This June on the Criterion Channel, get in character for a journey through the movement that transformed screen acting. From Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando to Barbara Loden and Ellen Burstyn, our Method Acting series collects some of the all-time great film performances. And don’t neglect the Actors Studio–trained Marilyn Monroe, whose comic turns and dramatic showcases are brought together in this month’s retrospective. There’s plenty more to choose from, including a wide variety of LGBTQ+ offerings: rediscovered queer classics from Gregg Araki and Stanley Kwan, an insightful survey of the “gay best friend” trope, and a groundbreaking collection of films that celebrate trans men, butch lesbians, and gender-nonconforming heroes.
* indicates programming available only in the U.S.
Featuring a new conversation between author Isaac Butler and actors Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio
Arguably the greatest stylistic revolution to hit Hollywood since the invention of sound, the Method forever changed the way that both performers and audiences related to the art and craft of screen acting. Born out of the pioneering work of Konstantin Stanislavski and the Moscow Art Theatre, the community-fostered traditions of Yiddish theater, and the influence of legendary acting coaches like Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler, Method acting gave rise to a new kind of postwar movie star: one who eschewed glamour in favor of an intensely personal, internalized, and naturalistic approach to performance. Curated by Livia Bloom Ingram and Isaac Butler, author of The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act, this program spotlights key performances by Method-influenced artists like Montgomery Clift, Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, John Garfield, Kim Stanley, Warren Beatty, and Barbara Loden, for whom acting was a fearless journey into the deepest and most vulnerable parts of the themselves.
FEATURING: Humoresque (1946), A Place in the Sun (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), Bus Stop (1956), 12 Angry Men (1957), The Strange One (1957), The Goddess (1958), The Misfits (1961), Something Wild (1961), Splendor in the Grass (1961), The Haunting (1963), The Pawnbroker (1964), Meet Marlon Brando (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Graduate (1967), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Rachel, Rachel (1968), Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968), Five Easy Pieces (1970), Wanda (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The French Connection (1971), Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Resurrection (1980)*, Reds (1981)*
COMING JULY 1
Mean Streets (1973)
COMING AUGUST 1
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Starring Marilyn Monroe
An era-defining star whose pop-culture mythos has grown so immense it often eclipses the work she did as an actor, Marilyn Monroe deserves to be remembered as more than just an emblem of 1950s sexuality or tragic beauty. She was, first and foremost, an artist, a dedicated perfectionist who combined natural screen magnetism with a serious commitment to her craft that she honed through her work with Method acting pioneers Lee and Paula Strasberg. Though classic turns in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Seven Year Itch immortalized her brilliant comic timing, Monroe was equally effective in dramatic showcases like Bus Stop and The Misfits, in which she tapped into the deep well of vulnerability that lay beneath her glamorous image.
FEATURING: All About Eve (1950), Clash by Night (1952), Don’t Bother to Knock (1952), Monkey Business (1952), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Niagara (1953), River of No Return (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Bus Stop (1956), The Misfits (1961)
Spotlighting the rich stories and courageous lives of trans men, butch lesbians, and gender-nonconforming heroes, this collection—curated by writer-archivist-filmmaker Jenni Olson and critic Caden Mark Gardner—journeys through nearly four decades of cinema history in search of authentic, complex representations of masculine identity as it exists outside the realm of cisgender men. From nuanced explorations of gender-nonconforming youth (Vera, Tomboy) to powerfully moving documentary portraits (Shinjuku Boys, Southern Comfort) to innovative narratives that deconstruct both gender and genre (By Hook or By Crook, Maggots and Men), these films celebrate the courageous queer visionaries who have blazed these trails and who continue to show the way forward and inspire us all.
FEATURES: Vera (1986), Shinjuku Boys (1995), By Hook or By Crook (2001), Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc’s Adventure in Plastic (2001), Southern Comfort (2001), The Aggressives (2005), Tomboy (2011), Stud Life (2012), Chavela (2017), No Ordinary Man (2021)
SHORTS: Storme: The Lady of the Jewel Box (1987), Max (1992), Stafford’s Story (1992), Ifé (1993), Trans (1994), Maggots and Men (2009), Vamónos (2016), Monsieur Le Butch (2022), Pete (2022)
Queersighted: The Gay Best Friend
Featuring a new conversation between series curator Michael Koresky and author Mark Harris
The Gay Best Friend can be helpful. The Gay Best Friend can be catty. They can be unconditionally loving or secretly sinister. Yet they all have something in common: we never learn very much about their lives, existing as they do to support, elucidate, or put into relief something about their films’ straight main characters. This persistent stereotype provides a lens through which we can understand queer film history and the legacies of characters who have been, almost by definition, marginalized. In this latest edition of Queersighted, series curator Michael Koresky and his special guest, author Mark Harris (Mike Nichols: A Life), discuss a selection of titles stretching from Production Code–era Hollywood to the “out” nineties, featuring fascinating characters who may gaze from the sidelines but bring vivid life and depth to their films.
FEATURING: Easy Living (1937)*, Adam’s Rib (1949), The Strange One (1957), A Taste of Honey (1961), Rachel, Rachel (1968), Knightriders (1981), The Fisher King (1991), Single White Female (1992), Six Degrees of Separation (1993), Irma Vep (1996)