Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 27
Todd Solondz October 15, 1959
Todd Solondz born

As Todd Solondz enters production on his seventh feature film, we’ll stop and take note of his birthday (October 15, 1959) as well as his position as one of American independent film’s enduring and most instantly recognizable voices. Queasily mixing comedy and drama, satire and social critique, Solondz has made a career out of movies populated by the estranged, by people who, for whatever reason, don’t fit into polite company. In Welcome to the Dollhouse, that character was Dawn Weiner, a bullied, unpopular, and socially awkward girl who finds approval in a classmate’s threats of rape. With Happiness, Solondz began to explore interlocking, multi-character stories, this time including everyone from a pedophile to an obscene phone caller. In Palindromes, the different segments of the story each featured a different actress portraying the same protagonist, the 12-year-old Aviva. And in his recent Life During Wartime, Solondz revisited the characters of Happiness, but this time radically recast them as entirely different actors. Little is known about the plot of Dark Horse, but Solondz told The Playlist that he’s gotten major agency support for the first time due to its lighter tone. “And you know CAA?” he said. “It's funny, it's the first time they actually like one of my scripts and I realized [in Dark Horse], there's no rape, there's no child molestation, there's no masturbation, and then I thought, ‘oh m god, why didn't I think of this years ago?'"


More Flashbacks
Johnny Guitar May 27, 1954
Johnny Guitar released

"Johnny Guitar is a phony Western, but not an ‘intellectual’ one," wrote the French filmmaker and critic François Truffaut about Nicholas Ray’s film, which opened May 27, 1954. "It is… a fairy tale, a hallucinatory Western…. Johnny Guitar is the Beauty and the Beast of Westerns, a Western dream."

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May 27, 1894
Dashiell Hammett born

Though Raymond Chandler overshadowed him ultimately, it was Dashiell Hammett - who was born today in 1894 - who pioneered the hardboiled detective novel as an art form. Unlike Chandler, Hammet never gravitated towards Hollywood to capitalize on the better pay that screenwriting work provided but nevertheless left his mark on the movies.

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