Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 24
Tim Robbins October 16, 1958
Tim Robbins born

Tim Robbins, a versatile actor, writer, director, and political activist, was born October 16, 1958. Having pursued acting since he was a young boy, Robbins performed experimental theater in both New York (at the Theater for the New City) and Los Angeles (with his company, the Actors’ Gang), played small movie roles and TV guest spots until his breakthrough picture, 1988’s Bull Durham, directed by Ron Shelton. Robbins played Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, a minor league pitcher who is schooled by Kevin Costner’s relatively grizzled veteran, “Crash” Davis. Susan Sarandon is the woman who travels between them in a film that was both a great romantic comedy and also a film that captured the ways in which sports shape our identities. Four years later, Robbins had a double-header of his own, starring in Robert Altman’s The Player while making his directing and screenwriting debut with Bob Roberts, a prescient comedy about the campaigning practices of a right-wing senatorial candidate that looks pretty good today. (In an interview with Spinner, Robbins compared the Tea Party to the candidate of his film: “The same propaganda keeps coming back. It was that way when I did Bob Roberts and it went away for a little bit and now it's back; it's relentless. It's propaganda that tries to get the American people to vote against their better interests. Unfortunately, Bob Roberts still works!") Two years later came his starring turn with Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, in which he played an unjustly imprisoned man and then, in 1995, Dead Man Walking, a drama about capital punishment starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. Robbins wrote, produced and directed the film and was nominated for Best Director. Many other strong films followed, including Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and Philip Noyce’s South Africa-set Catch a Fire. Robbins has also been an impassioned political activist, protesting the Iraq War and globalist economic policies. He will be seen upcoming in Martin Campbell’s Green Hornet

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More Flashbacks
Emir Kusturica November 24, 1954
Emir Kusturica born

Emir Kusturica, one of the most acclaimed figures in world cinema, was born on this day in 1954 in Sarajevo, the former Yugoslavian city which is now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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November 24, 1948
The Bicycle Thief released

When Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief opened in New York, many heralded it as the finest realization of the Italian Neo-Realist style.

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November 24, 1947
Making a Black List

On 24 November, 1947 –– just days before Thanksgiving –– the House of Representatives voted 346 to 17 to approve citations against the famed Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress. A month before, the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC) had turned its attention to Hollywood, calling up 43 people whom they suspected of communist sympathies, eventually whittling that list down to 11. Of these, Bertolt Brecht agreed to answer questions and immediately left the country. The remaining ten – nine screenwriters and one director – stood pat in their belief that the Fifth Amendment provided a Constitutional right for them not to testify against themselves. The House of Representatives’ vote on 24 November, however, disagreed. The next day, Hollywood joined in, suspending pay for the Hollywood Ten and issuing a joint statement showing their solidarity to fight the red menace. The top studios publicly proclaimed that they would fire anyone who was or had been a communist, and would not hire anyone with communist sympathies (proved or otherwise). Within weeks, scores of studio employees were on the street, pounding the pavement for another job. And the Hollywood Blacklist had officially begun and was in full force.

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