Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 27
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
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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