"Jaws" Premiered On This Date In 1975

Directed by Hollywood’s newest wunderkind, Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay written by Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, “Jaws" is a grisly film, often ugly as sin, which achieves precisely what it set out to accomplish - scare the hell out of you. As such, it’s destined to become a classic the way all truly terrifying movies, good or bad, become classics of a kind.

Newsweek June 23, 1975



Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” Turns 40

Now Kubrick has a new movie, taken from the brilliant and shocking novel by British writer Anthony Burgess.  The film is not without its small failings, for a man who makes as many daring leaps as Kubrick is bound to slip from time to time, just as he is insured against ever boring us.  “A Clockwork Orange” is also a characteristically frosty piece of filmmaking, shorn completely of sentiment, working through brilliant ironies and dazzling dramatic ideas that please us, provoke our laughter, galvanize our intellects, win our admiration- but never touch our hearts.

Newsweek January 3, 1972 [Cover photo by Kubrick]



In 1950, Newsweek Confounds The Literary World With Its Glowing Review Of Hemingway’s “Across the River and Into the Trees”

At 52, with thirteen books behind him, Hemingway has mastered a new subject and a new style…it is compact and restrained, but with none of the repetitions and staccato sentences that first made him famous.  Nor is the new novel likely to receive  the same critical acclaim that his early works evoked.  But some conclusions are plain- particularly the tension that underlies its simple incidents, and its wonderful concentration, ‘Across the River’ is Hemingway’s most carefully thought out book.

Newsweek September 11, 1950

In 1950, Newsweek Confounds The Literary World With Its Glowing Review Of Hemingway’s “Across the River and Into the Trees”

At 52, with thirteen books behind him, Hemingway has mastered a new subject and a new style…it is compact and restrained, but with none of the repetitions and staccato sentences that first made him famous.  Nor is the new novel likely to receive  the same critical acclaim that his early works evoked.  But some conclusions are plain- particularly the tension that underlies its simple incidents, and its wonderful concentration, ‘Across the River’ is Hemingway’s most carefully thought out book.

Newsweek September 11, 1950



The Best-Selling Album Of All Time Was Released On This Date In 1982

It’s a giddy and glamorous sound, Hands clap, horns blare. A carnival of percussion erupts. Electric guitars chatter like a corps of African talking drums. A voice gasps and then chants a chorus. So go the first few seconds of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ ” six minutes of musical frenzy from a new Epic album called “Thriller.” The show-stopping style could come from only one star — Michael Jackson.

For nearly 14 years Jackson has been making his own breathless brand of show-business history. He first burst into view in 1969, as the 10-year-old dancing dynamo who dipped, spun and sang for the Jackson 5, a quintet of buoyant young brothers. Over the next decade he helped sell more than 90 million records, both with that group and as a solo artist. Heir to a great tradition of black stagecraft, he has become a whirling dervish of the modern recording studio. In 1979 he helped bring black music into the ’80s with “Off the Wall,” a luminous set of high-tech dance hits, including four Top 10 singles — the most from any one album by any solo performer in the history of recorded music.

Supercharged: Now, at 24, Jackson seems poised for another surge. He wrote and produced Diana Ross’s recent Top 10 hit, “Muscles.” He narrated and sang a song for the storybook album of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” And for “Thriller,” his long-awaited sequel to “Off the Wall,” he has fashioned a supercharged pop classic for the ’80s — flashy, futuristic, floridly upbeat.

Newsweek January 10, 1983



11/11/11-  Happy “Spinal Tap” Day!

