Pauline Kael

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She's been mentioned in almost every film-related discussion we've had, so it's about time she had her own thread, isn't it?

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 17 February 2003 10:06 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

anyone know details about the forthcoming biography?

M Matos (M Matos), Monday, 17 February 2003 10:20 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

She was a remarkable woman. A bit of a witch, but a remarkable woman.

the pinefox, Monday, 17 February 2003 12:12 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

That's the kind of back-handed compliment that I am so sick of receiving. Who is this Kael woman?

Lara (Lara), Monday, 17 February 2003 12:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

But Jerry, that's a WARLOCK.

the pinefox, Monday, 17 February 2003 12:34 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I disagree. It's a necessity.

Lara (Lara), Monday, 17 February 2003 13:38 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Posted to the wrong thread. Can we make it work?

Lara (Lara), Monday, 17 February 2003 13:39 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Lara - do people really often call you a remarkable woman?

the pinefox, Monday, 17 February 2003 13:41 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

As often as they call you precious, my precious.

Lara (Lara), Monday, 17 February 2003 13:46 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I love her reviews. I don't think she's right as often as David Thompson, say, but I find her more fun to read. She's boring less often than almost any other critic ever in any form.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 17 February 2003 18:22 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

David Thomson (no "p") is better than Kael, I think. Just got thru reading a slim collection called "Under Mulholland." Thomson zinged me on a piece about a fictional director named Perkins least I think he's fictional, unless any of you out there have ever heard of a movie w/Warren Oates called "My Sweet Dread."

Kael is to read...but she misses the point a lot. Style is repetitive, even more so than that of most writers. Her main contributions: prescient review of "Bonnie and Clyde"; review of "Nashville" before it was offically released. Liked Altman when it was cool to dismiss him (post-M*A*S*H). Also, in her piece on "Long Goodbye" (Altman's take on Raymond Chandler) she really demolishes Chandler as the high-class hack he really all to the good...

frank p. jones (frank p. jones), Monday, 17 February 2003 18:28 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Make that Thomson title "Beneath Mulholland: Thoughts on Hollywood and Its Ghosts."

frank p. jones (frank p. jones), Monday, 17 February 2003 18:29 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I think both Kael and Thomson are/were "wrong" very often and that doesn't hinder me from loving either of them. What good is a critic who agrees with you all the time? And what good are you if that's the case?

Pete Scholtes, Monday, 17 February 2003 21:41 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I love when I disagree with Kael, which is often. Doesn't make her a worse critic in any way.

slutsky (slutsky), Monday, 17 February 2003 21:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Every critic should be on a soapbox and Mrs Kael most certainly was.

Wintermute (Wintermute), Monday, 17 February 2003 21:57 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"I regard criticism as an art." I wish more critics thought that way (for better or worse).

Aaron W (Aaron W), Monday, 17 February 2003 22:01 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I regard criticism as fart.

Lara (Lara), Monday, 17 February 2003 23:13 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I think both Kael and Thomson are/were "wrong" very often and that doesn't hinder me from loving either of them. What good is a critic who agrees with you all the time? And what good are you if that's the case?
-- Pete Scholtes

Touchy, eh?

frank p. jones (frank p. jones), Monday, 17 February 2003 23:52 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

not at all, frank

M Matos (M Matos), Tuesday, 18 February 2003 01:43 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
does anyone know what Kael thought of "Vertigo"? i've read or at least skimmed all her books, but i've never seen her mention this film. i'm guessing she didn't like it - i don't think she ever liked a Hitchcock picture she couldn't describe as "fun."

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 13 September 2004 08:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

it's entirely possible she forgot about it or even never saw it. that would account for her weakness for brian depalma, of course. it was out of circulation in the 60s and 70s, as was 'rear window'.

