FROM Jan-Christopher Horak
Eastern European Cinematographers What do the films The Deer Hunter, Deliverance and Close Encounters of the Third Kind have in common? They’re all iconic movies, and they were all shot by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. He died on New Year’s Day at the age of 85. He and his friend Laszlo Kovacs started out filming the carnage as the Soviet Union quashed the Hungarian revolt against Communist rule in 1956. Then they came to Hollywood – and they are only two of many great film photographers from Eastern Europe. How did so many extraordinary cinematographers come from one part of the world?
Berlin and Hollywood Berlin and Los Angeles share a lot in common, especially movies. Not only has Berlin always been the heart of Germany’s film business, it’s been a stepping-off point for talent that’s had a huge impact on the American movie business. Carl Laemmle founded Universal Studios. Marlene Dietrich and her director Josef von Sternberg are synonymous with the exotic American films of the ‘30s. And Billy Wilder wrote and directed one of Madeleine Brand’s favorite movies ever, “Some Like It Hot.” Of course we know names like Dietrich and Wilder. But hundreds of lesser-known German immigrés have changed the way American movies look and sound. Starting next week, Press Play will be in Berlin. Every day, we’ll be sending stories back about the political and cultural life of a city that’s both one of the most glamorous and grittiest in Europe. Publicity photo of Marlene Dietrich for the film No Highway in the Sky also known as No Highway (1951).
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.
Accusations of lying fly between James Comey and White House During his testimony Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey accused President Trump and other White House officials of lying when they said the FBI was in disarray and its staff had lost confidence in him. President Trump’s lawyer said Comey was wrong -- that the president never asked for his loyalty, and never asked him to back off the investigation into former NSA director Michael Flynn.