Top 3: 2018 Memoriam of Greatness

By Ricky Herbst, Cinema Program Director for the Browning Cinema, December 21, 2018

[About a 7 MIN read]

Ted and Ricky meet up for December’s installment of their Top 3 program as the 2018 programming has taken its bows and 2019 waits in the wings. With the closing of the year, Ted and Ricky are taking a moment to do their own in memoriam, discussing people who passed during 2018 and who made, in their own and unique ways, great contributions to the entertainment world.

Ted begins his list with the Italian filmmaker Ermanno Olmi, who directed films that would appear to many to fit squarely within the Italian Neorealist movement; however, Olmi himself claimed that he was trying to make something unique from that style. Regardless of how he is categorized, his films received accolades throughout his lifetime, including a Palme d’Or win for his The Tree of Wooden Clogs in 1978. Next on Ted’s list is Neil Simon, the prolific and bankable writer for stage and screen whose works set the tone for relationship dramedies that felt the friction and constraint of urban living. (A particular favorite there for Ted would be The Heartbreak Kid from 1972.) Ted closes his list with Robby Müller, a cinematographer who popped up on fascinating sets and contributed greatly to the works of very different directors, including the works of Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas), Jim Jarmusch (Mystery Train), and Lars Von Trier (Breaking the Waves).


Ermanno Olmi

Ermanno Olmi (1931–2018)

Neil Simon

Neil Simon (1927–2018)

Robby Müller

Robby Müller (1940–2018)


Ricky begins his list with narrator/background actor/magician/historian Ricky Jay, whose own prowess in writing and the arcane attracted him to directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and David Mamet. Jay also was a renowned sleight of hand magician who delivered grandiloquent stories alongside his prestidigitation that often matched the styles of the films in which he was cast. Ricky then discusses Nicolas Roeg, who began as a cinematographer working with the likes of David Lean before transitioning to trippier fare, including Performance with Mick Jagger, The Man Who Fell to Earth with David Bowie, and an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, which will be playing in the Professor Pfinklepfunder series next semester. Lastly, Ricky discusses the work of Mark Tenser, who built up Crown International Pictures, a grindhouse producing films that both served as a zeitgeist collection pond (as grindhouses do) while also defining the look, feel, and audiences for B-films of the 1970s and 1980s.

With that, we look forward to 2019 and the many exciting films, directors, guest lecturers, and events happening in the Browning Cinema next year.


Ricky Jay

Ricky Jay (1946–2018)

Nicolas Roeg

Nicolas Roeg (1928–2018)

Mark Tenser

Mark Tenser (1920–2018)


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