Louder than Black Sabbath, more riotous than Quiet Riot, at least as raunchy as  Judas Priest … ladies and gentlemen, meet England’s 17-year-old heavy-metal  band Spinal  Tap. Never heard of them? Can’t recall their ’70s album  “Intravenous De Milo” or the recent “Shark Sandwich”? Where’ve you been, man?  Now Marty DiBergi, documentarist, has taken camera in hand to correct this  glaring cultural gap. He was there for the band’s recent, if somewhat less than  glorious, American tour, and he got it down, warts and all, in his revelatory  “rockumentary” This Is Spinal Tap. It is the highest compliment to “This ls Spinal  Tap" — a very savvy satire of the rock-and-roll scene — that a  number of people are going to take their time getting the joke. It’s easy to  miss the fact that Marty DiBergi is actually Rob Reiner. And who would guess  that the two lead guitarists from Squatney, England, David St. Hubbins and Nigel  Tufnel, are actually American actors Michael McKean and Christopher Guest, so  impeccable are their coiffures, their accents and the little cold sores that  materialize on their lips? True, you might think it a bit odd to hear that their  first drummer died "in a bizarre gardening accident" and that their second  drummer choked on vomit ("actually, someone else’s vomit," they explain), but  this is the music biz. Strange things happen. Like getting lost backstage in  Cleveland and never finding your way to the stage. Like the little  miscalculation over the props for "Stonehenge," their major Druid production  number: the prehistoric stones that descend are only 18 inches tall, not 18 feet, a fact not disguised by bringing  on two dancing midgets to make them loom larger.
Close to the Vest: “This Is Spinal Tap" is a very  special, very original hoot. Given a target as wide and vulgar as heavy-metal  rock, the surprise is that the movie’s wit manages to be so subtle. Director  Reiner, who improvised the film with McKean, Guest and Harry Shearer, plays it  very close to the leather vest aping the cinema verite style so knowingly that the film becomes a satire of the documentary form  itself, complete with perfectly faded “clips” from old TV shows of the band in  its mod and flowerchild incarnations. Reiner won’t sacrifice the  pseudodocumentary surface for a gag, with the result that the story of the  band’s pathetic tour achieves moments of surprising poignancy, as their gigs get  canceled, their manager (Tony Hendra) quits, the lead singer’s girlfriend (June  Chadwick) takes control and drives guitarist Tufnel away. Reiner has made a very  hip, sophisticated sendup, but his affection and feel for life on the road keep  the satire friendly. This is surely the funniest movie ever made about rock and  roll, and one of the funniest things about it is that it may also be one of the  most accurate.

Newsweek March 5, 1984

11/11/11-  Happy “Spinal Tap” Day!

Louder than Black Sabbath, more riotous than Quiet Riot, at least as raunchy as Judas Priest … ladies and gentlemen, meet England’s 17-year-old heavy-metal band Spinal Tap. Never heard of them? Can’t recall their ’70s album “Intravenous De Milo” or the recent “Shark Sandwich”? Where’ve you been, man? Now Marty DiBergi, documentarist, has taken camera in hand to correct this glaring cultural gap. He was there for the band’s recent, if somewhat less than glorious, American tour, and he got it down, warts and all, in his revelatory “rockumentary” This Is Spinal Tap.

It is the highest compliment to “This ls Spinal Tap" — a very savvy satire of the rock-and-roll scene — that a number of people are going to take their time getting the joke. It’s easy to miss the fact that Marty DiBergi is actually Rob Reiner. And who would guess that the two lead guitarists from Squatney, England, David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel, are actually American actors Michael McKean and Christopher Guest, so impeccable are their coiffures, their accents and the little cold sores that materialize on their lips? True, you might think it a bit odd to hear that their first drummer died "in a bizarre gardening accident" and that their second drummer choked on vomit ("actually, someone else’s vomit," they explain), but this is the music biz. Strange things happen. Like getting lost backstage in Cleveland and never finding your way to the stage. Like the little miscalculation over the props for "Stonehenge," their major Druid production number: the prehistoric stones that descend are only 18 inches tall, not 18 feet, a fact not disguised by bringing on two dancing midgets to make them loom larger.

Close to the Vest: “This Is Spinal Tap" is a very special, very original hoot. Given a target as wide and vulgar as heavy-metal rock, the surprise is that the movie’s wit manages to be so subtle. Director Reiner, who improvised the film with McKean, Guest and Harry Shearer, plays it very close to the leather vest aping the cinema verite style so knowingly that the film becomes a satire of the documentary form itself, complete with perfectly faded “clips” from old TV shows of the band in its mod and flowerchild incarnations. Reiner won’t sacrifice the pseudodocumentary surface for a gag, with the result that the story of the band’s pathetic tour achieves moments of surprising poignancy, as their gigs get canceled, their manager (Tony Hendra) quits, the lead singer’s girlfriend (June Chadwick) takes control and drives guitarist Tufnel away. Reiner has made a very hip, sophisticated sendup, but his affection and feel for life on the road keep the satire friendly. This is surely the funniest movie ever made about rock and roll, and one of the funniest things about it is that it may also be one of the most accurate.

Newsweek March 5, 1984