Robert J. Avrech

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Three Unflinching Films on Terrorism

Three Unflinching Films on Terrorism

Faye Dunaway once told me that to play a role she had to commit to the character with all her heart and soul. She needed, she explained, to love the character. In terms of performance this means the actor has

'Ben Hur': 'L.A. Times' Denial of Jewish and Movie History

The Los Angeles Times is, like the NY Times, a reliably anti-Israel newspaper whose liberal/progressive/leftist slant often veers into support for the Jew-hatred that is the foundation of Palestinian terror. Even their entertainment articles frequently marinate in a radical ideology

Joan Fontaine's Not So Hollywood Wedding Night

In 1939, Joan Fontaine, twenty-one years old, was slowly making her way up the Hollywood ladder. MGM signed Fontaine to play a small part in the high profile production The Women, directed by George Cukor, starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford,

Michele Bachmann: The Hated Jew

When Sarah Palin burst upon the national scene and the liberal media attempted to destroy her, it occurred to me that this honest and decent woman was being transformed into a hated Jew. No matter what she said, no matter

'Girl with Green Eyes': 47 Years Later

Turner Classic Movies allows yours truly to catch up on movies never seen and movies viewed so long ago that memory has left muddled, imprecise impressions. In 1964, age 14, I shlepped from Brooklyn into Manhattan to see the British

Easter Parade

When I was a child growing up during the 50’s and 60’s, there really was an Easter parade up and down the streets of my beloved Brooklyn neighborhood. Off to church went our Christian neighbors, the working class men tugging

Working With Sidney Lumet: Not a False Note

It was my great honor to have Sidney Lumet as the director of my screenplay, A Stranger Among Us, 1992, starring Melanie Griffith, Eric Thal, and Mia Sara. Working with Sidney was a master class in making movies. I learned

'South Park': Hollywood Does Dhimmitude

Dhimmitude: an attitude of concession, surrender and appeasement towards Islamic demands. South Park, equal opportunity satirists, have finally met their match. No, not the Islamist barbarians who have issued an indirect fatwa against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt

Deanna Durbin and the Holocaust

There was a time when Hollywood and Hollywood stars represented hope and freedom. Universal’s top star in the 1940s was Deanna Durbin (b.1921 – ) who starred in a series of hugely popular and successful light musical comedies. Durbin, a

TCM's Shadows of Russia: We Are All Comrades

“Comrade Karen?” My wife gazes at me, and she’s like, “Huh?” “Since I’m watching all these Russian themed movies I feel the need to get in character.” “Robert…” “Comrade Robert, if you please.” My poor wife heaves a weary sigh.

Brittany Murphy: To Remember

In 1999, a few weeks before The Devil’s Arithmetic went into production, I met with stars Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, and Mimi Rogers in Dustin Hoffman’s Brentwood office. Dustin and Mimi had rescued my script from development hell–a seven year

Authentically Gish, Garbo, Tiger, Obama, and Uh-Huh, Palin

Lilian Gish, Broken Blossoms, 1919, a genuine Hollywood star. Americans admire excellence and authenticity. The rise of the Hollywood movie star was built on powerful performances that projected the idea of authentic emotions. Film audiences experienced a magical connection–often, deeply

Lupe Velez: When Shame, Abortion and Suicide Collide

Lupe Velez, The Mexican Spitfire. The lives of Hollywood stars are frequently tragic and messy tales of absent fathers, cruelly ambitious mothers, and madly dysfunctional families. Mexican-American actress, Lupe Velez (July 18, 1908 – December 13, 1944) “The Mexican Spitfire”

One Shot. One Kill. One Beautiful Sharpshooter

This is not Yael, our beautiful Israeli sharpshooter. Security forbids us from posting her real name or image. But you get the idea, right? “How long did it take you to qualify as a sharpshooter in the IDF?” “Not too

How to Kill a Terrorist

Meet Larry, my buddy from Bensonhurst. Okay, so it’s not Larry. For reasons of security his identity cannot be compromised. But take my word for it, Larry looks exactly like William Powell in The Thin Man. Or not. Shabbat in

My Extremely Cute Chinese Communist Spy

This is not a picture of yours truly with My Chinese Spy. It’s star-struck me with the great Chinese actress Gong Li on location in China. I confess, I use any excuse to publish this photo. American Journalism Goes Dark–Voluntarily

Jews and Guns

An Ethiopian Jewish woman soldier takes aim. Both men and women serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. Thus, there is a weapon in almost every Israeli home. Before our son Ariel Chaim ZT”L passed away, age twenty-two, in 2003, we

Afghanistan: Obama's Setup and Payoff

Skillfully written screenplays are frequently structured around a series of setups and payoffs. The most rudimentary example is, of course, the pistol in the desk drawer: revealed in Act I, and then in Act II, the gun is used to

Dore Gold: The Rise of Nuclear Iran

Several days ago, I was invited by One Jerusalem, to attend a private briefing by Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., whose important new book, The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West, has just been