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January-February 1981

Francis Coppola, Brian DePalma, and Martin Scorsese's depictions of women, midsection of Sam Peckinpah, 1980 in review, Michael Powell, Mae West remembered, Ralph Bakshi, Abel Gance's Napoleon, Ken Russell's Altered States

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Issue Details

THE DIRECTOR AS RAGING BULL
The major young filmmakers—Francis Coppola, Brian DePalma, and Martin Scorsese—know how to shape, make, and sell movies. But, says David Thomson, their attitude toward women is straight out of the Forties, or maybe the Stone Age. Many of their films ask the voyeur’s eternal question: Why can’t a woman be more like a photograph? Case in point: Scorsese’s Raging Bull.

MIDSECTION: SAM PECKINPAH
Hollywood’s fiercest renegade may also be its finest. Richard T. Jameson and others pay tribute to Peckinpah and two of his signal actor-pals.

Introduction by Richard T. Jameson
Peckinpah: Cutter, by Richard Gentner and Diane Birdsall
Strother Martin article and interview by Richard T. Jameson
Ballad of Cable Hogue by Richard T. Jameson
Warren Oates by David Thomson
Warren Oates interview by Alan J. Warren and F. Albert Bomar
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia by Kathleen Murphy and Richard T. Jameson

THE TOUCH OF ‘ALTERED STATES’
While some directors see modern life as a battle between voyeur and victim, others are investigating the “European” notion of human contact. Dan Yakir limns the return of the touch to American movies from Ordinary People to The Great Santini. One touching movie, Altered States, also has some terrific special effects; and Bran Ferren, the wizard of Ken Russell’s id, tell how he did it.

1980: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
You and the movie studios may want to forget 1980, but FILM COMMENT has a job to do: reviewing the years highlights and lowlifes. Stephen Harvey and Richard Corliss do so, and four worthies append their 10 Best lists. Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate made a lot of news in 1980; Jack Kroll has some provocative ideas about the movie and its place in the New Hollywood.

JOURNALS
David Overbey on new films from the New Wave—even Chabrol. Gilbert Adair pays tribute to Michael Powell.

MAE WEST (1890s-1980)
James McCourt on the cinema’s earthy sex goddess. Go North, dear Mae.

BAKSHI’S AMERICAN DREAM
The man who cinemized Fritz the Cat and Frodo Baggins is back, this time with a stereo kaleidoscope of 20th-century music and images. Mike Greco has seen American Pop, and approves.

‘NAPOLEON’ CONQUERS AMERICA
William K. Everson on the many versions of Abel Gance’s 1927 epic.

CHARLES SCHNEE
Who remembers the screenwriter of I Walk Alone, Red River, They Live by Night, and The Bad and the Beautiful? Ronnie Scheib does, eloquently.

NEW ISRAELI CINEMA
Patricia Erens reports on the films and film talent of this beleaguered nation.

PEOPLE WE LIKE
James Blue, by Gordon Hitchens. Jan Dawson, by Tony Rayns.

BOOKS
Michael Powell recalls Rex Ingram.

TELEVISION
Daytime talk-show hosts inhabit a town all their own. By Richard Corliss.

INDEPENDENTS
Amos Vogel saw Werner Herzog’s Fata Morgana in 1970, and again in 1980. What a difference a decade makes.

LETTERS
Reflections in a bionic eye.

BULLETIN BOARD