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Pat Dowell

  • Lewis, whose comedic duo with Dean Martin launched him to the peak of showbiz, starred and directed in dozens of films. He was perhaps just as famous for his charity work fighting muscular dystrophy.
  • The film The Act of Killing is the most talked about movie of the year. It's a film that is both fiction and nonfiction. Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer talked to the old men in charge of the death squads in Indonesia in the 1960s that killed somewhere between 500,000 to 2 million civilians in the name of thwarting communism.
  • The new film from the director of Man on Wire and Project Nim, James Marsh, is a fiction film about the period toward the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It stars Clive Owen and up-and-comer Andrea Riseborough.
  • Alfred Hitchcock is best known for suspense films like Psycho and Vertigo, but the British director actually began his filmmaking career during the silent era. The Hitchcock 9 is a collection of his silent films, and the only way to see them is the old way — going to the theater.
  • The legendary experimental filmmaker's work is the subject of a career-spanning retrospective at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. VanDerBeek merged collage-style filmmaking with new technology throughout his career.
  • Pawel Pawlikowski is one of Britain's most decorated filmmakers. Now his latest film has reached the United States, amid much critical praise. My Summer of Love revolves around two girls of different classes who meet and find themselves drawn to each other.
  • This Wednesday, Steven Spielberg's version of The War of the Worlds opens across the country. The film is based on H. G. Wells' classic novel, which has been adapted many times since it was published in 1898. Most famous is Orson Welles' 1938 radio play, which frightened millions who mistook it for a news report. The 1953 film version appeared during a wave of sci-fi movies that hit American screens in the 1950s, a time of great fear in the United States.
  • Volker Schlondorff is an Academy Award-winning German filmmaker who has focused on many aspects of German culture and history, but vowed never to make a movie about concentration camps -- until now. The Ninth Day tells the story of a priest who is torn between what is best for the church and his people.
  • Productions Peter Pan have reflected changing social attitudes toward children over the years. The result is that until recently, Peter, the boy who wouldn't grow up, was played by a woman. NPR's Pat Dowell explores the history of the character.
  • Ancient Rome and Greece seem to be the hot topics for major motion pictures once again. Troy, with Brad Pitt as Achilles, opens in theaters next weekend. Alexander, directed by Oliver Stone, opens this summer. Pat Dowell reports on why filmmakers find the ancient venues so appealing.