Out Of The Past provides a look back at important film events that occurred on this date.
September 16, 1941: Jim McBride is born
Jim McBride began his directorial career with what would become his most influential film, if not his most famous. David Holzman’s Diary earned a place in film-school syllabi and the Library Of Congress’ National Film Registry despite only receiving a very brief release in 1973, six years after its production. Even though it was late in arriving in theaters, it was still ahead of its time. A pseudo-documentary about the movie-obsessed title character (played by screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson) who can’t stop filming, it anticipates everything from reality television to YouTube while capturing a particular time and place. “As soon as you start filming something,” one of Holzman’s friends warns, “whatever happens in front of the camera isn’t reality anymore.” And yet he keeps the camera rolling.
McBride went on to an often fascinating career after his debut, one that included a couple of slice-of-counterculture-life documentaries, and the low-budget post-apocalyptic feature Glen And Randa. In the ’80s he went Hollywood, sort of, with an underrated remake of Breathless, the New Orleans-set mystery The Big Easy, and Great Balls Of Fire!, an eccentric biopic of Jerry Lee Lewis. All are filled with self-aware energy that demonstrates it’s possible to go mainstream without playing it safe.