The political left has found its most articulate voice in Frank Rich, columnist for the Sunday New York Times. Movies like “North by Northwest,” “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Dr. Strangelove” introduced him to the cause.
“They offered an alternate view of official Washington, D.C.,” he says. “I just love the issue of McCarthyism in ‘The Manchurian Candidate,’ and the satire of the military establishment in ‘Dr. Strangelove’ was quite something for a kid growing up in the nation’s capital.”
In college, he saw “Jules et Jim” and “Blowup,” and it didn’t seem possible that American movies could ever measure up — until Arthur Penn directed “Bonnie and Clyde” in 1967.
“It captured the rebellion that was brewing in American life, and it captured some of the European new wave. It was unlike any American studio movie I’d ever seen,” says Rich. “Finally, American movies could have these subversive qualities of the new cinema in Europe.”
Recently, Rich used his Times column to go back to his first journo gig, as a film critic, and praise this year’s apocalyptic “Wall-E”:
“Compare any 10 minutes of the movie with 10 minutes of any cable-news channel, and you’ll soon be asking: Exactly who are the adults in our country and who are the cartoon characters?”