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Glenn Kenny
Film writer, formerly of Premiere magazine and .com. Reach me at
Recent Activity
HERTHA VON WALTHER as "Lady Leslane" GERDA MAURUS as "Sonya Baranilkowa" LIEN DEYERS as "Kitty" Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2016 at Some Came Running
Brett Smiley in London, circa 1974. Photograph by Gered Mankowitz. ©BOWSTIR Ltd. 2016/ Brett Smiley in Brooklyn, August 2013. At Brett Smiley's wake on the evening of January 13, a week after he died in his Carroll Gardens apartment (thank God), his people had set up a small TV display, and were playing DVD-Rs of some of his performances in the early aughts, backed by a band that featured his childhood pal Errol Bulut on... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2016 at Some Came Running
For Jaime Grijalba 1 In the last scene of Bigger Than Life, the 1956 film directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by its star, James Mason, Ed Avery, the middle-class teacher played by Mason, is lying in a hospital bed after a psychotic episode brought on, ostensibly, by cortisone abuse. That episode was previously depicted in a scene much beloved of cinephiles, a scene in which Avery enacts the Biblical passage in which God demands... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2016 at Some Came Running
Susannah York and Cathryn Harrison in Images, directed by Robert Altman, 1972 One of the many limitations of an early education in auteurist-based cinephilia is that you tend to look exclusively for directorial signatures. Or you tend to look at just about everything noteworthy in a given film as an indication of the directorial signature. Yes, the art is collaborative, and yes, Orson Welles put cinematographer Gregg Toland on the same title card as his... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2016 at Some Came Running
A couple of notes: this year the movies I loved and the movies I actually got to review did not overlap as much as they might have, as you'll see particularly in the uppermost twenty. You will see more documentaries than I normally put on such lists, and this is because I'm seeing more documentaries, a surprisingly pleasant side benefit, it turns out, of freelancing at The New York Times. Hard To Be A God... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2015 at Some Came Running
So. A couple of months, or weeks, or something, ago—my sense of time grows simultaneously more compressed and expanded as I grow older—someone on social media asked me where I ranked Bond movie X, and it reminded me that a few years back I labored somewhat mightily for my then-freelance-client, an entity called MSN Movies, on a lengthy piece in which I ranked the Bond pictures. That piece, published in annoying multi-click "gallery" form, has... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2015 at Some Came Running
Below, the opening and closing passages of "Art And The Spirit," the eleventh chapter of Robert Coover's 1991 Pinocchio In Venice. This elaborate, highly profane philosophical fantasy is a direct sequel to Carlo Collodi's original serial fable and also, Coover being Coover, refers extensively to Disney's version, and any reader looking to look further into this book would be well advised to become conversant again with both of those works (NYRB put out a good... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2015 at Some Came Running
With Tyrone Power in The Long Gray Line, John Ford, 1955 The memorial encomiums for Maureen O'Hara have tended to stress the same bunch of movies—Hunchback Of Notre Dame, How Green Was My Valley, Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man. Which is all well and good, except, you know, they're not the only pictures O'Hara made that are of cinephile or even general interest. Jamaica Inn (Alfred Hitchcock, 1939) O'Hara's more-or-less debut film (her... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Some Came Running
Left, Beverly Charpentier; with pen, Catherine Robbe-Grillet, Wednesday, October 7; photograph by Michael George. By the way, when we visited Robbe-Grillet, his petite, pretty wife, a young actress, had dressed herself a la gamine in my honor, pretending to be Lolita, and she continued the performance the next day, when we met again at a publisher’s luncheon in a restaurant. After pouring wine for everyone but her, the waiter asked, “Voulez-vous un Coca-Cola, Mademoiselle?” It... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2015 at Some Came Running
Q: Do you like Bellochio? BUÑUEL: I've seen Fists in the Pockets—I don't find it the slightest bit interesting; it's repulsive and far too facile. It's really completely overdone—the blind mother, the retarded brother...the son putting his feet on the mother's coffin—it's too easy...While he was at it, why not show him shitting on his mother's head? It's the only thing he spared us. —From "Two Interviews With Luis Buñuel," translated from a Cahiers du... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2015 at Some Came Running
Akerman in Je, tu, il, elle, 1975; image cribbed, with gratitude, from Only The Cinema About 12 years ago I was at a modest cocktail party—bare office space and bottles—commemorating the hanging-up-the-towel of a veteran indie film publicist. I was in a conversation with a stranger, an older woman who had connections in some New York distribution circles, or something like that, and the name Chantal Akerman came up, and I was taken aback to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2015 at Some Came Running
Christelow said: "I must tell you how I played golf with Manchip once. I thought I'd take the opportunity of learning something of his favorite poet, so I said to him as he teed off: 'Tell me, Master, what sort of a poet is Gynander?' 'Oh,' he said in that deep voice of his, 'a very interesting poet indeed.' 'Yes,' I said, 'I should have thought he was. But,' I said, 'what sort of a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2015 at Some Came Running
Florence (tourists not pictured). My trip to the Venice Film Festival was, as it happens, my first time in Italy. It was difficult, in a way, not to see it as somehow tying in with the parting from this world of my mother earlier this year. My mom was Italian—maiden name Petrosino, out of Naples—and had done a not-insubstantial bit of traveling in Italy late in life, and had always wished for me to visit... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2015 at Some Came Running
