"The fantastical demons that beset Benjamin Christensen’s career-defining Häxan may have gone into hiding for the Danish director’s second film made in Hollywood, Mockery, but they are not entirely absent. They’ve worked their way into every inch of Christensen’s characters, corrupting their morals, perverting their intents, and plaguing their souls."
"In an era of dizzy dames and glamour queens, Carole Lombard was the best of both worlds. An earthly deity of the silver screen, she was more than just blonde and beautiful — she also possessed a quick wit and daffy lunacy that remains unsurpassed over seventy years later. Fiercely independent, sexually confident and always cunning, Lombard sent an ordered, masculine-driven society into an irreversible tailspin. Film Forum’s retrospective comprises old favorites and overlooked jewels, and serves as a reminder of just how modern and ahead of her time Lombard really was."
Hammer to Nail, that great "home for ambitious cinema" that allows me the privilege of writing for them, has posted an awesome collaborative feature: “H2N’s Official Election Day 2008″ List. All of the writers have contributed short pieces on their favorite political themed movies. Here are the two that I wrote, but PLEASE check out the site and read what everyone else has to say, as it's a heck of a good time and might give you a few ideas of how to pass the hours as you wait for the final results tomorrow.
Great McGinty, The (Preston Sturges, 1940)— A reminder of why we are all so cynical, Sturges’ film satirizes not only a crooked political system, but also a thickheaded general public who refuses to open their eyes to the reality of things. A bum (Brian Donleavy) assists a corrupt politician with voter fraud, and winds up a much-loved town mayor. When the public learns the truth, they still love him! Unfortunately reminiscent of our current political climate.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939) — Capra’s unstoppable optimism has never been more affecting or endearing than in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. As the doe-eyed senator who tackles a corrupt political system, James Stewart becomes a hero to all: the embodiment of a pure, untarnished political ideal. Capra’s unconditional sincerity is enough to turn even the coldest cynic into a believer once again, and gives us hope that a real “Mr. Smith” does exist and might be elected.
Cullen Gallagher is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and curator whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Life Sentence, Moving Image Source, Bright Lights Film Journal, Beat to a Pulp, NoirCon, Crimefactory, Film Comment, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Fandor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, Spinetingler, Between Lavas, Reverse Shot, and Guitar Review. He records instrumental music as Modern Silent Cinema and plays in the hardcore band Night Squad.