Kitty Cornered

All By Myself: A musical portrait of Eartha Kitt.
Produced and directed by Christian Blackwood.
Released by Blackwood Productions Inc.
At Film Forum 1, (57 Watts Street. 431-1590.)
May 4-17

The camera has never been invited to witness Greta Garbo’s isolate, genteel decline; and when Marlene Dietrich reappeared a while ago in Just a Gigolo, long time fans were mildly appalled: was this the woman who’d immortalized “Hot Voodoo” in Blonde Venus? Similarly, people with fond memories of Eartha Kitt in St. Louis Blues (1958) or Anna Lucasta (1959) may be of two minds about Christian Blackwood’s biographical documentary, All by Myself. It is, by anyone’s reckoning, a strange film; part Grey Gardens intrusion and part Grand Guignol illusion. Continue reading “Kitty Cornered”

Rags and Riches

The Sting II
Written by David S. Ward
Directed by Jeremy Paul Kagan
Released by Universal

Prepare yourselves–Robert Redford and Paul Newman are nowhere to be found in The Sting II. But there are compensations. In spite of a sluggish beginning, this fairy tale of New York in the ’40s has several things over its illustrious predecessor, not the least of which is a fully integrated cast. I was never convinced that Robert Earl Jones, Redford’s black colleague, had to die in the original Sting to expedite the charismatic partnership of Redford and Newman. Surely the ideal of “grifter solidarity” would have been better illustrated had Redford, Newman and Jones teamed up to avenge some fourth party? But now, 10 years later, The Sting II swarms with a wealth of blacks and Latins (notably John Hancock and Jose Perez) all alive and kicking as a colorful assortment of heroes and villains — just like real life. Continue reading “Rags and Riches”