Dead Man, Monday, 13 September 2004 08:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

It is queer than Greil Marcus dedicated Invisible Republic to her, save that, as JtN points out, it is not.

the bellefox, Monday, 13 September 2004 10:40 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i've got a feeling that PK said vertigo was a sick, necrophiliac fantasty

Jay G (jaybob79), Monday, 13 September 2004 10:42 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

nice line of thought, Pauline: 'bonnie and clyde were REALLY horrible violent criminals!!!'

Dead Man, Monday, 13 September 2004 10:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I don't think she was a fan, but I'm gonna check. I think she referenced it at least once (it's GOTTA be in 5001 Nights At The Movies somewhere). I cannot WAIT until that biography comes out (whenever that might be).

manthony m1cc1o (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 13 September 2004 14:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...
Kael's marginalia are very much in the classic Pauline mode. Penciled in a quick, tight cursive, her comments favor the expressively expostulatory: ''gawd," ''oh my," ''huh?," ''poo," ''bull," ''good," ''Jesus!," ''he's right," ''ugh," ''yup," ''oh come on," ''??," and ''!"

don't be jerk, this is china (FE7), Thursday, 8 September 2005 23:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

LOL. I was just reading her two nights ago. It always makes me wish I were alive in NYC in the '70s.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Friday, 9 September 2005 00:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

A few capsules from 5001 Nights:

"Only the title of this extraordinary poetic satire is casual and innocent. The writer-director Jean-Luc Godard has a gift for making the contemporary satiric and fantastic. He begins with just a slight stylization of civilized living now—the people are more adulterous, more nakedly mercenary, touchier. They have weapons, and use them at the slightest provocation, and it seems perfectly logical that they should get into their cars and bang into one another and start piling up on the roads. The traffic jam is a prelude to highways littered with burning cars and corpses. As long as Godard stays with cars as the symbol of bourgeois materialism, the barbarity of these bourgeois—their greed and the self-love they project onto their possessions—is exact and funny. The picture goes much further—sometimes majestically, sometimes with surreal details that suggest an affinity between Godard and Buñuel, sometimes with methods and ideas that miss, badly. There are extraordinary passages, such as a bourgeois wife's erotic confession and a long virtuoso sequence of tracking shots of cars stalled on the highway, with the motorists pressing down with all their might on their car horns, which sound triumphant, like trumpets in Purcell. Though deeply flawed, this film has more depth than any of Godard's earlier work. It's his vision of Hell and it ranks with the greatest. As a mystical movie WEEKEND is comparable to Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL and SHAME and Ichikawa's FIRES ON THE PLAIN and passages of Kurosawa, yet we're hardly aware of the magnitude of the writer-director's conception until after we are caught up in the comedy of horror, which keeps going further and further and becoming more nearly inescapable, like Journey to the End of the Night."

Exorcist II: The Heretic
"Directed by John Boorman, this picture has a visionary crazy grandeur (like that of Fritz Lang's loony METROPOLIS). Some of its telepathic sequences are golden-toned and lyrical, and the film has a swirling, hallucinogenic, apocalyptic quality; it might have been a horror classic if it had had a simpler, less ritzy script. But, along with flying demons and theology inspired by Teilhard de Chardin, the movie has Richard Burton, with his precise diction, helplessly and inevitably turning his lines into camp, just as the cultivated, stage-trained actors in early-30s horror films did. Like them, Burton has no conviction in what he's doing, so he can't get beyond staginess and artificial phrasing. The film is too cadenced and exotic and too deliriously complicated to succeed with most audiences (and when it opened, there were accounts of people in theatres who threw things at the screen). But it's winged camp—a horror fairy tale gone wild, another in the long history of moviemakers' king-size follies. There's enough visual magic in it for a dozen good movies; what it lacks is judgment—the first casualty of the moviemaking obsession. With Linda Blair, four year older than in the first film and going into therapy because of her nightmares, Louise Fletcher as the therapist, and Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Ned Beatty, Paul Henreid, and James Earl Jones as Pazuzu."

