The troubles on “A New Leaf” (1971), Elaine May’s directorial debut, were worrisome before they were legion. She had never directed a movie and had to learn as she went along. The head of the studio changed while she was making it (the new boss wasn’t keen). And then there was her peerless star, Walter Matthau, whom she grew to love but who called her Mrs. Hitler. Years later, she suggested what the real problem was. People thought that May, a slight, beautiful woman, was “a nice girl, and the thing is, of course, I wasn’t a nice girl.” She added, “And when they found this out, they hated me all the more.”
Being nice can be a liability for a woman; not being nice can be a career killer. By the time May made “A New Leaf,” she had already established her place in American cultural history as one half of the comedy team with another future filmmaker, Mike Nichols. Her film trajectory proved far more fraught than his, and was filled with stops and starts. A terrific director of actors whose comedy can lacerate, she remains a criminally underappreciated moviemaker. If you are in New York, you should clear your calendar for a tribute to her that begins Tuesday at Film Forum as part of a larger program on 1970s comedy. (She’s currently in a critically lauded Broadway play, “The Waverly Gallery.”)
After four years together, Nichols and May split up in 1961, and he vaulted forward, directing for Broadway and soon Hollywood. When his film “The Graduate” hit in 1967, Life magazine ran a profile of her asking, “Whatever became of Elaine May?” She was writing — an unused, highly regarded draft of “The Loved One” — and acting in movies, including alongside Peter Falk, whom she later cast in her film “Mikey and Nicky.” “The Graduate” went on to be anointed a cultural touchstone; she appeared in Carl Reiner’s less-memorable “Enter Laughing.” May isn’t the star, alas, but she easily steals the movie (it’s at Film Forum) playing a bad actress in a worse play.
In 1968, when May signed her extraordinary contract with Paramount Pictures to write, direct and star in “A New Leaf,” she became the first female director with a Hollywood deal since Ida Lupino. Her manager pushed the female angle, telling the studio that having a woman filmmaker would be of significance. Perhaps he had noticed that second-wave feminists were agitating for change, even as the industry remained stuck in its sexist rut: it’s been estimated that at the time less than 1 percent of American directors were women. She and Paramount soon clashed, though, and the studio took the movie away from her. She sued and tried to get it to remove her name. It’s still wonderful.
Based on a short story by Jack Ritchie, “A New Leaf” stars Matthau as Henry Graham, an indolent playboy who’s burned through his fortune. His only salvation is to marry rich, which leads him to Henrietta Lowell (May), a bumbling heiress and botanist. They fall in love, or rather Henrietta does, and wed while Henry murderously conspires to take her money and run. May’s inexperience as a director doesn’t show. The film is brilliantly staged and performed, and illustrates how fluidly she fuses verbal and physical comedy, as in an early scene in which Henry visits his moneyed lairs — he caresses a fancy restaurant awning — while eulogizing his old wealth, whispering, “I’m poor.”
In 1971, May sued Paramount in an effort to stop it from releasing “A New Leaf.” In his book, “Infamous Players,” Peter Bart, then one of the studio’s big executives, writes that May’s first edit was nearly three hours. He says that she didn’t want to cut the movie or its darker side, including a murder subplot; put differently, she wanted the same kind of artistic prerogative granted other filmmakers. Paramount may have been receptive to some of the era’s reigning male auteurs, but not all directors, especially those who genuinely rebelled, are treated equally.
Things went more smoothly on her next movie, “The Heartbreak Kid,” partly because she was a director for hire. (And in contrast to her other films, the studio regime didn’t change while she was making it.) An often queasily funny comedy that slides into devastating, savage terrain, it stars Charles Grodin as Lenny, a preening salesman who, while on his honeymoon dumps his new bride, Lila (a superb Jeannie Berlin, May’s daughter), for another woman, Kelly (Cybill Shepherd). As she did in “A New Leaf,” May effortlessly skewers male vanity — Lenny poses in a mirror with a pipe like a two-bit Hugh Hefner — in a story about a man who treats women like commodities.
“The Heartbreak Kid” was well-received, but May has also been criticized for trafficking in Jewish stereotypes, particularly with Lila. In a book on female directors, the writer Barbara Quart asserts that it is “one of the most negative images of a Jewish woman on film.” This reading is possible only if you view Lenny as the movie’s hero rather than its villain and if you’re embarrassed by Lila’s humanity. Grodin is a magnificent worm in the movie, filled with the kind of tightly restrained physicality and choked, nervous laughter that (like his posing with a pipe) suggests his character is caught up in how others view him, an anxiety over identity that sends him from Lila into the arms of a shiksa cliché.
