International Casino, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, 1952
A month after the Bay of Pigs invasion, on February 2, 1962, President Kennedy called his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, into his office and directed him to buy as many Cuban cigars as he could find. The next morning Salinger walked into the Oval Office with 1,200 H. Upmann Petits, the president’s preferred brand. “Fantastic,” Kennedy said, placing them under his desk. Then, as Salinger explained at a Cigar Association of America annual meeting in 1987, the president “pulled out a decree banning all Cuban products from the United States and signed it.”
In acknowledgement of the embargo’s golden anniversary this week, Kempt looks back on an extraordinary time and place, the likes of which may never be experienced again.
Directors are allowed to cultivate a certain artistic schlubbiness, anyone who’s required to make deals has to be the most brazen, self-confident person in any particular room, with the clothes to match. When it works, it’s a thing of beauty.
And if you’re curious what that looks like, we’d direct you to Mr. Robert Evans…
One of the quintessential masculine movies is getting a Blu-Ray enhancement, complete with a restored print, a set of somewhat off-the-wall appreciations (Sara Vowell?), and the usual commentary tracks and deleted scenes.
A lot’s been written about *The Godfather*, but so many elements of it seem worth their own film, from the corrosive effects of power, the decaying family unit, and the increasing paranoia of postwar America. The unflinching brutality of the killings still strikes a chord, even after twenty years of horror-movie densitization, and the cinematography is still some of the best in American film.
And, in case you’d forgotten, Part III still sucks.