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March 16: Jerry Lewis

Funny man Jerry Lewis (Levitch) was born in Newark, New Jersey on this date in 1926, to a vaudevillian father and a piano-playing mother. After on-stage training on the Borscht Belt (with his parents from the age of 5), he teamed up with Dean Martin in 1946, and within a year they were playing the […]

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“Hail, Caesar!” and the Commie Conspiracy

by Ilana Masad Reviewed in this essay: Hail, Caesar!, a film by Joel and Ethan Coen. Universal Pictures, 2016, 106 minutes. THE COEN BROTHERS’ films are a varied bunch, but as distinct and knowable as Woody Allen’s. Their quirks and oddities precede them to such a degree that we don’t often walk into a Coen […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Michael Moore’s Invasions

by Mitchell Abidor MICHAEL MOORE’S latest film, Where to Invade Next, is amazingly timely. Moore travels the world, a one-man invasion team searching for social programs other countries have that we don’t, so he can bring them back to the U.S. The film is, for most of its length, a virtual Bernie Sanders campaign ad, […]

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February 1: Arthur Miller’s “The Misfits”

Arthur Miller‘s film drama The Misfits premiered on this date in 1961, with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable in the lead roles, a final film appearance for both of them. Monroe’s marriage to Miller was falling apart during the creation of the film, which he had written specifically for her. She was sinking into substance […]

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January 29: Paddy Chayefsky

Sidney “Paddy” Chayefsky, the only solo writer to have won three Academy Awards for Best Screenplay — for Marty (1955), The Hospital (1971), and Network (1976) — was born in the Bronx on this date in 1923. Chayefsky was wounded during World War II and became a full-time short story and radio writer at the […]

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December 21: Jeffrey Katzenberg and DreamWorks

Film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who in 1994 cofounded DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen and serves as CEO of the company and overseer of its innovative animated films, was born in New York on this date in 1951. Katzenberg is a product of the Ethical Culture movement and has been married to Marilyn Siegel, […]

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Redefining the American Superhero: The Martian

by Ilana Masad MOST SUPERHEROES, like the ones featured in the spate of Marvel and DC films in the past ten or so years, are American. There are exceptions (Black Widow has Russian origins; Superman is from another planet), but for the most part, the words “superhero” and “American” go snugly hand in fist. But […]

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September 21: Jailed for His Silent Movie

Robert Goldstein, a costume supplier for the nascent Hollywood film industry who was jailed for making a silent movie, The Spirit of ’76, that portrayed Great Britain in a critical light just as the U.S. was entering World War I as Britain’s ally, was born on this date in 1883. Goldstein had been an investor […]

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August 19: Alan Arkin

Actor Alan Arkin, best known for his roles in Wait Until Dark; The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; Catch-22; Edward Scissorhands; Glengarry Glen Ross; and Little Miss Sunshine (for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award), was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1934. […]

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