The Fury
"Brian De Palma's visionary, science-fiction thriller is the reverse side of the coin of Spielberg's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. With Spielberg, what happens is so much better than you dared hope that you have to laugh; with De Palma, it's so much worse than you feared that you have to laugh. The script (John Farris's adaptation of his novel) is cheap gothic espionage occultism involving two superior beings—spiritual twins (Andrew Stevens and Amy Irving) who have met only telepathically. But the film is so visually compelling that a viewer seems to have entered a mythic night world; no Hitchcock thriller was ever so intense, went so far, or had so many "classic" sequences."

A Clockwork Orange
"This Stanley Kubrick film might be the work of a strict and exacting German professor who set out to make a porno-violent sci-fi comedy. The movie is adapted from Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel, which is set in a vaguely socialist future of the late 70s or early 80s—a dreary, routinized England that roving gangs of teenage thugs terrorize at night. In this dehumanizing society, there seems to be no way for the boys to release their energies except in vandalism and crime. The protagonist, Alex (Malcolm McDowell), is the leader of one of these gangs; he's a conscienceless schoolboy sadist who enjoys stealing, stomping, raping, and destroying, until he kills a woman and is sent to prison. There he is conditioned into a moral robot who becomes nauseated by thoughts of sex and violence. Burgess wrote an ironic fable about a future in which men lose their capacity for moral choice. Kubrick, however, gives us an Alex who is more alive than anybody else in the movie, and younger and more attractive, and McDowell plays him exuberantly, with power and slyness. So at the end, when Alex's bold, aggressive, punk's nature is restored to him, it seems not a joke on all of us (as it does in the book) but, rather, a victory in which we share, and Kubrick takes an exultant tone. Along the way, Alex has been set apart as the hero by making his victims less human than he; the picture plays with violence in an intellectually seductive way—Alex's victims are twisted and incapable of suffering. Kubrick carefully estranges us from these victims so that we can enjoy the rapes and beatings. Alex alone suffers. And how he suffers! He's a male Little Nell—screaming in a strait jacket during the brainwashing; sweet and helpless when rejected by his parents; alone, weeping, on a bridge; beaten, bleeding, lost in a rainstorm; pounding his head on a floor and crying for death. Kubrick pours on the hearts and flowers; what is done to Alex is far worse than what Alex has done, so society itself can be felt to justify Alex's hoodlumism."

"Sometimes mawkish pictures (like DAVID AND LISA and TO SIR WITH LOVE & 1967 and this one) catch on with the public and are taken seriously; characteristically naïve, "sincere," and pitifully clumsy in execution, they are usually based on material that experienced directors are too knowing to attempt. CHARLY, which had already been a heavily anthologized short story ("Flowers for Algernon," by Daniel Keyes), a TV play, and a novel, has the kind of terrible idea that makes what is often called "a classic"—really a stunted perennial. In the movie, directed by Ralph Nelson and adapted by Stirling Silliphant, Charly (Cliff Robertson), the mentally retarded adult whose teacher (Claire Bloom) helps him get brain surgery, tries to rape her as soon as he gets some book learning. Rejected, he becomes a hippie and a Hell's Angel, but he soon goes back to his books and becomes a fantastic, computer-sharp supergenius, and he and the teacher have an affair. The scheming scientists didn't tell him, though: his genius is only temporary—he must go back to being a dummy. This cheap fantasy with its built-in sobs also takes the booby prize for the worst use (yet) of the split screen; it's a slovenly piece of moviemaking and it's full of howlers. CHARLY may represent the unity of schlock form and schlock content—true schlock art."

