Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 23
October 25, 1928
Dreyer's Lost Passion

Today in 1928, Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer was in Paris for the premiere of The Passion of Joan of Arc. Written from actual trial transcripts, the film dramatizes the famed French teen’s emotional and spiritual ordeal at the hands of church fathers through a series of close ups, mostly of the film’s star Marie Falconetti. While it was Falconetti’s second and last film performance, it would be remembered, as New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael wrote, as maybe “the finest performance ever recorded on film." Beloved by some, banned by the British for many years, the original film was lost when its master negative was burned in a fire (a fate not unlike that of its heroine). Despite fruitless attempts to reconstruct the original film from outtakes, Dreyer went to his grave, believing his masterpiece was lost forever. And then, miraculously, in 1981 a complete print was found in an Oslo mental institution’s janitor’s closet.


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Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid opens May 23, 1973
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid opens

Sam Peckinpah's neo-western Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, a tale of an outlaw being betrayed by a former friend, had to deal with another form of betrayal when it opened in May 1973.

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May 23, 1980
The Shining opens

Despite having the same initials, Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick seemed to have little in common, so when Kubrick optioned King’s novel of a haunted hotel, The Shining, after the cool reception of his previous film, Barry Lyndon, many were surprised and shocked.

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