Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale star in Luchino Visconti's adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel

Last chance: Burt Lancaster is ‘The Leopard’ in Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece on Criterion Channel

The Leopard (Italy, 1963), Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel (said to be a national touchstone for Italy), is his masterpiece. Burt Lancaster (his voice is dubbed by a deep-voiced Italian) may seem an unusual choice to play Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, an idealistic 19th century Sicilian prince (Visconti favored Laurence Olivier, a […]

David Lean’s ‘Great Expectations’ on Amazon Prime Video and Criterion Channel

Great Expectations (1946), David Lean’s handsome adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, captures the warm humor and richness of character that so many filmmakers miss in their reverent recreations of Victorian England. From the nightmarish opening sequence on the windswept graveyard where young orphan Pip (Anthony Wager) meets the desperate escaped criminal Magwitch (Finlay Currie) […]

Peter Sellers stars in Stanley Kubrick's political satire of mutually assured destruction

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on HBO Max

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick’s screwball satire of cold war posturing and mutually assured destruction, is the funniest film ever made about nuclear holocaust. But it didn’t begin as a comedy. The source novel, Peter George’s Red Alert, was a grave contemplation of the […]

The delightful live action ‘Peter Pan’ on Peacock

You may feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a storybook illustrated by Maxfield Parrish when you fly off to Neverland in Peter Pan (2003), P.J. Hogan’s deft and delightful take on the oft-filmed J.M. Barrie classic. Rachel Hurd-Wood brings a tomboyish spirit to Wendy, a girl on the verge of being a young […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on Hulu

I Am Legend (2007), the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel (and the first to carry the novel’s name) about the last human in Earth after a plague turns the survivors into undead creatures, strips the story down to essentials. This version, directed by Francis Lawrence, focuses on the visceral experience of roaming an […]

Last chance: Errol Flynn is ‘Captain Blood’ on HBO Max

Errol Flynn was Warner Bros. contract player, barely a supporting actor on the Hollywood scene, when he shot to stardom in the starring role of Captain Blood (1935), Warner Bros.’ lavish adaptation of Rafael Sabatini’s novel. His bravado and charisma brings to life the rousing tale Peter Blood, a courageous British doctor who, unjustly sold […]

Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy on Hulu

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” cheers adolescent Hogarth, halfway to sci-fi heaven in the hand of a friendly ten story robot— a clanking metal man who acts like a combination little brother, big brother, and playful puppy dog all rolled into one magnificent structure who looks like he stepped off a vintage cover […]

Gene Wilder is Willy Wonka in the musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel

The original ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ – a world of pure imagination

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Gene Wilder is the weird, wonderful, slightly sinister candy bar king who invites five children into his factory kingdom in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s fantasy. It is a rare breed: an imaginative live-action […]

Sean Connery and Michael Caine star in John Huston's adaptation

Last chance: John Huston’s ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ on HBO Max

The Man Who Would Be King (1975) – John Huston originally wanted to make a film of Rudyard Kipling’s grand adventure in the late 1950s with Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable in the leading roles. It would’ve made a hell of a picture. And, as a matter of fact, it did, only with Sean Connery […]

Last chance: Paul Schrader’s ‘Affliction’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Paul Schrader made his mark on American cinema revealing the scarred psyches of American men trying to reconcile the contradictions of masculine fantasy and social reality, from his screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to his own movies, beginning with Blue Collar. Affliction (1998), adapted from the novel by Russell Banks, is his most […]