Talking Ben Hecht
One of the greatest American screenwriters, Ben Hecht was a renaissance man of dazzling sorts—reporter, novelist, playwright, crusader for the imperiled Jews of Hitler’s Europe, and propagandist for pre-1948 Palestine’s Jewish terrorist underground. He was also a balletomane and auteur (wrote, produced and directed) the ballet-noir, Specter of the Rose (1946). Whatever the outrage he ...
On arts·meme’s front page: ‘The Front Page’
So very excited to see the restored (by the Academy Film Archive ·and the Film Foundation) first film version of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 Broadway comedy, “The Front Page,” which kicks off To Save and Project at the Museum of Modern Art. According to MoMA adjunct curator Dave Kehr (he and curator Josh ...
Ivan Kirov, the dancing star of “Specter of the Rose” 1
by larry billman
“I’m no good. I’m just some muscles that can dance. The rest of me is rubbish — broken glass and rubbish.” So self-describes the lead character, Andre Sanine, of “Specter of the Rose” (1946, Republic Pictures). He’s mouthing writer-producer-director Ben Hecht’s lurid and kitsch-adjacent movie dialogue. Hecht created “Specter” in a couple of weeks, for ...
Specter of Nijinsky haunts Republic Pictures’ “Specter of the Rose”
The photo captures the marvelous opening scene of “Specter of the Rose,” a ballet movie from 1946 and a precious artifact of high-Hollywood dance-schmaltz. Dame Judith Anderson, seated at left, knitting, plays “Madam La Sylph,” the ballet mistress whom Ben Hecht, in his at-once overheated and acerbic screenplay, refers to as “the remains of a ...
Revisiting movie “classics” that aren’t 4
by robert koehler
It’s almost a dare. A film festival, in this case TCM Classic Film Festival 2014, which virtually took over Hollywood Boulevard for five days this past May, declares, in its title, its focus on movie “classics.” Nothing but “classics.” Really? Consider that perhaps a few of those “classics” are overrated. Then consider that some are ...