Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
September 22
October 12, 1990
Burnett's slow-burning Anger

When African American writer-director Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger was released on this day in 1990, it was technically being deemed his “first feature.” However, Burnett already was well-known for his 1977 film Killer of Sheep and its follow-up My Brother’s Wedding (1983); both films played at festivals like Toronto, Berlin and New Directors, New Films during the early 1980s but never found distribution and were widely looked upon as “lost classics” from the formative years of American independent filmmaking. (Both films were re-released to huge acclaim last year by Milestone Films.) To Sleep With Anger, though, solidified Burnett’s reputation as a highly accomplished filmmaker with its tale of Harry (Danny Glover), a charming troublemaker who comes to stay with a Southern black family and disrupts and destabilizes it by causing unrest among the patriarch’s sons. Combining elements of fable and magic realism, Burnett’s family drama is seen by some as a film about the personification of evil or the devil (Harry claims to have given himself to the powers of darkness), yet film critic Howard Schumann maintains that it is “not about the so-called "Devil," or about the evil in our midst, as some reviewers seem to think. Rather, it is about a paradoxically benign force that can spur conflict and resolution, thereby helping people to grow and move to a new level.”


More Flashbacks
Marion Davies September 22, 1961
Marion Davies dies

In 1961, at the age of 64, Marion Davies died of cancer. Her funeral brought out some of the grand figures of classic Hollywood, as well as ex-president Herbert Hoover.

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Sep. 22, 1990
Miller's Crossing released

The Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing, released September 22, 1990, is a complicated movie. The 1920s-set gangster movie was in fact so tricky for Joel and Ethan Coen to write that they got writer's block and, to alleviate it, took a break from the script and wrote Barton Fink, a film about, yes, writer's block.

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Sept 22, 1933
A Nazi Arts Commission

The Nazis began their attack on culture by redefining what is art.

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