Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Last of the Magnificent Seven Bites the Dust!!

Filed under: Children,Jewish Themes,Katzman Biography,Katzman's Cinema Komments,Life & Death,Uncategorized — Bob at 11:36 am on Sunday, January 13, 2019

by Robert M. Katzman © January 13, 2019

Painful News Flash for South Siders and Undying lovers of the Original (and best!) Magnificent 7: That stunning deathless film which came out in 1960 when I was living near 87th and Jeffrey, and the three movie theaters were the Avalon on Stoney Island, or north of the RR tracks on 71st St, The Hamilton and the Jeffrey, has lost the last and most seductive member of its original cast:

Mexican actress Rosenda Monteros, the young woman, Petra, hiding in the forest wearing the all white pants and top costume, because her father warned her the seven American gunslingers “were brutes” and she should hide with the rest of the villages older girls, has died at the age of 86 in Mexico.


(Read on …)

A Meek Liberal’s Debt to the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© August 18, 2013

I have something to say about the new movie, “The Butler”.  I wonder sometimes why I write anything here, to a seemingly growing group of people I don’t really know and also the disturbingly fundamental fact that I’m not paid for it.

But the movie struck me so strongly and my impression was so different than the somewhat snotty and disdainful recent NPR review that I felt I wanted to cancel them out, in my own obscure microscopic voice.  What’s the point of Freedom of Speech if a person has something contradictory and worthwhile to say, but doesn’t bother because there’s no personal reward in it?

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Racial Prejudice and a Hyde Park Newsstand in Chicago…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© May 1, 2013

I came to Hyde Park in April, ’64 from an odd ethnic bubble of only Irish and Jews, mixed together with periodic success on the South Side of Chicago, near 87th Street. Never had any relationships or encountered any Black people anywhere.

There were two Black girls in my last year at Caldwell School whom no one would talk to. It was stunning. I was both appalled by this situation and I was unpopular as well, so I got it immediately and befriended them. They were suspicious of me at first (and who wouldn’t be?), but then visibly relieved that the ice was broken for them. Except it wasn’t broken.

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Shredded Hearts/The Chick-Flick Poem…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© March 2011   


There are

Moments in movies

Which is why

There are movies

That can crush your emotions

Like you are being



Love and Death

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Roger Ebert, Don’t Worry…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Katzman's Cinema Komments — Bob at 7:26 pm on Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Between January 3rd,2008 and April 13th, 2008, after Rick Munden and I agreed to see if we could create a blog that people would actually read, I wrote thirteen off-the-wall movie reviews of favorite old movies plus much more that I felt would interest people.  Except for review # 12, in which I argued that Amy Adams wasn’t sexy enough to keep three men on a string in a British movie I otherwise liked very much, and in the process attempted to define screen sexiness and suggested it could be a good parlor game, most people didn’t read my reviews. I regret that.

However, hundreds read # 12, so I guess, as they say, sex sells.

I have since revised my opinion of Miss Adams and her charms.  Some women get much better as they mature, and she seems to be a good case for that.  But then, who am I to say?

If you are intrigued, go to the list on the right of this page and look at the list of categories, you can click on Katzman’s Cinema Komments.   I think you will find my eccentric take on the movies is well worth your time.

I quit writing reviews to concentrate on all the other true stories since posted.   They are worth your time too, as are Rick’s stories.

As far as Roger Ebert, in 1970 he ran a class at the University of Chicago Extension in Downtown Chicago called (cleverly) Film Criticism, which I took twice.   We got to know each other a little, especially when he found out I was selling thousands of Chicago Sun-Times with his column in it at my wooden newsstand in Hyde Park every week.   His class was wonderful and well attended.  I missed a couple of the classes when my newsstand burned down that winter, but that’s another story.

He was very generous with his time, was completely unpretentious despite his growing fame and remained friendly to me through the years.  When Bob’s Newsstand closed in 1985 after 20 years, when I was thirty-five and out of work, he offered to see if he could get me a job as a writer at the Sun-Times.  About a month later, I did get a call from someone at the Times offering me a chance to work for them.  I turned it down because I must have thought I had something better going, which it turns out, I didn’t.  I have often wondered which way my life might have gone if I had decided to say “yes” to the opportunity.  But the point is, Ebert kept his word.  Character, man.

Ebert and I share something else, unfortunately, besides a love of the movies.

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Katzman’s Cinema Komments # 13–4/13/08

Filed under: Humor,Jewish Themes,Katzman's 13 Vintage Movie Reviews,Katzman's Cinema Komments — Bob at 12:59 pm on Monday, April 14, 2008

April 13th is not just another day.

Not for me, and not for America, either

Thomas Jeffereson was born on this day, in 1742, and he went on to write the Declaration of Independence.  I’ve read that there were approximately 4,000 Americans killed in that conflict, or about 1.3 soldiers a day died to win almost an entire continent from the British.

The first battle of the Civil War began on this day, at Fort Sumter in South Carolina (Rebs won, no casualties) just 68 years after the end of the the American Revolution.  There would be over 600,000 Americans killed in that savage conflict, or about 411 men died a day, in a cataclysmic attempt to see if we could keep most of our portion of that continent.

One hundred and eight-five years later, after the end of the Civil War in April 1865, I arrived in Chicago (four days late, around noon) on April 30th, 1950.  This is not a historically significant date which I’m sure would be universally agreed upon by all concerned.  But thirteen years later, I was a Bat Mizvah boy on April 13th, now 45 years ago, and that still matters to me.

Which, in my typically convoluted fashion, brings me to today’s movie, since at least one major member of that film’s cast had a bar mitzvah, too.  But thirty-five years before mine, when that ancient coming-of-age ceremony was far more obscure in America than it is now, and Jews kept a much lower national profile.

The Magnificant Seven! (1960), one of the most revered Western-themed movies ever made, even though it was based on an equally revered Eastern film, The Seven Samurai (1954).  I saw it when it came out (the US film) when I was just ten and I haven’t ever recovered from that first fantastic experience of an avalanche of charisma pouring off the screen by already famous and soon-to-be-famous macho American and European actors.

Yul Brynner (Chris, the so-cool leader), Steve McQueen (Vin, deadly, casual and philosophic) lead the cast.  Without them, the movie would be one more so-so Western.  But their spontaneous compatible relationship and world-weary attitude gave the film a spin that put a romantic sheen on everyone associated with it. 

Horst Bucholz (Chico), a new and very young German actor, played the 7th man to join the ranks of the immortal Seven.  Oddly, he was selected by the director, John Sturges, to play a brash young Mexican who distained the very peasant farmers he signed on to protect from the hordes of Mexican bandits who ravaged there village repeatedly, even though he was one of them.  His view of life was that the intinerant and frequently impoverished western gunslingers were  muy magnifico!! and he could never be a “miserable cowardly farmer” until Killer Cowboy Philosophy Class 101 cured him of that notion. 

Plus one very hot (and extremely disrespectful to her justifiably concerned father) chick with a single long black braid and a “Do it to me NOW, baby!” attitude, who convinced him that grinding corn on your knees, under blazing sunshine, can be very sexy indeed.

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