated since Reagan was president.” At the time, Pfeiffer countered that physical beauty didn’t guarantee happiness and she was perfectly suited to play the part. That Pfeiffer had been nominated for two acting Oscars in the two years leading up to Frankie and Johnny had no bearing on whether she could play the part apparently. She was simply too pretty and seemingly not talented enough to pull off a down and outer. Whether that proved true has to be seen, I guess, but it got me to thinking about Pfeiffer’s career and how she evolved from ‘just a pretty face’ to an actor of significance and respect.
Pfeiffer’s co-star in Frankie and Johnny, Al Pacino, virtually burst into the public conscience as a fully formed method actor in his signature role as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, earning his first Academy Award nomination in the process. While he had won acclaim on the stage in New York, his film career up to that point consisted of the well regarded The Panic in Needle Park, the part of Michael was a rocket launcher to fame and respect. Within three years he starred in Serpico, Godfather II, and Dog Day Afternoon, cementing his place as one of the preeminent actors of his generation.
Pfeiffer’s career, on the other hand started in roles that solely focused on her looks. They were light and airy, often taking place in the California sun (sometimes made for television) and culminated in the dismal Grease II (1982). Ironically, it was opposite Pacino in 1983’s Scarface that Pfeiffer began the climb to respectability and the film led to a string of, if not classics, then certainly career building roles in films like Into the Night, Ladyhawke, The Witches of Eastwick and Married to the Mob. It was her two decade ending classics, however, Dangerous Liaisons and The Fabulous Baker Boys, that finally put her near the top of the leading actress pyramid and accounted for the first 2 of her three acting Oscar nomination.
Frankie and Johnny sits right after those two films and just before her iconic performance as Cat Woman in Batman Returns, her third Oscar nomination, for Love Field, and Martin Scorsese’s The Age of innocence. To doubt her abilities, then seems like a misguided folly and Hollywood sexism at its peak. In Scarface, the more famous of the actors two pairings attests, Pfeiffer gives every bit to Pacino as she gets and my money is in Frankie and Johnny, she makes him work as well.
The tag line for the 1972 film Asylum, which will be screened on February 5th as part of our new series Back Alley Monday, is "You have nothing to lose but your mind." This puts it perfectly in the early 70's British Horror cannon with endless titles and tags to entice grind house and mainstream film fans alike. Asylum, however, had pedigree and a unique format which separates it from standard Brit horror. Robert Bloch, the novelist whose most famous work is Psycho, wrote the screenplay from 4 of his related short stories, all centered on an asylum housing the criminally insane. The anthology format provides a cavalcade of interesting characters, focussing on a young doctor's trial by fire interview to diagnose several patients and prove his worthiness for a position at the asylum. The challenge sets the story of murder and mayhem in motion, with each vignette featuring dynamic casts, interesting premises and wonderful direction by Roy Ward Baker. Baker directed the Titanic film A Night to Remember in 1958, as well as the horror classic Quatermass and the Pit in 1967, among more than 60 TV and movie credits. Actors in featured roles include Peter Cushing (The Curse of Frankenstein), Patrick Magee (Barry Lyndon), Brit Ekland (Get Carter), Barbara Parkins (Valley of the Dolls), Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter) and Robert Powell (TV's Jesus of Nazareth). With a cast and crew that would create envy in any producer's rolodex, Asylum should be the rare treat that offers newfound nuggets for first time viewers and newly revealed treasures for repeat viewers, all on a 16mm film that will sure to offer surprises of its own!
Hal Ashby, the Forgotten Director of New Hollywood
Director Hal Ashby is often overlooked when lists of the greatest directors of the 1970’s are made. Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are all regularly mentioned, and rightfully so. The creative genius they and many other directors displayed in the 70’s changed Hollywood forever. Generally speaking, those directors either were fresh graduates of film schools, or in Bogdanovich’s case, film criticism. Ashby was different. He didn’t come from either coast; having been born and raised in Utah. He didn’t attend college, instead working, by his estimate, several hundred odd jobs, both in Utah and in California, after moving at 21 to “live off the fruit of the land.” He didn’t have a technical or artistic background, but applied through a job service to work for a studio, any studio. When he was granted an assistant editor position at Republic Pictures, however, he found first a vocation, and then an outlet for his immense skill and artistry.
