Author Spotlight

Chuck Stephens

Chuck Stephens is a columnist for Film Comment and Cinema Scope. He lives in Los Angeles.

31 Results

Bitter Harvest
Bitter Harvest

Rainer Werner Fassbinder stocked the cast of The Merchant of Four Seasons with friends and colleagues from his experimental theater days.

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Features
Jun 4, 2015
Inside the Pink Stable
Inside the Pink Stable

Long unheralded and at last rediscovered, actor-director Robert Montgomery’s Ride the Pink Horse is one of the key Hollywood features of 1947, the year film noir flooded the screen like a ruptured reservoir of India ink. Adapted from the popular cr…

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Features
Mar 25, 2015

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Galleries
Jan 23, 2015
Naming Names

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Galleries
Aug 21, 2013
Cattle Call

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Galleries
May 23, 2013
Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku
Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku

For a brief, shining moment, the genteel Japanese studio mutated into a fun house of grim ghouls and slimy aliens.

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Essays
Nov 20, 2012
(Almost) All of Them Witches

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Galleries
Nov 6, 2012
The Slippery Swope

By Chuck Stephens


May 23, 2012
Jury Duty

By Chuck Stephens


Dec 1, 2011

By Chuck Stephens


Oct 27, 2011
Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara

Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara

INTIMIDATION: THE WEIRD DREAM MAKERImpassioned and dedicated craftsman of some of Japanese cinema’s biggest box-office successes and most eccentric off-genre sorties, longtime Nikkatsu studios mainstay Koreyoshi Kurahara (1927–2002) was a film…

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Essays
Aug 23, 2011
The Killers Inside Me

The Killers Inside Me

Stanley Kubrick’s labyrinthine 1956 heist flick The Killing—an exploded rethink of John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle and eventual template for the narrative convolutions of Reservoir Dog—became an instant facet in the jewel that was film noir,…

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Essays
Aug 18, 2011
The Great Whozits

A rogue’s gallery of vituperative 1950s vixens and night-world tough-guy gargoyles all coalescing in a constellation of twinkling cold war lights, Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly is a film of a thousand stars. Stars of every sort, size, and descr…

By Chuck Stephens


Jun 27, 2011
Insignificance: Stargazing

Insignificance: Stargazing

  The dance along the artery The circulation of the lymph Are figured in the drift of stars —T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets   The year is 1954: a fabulous bit of film history is about to unfurl. Grips are busy piloting their klieg lights into…

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Essays
Jun 14, 2011
Pale Flower: Loser Take All

Pale Flower: Loser Take All

“There was a strong influence of Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal throughout this film,” director Masahiro Shinoda would later remember of his 1964 squid-ink noir Pale Flower, made in the days when his career as a filmmaker and founding figure of th…

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Essays
May 17, 2011
Head-zapoppin’!

An overdub has no choice, an image cannot rejoice. —“Porpoise Song” Where there is choice, there is misery. —Swami How’s about some more steam? —Sonny Liston The final episode of the television show The Monkees aired March 25, 1968. C…

By Chuck Stephens


Nov 23, 2010
House: The Housemaidens

A coming-of-age story about a clique of teenage schoolgirls who will never grow old and a demon spirit in the guise of a spinster who was never young, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s eye-poppingly demented, jaw-droppingly inventive House is 1970s Japanese p…

By Chuck Stephens


Oct 26, 2010
Lawrence of Shinjuku: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

“The past, again and again.” —Major Jack Celliers, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Nagisa Oshima’s filmmaking career began with the risen sun—or rather, with the promise of a sun soon to rise: Tomorrow’s Sun (1959), a dizzyingly designed f…

By Chuck Stephens


Sep 28, 2010
Kei Sato
1928–2010

The great Japanese actor Kei Sato passed away last week; he was eighty-one years old. You may not recognize Sato’s name, but if you’ve seen a Japanese film in the past fifty years, there’s a reasonably good chance you’ve fallen, however brief…

By Chuck Stephens


May 11, 2010
Takeo Kimura, 1918–2010

In “the cinema of flourishes”—as scholar David Bordwell once memorably characterized the long and grand tradition of Japanese filmmaking—few flourish makers have flown so high as Takeo Kimura, longtime Seijun Suzuki collaborator and art direc…

By Chuck Stephens


Apr 6, 2010
The Eighth Samurai: Tatsuya Nakadai

This expansive tribute to the iconic Japanese actor Tatsuya Nakadai was first published on the Criterion Collection’s website in fall 2005, around the time of the Criterion releases of two films starring Nakadai: Kurosawa’s Ran and the less well-

By Chuck Stephens


Dec 11, 2009
Gomorrah: Terminal Beach

“The most concrete emblem of every economic cycle is the dump,” writes Naples native and best-selling Italian muckraker Roberto Saviano somewhere near the conclusion of his extraordinary 2006 “nonfiction novel” Gomorrah, a seethingly cogent a…

By Chuck Stephens


Nov 23, 2009
Eclipse Series 17:
Nikkatsu Noir

I AM WAITING: PORT OF CALL The year: 1957. The city: Yokohama, not far from the piers. The sound of the tide softly lapping against stones in the darkness, cubes of black ice in a tumbler of foam. Night. Rain. Hiroshi Shimizu’s ever-prowling came…

By Chuck Stephens


Aug 20, 2009
Fires on the Plain: Both Ends Burning

Across an eighty-plus-film career as marred by indifferently rendered studio assignments as it is marked with peerless visual innovations and boldly imagined literary adaptations, director Kon Ichikawa—the unlikeliest of auteurs—has nevertheless …

By Chuck Stephens


Mar 13, 2007