Each of May’s next — and final — two films came with their own production woes but also solidified her genius. “Mikey and Nicky” (1976), which she also wrote, is a dark dazzler about two small-time mobsters and childhood friends — played by Falk and John Cassavetes — one of whom has heard he’s been marked for death. Over the course of one evening, the two pass an entire lifetime together talking, walking and waiting for the inevitable. Like all her films, “Mikey and Nicky” has the hard-to-capture feeling of spontaneous life, but is carefully structured. The story of what happened to the film while May was editing it — she apparently sneaked off with some reels — is the stuff of legend.
It also became another sneering story about May, including in the run-up to the release of “Ishtar” (1987), the last fiction film she directed. (She made a PBS documentary about Nichols; she also continued to write for the movies, and some of that work is in the Film Forum series.) It was the subject of a long, unfriendly New York magazine cover story filled with barbs, like an anecdote about the production’s search for a perfect camel, which implied that May — unlike, say, your favorite male auteur — was an unreasonable perfectionist. Most damning was the suggestion that “Ishtar” was (anonymously) regarded as a potential “Heaven’s Gate,” the financial catastrophe that is often blamed for torpedoing its studio and taking down American 1970s cinema with it.
“Ishtar” didn’t sink its studio and some critics dug it, but it didn’t take off at the box office and effectively marked the end of her directorial career. It’s a tremendous loss, and a scandal. But the movies that she did direct endure, including “Ishtar,” a loony, loopy blissout that stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as two terrible, tuneless songwriter performers who accidentally end up in an adventure that crosses an old Bob Hope and Bing Crosby road movie with a blistering sendup of American empire-building. Filled with great physical comedy and songs that are so awful they’re great, “Ishtar” is a movie whose time is now.B:
跑狗图经典语录【蜿】【蜿】【蜒】【蜒】，【到】【了】【嵩】【山】【之】【后】。 【只】【是】【嵩】【山】【弟】【子】【少】【了】【不】【少】，【几】【乎】【看】【不】【到】【多】【少】【年】【轻】【弟】【子】。 【恒】【空】【道】【长】【不】【着】【痕】【迹】【的】【看】【向】【清】【幻】【道】【长】【两】【人】，【传】【音】【道】：“【嵩】【山】【已】【经】【做】【好】【了】【魔】【头】【随】【时】【冲】【破】【封】【印】【的】【准】【备】，【而】【且】【他】【们】【似】【乎】【也】【并】【不】【想】【拼】【尽】【全】【力】【阻】【止】【魔】【头】【出】【世】。【贫】【道】【看】【了】【看】，【当】【初】【在】【湖】【心】【岛】【听】【道】【的】【那】【些】【年】【轻】【的】【嵩】【山】【弟】【子】，【并】【没】【有】【看】【到】，【应】【该】【是】【已】