He was in his early twenties, but would assist on important films for George Stevens and William Wyler, honing his craft as an editor. His partnership with Norman Jewison led to some of the director’s best work, including The Cincinnati Kid, and The Thomas Crown Affair. It was his editing of Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night, however, that put him on the Hollywood map and led to his only Academy Award. Ashby was known as a tireless worker, often putting in 15-17 hours a day at his editing bay. He had a photographic memory that helped him recall every piece of film he touched, then retrieve it to utilize it in his constructive process. He had been working with the understanding that editing was the perfect training ground for being a director, but he was 38 years old, exhausted, divorced three times and had no directing prospects. Jewison offered him the opportunity to direct The Landlord in 1970, because he was too busy himself, setting in motion a run of greatness that would rival any other director.
After The Landlord, Ashby would direct Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Bound for Glory, Coming Home and Being There, all within a nine-year span encompassing the 1970’s. Combined, he would direct 10 actors to Oscar nominations, with four of them winning. Ashby would be nominated for just one Best Director Oscar, for Coming Home, but would lose to Michael Cimino’s direction of The Deer Hunter.
While he would direct a handful of features in the 1980’s, he was never able to capture the magic of his ‘70’s output. A habitual marijuana user dating back to the ‘50’s, Ashby often clashed with producers and studio executives. Rumored use of cocaine and other drugs, however, led to difficulty in being hired, exacerbated by Ashby’s increased reclusiveness. A man of few words, Ashby let his films speak for him, crafting a legacy of greatness during a period of upheaval and change throughout Hollywood. Given the seven films he directed during the ‘70’s it’s clear he deserves to be mentioned along with Scorsese, Coppola, Cimino and Bogdanovich as an auteur of New Hollywood.
Sadly, he did not live to old age as many of these men have, so he was never granted a late career resurgence or retrospective. Ashby died of pancreatic cancer in 1988. His last project, a TV pilot for a series created by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, never aired, due to Chapman’s health and Ashby’s death.
Award winning screenwriter Larry Karaszewski will join us via Zoom for our post-screening talkback. In addition to co-writing Tim Burton's Ed Wood, he co-wrote My Name is Dolemite, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Big Eyes, and Man on the Moon, creating a biopic sub-genre with writing partner Scott Alexander.
Glen or Glenda
Director Edward D. Wood Jr. has been called the worst director of all time and his film Plan 9 From Outer Space is often called the worst film of all time. But while he unequivocally lacked artistic talent, there is no doubt his films were made with a simplistic joy and a unique creativity. His first film, Glen or Glenda was a direct response to the worldwide news of Christine Jorgensen’s sex reassignment surgery in 1952. As part of the low-budget exploitation sub-genre of the early 1950’s, Glen or Glenda would have been pitched as a film about transgenderism, couched in a docudrama or educational style to avoid censorship. What Ed Wood made, however, was a semi-autobiographical film about his own transvestism; taking what was personal and incorporating it into his passion. In doing so, Wood bared his soul, nakedly putting his ‘difference’ out into the world for everyone to see and making a film, while derided by some for its mundane sets, stilted dialogue, and clunky editing, that clearly stands as a plea for acceptance and understanding.
In addition to writing and directing Glen or Glenda, Wood also starred as Glen, a closeted transvestite struggling to tell his fiancé about his secret life. While careful to couch his transvestism in an overtly obvious heterosexuality, the film creates a sensitive case for normalizing his transvestism within his home and in public. His fiancé, played by Wood’s real-life girlfriend, Dolores Fuller, only recently made aware of his transvestism, speaks for many when she admits that she doesn’t understand it, but she accepts it. There is a simple poignance in the scene where she expresses her feelings. Shot in just four days, Glen or Glenda liberally uses stock footage, voice over narration and a framing device of a police investigation to illustrate the societal perception and impact of misunderstanding of what was deemed a ‘deviant’ subculture. Topping the framing device is 1930’s horror film icon Bela Lugosi as a god-like narrator/mad scientist. Lugosi was an acquaintance of Wood’s who hadn’t acted in four years and was addicted to pain medication when he agreed to the part, not knowing what the film was about, but happy to have the $1,000 payday. Lugosi’s scenes were filmed away from the other actors and offer a bizarre and surreal addition to the film itself. While the film was not well received by critics or audiences at the time, Variety noted that “what distinguishes it from other low budget efforts are the occasional mad flights of fancy” (Variety, Dec. 31st, 1952). Not overwhelming praise, but noteworthy nonetheless. Not surprisingly, the film quickly disappeared from circulation and was largely forgotten. It wasn’t until the 1980’s when Wood gained notoriety for the assumed banality of his work, that he became known among cult film fans, enhanced by the bourgeoning home video market and midnight screenings. Unlike Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957), Jail Bait (1954) or Bride of the Monster (1955), Glen or Glenda has been reevaluated more for its social and cultural impact than its cinematic originality, separating it from Wood’s other films. Looking at it with a modern eye, it is apparent that Wood’s beliefs were ahead of their time and have become oddly prescient in today’s culture of intolerance. During his lifetime Edward D. Wood, Jr. never received notoriety, fame or even respect for his filmmaking, but Glen or Glenda proves that in his soul he was a fearless artist worthy of respect, if not praise.