The Sound of Music
"Set in Austria in 1938, this is a tribute to freshness that is so mechanically engineered and so shrewdly calculated that the background music rises, the already soft focus blurs and melts, and, upon the instant, you can hear all those noses blowing in the theatre. Whom could this operetta offend? Only those of us who, despite the fact that we may respond, loathe being manipulated in this way and are aware of how cheap and ready-made are the responses we are made to feel. We may become even more aware of the way we have been turned into emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs. The dauntless, scrubbed-face heroine (Julie Andrews), in training to become a nun, is sent from the convent to serve as governess to the motherless Von Trapp children, and turns them into a happy little troupe of singers before marrying their father (Christopher Plummer). She says goodbye to the nuns and leaves them outside at the fence, as she enters the cathedral to be married. Squeezed again, and the moisture comes out of thousands—millions—of eyes and noses. Wasn't there perhaps one little Von Trapp who didn't want to sing his head off, or who screamed that he wouldn't act out little glockenspiel routines for Papa's party guests, or who got nervous and threw up if he had to get on a stage? The only thing the director, Robert Wise, couldn't smooth out was the sinister, archly decadent performance by Christopher Plummer—he of the thin, twisted smile; he seems to be in a different movie altogether."

West Side Story
"The film begins with a blast of stereophonic music, and everything about it is supposed to stun you with its newness, its size. The impressive, widely admired opening shots of New York from the air overload the story with values and importance—technological and sociological. And the dance movements are so sudden and huge, so portentously "alive" they're always near the explosion point. Consider the feat: first you take Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and remove all that cumbersome poetry; then you make the Montagues and Capulets modern by turning them into rival street gangs of native-born and Puerto Ricans. (You get rid of the parents, of course; America is a young country—and who wants to be bothered by the squabbles of older people?) There is the choreographer Jerome Robbins (who conceived the stage musical) to convert the street rumbles into modern ballet—though he turns out to be too painstaking for high-powered moviemaking and the co-director Robert Wise takes over. The writers include Ernest Lehman, who did the script, Arthur Laurents, who wrote the Broadway show, and, for the lyrics, Stephen Sondheim. The music is by Leonard Bernstein. The irony of this hyped-up, slam-bang production is that those involved apparently don't really believe that beauty and romance can be expressed in modern rhythms, because whenever their Romeo and Juliet enter the scene, the dialogue becomes painfully old-fashioned and mawkish, the dancing turns to simpering, sickly romantic ballet, and sugary old stars hover in the sky. When true love enters the film, Bernstein abandons Gershwin and begins to echo Richard Rodgers, Rudolf Friml, and Victor Herbert. There's even a heavenly choir. When Romeo-Tony meets his Juliet-Maria, everything becomes gauzy and dreamy and he murmurs, "Have we met before?" When Tony, floating on the clouds of romance, is asked, "What have you been taking tonight?" he answers, "A trip to the moon." Match that for lyric eloquence! (You'd have to go back to Odets.)"

Eric H. (Eric H.), Friday, 9 September 2005 18:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

tthere's a new URL for that dead Geocities page of 2800+ Kael reviews; I saw it this week but didn't save the addy. Anyone?

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 17 December 2010 16:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

that's an invaluable resource. I was very sad when it went down.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 December 2010 16:30 (eight years ago) Permalink

thx, but there's a new non-Wayback site.

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 17 December 2010 16:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

cant find it, but i turned this up

my reaction to rushmore was similar to hers when i first saw it

Pussy v. Sperguson (Princess TamTam), Friday, 17 December 2010 16:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

It was included as the intro to the published Rushmore script eight or nine years ago.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 December 2010 17:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yeah, but Edelstein mentions that she was mortified when it appeared in the New York Times too.

Pussy v. Sperguson (Princess TamTam), Friday, 17 December 2010 17:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

OOH. I didn't know about this squabble.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 December 2010 17:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm sure I've made it more than clear how much I love Kael, but I think she was completely wrong about Rushmore (to the extent that I can piece together her reaction from interviews, which seemed to be one of puzzlement). Just in general, I found I agreed with her less and less often towards the end. The quality of her writing was still great, but I found in terms of what she liked, she veered way in the direction of junk; it was almost like she discounted films that had any pretense towards seriousness. Her critics would probably say that that was always a problem with her, but at her best during the '70s, I think gave everything a fair look. I didn't feel that was true her last couple of years and in the interviews she gave after retiring. Obviously, there are exceptions--just a general observation.

clemenza, Friday, 17 December 2010 18:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

