Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 30
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.


More Flashbacks
Boy with Green Hair November 30, 1948
The Boy with Green Hair opens

The opening of the pacifist parable The Boy with Green Hair should be celebrated as the feature directorial debut of Joseph Losey.

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November 30, 1947
Ernst Lubitsch dies

On Sunday November 30, 1947, director Ernst Lubitsch was due at William Wyler’s home for an afternoon screening party.

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November 30, 1945
Noir Takes a Detour

In a time in which CGI and other advanced film technologies create worlds that are more lifelike than life itself, the grungy, low-rent charms of Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour, which opened on November 20, 1945, should not be forgotten. Shot in less than one week on a few simple sets and using obvious rear-screen projection for all the driving scenes, the movie is, as Robert Ebert wrote, “so filled with imperfections that it would not earn the director a passing grade in film school.” But despite its many technical flaws, the film is a film noir classic. Its indigent aesthetic amplifies rather than detracts from its bleak tale of blackmail and remorselessness. And, as the femme fatale, Ann Savage created perhaps the perfect noir heroine. “There is not a single fleeting shred of tenderness or humanity in her performance,” Ebert wrote.

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