As the commanding presence at the center of Samuel Fuller’s wild feminist western Forty Guns, the great Barbara Stanwyck taps into the tough, no-nonsense bearing she’d honed on-screen since the late twenties, playing the part of a corrupt rancher who has the whole of Tombstone, Arizona, under her thumb. The fifty-year-old Stanwyck’s career was on a downswing at the time she was hired by Fuller, who had recently returned to producing his films independently after making several features for Fox. But as Forty Guns proves, that’s certainly not because she was missing a beat. In the above clip, taken from a supplement on our new edition of Forty Guns, critic Imogen Sara Smith elaborates on what makes the imperious landowner Jessica Drummond the actor’s “last great film role.” Watch Smith discuss how Fuller’s film provides a sort of summation of the fierceness, resolve, and complex vulnerability that had defined the Double Indemnity and The Lady Eve star’s screen persona to date. The critic also zeroes in on some of the bold CinemaScope flourishes, including the sweeping vistas of Stanwyck’s hard-galloping entrance, that helped Fuller position his lead as the iron-fisted queen of her domain.
A Subtler Side of the Hepburn-Grant Magic
Filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and critic Michael Sragow dive into the pleasures of Holiday, a romantic-comedy classic that has long stood in the shadow of The Philadelphia Story but has a poignancy all its own.
Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted
From search engines to all-engrossing handheld devices, the technologies that the German director conjured for his 1991 opus Until the End of the World are now common features of contemporary life.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.