Monthly Archives: July 2012

Box Office Boffo and The Clock

This morning I treated myself to nearly five hours of The Clock at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. The Clock is Christian Marclay’s immensely enjoyable 24-hour compilation of time-related clips from movies; it consists of thousands of bits of footage from a wide spectrum of films, which have been compiled in such a way that the time in the movie always matches the time in the theater.

If you love movies, you should by all means catch as much of The Clock as you can, should it happen to make an appearance in a city near you.

I entered the screening at 8:45 a.m., and I departed at 1:30 p.m. I wish I could have stayed longer.
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Doubleday Books: A 1970s Powerhouse

I see that the fabulous blog Scouting NY has solved the mystery about this bookstore, which appears in Annie Hall:

Annie Hall - Doubleday Books

Scouting NY readers ventured guesses: Coliseum Books? Brentano’s? The Strand? The Barnes & Noble textbook annex on 5th Ave. and 18th St.? I wrote in suggesting the possibility of Doubleday Books. In my Year in Review: 1970 post, I pointed out that Doubleday Books had appeared in two of the #1 movies of that year, The Boys in the Band and The Owl and the Pussycat.
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(0061X) Walking Tall

Walking TallFebruary 25, 1973 | 1 week at #1

Seen by Martin before? No

What did I expect? Something inspirational and vaguely working-class.

What did I get? Walking Tall is a remarkably assured bit of brute cinema. A lightly fictionalized version of actual events, namely Sheriff Buford Pusser’s “War on the State Line Mob” in western Tennessee’s McNairy County, Walking Tall is violent and righteous without ever tipping over into unsettling strongarm propaganda. It may be Dirty Harry Goes to Mayberry, but mostly it plays fair.

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(0060X) Save the Tiger

Save the TigerFebruary 18, 1973 | 1 week at #1

Seen by Martin before? No

What did I expect? A strenuous drama about male middle age.

What did I get? Reminiscent of Arthur Miller, Save the Tiger is about a middle-aged businessman at the end of his tether. As portrayed by Jack Lemmon, apparel retailer Harry Stoner is a trudging cauldron of nostalgia-fueled frustration in whose mental landscape pre-WW2 heroes Cookie Lavagetto (Dodger third baseman) and Bunny Berigan (jazz trumpeter) loom large. Harry repeatedly invokes the American Dream, seemingly unaware that his own philandering and interest in expedient arson just might put him at odds with it. Targeted at the Silent Majority, the movie may strike other audiences as an exercise in grotesque self-pity.
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(0059X) Last Tango in Paris

Last Tango in ParisFebruary 11, 1973 | 1 week at #1

Seen by Martin before? Yes

What did I expect? A movie that is very pleased with its own frankness about sex.

What did I get? In a 1944 essay on Salvador Dalí, George Orwell wrote, “People are too frightened either of seeming to be shocked or of seeming not to be shocked, to be able to define the relationship between art and morals.” Last Tango‘s memorable mix of artistic courage and symptomatic male entitlement calls the quotation to mind. It’s a really interesting movie, but also vaguely annoying, deserving our admiration and our mockery, à la Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch as jacuzzi “lovahs” on Saturday Night Live. Orwell was so right: I, too, split the difference.

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