John, Paul and George famously came together as teenagers in Liverpool, England, later adding Ringo Starr to become the Fab Four. Their meteoric rise to international superstardom seems to have happened overnight, but there were two separate stints in Hamburg Germany that helped forge them into musicians and performers of the highest order. At one point they agreed to perform six nights a week for up to 6 hours, a daunting task for a band with limited material and even less on-stage experience. Out of that gauntlet came a confidence and willingness to experiment with their sound that carried over into their musical output throughout the life of the band. In fact, when they released their first single, “Love Me Do”, released on October 5th, 1962, it took just weeks to land on the charts in England, peaking at #17. By 1963 they had 4 number 1 hits and a number 2 hit on the English charts and were ready to conquer America. Their confidence and experience, forged in Germany from 196-1962, and cemented by adoring fans in the UK, helped them make choices that would allow them to not just enter the US market, but to overtake it in a whirlwind of publicity, performances and hit singles the likes of which the country had never seen.
During the late 1950’s, film producers looking to make money appealing to the burgeoning youth culture in the U.S. created what were dubbed “Juke Box Musicals”. Essentially bundling hot rock-n-roll bands and performers together with threadbare plots to make feature length performance films, many bands were able to chart their featured singles through appearances in the films. The broader platform was appealing to many up-and-coming bands, but The Beatles immediately turned down their many film studio suitors, choosing instead to accept an invitation to be beamed into homes on The Ed Sullivan Show. Broadcast on February 9th, 1964, just 3 weeks after their first official album release in the U.S. When 73 million people watched the performance, the musical earth literally shifted and The Beatles became THE BEATLES!
By March they were back in London filming A Hard Day’s Night, directed by Richard Lester, who had been hand-picked by John based on his 1959 short film, The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film. Lester’s whimsical style, coupled with the loose approximation of a screenplay, enhanced by improvisations and reenactments, helped define The Beatles individual personae. John, Paul, George and Ringo became household names and the film made $8 million dollars in its first week, a tidy sum against its $500,000 budget.
A Hard Day’s Night took only 16 weeks from the beginning of production to its theatrical release, in part so distribution company United Artists could exploit a loophole in The Beatles Capitol Records contract that overlooked film soundtracks. In a flurry of activity UA raced to beat Capitol to market before the film’s release. Streeting two weeks prior to its British cousin, A Hard Day’s Night album released on June 26, 1964, more than a month before the film’s August 11th opening. Influencing generations of music videos with innovative shot-making and editing, A Hard Day’s Night has been ranked among the 100 greatest films in British history and has routinely been named one of the 5 best Rock and Roll movies ever made.
Director Michael Curtiz's romp through Sherwood forest is a joyous adventure film that beautifully flaunts the glory of 3-strip technicolor film. The greens, blues and reds pop on the screen as swashbuckling Errol Flyyn challenges the status quo with his band of merry men. The Adventures of Robin Hood is Hollywood filmmaking at its finest, combining action, comedy, a little romance and enough male bonding to sink a ship. Flynn creates his signature character and exhibits the natural charm that endeared him to film fans throughout his career. The supporting cast is chock full of character actors and bonafide stars including Olivia DeHavilland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains, but its the merry men who steal the show by appearing as if each of them embodying their characters. Alan Hale as Little John and Eugene Pallette as Friar Tuck are particularly good, in career defining roles.
While The Adventures of Robin Hood was the most expensive film made by Warner Bros. Studio up to that time, at an estimated $2 million dollars, and the studio's first 3-strip Technicolor film, most of the budget can be seen in the finished product. The sets are sumptuous and the location scenes are rich in detail and beauty. But it's really Errol Flynn who demands to be looked at whenever he's on screen. His charismatic personae, often heightened by the twinkle in his eye, is perfectly matched to the mischievous Robin Hood and is matched by his graceful stunt work. Errol Flynn is Robin Hood and Robin Hood is Errol Flynn!
