Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
September 15
October 8, 1969
All Four One

On October 8, 1969, New York moviegoers were urged to “consider the possibilities” by buying a ticket to the debut feature of a young screenwriter-turned-director, Paul Mazursky. And, attracted by its promise of wife swapping and group sex amidst a suburban swirl of love beads, Nehru collars and group therapy sessions, audiences did. The film, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, was one of the year’s biggest hits, grossing $30 million off a production budget of only $2 million. Helped by the laid-back chemistry, good looks and improvisational ability of stars Natalie Wood, Robert Culp, Elliot Gould and Dyan Cannon, Mazursky’s comedy drama managed to both indulge audience’s fascination with ‘60s-era free love while satirizing it enough for mainstream viewers to keep it at a comfortable moral distance. Seen in today’s radically different cultural climate, the movie feels a bit like it’s tumbled out of a time capsule, but, writing at the time, critic Pauline Kael pinpointed what may be the film’s lasting legacy: a tonally tricky, humorously bitter comedic style that finds its echoes today in everything from Ben Stiller comedies to Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. She wrote, “You can feel something new in the comic spirit of this film –– in the way Mazursky gets laughs by the rhythm of clichés, defenses, and little verbal aggressions.”


More Flashbacks
Tommy Lee Jones September 15, 1946
Tommy Lee Jones born

In the upcoming feature The Company Men, Gene McClary is an aging senior manager of a large New England construction firm.

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Sep. 15, 1936
Irving Thalberg dies

When one talks about meteoric careers and tragically short lives, usually the subject is a rock star in the mold of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix or Kurt Cobain, however Irving Thalberg – who died on this day in 1936 – falls into this category for very different reasons.

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Sept 15, 1894
Born an Artist

Pierre-Auguste Renoir may have been one of the 19th Century’s most beloved paintes––his son, Jean, proved to be one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers.

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