The sublime screwball comedy The Awful Truth has star power in spades, with the unforgettably effervescent Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as a couple who’ve called it quits. But not all of the standouts belong to the same species: as Mr. Smith, the dog who becomes the subject of a custody dispute between the soon-to-be-formerly-weds, the wire fox terrier Skippy certainly makes his mark. Skippy might not be a household name, but the distinguished performer—a scene-stealer not only in Leo McCarey’s 1937 comedy of remarriage but also in the Thin Man series and Bringing Up Baby—jumped into each role with “Stanislavskian dedication,” observes critic David Cairns in the latest installment in his Anatomy of a Gag series. In sizing up Skippy’s invaluable contribution to The Awful Truth, Cairns compares his high-energy screen presence to that of his graceful costar Grant, before delivering a droll analysis of the game pup’s place in the film’s constantly evolving visual farce.
Ira Sachs Finds a Model of Artistic Courage in Je tu il elle
The director of Frankie and Keep the Lights On opens up about how the emotional and sexual candor of Chantal Akerman’s feature debut has inspired his own deeply personal approach to cinema.
Harold Lloyd’s Ingenious Blend of Slapstick and Horror in The Kid Brother
In one of his most ambitious sequences, the silent-comedy legend throws his innocent “glasses” character into a death trap of a setting.
How The Qatsi Trilogy Gave RaMell Ross a New Way of Seeing
The Oscar-nominated director of Hale County This Morning, This Evening finds an expansive political vision in the mind-altering work of Godfrey Reggio.
Morgan Neville Goes Through the Looking Glass with F for Fake
The Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker unpacks the wild inventiveness of Orson Welles and the late-career masterpiece that inspired his own approach to his new movie They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead.