Audrey Kupferberg

Audrey Kupferberg: Pioneers Of African-American Cinema

Jul 15, 2016

The 1920s through the 1940s are the Golden Age of Cinema.  It was a time of tremendous growth in the film industry, when billions of investment dollars were poured into the purchase of Hollywood real estate, and the studio system perfected the production of sophisticated motion pictures. 

Audrey Kupferberg: Love And Friendship

Jun 17, 2016

Whit Stillman has made a jewel of a film called LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP.  Stillman, who was raised in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, doesn’t have a very prolific career as a film writer/director, but his films, which include METROPOLITAN, THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO, and DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, are artful and clearly are his unique conceptions.  

As we finally are able to see the end of the road for the current presidential primaries—and as we look ahead to the upcoming presidential election campaign, it is an appropriate time to look back at the ways in which previous presidential campaigns have been executed, and recorded through the types of media then available throughout modern American history.  

This month, Turner Classic Movies is paying tribute to the 20th Century’s “royal family of Broadway,” the Barrymores.  Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore, that is, three siblings whose artful work brightened the stage and screen throughout the first half of the century. 

Audrey Kupferberg: Downton Abbey Actors In Other Roles

Mar 18, 2016

Now that the final episode of DOWNTON ABBEY has aired and been discussed over tea, on social media, and at the dinner table, it is time for fans to move on.  However, for many avid followers, separation anxiety has set in.  For those people, here are a few suggestions which may not bring you to the satisfaction of a Sunday with the Crawley clan, but could result in some fine entertainment.

Audrey Kupferberg: Grandma

Feb 19, 2016

Seventy or eighty years ago in a far distant galaxy called the Hollywood Golden Age, influential studio administrators came to two important realizations.  First of all, women movie-goers liked to see stories featuring strong women characters.  Secondly, on a date and in mixed company, it usually was the female who chose the film to be seen.

Audrey Kupferberg: BBC Police Procedural RIVER

Jan 15, 2016

In the genre of police procedurals, it is common for one or more of the suspects to be suffering from mental illness.  Crime often is linked to an unbalanced view of the world, a distortion of reality.  In RIVER, the 2015 six-part BBC series that recently became available on Netflix streaming, the tables are turned.  Instead of perps with unbalanced eyes towards their surroundings, it is the police officer who is unhinged.  Detective Inspector John River of the Metropolitan Police in London, a character played with sensitivity and at times even brilliance by Stellan Skarsgard, is the focal point of RIVER.   

Audrey Kupferberg: The Girl King

Dec 18, 2015

New to DVD and streaming this month is an oddly disappointing film called THE GIRL KING.  The feature, produced and directed by Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki, has an exciting story to tell, but THE GIRL KING provides little excitement as it relates the unusual life of 17th Century Swedish Queen Kristina.

One-hundred years ago, renowned American actor William Gillette stood before the cameras at the Essanay Studios in Chicago to make a celluloid record of his celebrated stage performance as Sherlock Holmes. The play was based on four of the popular Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and was adapted by Gillette with the author’s blessing.  Gillette played the legendary fictional detective on stage 1300 times from 1899 to 1932. He acted the character wearing the deerstalker cap and smoking the large, curved pipe, according to 19th century illustrations by Sidney Paget in the Strand Magazine.

Audrey Kupferberg: Women's Rights On Film

Nov 20, 2015

Some women these days seem lackadaisical about having equal rights with men, except when it comes to their paycheck.  And yet it isn’t even 100 years since women were allowed to vote in our country.  It is well less than a century since women were allowed out into the streets wearing trousers—and NOT wearing uncomfortable and medically harmful corsets.  These days, women are successful doctors and lawyers, scientists and experts in fields of high technology.  We dress as we please.

Audrey Kupferberg: Lion's Love

Oct 16, 2015

A newly-released DVD set of forgotten classics from the Criterion Collection, Eclipse Series 43: Agnès Varda in California, includes a real gem of late 1960s independent filmmaking.  It is LION’S LOVE, shot in sunny Los Angeles during the somewhat grim month of June 1968.  LION’S LOVE is not a conventional narrative film.  Then again, Agnes Varda is no conventional filmmaker.