No other sport has been the subject of as many movies as boxing. Whether it's the story of a down on his luck former champ, like Jake LaMotta (Robert DeNiro) in Raging Bull ('80), a fighter exploited by unscrupulous promoters, like Charley Davis (John Garfield) in Body and Soul ('47), or the exploitive Midge Kelly (Kirk Douglas) in Champion ('49), boxing provides no shortage of characters, both good and bad. The corruption, the exploitation and the disregard for the boxers themselves often taints the films as dark and somewhat depressing, but one film was always different and that is the 1976 classic Rocky, directed by John Avildsen and starring Sylvester Stallone in a career defining role. Even as it has spawned 8 more movies, the original stands alone as the most beloved boxing film of all-time.
The story's one in a million plot, however, almost became a TV movie and then a potential vehicle for Robert Redford or Ryan O'Neal, among others. Sylvester Stallone, who wrote the script in less than 5 days, insisted his screenplay remain intact, killing the TV movie concept. He then pitched the movie to Hollywood studios with the stipulation that he star in the film, another deterrent for initial investment. Finally, finding willing producers in Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, provided the budget be kept below $1.2 million dollars, the film was greenlit. While the city of Philadelphia became a character in and of itself, thanks to the brilliant location shooting, the script was changed in several significant ways during production, changing the tone and the storyline.
Released in December, Rocky became the highest grossing film released in 1976 and the second highest grossing (to Star Wars) in 1977, with more than $115 million dollars (~$500 million adjusted for inflation) and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning three, including Best Picture.
Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea star in writer/director Preston Sturges' madcap story of a Hollywood director out to find meaning in his life and subject matter for a film of consequence, after being pigeonholed as a director of lightweight comedies. Lake co-stars as an actress down on her luck, but plucky enough to guide director Sullivan (McCrea) through the trials and tribulations of their on the road adventure. Sullivan's Travels, and much of Sturges' work has influenced writers for decades, most notably Joel and Ethan Coen, who named their film O' Brother, Where Art Thou? after the film Sullivan wanted to create in this film.
Perhaps no other writer in Hollywood history experienced a meteoric rise and precipitous fall as Sturges did. A successful playwright by 29, Sturges was bought to Hollywood to first doctor scripts, then create his own, including classics like The Power and the Glory ('33), Easy Living ('37) and Remember the Night ('39). When he offered to write the script for The Great McGinty ('40) for $1, provided he could direct the film, Paramount granted his wish, setting a whirlwind 4 years where Sturges wrote and directed eight films, four of which are certified comedy classics and often named among the greatest ever made. That Sturges directed only 4 more films after 1944, sealed his fate as a 'flash in the pan', but those who are familiar with his work will attest to the amazing breadth of the content, the overwhelming depth of the verbal and physical comedy, and the wholly unique brand of movies that Sturges created. His legacy is worth discovering one film at a time and Sullivan's Travels is the best place to start!
When French film critics began to recognize patterns in American films arriving in post war Paris, they coined the term Film Noir to reflect the desolation, hopelessness and cynicism in American crime films. The film movement is generally believed to have begun with the 1941 release of The Maltese Falcon, reached its zenith in 1948, when more than 100 Noirs were released, and wained by 1958's capstone Touch of Evil. Even before America's film industry's adoption of more dark and stylized films, however, international films like Ossessione (Visconti, 1943) and Pepe Le Moko (Duvivier, 1937) in Italy and France respectively, were mining gold from the crime novels that were the stock and trade of Film Noir. Later, with filmmakers Jean-Pierre Melville (1967, Le Samourai), Jean-Luc Godard (1965, Alphaville) and American exile Jules Dassin (1955, Rafifi), France became the hub of the extension of the movement, mimicking American Noir, but adding subtle and magnificent twists to the cannon. Amongst those French films was director Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows, a taut and brilliant story of a perfect murder plot gone horribly wrong through one simple mistake. As with any noir plot, there is a woman, here played by the beautiful Jeanne Moreau, lost on the streets of Paris as she searches for her lover. As in so many Noir before, it is the inattention to detail that dooms the killer and Maurice Ronet brilliantly portrays the yearning for his lover, combined with the sense of dread as the walls literally hold him suspended. With a brilliant score, created in one all-night improvisational session by Miles Davis, Elevator to the Gallows ascends to among the best of not just French Noir of the later cycle, but along classics like Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Killers.
