September/October 1984

Special section on Hollywood noir, violence against women in film, Brian De Palma’s Body Double, Mary Corliss reports from Cannes, Milos Foreman’s Amadeus, Clint Eastwood interview on Tightrope, Ermanno Olmi interview, Steve Martin interview

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Issue Details

SEX, VIOLENCE, AND DE PALMA
Indianapolis passes a statute declaring pornography a crime against women. Scientists suggest that men who watch movies like Friday the 13th and Swept Away take on the hostile attitudes of rapists. And Brian De Palma makes a movie, Body Double, confronting every taboo in the sociologist’s book. To open our discussion of sex and violence we present excerpts from the Body Double script. Marcia Pally investigates the political, legal, and artistic implications of feminist puritanism, and has it out with De Palma.

HARD-BOILED HOLLYWOOD
Mean streets and slippery morals. Black knights and yellowing 25¢ paperbacks. All part of the hard-boiled world. Novelists tailing the underside of urban life made a lasting impression on Hollywood films. Now we return the favor. In a thoughtful dazzler of an opening essay, Terry Curtis Fox plots the coordinates of these nightmare romances. Then Jonathan Rosenbaum writes on Cornell Woolrich, Richard Gehr on Mickey Spillane, Meredith Brody on David Goodis, Marcia Froelke Coburn on Patricia Highsmith, and David Chute on Marc Behm.

MOZART GOES TO THE MOVIES
The film they said couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be made is now on the screen as a sprawling musical biopic. Amadeus reunites the producer and director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Saul Zaentz and Milos Forman, who talk about their unusual partnership with Harlan Jacobson. Author Peter Shaffer recalls his doubts and satisfactions in adapting his play to film. And Michael Walsh disputes the film’s claims to accuracy.

CLINT WALKS A TIGHTROPE
Clint Eastwood’s Tightrope is a melodrama about a good cop with a strange kink: he has sex with whores in bondage. No matter. Tightrope is the one big hit of the late summer. In a rare extended interview, Eastwood discusses his macho image, his enduring popularity, and his theory of mise en scène. David Thompson was there to listen.

JOURNALS
Mary Corliss samples the fare at a wet Cannes festival. Max Linder, the French silent-screen comic, is back in a new compilation by his daughter Maud; Sheila Benson pays tribute.

BERTRAND TAVERNIER
The former film critic has a lovely new film, A Sunday in the Country, which he previews for our interviewer Dan Yakir.

STEVE MARTIN
What does a wild and crazy guy do when he turns 38? Go serious? Get serious! The silver-haired smoothie has turned in his most complete performance to date in All of Me. Story and interview by Jack Barth.

ERMANNO OLMI
The writer-director-producer-editor-costumer-set designer of The Tree of Wooden Clogs has a wondrous new film, opening this fall. A conversation with Harlan Kennedy.

TELEVISION: DONKEY DAYS
The Democrats threw themselves a rousing party, but TV didn't stay for all of it. By Richard Zoglin.

INDUSTRY: MOVIE PALACES
Now they want to tear the old Chicago Theatre down. Frank Segers reports.

BOOKS: ‘D.W. GRIFFITH’
A review by Richard T. Jameson.

BACK PAGE: QUIZ #9