Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 27
Adrienne Shelly November 1, 2006
Adrienne Shelly killed

Adrienne Shelly, one of independent film’s true stars of the 1990s and, with her features Sudden Manhattan, I’ll Take You There, and Waitress, a skilled director, died tragically November 1, 2006. Shelly burst onto the scene as Audry in Hal Hartley’s 1989 debut, The Unbelievable Truth. Her portrayal as an Armageddon-obsessed teenager made her something of a generational icon, and she went on to appear in Hartley’s follow-up, Trust, as well as films like Sleep with Me, Grind and Factotum. But with I’ll Take You There, Shelly purposefully moved behind the camera, bringing a deft comic tough and understanding of contemporary female characters to her films. In the fall of 2006 she submitted Waitress to Sundance and was working in a rented apartment she was using as a writer’s studio. When she went downstairs to complain about the noise a workman was causing, he killed her and attempted to stage the death as a suicide. Shelly left behind a young daughter and a husband, Andy Ostroy, who established The Adrienne Shelly Foundation to support young women in their directing careers.


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Johnny Guitar May 27, 1954
Johnny Guitar released

"Johnny Guitar is a phony Western, but not an ‘intellectual’ one," wrote the French filmmaker and critic François Truffaut about Nicholas Ray’s film, which opened May 27, 1954. "It is… a fairy tale, a hallucinatory Western…. Johnny Guitar is the Beauty and the Beast of Westerns, a Western dream."

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May 27, 1894
Dashiell Hammett born

Though Raymond Chandler overshadowed him ultimately, it was Dashiell Hammett - who was born today in 1894 - who pioneered the hardboiled detective novel as an art form. Unlike Chandler, Hammet never gravitated towards Hollywood to capitalize on the better pay that screenwriting work provided but nevertheless left his mark on the movies.

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