Or I guess I could have gone with, "I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one," or something. So anyway, I'm in Venice. The Italian one. Covering the film festival for That thar thing above is the island of San Giorgio. I think. The first two installments of my Venice diary are up; the first covering Black Mass and the next covering The Danish Girl. More to come, including furious... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2015 at Some Came Running
Debra Paget in The Tiger of Eschnapur, part one of Fritz Lang's Indian Tomb epic, 1959 Perhaps, or perhaps not, you have heard of Blue, a 2014 album by the antic and virtuosic jazz combo Mostly Other People Do The Killing. It is a note-for-note re-creation, or "cover version" of Miles Davis' seminal 1959 LP Kind of Blue. MOPDTK is known for, among other things, an antic sense of humor that manifests itself in cheeky... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2015 at Some Came Running
...I say "among" because I have not yet seen Alex Ross Perry's Queen Of Earth, which I have every reason to anticipate warmly. But good grief, the fellow's already got a retrospective at The Museum of the Moving Image coming up, and Queen itself is going to be screening at MOMA, and Perry's gonna do the voice of Winnie The Pooh for Disney or something*, so he hardly needs my help anymore. Bridey Elliott and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2015 at Some Came Running
The sagacious Jeffrey Wells has informed me that word "around the campfire" (yeah, I know) is that I've "had it out" for The End of the Tour since before its shooting even wrapped, and that my opinion of it now that it's a real live film is not to be trusted. It's true; I didn't think that making David Lipsky's useful book Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself into a movie was a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2015 at Some Came Running
Sondra Locke in A Reflection Of Fear, 1972, William A. Fraker. Back in June, venerable American cinema practitioner and semi-certified auteur Clint Eastwood, a still-formidable filmmaker but increasingly grizzled (almost to the point of approaching crotchety, even—what do you want, and you should be this productive and alert when you turn 900 years of age) public figure, cracked something like a Caitlyn Jenner joke. At a taping of something called "The Guy's Choice Awards" (no,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2015 at Some Came Running
In the late summer of 2004, I had the great honor of being invited to interview Olivia De Havilland for Premiere. We spent a little over an hour and a half in a suite at The Pierre in Manhattan, and out discussion ranged over a large number of points in her career and life, not including her musical number in Thank Your Lucky Stars or her strained relations with her sister, Joan Fontaine. And of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2015 at Some Came Running
Joseph Failla, my movie-going pal from the late 1960s on, and a sometime DVD reviewer for Premiere back in the early aughts, wrote me with some reminiscences and observations on the late Christopher Lee, which I reproduce below: It was my mother who first introduced me to the world of Christopher Lee when she bought me the Famous Films issue #2, CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN / HORROR OF DRACULA magazine, which featured both Hammer classics in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2015 at Some Came Running
Inveigling Suzan Farmer in Dracula: Prince Of Darkness, Terence Fisher, 1966 I don't know why I took the news of Sir Christopher Lee's death so hard this morning. It's not as if his face and his voice have been crucially intertwined with all the reasons I love movies, or anything. Oh, wait. it is that. But, you know, he WAS 93. Maybe I thought he was going to live forever. One of the greatest pleasures... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2015 at Some Came Running
Me, in my living room, holding up the October 1997 issue of Premiere. The actual 25th anniversary of the U.S. release of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas isn't until September, but already it is being commemorated; there was a special screening at the Robert De Niro-spearheaded Tribeca Film Festival, a newly mastered Blu-ray disc is out (haven't watched yet; I've been busy), and my proposal for a making-of book on the movie was passed on by at... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2015 at Some Came Running
What follows is my contribution to the Blogathon hosted by Philip Tatler IV at his apparently ever-name-changing film site. My God, what have I done: Roger Daltrey and Nell Campbell (yes, THE Nell Campbell). I had rather high hopes for the almost universally reviled 1975 gonzo biopic of composer pianist Franz Liszt as I prepared to view it in full for the first time. Celebrity culture is, we perceive, even more over-the-top today than it... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2015 at Some Came Running
I Feel Free: Marina Pierro in Walerian Borowczyk's Jekyll. For last week I wrote about new Blu-rays of Mario Bava's Blood And Black Lace and Walerian Borowczyk's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne, two incredible films with a wealth of psychosexual provocation built in. So much so that I didn't mention how incredible both Blu-rays actually look. They look incredible. My friend James White, who's been a key figure in Arrow's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2015 at Some Came Running
Don't try this at home: Charles Boyer, Jennifer Jones, and Philip Morris, Cluny Brown, Ernst Lubitsch, 1946 Last evening, near the end of Film Twitter’s “We Need To Talk About Cameron” quasi-telethon, the critic Tina Hassannia registered some disapprobation thusly: “ALOHA reviews are all framed in the auteurist framework, which inherently treats the white, male director as an artist worthy of discussion.” “It doesn’t matter what you think of the movie, at the end of... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2015 at Some Came Running