Beginning August 16, Criterion Channel will spotlight eleven films Barbara Stanwyck made between 1930 and 1934 before Hays Code-era restrictions censored the silver screen, according to Fox News. Imogen Sara Smith, the historian hosting the marathon, says Stanwyck (born Ruby Stevens in 1907 Brooklyn) was orphaned at the age of four, dropped out of school as a thirteen-year-old, performed for speakeasies at fifteen, became a Broadway star five years later, and found work in Hollywood in 1929. The actress did not retire until her late seventies, with more than eighty movie and television credits to her name when she died from congestive heart failure in 1990.
On Monday, Francis Ford Coppola debuted his three-hour Apocalypse Now Final Cut (1979), initially edited for the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, at the Hollywood Arclight Cinerama Dome, according to USA Today. Still longer than the original, the runtime is shorter than 2001’s Apocalypse Now Redux, which added forty-nine minutes of extended footage from scenes of the river, French plantation, Playboy Playmates, as well as Marlon Brando, with the auteur calling this latest incarnation “a version that I like.” The final cut will screen in select IMAX theaters Thursday and Sunday, and a home entertainment release is scheduled for August 27.
Film has the power to misrepresent history in the collective memory of its audience, especially for younger generations who have not lived through any past events portrayed onscreen, according to Psychology Today. Indeed, studies show how believable misinformation can change memories, and in persuasion and social psychology, the “sleeper” effect is able to make people believe something they didn’t agree with or believe earlier. Doctor Alan D. Castel writes that in a perfect world, a recent example of alternate history like Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) would inspire viewers to research the facts behind the fiction.
Once upon a time… in Nazi-occupied France…
If you don’t know what to watch next, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) is available to stream on Netflix. The war film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of SS Colonel Hans Landa.
The movie strings three storylines like Christmas lights around the premiere of a fictitious National Socialist propaganda piece in World War II Paris.
A Jewish American paramilitary group called “the Basterds,” led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), scalps German soldiers.
British Royal Marine Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) rendezvouses with the Basterds as part of his government’s plan to assassinate the Nazi leadership in attendance at the showing of Doctor Joseph Goebbels’s (Sylvester Groth) Stolz der Nation (1944).
And Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), a French Jew whose family was massacred by Hans, masquerades in Paris as the gentile theater owner hosting the Nation’s Pride debut, plotting her own justice against the Third Reich.
If Kill Bill (2003-2004) is a revenge fantasy for women and Django Unchained (2012) is the same for Black Americans, then Inglourious Basterds and its alternate history of Jewish vengeance makes up something of a trilogy with these two companion pieces.
Tarantino is a master of this subgenre, and the grand finale of Inglourious Basterds exhibits his genius for this niche at its most cathartic.
There is something to be said, however, about his attempt at empowerment through aestheticized violence. Such exploitative filmmaking can horrify the audience with images of fascists getting burned alive, when the narrative is intended to dramatize a triumph over their ideology.
It’s not that they don’t deserve it – it’s that the wrong crowd could sympathize with them.
Furthermore, the twice-nominated auteur (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) indulges in some of his more infamous weaknesses as a filmmaker and screenwriter, such as inconsistent pacing and self-gratifying dialogue.
Notwithstanding, Tarantino inspires in Waltz a star-making performance, which, together with his other Oscar-winning turn in Django Unchained, testifies to his range as an actor, from unlikable characterizations to the likable.
But the star who shines brightest in Inglourious Basterds is Laurent. Shosanna is one of the director’s finest creations, and though her screen time runs brief relative to her castmates, she steals the show.
She is a tragic figure who deserves better, an intersectional survivor of racism and misogyny (which go hand in glove in far-right zeitgeists like Nazi Germany) who wins in the end anyway.
Her arc towers at the center of Tarantino’s theme of reclaiming cinema to literally destroy the Nazis after they appropriated and perverted the art form to construct Nazism through their propaganda machinery.
Shosanna speaks to the hearts of Tarantino’s fellow cinephiles with a power unlike any other monologist throughout his filmography, and even though she doesn’t get her happily ever after in this quirky fairytale of Hitler’s France, she still gets the last laugh.
At a press conference in Moscow for his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Quentin Tarantino said Wednesday his tenth and final film will function as a “show-stopping climax” if you read his other nine movies as one story, according to Uproxx. Describing his filmography as “boxcars connected to each other,” the auteur did not mention whether his R-rated Star Trek screenplay will mark his grand finale, or if he will bow out with an original idea. In an interview with GQ Australia, Tarantino told the publication that while he plans to retire from theatrical filmmaking, he will still write books and plays.
In response to recent mass shootings, ESPN has pulled all advertising for Craig Zobel’s The Hunt (2019) ahead of the gun-heavy film’s September 27 release, according to Yahoo! Entertainment. The trailer for the R-rated, Jason Blum-produced satire features liberals hunting “deplorables” for sport, and stars Hilary Swank, Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, and Justin Hartley. With a television and online marketing blitz in the works for September, Universal Pictures finds themselves divided over how to proceed; one filmmaker wonders if the movie might be more “exploitative” than “opinionated,” while an executive says the picture is more relevant than ever.
Rhys Ernst’s Adam (2019), an adaptation of Ariel Schrag’s 2014 novel about a straight, cis boy pretending to be a trans man so a young lesbian will date him, has garnered six thousand online petition signatures to boycott the film ahead of its August 14 release, according to Vulture. Ernst says the screenplay (also written by Schrag) is a departure from the book, and he took pains to reclaim the controversial source material for the transgender community. That being said, a number of trans and nonbinary extras have taken to Twitter to dispute the gender-nonconforming inclusivity and friendliness on set.