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Watch: Siskel & Ebert’s First Full Episode Of ‘Opening Soon At A Theater Near You’ From 1975

Watch: Siskel & Ebert's First Full Episode Of 'Opening Soon At A Theater Near You' From 1975

This week, Steve James‘ touching, moving portrait of Roger Ebert, “Life Itself,” will start rolling out to theatres. The documentary tells the rather incredible life story of the nation’s most famous and beloved film critic, the man who both wrote “Beyond The Valley Of The Dollsand won a Pulitzer Prize for his criticism. But undoubtedly, one of the most key figures in Ebert’s life was Gene Siskel, with the pair first hitting the airwaves in September 1975 with a movie review show, clunkily named, “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You.” (Thank goodness they changed that.) And now you can watch how it all began.

With the documentary opening soon, there’s no better time than to sit back and see where all the bickering started between Siskel and Ebert. “Life Itself” does a terrific job at really exploring the contentious relationship that eventually found the enemies growing into (very competitive) friends, who respected each other deeply, even if when the cameras were rolling, they sparred heavily. Here, you can see them review “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and talk about cinema at the time in general, but without the chemistry they’d later generate. Still, it’s a fascinating time capsule and worth clicking below.

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Quick: which is more 70s? Siskel's mustache or Ebert's checkered suit. O man, this is great.

Lisa Nesselson

How wonderful to really let an extensive clip play out instead of worrying that a given excerpt has gone on "too long" — although Ebert and Siskel both seem borderline sedated. Wajda is still very much with us — his latest, "Walesa: Man of Hope" is top notch. And, of course, The Chicago International Film Festival — discussed in such loving detail here after its 11th edition — will celebrate its 50th year this October.

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