A well-to-do New Rochelle family is split when it takes in a homeless black woman (Debbie Allen) and her child; all initially looks well when her estranged boyfriend, Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) reappears with a good job and an offer of marriage. The ‘younger brother’ of the family (Brad Dourif) falls in love with the notorious playgirl Evelyn Nesbit (Elizabeth McGovern) as she awaits the outcome of her husband Harry Thaw’s murder trial – Thaw killed famous architect Stanford White (Norman Mailer) out of jealousy.Read More »
In the early sixties, Vera Chytilova and Milos Forman were follow students at the Prague film school. Both were part of the Czech New Wave. Then Forman went to live and work in Hollywood, his colleague remaining in Europe.
The two had not been seen each other for ten years when they meet again for this portrait. The confrontational aspect is stressed by the title, after all their two careers could not be more different. Forman became one of the Hollywood Greats, whereas his compatriot aimed for something more subtle, closer to the cinema of discovery and experimentation. It is this clash between two often diametrically opposed filmic conceptions which here takes centre stage.Read More »
1961-1970Amos Vogel: Film as a Subversive ArtComedyCzech RepublicMilos FormanPolitics
A milestone of the Czech New Wave, Milos Forman’s first color film The Firemen’s Ball (Horí, má panenko) is both a dazzling comedy and a provocative political satire. A hilarious saga of good intentions confounded, the story chronicles a firemen’s ball where nothing goes right—from a beauty pageant whose reluctant participants embarrass the organizers to a lottery from which nearly all the prizes are pilfered. Presumed to be a commentary on the floundering Czech leadership, the film was “banned forever” in Czechoslovakia following the Russian invasion and prompted Forman’s move to America.Read More »
Synopsis: For this film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s Broadway hit, director Milos Forman returned to the city of Prague that he’d left behind during the Czech political crises of 1968, bringing along his usual cinematographer and fellow Czech expatriate, Miroslav Ondricek. Amadeus is an expansion of a Viennese “urban legend” concerning the death of 18th-century musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. From the vantage point of an insane asylum, aging royal composer Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) recalls the events of three decades earlier, when the young Mozart (Tom Hulce) first gained favor in the court of Austrian emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones). Read More »
Upon arrival at a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients together to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more a dictator than a nurse.Read More »
“Valmont,” Milos Forman’s spin on “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” is sumptuous suds, a broadly played trivialization of de Laclos’s 18th-century novel of boudoir intrigue. With its callow cast and playful tone, there is nothing dangerous about Forman’s variation on the novelist’s schemes. It’s a naughty costume dramedy in which the erotic conquests of bored libertines are transformed into children’s kissing games.
Colin Firth and Annette Bening play the story’s sexual strategists, the smarmy Vicomte de Valmont and the devious Marquise de Merteuil, whose machinations sully the virtuous Madame de Tourvel (Meg Tilly) and the virginal Cecile de Volanges (Fairuza Balk). A generation younger than the cast of Stephen Frears’s “Dangerous Liaisons,” the actors’ ages more closely mirror those of the novel’s young adults and teenagers, but they seem less bedroom Machiavellians than members of a 1700s Breakfast Club, not tragically flawed, hopelessly jaded, ultimately doomed and self-destructive, just wet behind the leers.Read More »
1961-1970Amos Vogel: Film as a Subversive ArtComedyCzech RepublicDramaMilos Forman
The flirtatious title of Milos Forman’s breakthrough comedy Loves of a Blonde says a lot about the film without even trying. Everybody in Forman’s bittersweet film thinks about sex constantly but only in terms of hypothetical scenarios that almost never come to pass. The funny thing about these daydreams of coitus is that they’re not strictly sexy. In fact, most of the time characters in Loves of a Blonde are wringing their hands about sex, even the trio of homely soldiers licking their lips at the thought of seducing a table of bored blondes at a local dance. First they send alcohol to the wrong table and are subsequently unsure of how long they should smile at the girls they plan on getting drunk and taking to the woods (they aren’t even sure if the idea of taking girls to the woods for sex is just a euphemism or not). Sex is comedy here because it breeds nothing but the kind of anxiety that the title of Forman’s film teems with.Read More »