Audrey Kupferberg: A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder

Sep 26, 2015

Several thousand people from across upstate New York enjoyed a special theater treat this past week.  From Saturday, September 19, to Saturday, the 26th, Proctors in Schenectady hosted the launch of a 44-week National Tour of the 2014 four-time Tony Award-winning musical, A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER.

Audrey Kupferberg: The Epic Of Everest

Sep 18, 2015

The early 20th century was a time when exploration reflected feelings of nationalist pride and the concept of man versus nature. So much of this activity coincided with the development of motion pictures. As North American, British, and European men—and a few women-- took to remote areas of the world on foot and in land and air vehicles , they brought with them moving picture cameras and still photographic equipment in order to record remote lands and peoples never seen by what they considered to be the civilized world.

Audrey Kupferberg: London Stage

Aug 27, 2015

With so many exciting events going on in London’s West End theater scene, Benedict Cumberbatch has been grabbing the headlines.  His star turn as HAMLET at London’s Barbican Centre has been drawing attention for the past few weeks. 

Audrey Kupferberg: Salt Of The Earth

Aug 21, 2015


These days, documentary films are in fashion.  As recently as a decade ago, if you were at a cocktail party and began talking about a documentary you had just seen, your friends or colleagues would have moved towards the buffet table to avoid hearing what you had to say.  Documentaries were considered boring.  With the exception the films of Michael Moore, or Al Gore’s AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, that could inspire some exciting political conversation, the majority of factual films took a back seat to fiction films.

Audrey Kupferberg: 5 Flights Up

Jul 17, 2015

In the last year or two, love among the senior population has been more than evident in little and big-screen entertainments. 

New restorations of two classic films are being released this month.  Both are works of masters from cinema’s past.  The first is LIMELIGHT, a mature, philosophical drama written and directed by and starring Charles Chaplin.  The second is Dziga Vertov’s THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA, which is one of the outstanding documentary films of all time.

Audrey Kupferberg: Transgender In The Arts

Jun 11, 2015

Seeing Caitlyn Jenner’s fabulous form and face on the cover of Vanity Fair this month, one almost disregards the pain and suffering of transgendered people who journey from one identity to another to find solace in their lives. Not everyone knows a transgender person, so many look toward film and theater to gain an understanding of what that journey consists of, and how difficult it can be for some people in our society to attain their rightful identities.

Audrey Kupferberg: Grace And Frankie

May 15, 2015

In the opening episode of GRACE AND FRANKIE, one of Netflix’s most touted new series, one of the characters talks about “a very exciting chapter we’re opening in the book of life.”  From this and other lines of dialog, one would never think to attribute the life change to seventy year olds.  But seventy-somethings they are!  GRACE AND FRANKIE is a story that focuses on two women who have been living an affluent California lifestyle for forty years-- forty years of unremarkable married life. 

Audrey Kupferberg: Snowpiercer

Apr 17, 2015

People are talking about a 2013 feature called SNOWPIERCER by South Korean filmmaker Joon-ho Bong.  It’s a sci-fi thriller about the aftermath of a failed climate-change experiment that freezes the Earth.  Most of the planet’s population dies, but a number are saved and boarded onto a train that circles the globe in an endless ride.  It is a train controlled by a self-proclaimed leader named Wilford, whose company designed the unique self-sustainable convoy.  When the film opens, the survivors have been passengers for eighteen years.

Audrey Kupferberg: Peter And The Starcatcher

Mar 24, 2015

"Peter and the Starcatcher," a five-time Tony-Award winner in its original Broadway run, played Proctors last Saturday. "Peter," based on the book "Peter and the Starcatchers" by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, is a dark tale of pirates, orphans, ships and treasure chests. There were only two performances—just a brief stop on a national tour.

