Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ink on Penn

From Nov. 14-23 Anthology Film Archives is showcasing a retrospective on director Arthur Penn, who regrettably has not made a feature film in 20 years but whose signature credits are indelible. I don't think he pulled off the artily stylized The Left-Handed Gun (1958), with the late Paul Newman (seems weird to write that), or Mickey One (1965), with Warren Beatty as a desperate nightclub comic, but the films are there for the viewing. More to my liking--and, really, if you don't appreciate these, you don't really love movies--are his superbly acted adaptation of the late William Gibson's The Miracle Worker (1962), with the Oscar-winning Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, the ground-breaking Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and the ironic epic Little Big Man (1970). Not far behind is the hippie requiem Alice's Restaurant (1969). Off to the side is the Lillian Hellman-scripted The Chase (1966), with Marlon Brando absorbing much punishment as a Southern sheriff, backed by a rising-star cast including Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. My personal favorite is the profoundly moral mystery Night Moves (1975), one of Gene Hackman's finest hours. ATA has it this Sunday, next Tuesday, and Sunday Nov. 23.

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