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(September 2001)

Roger EbertFor 23 years Roger Ebert teamed with Gene Siskel for Siskel & Ebert At The Movies. First on PBS then on a commercial network, they raised the art of movie criticism on television to award-winning heights. We at The Toast always appreciated the fact that they would discuss and review world cinema and independent films as well as first-run Hollywood fare; something the other TV critics rarely did. They supported and talked about optical video and were instrumental in persuading studios and video producers to release movies in their original aspect ratios. Although Roger Ebert was clearly the better Gene Siskelwriter, Gene Siskel had the more endearing screen persona. Best of all, the two of them were a near perfect coupling of personalities. Their mutual love of movies was palatable and their petty disagreements with each other seemed natural and sincere. Now that Gene has passed away, we at The Toast still watch (it's now called Ebert & Roeper And The Movies, Roger finally got first credit). We haven't yet warmed to Roeper but we have read a few of his newspaper columns and find his writing quite good. The tension between he and Roger seems somewhat forced and phony but we're hopeful.

Recently The Toast wrote a short appreciation of the dearly departed Jack Lemmon. In that piece we mentioned that one of our favorite Lemmon films was Billy Wilder's bittersweet comedy The Apartment (1960). Roger, naturally, wrote a wonderful article about it. May we recommend you take a look.

Jane GreerWe note with some sadness the passing of the stunningly beautiful Jane Greer. The Toast, like most people, best remember her as the wickedly beautiful (or the beautifully wicked) femme fatale in Jacques Tourneur's Out of The Past (1947). Her first appearance in the movie will take your breath away. Robert Mitchum (as Jeff Markham) is sitting in a dark little café in Acapulco. She walks in out of the bright noonday and well - let the voice over say it…
      "And then I saw her.
        Coming out of the sun.
        And I knew why Whit didn't care about that forty grand…

Other noir films she graced include They Won't Believe Me (1947) with Robert Young and The Big Steal (1949) again with Robert Mitchum.

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