Audrey Kupferberg: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Mar 20, 2015

While THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is no Oscar contender, it is a film of great value to many who are living what is known as the advanced years of life.  It has value as entertainment and equally as a practical philosophic guide to soaking up all the riches that old age can offer, if lived with zest and optimism.

Rob Edelman: Terrorism And Gender

Mar 16, 2015

Terrorist characters who are villains in Hollywood thrillers usually are clichés: broadly drawn, broadly played bad guys who hijack airplanes, threaten to blow up buildings or sports arenas, and are thwarted just in the nick of time by Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis. Terrorists rarely are the primary on-screen characters, and they rarely are women. In fact, there seemed to be a bit of disbelief on the part of certain media types who were reporting on the young woman who alleged was connected to the recent terrorist acts in Paris.

Rob Edelman: Fearmakers

Mar 9, 2015

For years, sci-fi films and horror films and any kind of film that entertains by playing into viewers’ worst fears have relied not on coherent plot lines or relatable characters but on jarring, disturbing visuals and gory violence that is endless--- and mindless. This, unfortunately, is an old, tired story and, as long as these films bring in big bucks at the box office, the motion picture studios will keep churning them out.

Back in 2009, I offered some commentary on what then was a new and highly regarded film about the war in Iraq and the American GIs who were fighting and dying there. That film was THE HURT LOCKER. At the time, I observed that THE HURT LOCKER and other Iraq war films, which then included IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH, STOP/LOSS, THE LUCKY ONES, LIONS FOR LAMBS, and REDACTED, were not surefire box office hits. The reason was that THE HURT LOCKER and its fellow films were exploring uncomfortable themes. They were dealing with disturbing, real-life issues-- and moviegoers generally will want to avoid films that deal with real-life issues. They yearn to escape into fantasy worlds. And so they did not flock to see THE HURT LOCKER, even though it earned nine Academy Award nominations and six wins, including Best Picture and Best Director. Indeed, according to Box Office Mojo, the total lifetime domestic gross for THE HURT LOCKER was a little over $17-million. 

Audrey Kupferberg: Still Alice

Feb 20, 2015

Lisa Genova’s ground-breaking novel Still Alice about a fifty-year-old college professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease is now a film.  And what a fine film it is!

Audrey Kupferberg: A Coffee In Berlin

Jan 16, 2015

Every once in a while, a film comes along that dares to withhold facts, to keep its intentions as a guessing game, even as the final credits are being displayed.  Such a film is Jan Ole Gerster’s award-winning German feature A COFFEE IN BERLIN, also known as OH BOY!  Since this is Gerster’s first feature film, it is no wonder that it has taken some bit of time for it to catch on in the United States.  With an original German theatrical release in late 2012, A COFFEE IN BERLIN didn’t arrive in U.S. cinemas until June 2014. At its widest release here, it only played in twelve theaters and brought in only $150,000.  Even in Europe, the film played mainly at festivals, where it has won a good number of prestige awards, and theatrically it only grossed $2,600,000.

If you plan a trip into Manhattan this holiday season, be sure to take a look at the beautiful Fifth Avenue windows and see the live Radio City Christmas Spectacular if you have a mind to do so. But if the film lover in you is bursting to come to the surface, be sure to leave some time to experience a holiday treat designed especially for pop culturists, American entertainment historians and film enthusiasts.

Audrey Kupferberg: Caligari Restoration

Nov 21, 2014

The term “film restoration” has lost its excitement.  More often than not, when a new DVD or Blu-ray of an older film is touted as being “restored,” it only means that a minimally different version has been digitally mastered.  It’s a ploy to have consumers purchase yet another copy of the same title.

Audrey Kupferberg: Halloween Movies For The Faint Of Heart!

Oct 17, 2014

  When the trick-or-treaters have returned to their respective homes to sort through their goodies, it is time to dim the lights and watch Halloween movies.  Many will choose from among the scariest films ever made.  John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, an influential slasher film from 1978, and its seven sequels will light up the screens of many of our television sets.  Other celebrants might choose a splatter film, such as Herschell Gordon Lewis’s BLOOD FEAST.

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