May/June 1983

A reappraisal of Ingmar Bergman’s career and Fanny and Alexander, Superman III, midsection on getting difficult movies made, Charlie Hass on Headsploitation movies, Wild Style, Joe Dante’s guilty pleasures, Israeli cinema, L.M. Kit Carson and Jim McBride’s Breathless, on the set of David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone

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Issue Details

BERGMAN AT TWILIGHT
How far has Ingmar Bergman’s critical star slipped? Far enough so that that novelist Scott Spencer could cite Wild Strawberries as a Guilty Pleasure, for goodness’ sake. Two critics take exception to this fall from renown. Richard Corliss looks at Bergman’s career through the glass of all his women; and William Wolf sees Fanny and Alexander, Bergman’s latest, as a reflection of so many masterpieces.

MIDSECTION: THE HARD PART
Moviemaking is an Olympic event: high hurdles. First you try to get your picture made; then you try to get it shown; and finally you figure on getting it right. Herewith, three eyewitness reports on The Hard Part of Hollywood. L.M. Kit Carson shares the diary he kept during the five years he and Jim McBride struggled to remake Godard’s Breathless; Stephen Farber chronicles sad tales of unreleased movies; and David Ehrenstein defines The Aesthetics of Failure, from Cleopatra to Heaven’s Gate and beyond.

‘SUPERMAN,’ SUPER SALKINDS
Here comes the Man of Steel again, looking to leap tall Jedi at a single box-office bound. But Superman III is only the latest big movie produced by the legendary Salkind family. Harlan Kennedy talks with Ilya and Alexander; and David Chute meditates fondly on Clark Kent’s newest fetish, succulent Annette O’Toole.

HEADSPLOITATION MOVIES
hey like wow man remember when we all blissed out on head movies and peter fonda like turned from tammy’s doctor into this stony dude and movies took us on like trips into the sorta innermost karma of our essences? Charlie Haas takes another look at Headsploitation.

JOURNALS
Harlan Kennedy is back from Berlin with a folio of insights and a few good movies. Mitch Tuchman kibitzed with Canadian David Cronenberg on the set of his new thriller.

MUSTACHE
Burt’s got one, Dirk’s got one, Errol Flynn above his smirk’s got one. David Thomson delightfully decodes “that obscure wound of desire.”

THE OTHER INDIA
Forget Gandhi. India has hundreds of movies (five based on one Erich Segal novel) and a movie star as Chief Minister. By Elliott Stein.

JOE DANTE’S GUILTY PLEASURES
Can even a confirmed trivia freak admit to liking A.C. Lyles Westerns? The director of The Howling and one-fourth of The Twilight Zone relives a misspent youth in our pages.

ISRAEL: WHY NOT?
They are smart people, crafty warriors, a lonely Mideast outpost of democratic sense. So why can’t the Israelis make better movies? Dan Yakir went home and found out.

AMERICAN GRAFFITI
For Charles Ahearn, the words of the prophets are written on subway walls. The filmmaker talks with Harlan Jacobson about his eye-popping, assumption-shattering Wild Style.

BOOKS
Screenwriter John Sayles reviews screenwriter William Goldman’s screed on screenwriting. Barbara Learning discovers “an essential book on film theory.” Jack Barth rehabilitates the Three Stooges.

INDEPENDENTS
Amos Vogel goes to Berlin and finds a provocative new Japanese film.

BACK TALK
A final look at the 1983 Oscars.

BACK PAGE
It’s quiz time. Go on a trip and win a free year of FILM COMMENT.