Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
July 01
Crimes and Misdemeanors October 13, 1989
Crimes and Misdemeanors opens

When Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors opened in the fall of 1989, it was not exactly the film he’d originally intended to make. Allen would often reshuffle a movie in the editing room to find the story, thus requiring him to go back for reshoots. But with Crimes and Misdemeanors, Allen went much further than usual. Allen had joked that the impulse for this drama of moral ambiguity sprang from “being too nice” to the characters in his 1986 Hannah and Her Sisters. In his review for the New York Times, Vincent Canby picked up on the connection between the two films when he wrote that “Crimes and Misdemeanors… recalls Hannah in that it has the richness and breadth of a novel, told with the concision of a densely packed short story. Like Hannah, it's about families, though about brothers rather than sisters.” Indeed, at one time the film had the title Brothers, as the double-layered tale (one involving a murder, the other the meaning of life) was plotted around two pairs of brothers. In the first story, Dr. Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a dentist, who gets his brother Jack (Jerry Orbach) to help find a contact killer to murder an ex-mistress (Anjelica Huston) who has threatened to go public with their affair.. The other story revolves around Cliff Stern (Woody Allen), a documentary filmmaker in need of work, who is employed by his brother-in-law Lester (Alan Alda), a TV producer whose work Stern abhors. (Lester is reportedly based on Larry Gelbart, with whom both Allen and Alda had worked.) In Allen’s fashion, the rambling plots and subplots once in the editing room had to be reworked, and the cast and crew were called back for 10 days of reshoots. Sean Young, who’d already been replaced in Batman that year, found her role completely cut out. Alda, on the other hand, found his part expanded. In the end, the tinkering worked. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, and became Allen’s highest grossing film (after Hannah) of the 1980s. For Allen, however, such success is never easy. He later claimed, “When I put out a film that enjoys any acceptance that isn't the most mild or grudging, I immediately become suspicious of it. A certain amount of positive response makes me feel comfortable and proud. Then beyond that, I start to feel convinced that a work of any real finesse and subtlety and depth couldn't be as popular as it is."


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Thea Von Harbou July 1, 1954
Thea Von Harbou dies

In 1954, after attending a special screening at the recently founded Berlin Film Festival of her 1921 collaboration with Fritz Lang, The Weary Death, screenwriter Thea Von Harbou slipped and fell.

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July 1, 1925
Farley Granger born

Farley Granger grew up to play sensitive, sometimes nervous characters whose sense of uncertainty seemed to reflect the actor’s own ambivalence.  Granger was born into the American dream at a time of national prosperity: his father owned a successful car dealership in San Jose, and his mother was a doting homemaker.

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30 June 1989
RKO hijacks Ambersons

When your first film is Citizen Kane, now widely acknowledged as the greatest film of all time, then by definition it's all downhill from there.

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1 July 1954
After M, Nothing

In 1954, Thea von Harbou, a woman who for over a decade was one of Germany's most important artists, died quietly and nearly unknown in Berlin.

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