I disagree. While it's true she reviewed more junk, the eighties and early nineties also produced more and more of it. Also, those 1500-word essays on forgotten junk like Club Paradise and About Last Night feature some of her best writing ever; it's as if she accepted the terms of the debate and relaxed.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:06 (eight years ago) Permalink

'70s >>> '80 for movies, but State of the Art and Hooked are my favorites of her collections.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

A bunch of junk from the '80s has aged a little bit better than many of the serious movies from the same decade.

benanas foster (Eric H.), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

Fat keeps.

benanas foster (Eric H.), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

I dont think you can say someone's 'wrong' to be puzzled by a movie - i sure as shit didn't know what to make of it (rushmore) at the time.

Pussy v. Sperguson (Princess TamTam), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

wasn't she famously a champion of de sica (as opposed to sariss' "male weepies") and rosellini? i didn't get the impression she eschewed seriousness

zvookster, Friday, 17 December 2010 18:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

She had her blind spots (Bresson, Ozu, Mizoguchi), but so does every critic.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:11 (eight years ago) Permalink

De Sica is sort of trash compared to Rossellini.

benanas foster (Eric H.), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh wait, she liked Rossellini too? Color me surprised.

benanas foster (Eric H.), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:13 (eight years ago) Permalink

i thought i recalled several admiring bresson reviews...l'argent & ... joan of arc maybe?

i love all those guys

zvookster, Friday, 17 December 2010 18:13 (eight years ago) Permalink

i didn't get the impression she eschewed seriousness

Early on, no--that was the point I was making. Being puzzled by Rushmore is fine; I think she's wrong not to think "Wow, that's an amazing film," but puzzlement is totally valid. I'm not a big fan of the '80s, so our thoughts on Kael are undoubtedly tied in to how we feel about the decade to begin with. At times, I thought she was amazing; her Casualties of War review ranks with anything she ever wrote.

clemenza, Friday, 17 December 2010 18:14 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh no way. The only one with which she (barely) connected was ...Country Priest. She despised Mouchette, Lancelot, etc.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 December 2010 18:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

"women would say to me, your review was like a legal brief ... and i would wince at that. but men would always say how impressionistic it was."

difficult listening hour, Friday, 27 June 2014 20:56 (four years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

Googling Kael-Kiarostami led me to this, something I'd never read before:

clemenza, Saturday, 4 April 2015 22:11 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Quick writeup and trailer for upcoming Kael doc, What She Said:

The New Gay Sadness (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 20 May 2015 14:52 (three years ago) Permalink

How many film critics are going to get their own docs?

Norse Jung (Eric H.), Wednesday, 20 May 2015 14:58 (three years ago) Permalink

Doorman: The Legend of Armond White

The New Gay Sadness (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 20 May 2015 15:03 (three years ago) Permalink

How many film critics are going to get their own docs?

inversely proportional to the number of critics getting daily newspaper gigs

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 20 May 2015 15:04 (three years ago) Permalink

Odd that 2001 and The Birds show up in the trailer--every other clip seems to be a film she loved, or something close to that.

clemenza, Thursday, 21 May 2015 05:24 (three years ago) Permalink

shes the type of critic i think id rather see a biopic of some sort for... like a film based wholly on the critic in birdman.

StillAdvance, Thursday, 21 May 2015 10:10 (three years ago) Permalink

Ditto, as I mentioned in another thread--I think it'd potentially make a great film.

clemenza, Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:43 (three years ago) Permalink

preview of Cineaste article on her "provincialism"

Being Polish myself, and recognizing the fact that Kael’s parents were both Polish Jews who immigrated to the United States from Warsaw in the first decade of twentieth century, there is one particular absence in her writing that I find particularly glaring: namely, the films of Central and Eastern Europe.

