With a Hollywood career that yielded more than a hundred films, Michael Curtiz was one of the studio system’s most dependable and prolific directors, a veteran whose quietly virtuosic craftsmanship enabled him to move effortlessly through a wide range of genres. Among the most underappreciated of his masterworks is the 1950 daylight noir The Breaking Point, a take on Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not that the author named as his favorite film adaptation of any of his books. Starring John Garfield in his penultimate screen performance, this heartrending portrait of postwar working-class life depicts the struggles of a good-natured charter-boat captain who is tempted into illegal activity after falling on hard times. In a video essay on our newly released edition, Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou analyze the understated artistry with which Curtiz propels the movie forward, uncovering layers of characterization and narrative. The above excerpt breaks down an early scene that highlights the strained dynamics between the protagonist and his wife (Phyllis Thaxter), whose relationship serves as the emotional core of the film.
Why Swing Time Is the Greatest of All Dance Films
In this excerpt from an interview on our new edition of the Astaire-Rogers classic, dance critic Brian Seibert explains how beautifully and cleverly the film integrates dance into the structure of a romantic-comedy plot.
A Moody Meditation from the Set of Blue Velvet
In a rarely seen documentary about David Lynch’s 1986 masterpiece, the director and his star, Isabella Rossellini, give their candid impressions about the creative journey they’ve embarked on together.