Program Notes

From the Film Vault Blog

Program Notes: The Sign of the Cross (1932)

The Sign of the Cross movie poster

Forty years after The Wild Bunch, 35 after Taxi Driver, and with memories of head-squishing Drive still fresh, I can report that Cecil B. DeMille’s sword-and-sandal epic The Sign of the Cross still has the power to shock.

Program Notes: Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

Birdman of Alcatraz movie poster

Robert Stroud never saw Birdman of Alcatraz, the film about his life released a year before his death. Too bad. It’s a good movie, even if Burt Lancaster’s portrayal makes him seem like a better person than he actually was.

Program Notes: King David (1985)

King David movie poster

At least King David isn’t silly. Credit director Bruce Beresford and writers Andrew Birkin and James Costigan for trying to tell a Bible story without all the sword-and-sandal silliness that so often afflicts the genre.

Program Notes: Ride the High Country (1962)

Ride the High Country movie poster

In 1962, with only his second movie, Sam Peckinpah proved himself a master of the lyrical oater with Ride the High Country, a Western that showed him to be a director of tremendous insight and sensitivity.

Program Notes: Across the Universe (2007)

Across the Universe movie poster

None of the surviving Beatles participated in the making of Across the Universe. Nevertheless, the music of history’s greatest rock band is everywhere in Julie Taymor’s ambitious tableau of love, loss, and redemption.

Kansas City Public Library Beta