March 14, 1997

Interview with Roger Ebert

Host David Inge spoke with film critic Roger Ebert on the program Focus 580 on March 14, 1997. Ebert was in Champaign-Urbana for a symposium entitled Cyberfest. The night before the interview, Ebert had introduced a showing of a 70 mm print of one of his favorite films of all time, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ebert discussed Kubrick at length, saying that as hard as critics have tried to find a common thread throughout Kubrick's films, each film is " a completely new departure," and compares his filmmaking to the music of Beethoven. Ebert also discusses the development of the last film Kubrick would direct, Eyes Wide Shut, as well as A.I., which at the time of the interview was under development with Kubrick the presumed director (Steven Spielberg would eventually direct the final film).

Ebert also discusses the role of a smaller opening weekend as a way of building an audience for a film as opposed to depending on a large opening weekend to keep a film in theaters. He takes questions from listeners about Kubrick; silent film; Champaign's Virginia Theater; classic film restoration as a method of promoting home video releases; the differences between Hollywood studios and small independent studios; the difficulty of filming science fiction, and growing up on Washington Street in Urbana.


Busted book cover
September 20, 1995

Busted: A Vietnam Veteran in Nixon’s America

Between March and September of 1974, as Richard Nixon's presidency of the United States unraveled on national television, Bill Ehrhart, a decorated Marine Corps sergeant and anti-war Vietnam veteran fought to retain his merchant seaman's card after being busted for possession of marijuana. He was also held on suspicion of armed robbery in New York City, detained on the Garden State Parkway for looking like a Puerto Rican revolutionary and thrown out of New Jersey by the Maple Shade police. All of this occurred while the House Judiciary Committee conducted hearings on Nixon's impeachment.


Seeing Vietnam book cover
May 30, 1994

Seeing Vietnam: Encounters of the Road and Heart

Susan Brownmiller, best known for feminist writings (Against Our Will; Femininity), first visited Vietnam in 1992 after travel restrictions for ordinary Americans were lifted. Traveling from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta, Brownmiller praises Vietnam's literacy rates while noting widespread malnourishment and the massive failure of large-scale state enterprises. She notes the continuing differences between north and south and the ecological damage caused by the war, integrating these observations into lengthy discussions of hotels, meals and plumbing, and accounts of people met and sights seen. 


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