Sunday, July 17, 2011

I think I owe the Harvard Film Archive an apology

I've been kidding them about "holes" in their schedule this month, to be filled up with notional Charlton Heston or Ray Harryhausen retrospectives (BOTH very goodish ideas still).
But nonetheless the HFA is clearing the boards old school come August and September with a comprehensive Joseph L. Mankiewicz retrospective including a rare big screen revival of "Cleopatra" (1963) (the film that all but annihilated 20th Century Fox), "Suddenly Last Summer" and the original "Quiet American" with Audie Murphy...Among many many others this is the HFA after all they miss but little.
But wait, there is MORE!
A Monte Hellman retrospective which for everyone who wants to see "Two Lane Blacktop" on the big screen along with more eccentric fare like "CockfIghter" and "Iguana" (which is NOT a giant lizard flick trust me!).
Great stuff but it gets even better, when the HFA actually revives "1860" (1934) Alessandro Blasetti's ode to Italian Unification produced under the auspices of Benito Mussolini to get the masses riled up with nationalist fervor. Channel Zero would Kill to screen this movie or any other propaganda films produced during the Italian Fascist era...HFA beat us to it, can't be envious of them either since they know the real worth of the work.
Our only reservation is the notion in the current HFA calendar to the effect that "Blasetti was the most significant Italian film maker to emerge during the 1930's", Channel Zero thinks pride of place belongs to Roberto Rossellini who got his start as the directorial protege of Vittorio Mussolini, Il Duce's mook of a son. But tis' a minor quibble congrats to the HFA for another superlative summer schedule.

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