【以】【结】【界】【的】【幻】【术】【结】【果】【隐】【藏】【自】【己】【的】【杀】【气】，【索】【性】【驾】【驭】【银】【之】【丝】【勒】【住】【对】【方】【的】【脖】【颈】——【这】【是】【单】【独】【一】【人】【面】【临】【绮】【礼】【的】【爱】【丽】【斯】【菲】【尔】【为】【自】【己】【订】【定】【的】【战】【术】。 ——【即】【使】【赌】【上】【性】【命】，【也】【要】【阻】【止】【言】【峰】【绮】【礼】。 【即】【使】【她】【已】【经】【尽】【大】【约】【的】【高】【估】【了】【言】【峰】【绮】【礼】，【她】【也】【没】【想】【到】【他】【仅】【仅】【依】【靠】【脖】【颈】【的】【肌】【肉】【就】【能】【抗】【衡】【强】【化】【过】【的】【金】【属】【线】。【但】【就】【算】【如】【此】，【在】【爱】【丽】【斯】【菲】【尔】【的】【魔】
【众】【人】【放】【下】【手】，【然】【后】【向】【着】【瓦】【巴】【多】【尔】【将】【军】【热】【烈】【的】【鼓】【起】【掌】【来】。 【瓦】【巴】【多】【尔】【将】【军】【满】【足】【的】【笑】【着】，【坐】【了】【下】【来】。 【奥】【巴】【赫】【姆】【环】【视】【了】【场】【内】【的】【众】【人】，【接】【着】【说】【道】：“【好】【了】，【从】【此】【刻】【开】【始】，【诸】【位】【就】【不】【再】【是】【枫】【叶】【丹】【林】【联】【军】【内】【的】【军】【人】【了】，【宪】【兵】【队】【已】【经】【管】【不】【了】【大】【伙】【了】，【我】【想】【大】【家】【一】【定】【都】【是】【松】【了】【口】【气】【吧】？” 【众】【人】【高】【兴】【的】【嗷】【嗷】【叫】【了】【起】【来】，【说】【道】：“【终】
【银】【修】【笑】【着】【说】“【这】【辈】【子】【够】【呛】【咯】，【我】【要】【是】【不】【成】【家】【这】【辈】【子】【就】【赖】【定】【你】【们】【了】，【你】【们】【不】【要】【嫌】【弃】【我】【啊】。” 【扣】【弦】【笑】【着】“【扣】【月】，【你】【从】【哪】【里】【认】【识】【的】【他】，【为】【什】【么】【要】【认】【识】【他】【呢】？” 【扣】【月】【笑】【着】【说】“【是】【啊】，【当】【初】【为】【什】【么】【要】【认】【识】【他】【呢】？” 【银】【修】【装】【作】【生】【气】【的】【样】【子】【说】“【后】【悔】【了】？【晚】【了】。” 【大】【家】【被】【逗】【的】【哈】【哈】【大】【笑】。 【这】【个】【时】【候】【看】【着】【大】【家】【都】【洋】【溢】跑狗图经典语录【我】【真】【的】【很】【小】【心】【很】【小】【心】【隐】【藏】【自】【己】，【可】【还】【是】【被】【聪】【明】【的】【哥】【哥】【发】【现】【了】【端】【倪】。 【他】【居】【然】……【联】【系】【心】【理】【医】【生】。 【我】【没】【有】【生】【病】，【夜】【唯】【一】【也】【没】【有】【生】【病】，【我】【们】【都】【不】【需】【要】【医】【生】。 【霍】【医】【生】【和】【顾】【城】【西】【都】【发】【现】【了】【我】【的】【存】【在】，【其】【实】【我】【知】【道】【他】【们】【都】【是】【哥】【哥】【安】【排】【来】【给】【我】【检】【查】【身】【体】【的】【人】。 【我】【不】【会】【让】【他】【们】【将】【我】【的】【真】【实】【情】【况】【告】【诉】【哥】【哥】。 【我】【怕】【会】【吓】【着】
【心】【中】【念】【头】【一】【起】，【无】【论】【理】【智】【还】【是】【感】【性】【皆】【允】，【自】【然】【一】【切】【皆】【释】【放】！ 【修】【罗】【刀】【出】，【刀】【刃】【如】【镜】，【倒】【映】【世】【间】【一】【应】【湮】【灭】【之】【景】！ 【修】【罗】【驾】【临】，【三】【头】【六】【臂】，【黄】【泉】【之】【上】【再】【来】【修】【罗】【之】【道】！ 【六】【目】【圆】【瞪】！【剑】【拔】【弩】【张】【如】【惊】【雷】【炸】【响】【前】【的】【雷】【霆】【炸】【亮】！ 【王】【巍】【已】【然】【做】【出】【了】【选】【择】！【眼】【前】【是】【自】【己】【在】【乎】【的】【女】【人】，【无】【论】【其】【他】【诸】【多】【缘】【由】【是】【否】【实】【存】，【皆】【不】【可】【任】【其】【被】
【樊】【洛】【洛】【来】【到】【湖】【面】【上】，【这】【湖】【被】【樊】【洛】【洛】【放】【在】【一】【个】【天】【然】【的】【盆】【地】【上】，【这】【盆】【地】【比】【较】【偏】【远】，【樊】【洛】【洛】【还】【来】【不】【及】【规】【划】，【如】【今】【有】【仙】【湖】【在】，【樊】【洛】【洛】【直】【接】【就】【将】【那】【块】【盆】【地】【的】【仙】【力】【供】【给】【停】【掉】【了】，【整】【个】【盆】【地】【更】【是】【一】【颗】【植】【物】【都】【没】【有】。 【如】【此】【节】【省】【了】【玉】【佩】【空】【间】【的】【消】【耗】，【同】【时】【仙】【湖】【也】【能】【够】【滋】【润】【那】【片】【土】【地】。 【仙】【湖】【有】【灵】，【但】【是】【这】【个】【仙】【湖】【的】【灵】【可】【能】【正】【在】【沉】【睡】，【因】