We are always excited and often quite please when we get wind of new DVDs from First Run Features.
Here’s a trio of must-see flicks.
TOP HAT & TALES: HAROLD ROSS AND THE MAKING OF THE NEW YORKER
A film by Adam Van Doren
Top Hat and Tales chronicles the early years of The New Yorker, from its fledging beginnings under its legendary creator and editor Harold Ross, to its rise as an indispensable American institution. Interviews with celebrated writers and cartoonists such as John Updike, David Remnick, Roger Angell, Lee Lorenz, and Roz Chast will inform how The New Yorker’s signature style and content was shaped by its early contributors, including E.B. White, James Thurber, Charles Addams, Janet Flanner, J. D. Salinger, and more. Film clips, home movies and images from the anthology of The New Yorker covers and cartoons illustrate this look at one of journalism’s most revered publications. Commentary by Charles Schulz, Stuart Hample and Roy Blount, Jr. offer insight into The New Yorker‘s role in the nation’s cultural history.
JAMES THURBER: THE LIFE AND HARD TIMES
A film by Adam Van Doren
James Thurber: The Life and Hard Times is the first major documentary on the life and work of one of America’s greatest humorists. Known for his classic short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Thurber was a legendary contributor of prose and cartoons to The New Yorker where he worked for many years. Narrated by George Plimpton, this documentary includes interviews with Edward Albee, John Updike, Alistair Cooke, Roy Blount Jr., Fran Lebowitz and others. PS) The Kaye film version of Mitty is much better than the Stiller take.
PAUL BOWLES: THE CAGE DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN
A film by Daniel Young
When Paul Bowles moved to Tangiers, Morocco in 1949, it was a sanctuary for artists, writers and the wealthy to do as they pleased without fear of prosecution. Soon, his friends from America began visiting: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and many others. The Beats and the Hippies all searched him out, lured by the mysterious, exotic world he depicted in his books, notably The Sheltering Sky. But that was only one side of the story.
Based on an exclusive series of interviews with Bowles shortly before his death and anecdotes provided by his friends and collaborators including Gore Vidal, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Waters, Ruth Fainlight, Edmund White, William Burroughs, Francis Bacon and many others, this fascinating documentary reveals a daring and visionary life that went way beyond sexuality.