Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 27
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
Tuesday Weld August 27, 1943
Tuesday Weld born

A child model to support her widowed mother, an alcoholic by age 12, a pre-teen suicide survivor, and a teenage lover of Elvis Presley, actress Tuesday Weld had a backstory more vivid, more tragic, more fantastic than could have been created by any screenwriter’s pen.

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August 27, 1969
Medium Cool opens

"A kind of cinematic Guernica" is how New York Times critic Vincent Canby described Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool, the veteran cinematographer's highly influential blend of documentary, fiction, and agitprop released August 27, 1969.

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27 August 1964
More than a Spoonful of Sugar

The woman that the world would turn to for sweetest and light couldn’t get cast in a film, until she put on the smock and pick up the umbrella of Mary Poppins.

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