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  • Fargo

    Fargo

    ★★★★★

    It is possible that the success of Pulp Fiction, set in L.A. and made by a diehard Angeleno, did influence the Coens to return to their home state of Minnesota after about a decade away from it, to escape sunny Southern California and show a more snow-covered sort of neo-noir with a female lead, and what better woman than Joel’s wife Frances McDormand to star in Fargo?

    In fact, the Coens constructed three of Fargo’s four lead roles around the…

  • Pulp Fiction

    Pulp Fiction

    ★★★★★

    Quentin Tarantino and his writing partner, Roger Avary, had a few ideas for True Romance that didn’t make that film’s shooting script. Tarantino talked about using “the oldest chestnuts” and stories “you’ve seen a zillion times” and “then purposely have them run awry” or, in another interview, “apply them to some of real life’s rules and see how they unravel.” Working closely with his same team from Reservoir Dogs, namely DP Andrzej Sekula, editor Sally Menke, production designer David Wasco,…

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  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Bonnie and Clyde

    ★★★★★

    Robert Benton and David Newman’s script owed much to the French New Wave and its transgressive, jittery-filmed, elliptically-edited anti-establishment movies like those directed by their heroes Truffaut and Godard. Through a friend of a friend these two Esquire writers somehow got their spec script to the former, who told them he was considering it before passing it on to the latter. Warren Beatty came upon this script about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and never quite let it go. Beatty…

  • All About Eve

    All About Eve

    ★★★★★

    Joseph Mankiewicz could find ideas and claim them as his own, possibly including Wilder’s, definitely including Mary Orr’s, who in 1946 wrote and published “The Wisdom of Eve,” based loosely on a real actress’s superfan who became that actress’s assistant and tried to steal her life. When Mankiewicz appropriated Mary Orr’s story into a film called All About Eve without giving Orr screen credit, you might say art imitated life imitating art imitating life.

    Many modern viewers don’t know that…