It is almost shocking to discover that, in her quarter-century as a film reviewer for The New Yorker, Kael had only once reviewed a film that can even remotely be deemed Eastern European, since, although it was nominally a West German production, it was made by a Hungarian director and produced by a Hungarian studio: namely, István Szabó’s Oscar-winning Mephisto (1981), which she had mixed feelings about. As far as we know (and I base my knowledge on several interviews I did with Kael’s acquaintances and friends, as well as on Kellow’s book), she never traveled anywhere behind the Iron Curtain and one would be hard-pressed to detect so much as a tiny bit of interest in this part of the world in her writing. In fact, whatever mentions of Eastern Europe do appear in her reviews, they are usually derogatory and anxiety-driven, as if Eastern Europe represented something shriveled, dry, and vaguely repugnant: definitely not a place one would identify with, even though one was not even a full generation distant from the geographical heart of it.

the increasing costive borborygmi (Dr Morbius), Monday, 1 June 2015 19:30 (three years ago) Permalink

She didn't review Fassbinder, Ozu, or Wadja either.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 1 June 2015 19:32 (three years ago) Permalink


the increasing costive borborygmi (Dr Morbius), Monday, 1 June 2015 19:32 (three years ago) Permalink

It doesn't particularly bother me. I don't see travel as requisites for good writing. The better point to make is why she remains a good film writer despite her weaknesses.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 1 June 2015 19:34 (three years ago) Permalink

I started to suspect that the reason my subject’s prose can feel tiresome after a while stems from the fact that it contains a paradoxical quality: vibrancy verging on closed-mindedness.

Monstrous Moonshine Matinee (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 1 June 2015 20:36 (three years ago) Permalink

It is true that I can only really read Kael in pretty small doses these days.

Norse Jung (Eric H.), Monday, 1 June 2015 20:37 (three years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

I really want this--a friend has a chapter, along with Paul Schrader, Joan Tewkesbury, Allen Barra, and another 20 or so people--but the price is crazy: $75 on Amazon, before shipping and exchange. Even if I bought e-books, which I don't, that cost almost as much.

clemenza, Saturday, 19 September 2015 04:56 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

someone has made a short film about the arthouse she co-created (in Berkeley, right?):

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 12 November 2015 16:17 (three years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Twitter site, seemingly related to an upcoming documentary (What She Said).

clemenza, Thursday, 26 May 2016 23:25 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Funny, in a sideways way; the almost-50th anniversary of a review of a film getting some 50th-anniversary attention.

clemenza, Monday, 14 August 2017 12:02 (one year ago) Permalink

In the middle of a move and trying to downsize my book collection somewhat. But For Keeps, Conversations with Pauline Kael, A Life in the Dark and Sontag & Kael are all coming with me.

Anne of the Thousand Gays (Eric H.), Monday, 14 August 2017 14:02 (one year ago) Permalink

dump em all for The American Cinema :D

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 14 August 2017 14:13 (one year ago) Permalink

It seems weird now that Bosley Crowther's original B&C pan came out four months before the film did

Josefa, Monday, 14 August 2017 14:20 (one year ago) Permalink

dump em all for The American Cinema :D

Have you read that thing recently? Zzzzzzz.

Anne of the Thousand Gays (Eric H.), Monday, 14 August 2017 14:25 (one year ago) Permalink

Kael: stimulating and so frequently wrong.


B&C played the Monreal fest in April; Crowther's last line in his review was "This is the film that opened the Montreal International Festival!" So either he went or had it sneaked for him.

It was regularly released in August. Kael's piece was published in October (apparently it had been turned down by the New Republic before the New Yorker ran it).

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 14 August 2017 14:52 (one year ago) Permalink

PK did not go fulltime at TNY til '68.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 14 August 2017 14:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Don't know if you have Reeling, Eric, but that's the one regular collection I'd keep.

clemenza, Monday, 14 August 2017 15:00 (one year ago) Permalink

Her collections were hard to find even used on Amazon until a couple years ago; I guess a proto-Eric dumped his load. I bought , Reeling, Taking it All In, and State of the Art.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 14 August 2017 15:05 (one year ago) Permalink

They're expensive now. I had an extra hardcover of State of the Art, one I bought a few a years ago, relatively cheap and in perfect condition, that I gave to a friend recently. "If you find out you already have it, I want it back--it's worth something."

clemenza, Monday, 14 August 2017 15:11 (one year ago) Permalink

I have all the original hardcovers up to Reeling, mostly bought a long time ago. Was wondering if all her stuff came out in HC; if State of the Art did I guess they all did

Josefa, Monday, 14 August 2017 15:18 (one year ago) Permalink

I still have State of the Art and Taking it All In, and will likely keep them too.