The Marx Bros., Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo, turn a transatlantic voyage into an opportunity to create mayhem as only the Marx Bros. can! The third film in the Bros. cannon, but the first with an original screenplay, Monkey Business has been hailed alongside Animal Crackers as one of their best. Typical of many Pre-Code comedies, censors attempted to limit the sexual innuendo, but the film was ultimately banned in Ireland for fear of fostering anarchic tendencies, which was uniquely the Marx Bros. Many of the sexual jokes remain and of course the anarchy reigns supreme, but it is the wordplay, quick quips and ridiculous physical comedy that create a comedy classic! Thelma Todd co-stars, and a certain line of dialogue foreshadows her death just 4 years later.
When the brothers harmonize Sweet Adeline, while concealed in separate fish barrels, there exists debate as to whether Harpo participates, which would mark one of the very rare examples of Harpo's voice on film! Join us the screening for a lively discussion of the genius of the Marx Bros., their influence on American comedy and where Monkey Business ultimately ranks in their amazing cannon of classic comedy!
William Friedkin's masterpiece of suspense and terror comes to Motor City Cinema Society to celebrate its 50th Anniversary! Initially released on just 24 screens on December 26th, 1973, The Exorcist would go on to gross more than $193 million dollars in it first run. Named the scariest film ever made by the American Film Institute, Entertainment Weekly and countless other publications and website's, the film has spawned sequels, reboots, imitators and parodies, but the original is one of a kind!
Based on screenwriter William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel of the same name, The Exorcist book almost sunk into oblivion, an initial publishing failure. It was only after Blatty's appearance on "The Dick Cavett Show", where he argued for the existence of the devil, that book sales took off, rising to the top of the New York Times best seller list, and came to the attention of Hollywood. Friedkin was Blatty's first choice for director, but Warner Bros. balked at the cast of unknowns, particularly when production delays drove up costs. In a calculated move, the studio 'four walled' the 24 screens, paying a flat fee for use of the theaters, instead of splitting the box office, as was the normal practice. The sold out run was immensely profitable for the studio and gave them the confidence to roll the film out wide and create a national frenzy for tickets, some offered with barf bags to aid in the clean up of overly sensitive viewers.
Friedkin, having made his other masterpiece, The French Connection ('71), two years earlier, often remarked that he spent the rest of his career 'climbing uphill to the bottom', in reference to trying to live up to these two classics. While he certainly had his ups and downs, the maker of To Live and Die in LA, Cruising, Sorcerer, and the recent Caine Mutiny Court Martial ('23), certainly had a career worthy of greatness. Friedkin died on August 7th,
George Romero's Night of the Living Dead created the zombie sub-genre with his 1968 classic. Made independently, on a shoestring budget in and around Pittsburgh, Night of the Living Dead has been identified by Sight and Sound Magazine as one of the three most important and influential Horror films of all-time (The others: The Bride of Frankenstein and Psycho). The film both reimagined and reinvigorated the horror genre by recasting the idea of a singular killer/monster stalking people into the possibility that all of humanity, both past and present, could rise up to kill everyone! The zombie film tropes that were created by Romero are too numerous to mention, but where would we be without the 'kill the brain, kill the monster' mantra pioneered in Night of the Living Dead? If World War Z, The Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead , and countless others have taught us anything, it's that there is always hope, as long as you can get that kill shot through the brain! Through countless sequels, reboots, offshoots, parodies and imitations, the original still rings the truest and the most frightening! Join us and enjoy Night of the Living Dead, projected on glorious 16mm film, as it was meant to be seen!!
Along with Susperia, Deep Red is generally considered director Dario Argento's masterpiece. A brilliant murder thriller that captures the essence of Argento's iconic use of color and framing, Deep Red helped built Argento's reputation as the "Italian Hitchcock" for his inventive storytelling that continually left viewers on the edge of their seats! After beginning his career as a critic while still a teenager, Argento collaborated with Bernardo Bertolucci on the script for Sergio Leone's classic Once Upon a Time in the West in 1968. Two years later he wrote and directed The Bird with a Crystal Plumage, the first of three horror/mysteries dubbed 'the animal trilogy' that also included The Cat o' Nine Tails ('71) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet ('71). It was Deep Red, made in 1975 and Susperia, made in 1977, that made him internationally famous and cemented his reputation as a great director and one of the leading horror filmmakers in the world. Deep Red also was the first of many collaborations Argento did with Claudio Simonetti's prog rock band Goblin! Starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, and Gabriele Lavia, Deep Red runs 2 hours and 7 minutes. Argento's most recent film, Dark Glasses was released in 2022