Gifted with crack timing and a caustic wit, Elaine May first came up as an improv comedian in the late fifties, forming the popular satirical tandem of Nichols and May with her college classmate Mike Nichols. By the time May had begun her career behind the camera in the early seventies, the duo had long since dissolved (with her former collaborator starting a filmmaking career of his own), but her flair for making the most of spontaneity had not. In the above excerpt taken from a supplement on our new edition of Mikey and Nicky—May’s brilliantly tetchy tale of an old friendship put under the gun one night in the City of Brotherly Love—critics Richard Brody and Carrie Rickey examine the remarkably live-wire work of Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, and their costars. While Brody highlights the dynamic verbal and physical interplay between Falk and Cassavetes, who had worked together before in Cassavetes’s Husbands and A Woman Under the Influence, Rickey homes in on the film’s colorful supporting players, in the process showing May’s deep appreciation for the craft of acting.
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.
Charisma to Burn: Béatrice Dalle’s Incandescent Debut in Betty Blue
The young French actor didn’t require much direction for her first screen role. As the film’s director and cinematographer recall, she quickly proved herself to be a born star.
How Paweł Pawlikowski Reimagined His Parents’ Fiery Romance for the Big Screen
As the director explains to filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the love story at the heart of the Oscar-nominated drama Cold War has its roots in his own family history.