Anne of the Thousand Gays (Eric H.), Monday, 14 August 2017 15:31 (one year ago) Permalink

Kael: stimulating and so frequently wrong.

Sarris: boring and right only about as often as average for film critics (and somewhat responsible for lists)

Anne of the Thousand Gays (Eric H.), Monday, 14 August 2017 15:32 (one year ago) Permalink

tsk tsk

How much (pre-1984) Sarris have you read that's not in TAC? He hasn't been collected like Kael.

(Also, he was especially good on silent and screwball comedy, so I'm probably barking up the wrong tree...)

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 14 August 2017 15:35 (one year ago) Permalink

To be fair, I haven't read a lot of Sarris' Voice stuff that hasn't been collected in other anthologies.

Anne of the Thousand Gays (Eric H.), Monday, 14 August 2017 15:41 (one year ago) Permalink

I love Sarris' You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 14 August 2017 15:49 (one year ago) Permalink

Doesn't Confessions of a Cultist have most of his 1960s stuff?

Josefa, Monday, 14 August 2017 15:50 (one year ago) Permalink

I found a remaindered copy of the Renata Adler collection After the Tall Timber the other day and re-read her Kael piece. It's something...many posts about it above.

I've gotta quote this from Michael Wolff's preface, though:

But the rightness of Adler's view of Kael as nasty, self-promoting gasbag only became more obvious as Kael's reputation disappeared after she lost her New Yorker post and power. She was unreadable, said Adler; and indeed, Kael is unread now.

He wrote that in 2015.

Whatever you think of her, "Kael is unread now" is a truly bizarre assertion. Only four years removed from the biography and The Age of Movies, no less.

clemenza, Friday, 18 August 2017 13:49 (one year ago) Permalink

"How could Kael be read? - nobody I know reads her."

jmm, Friday, 18 August 2017 14:04 (one year ago) Permalink

lol michael wolff

mark s, Friday, 18 August 2017 14:06 (one year ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

I may see this.

That's been up for a while--maybe somebody already posted it on one of the other Kael threads. Tarantino looks like he'll be unbearable.

clemenza, Thursday, 5 July 2018 13:57 (seven months ago) Permalink

This is a better link:

clemenza, Thursday, 5 July 2018 14:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

Out soon, presumably.

clemenza, Monday, 11 February 2019 01:00 (one week ago) Permalink

Sounds like our kind of Won't You Be My Neighbor.

zama roma ding dong (Eric H.), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:08 (six days ago) Permalink


Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:16 (six days ago) Permalink

pauline would've been the worst kids' show host ever

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:23 (six days ago) Permalink

good sketch potential

still like to see Streep play her in Feud

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:31 (six days ago) Permalink

She'd send kids home crying.

Whether the documentary is good, bad, or mediocre, there'll be a bunch of people who knew her ripping it to shreds within a day. (Unless, I suppose, they were interviewed for it.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:32 (six days ago) Permalink

episode one: a kid says his favorite drink is apple juice, pauline responds "oh, try it again. you won't like it."

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:39 (six days ago) Permalink

"There's no ambiguity in apple juice."

zama roma ding dong (Eric H.), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:42 (six days ago) Permalink

pauline's personal hell would be having to watch the same episode of Mr. Rogers or Barney over and over again

flappy bird, Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:55 (six days ago) Permalink

I guess "What She Said" is the filmmakers attempt at a "I Lost It At The Movies" Kaelian double entendre?

zama roma ding dong (Eric H.), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 20:02 (six days ago) Permalink

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