Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Siskel & Ebert: Together again. Now and forever.

Great news for fans of the late Gene Siskel and the recovering Roger Ebert: Starting tomorrow, over 20 years of televised movie reviews by the celebrated pair (and replacement Richard Roeper) will be available -- for free! -- at the At the Movies website. Says Ebert: "The archive will be searchable in various ways, but I imagine most users will want to look up reviews of specific movies." And, just as important, specific programs, such as "the entire show that Siskel and I devoted to Spike Lee, and especially his groundbreaking Do the Right Thing. Or the show we did in black and white, praising b&w movies. Or our early evaluations of laserdisc and DVDs, or our attacks on pan & scan and colorizing.

"Then there are the memorable disagreements, as when I couldn’t believe Gene didn’t love Apocalypse Now, and he couldn’t believe my thumb was down on Full Metal Jacket. He said I should have been wearing a Santa suit while giving thumbs-up to Cop and a Half. (One day the mail brought an autographed photo of Norman D. Golden II, the eight-year-old co-star of Cop and a Half, thanking me for helping his career. I thought that was nice of the kid, until I recognized something familiar about his handwriting.) A few years earlier, I told Gene (offscreen) that his praise for the awful family weepers Six Weeks and Table for Five might indicate sentimentality that was inspired because Gene and his wife, Marlene, were expecting for the first time. He handed me a note, 'to be read only when you are on the flight to Cannes,' telling me I was right."

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