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January-February 1982

Special midsection on art direction, Stephen Schiff on modern women in film, 1981 film in review, book reviews, David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, Hollywood’s epic histories of American radicals in Ragtime and Reds, Peter Greenaway, Jean Eustache, Jon Jost

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Issue Details

WOMEN
The New Woman in films comes on as tough as Bogie. But underneath, says, Stephen Schiff, she’s just mama, pal, mistress or lady-in-distress.

COLOR MIDSECTION: ART DIRECTION
To see a movie means to understand its visual design. That was the motive for our first Midsection on Art Direction (May/June 1978). Now we update the craft, beginning with Carrie Rickey’s overview. Alexandre Trauner (Children of Paradise, Don Giovanni) talks with Annette Insdorf and Carol Weisweiller. Ken Adam, in the James Bond films and Pennies from Heaven, discusses his work with James Delson. Richard Sylbert gives Joseph McBride an inside view on the making of Reds. And Jack Fisk, hot art director turned director of Raggedy Man, is introduced by Mary Corliss and interviewed by Carlos Clarens and Richard Corliss.

1981: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
Can another movie year have flown by so quickly? And with so little worth remembering? David Chute is no cynic: here he celebrates a dozen filmmakers, some of whom you may even have heard of. The names and films in the annual flashback by Stephen Harvey and Richard Corliss should be familiar; so should the sensation of dashed hopes. Plus: Six Ten-Best lists.

ROUNDUP: THE 1981 BOOK REVUE
An economic recession hit the movie-book trade years ago, when publishers discovered that the Film Generation was interested in seeing, not reading. Still, a few hardy souls write books, compile filmographies, collect stills and sketches; and others, like the no-table group below, review them.

TV Movies by Tom Allen
Animation by J. Hoberman
The Industry by Stuart Byron
Film Noir by J. Hoberman
The Mogul by Stuart Byron
Structuralism by Amos Vogel
Movie Stars by Veronica Geng

JOURNALS
David Chute reports on a new movie by David (Scanners) Cronenberg and Deborah (Blondie) Harry. Harlan Kennedy sees Venice in the summertime and, like Hepburn, is entranced.

REDTIME
Ragtime and Reds signal Paramount’s big gamble that people want to see films about radical dreams exploded in early 20th-century America. David Thomson argues that they bring dignity to the epic genre, and luster to Milos Forman and Warren Beatty.

THREE INDEPENDENTS
1. Peter Greenaway
In The Falls, this Englishman brings wicked wit to structuralism, and puts a Joy Buzzer in the palm of the apocalypse. By Harlan Kennedy.

2. Jean Eustache
The maker of The Mother and the Whore died last year of a self-inflicted gun shot. He deserved better; we deserved more. By Dan Yakir.

3. Jon Jost
What are we going to do about this incorrigible American independent? Jonathan Rosenbaum has some ideas.

GUILTY PLEASURES
Christopher Durang is your ordinary playwright (Sister Mary Ignatius). He just has this thing about nuns…

TELEVISION
Donahue and Family Feud: two guides to Out There. By Richard Corliss.

1981 FILM COMMENT INDEX

ORBITS: ABEL GANCE
The monarch of Napoleon: born 1889; reborn 1981. By Brooks Riley.

BULLETIN BOARD