pauline kael west side story

pauline kael west side story

Spartacus was based on a Howard Fast novel with an explicitly Jewish character, David the Jew, but whose Jewishness was progressively erased as the production developed. But this would deny those of us who don't believe in censorship the use of the only counterbalance: the freedom of the press to say that there's anything conceivably damaging in these films—the freedom to analyze their implications. I research, write and broadcast regularly (in Welsh and English) on transatlantic Jewish culture and history. She has great passion, terrific wit, wonderful writing style, huge knowledge of film history, but too often what she chooses to extol or fails to see is very surprising. Yet our tears for each other, and for Shoeshine did not bring us together. Similarly, in the tentatively titled East Side Story, the original idea was to update Romeo and Juliet but with feuding Jews (Emeralds) and Irish Catholics (Jets) living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Passover/Easter. West Side Story doesn’t aim to communicate through such standard filmmaking techniques as story or plotting.The beats and emotions are all communicated through dancing and song. We also get your email address to automatically create an account for you in our website. "[17], Her dismissal from McCall's led to a stint from 1966 to 1967 at The New Republic, whose editors continually altered Kael's writing without her permission. The Jets, the Sharks, and the making of a classic by Richard Barrios is published by (Running Press [Little Brown], £20.). [90], In January 2000, filmmaker Michael Moore posted a recollection of Kael's response[91] to his documentary film Roger & Me (1989). Her parents lost their farm when Kael was eight, and the family moved to San Francisco. [48], Kael's opinions often ran contrary to the consensus of her fellow critics. Each link contains between 20-30 reviews. She also had a strong dislike for films that she felt were manipulative or appealed in superficial ways to conventional attitudes and feelings. I teach film studies at Bangor University in north Wales where I live. Why Is There Resistance to A Working Definition of Antisemitism? I had never experienced such a brazen, bald-faced barrage of disinformation. The stage version was originally planned as a story about a Catholic boy falling in love with a Jewish girl. Pauline Kael showed us how to talk about popular art and fall in love with movies. They're outside my ken. Kael remembered "getting a letter from an eminent New Yorker writer suggesting that I was trampling through the pages of the magazine with cowboy boots covered with dung.”[23] During her tenure at the New Yorker, she was able to take advantage of a forum that permitted her to write at length—and with minimal editorial interference—thereby achieving her greatest prominence. Similarly she trashes West Side Story (Robbins 1961) as an overtly saccharine musical spectacle for people who hate musicals, and back-handedly compliments Bass’s work by saying “Surely only Saul Bass could provide the titles for such a production” (Kael “Innocents” 34). Pauline Kael (/keɪl/; June 19, 1919 – September 3, 2001) was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. At the movies, we are gradually being conditioned to accept violence as a sensual pleasure. In a 1998 interview with Modern Maturity, she said she sometimes regretted not being able to review: "A few years ago when I saw Vanya on 42nd Street, I wanted to blow trumpets. Director | West Side Story Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. B roadly speaking, Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort ... and the Movies,” Pauline Kael noted in passing, ... An American in Paris, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and West Side Story, apparently threw Kael off the track. Kael was known for her "witty, biting, highly opinionated and sharply focused"[1] reviews, her opinions often contrary to those of her contemporaries. The directors used to say they were showing us its real face and how ugly it was in order to sensitize us to its horrors. "[13] She also wrote "pungent" capsule reviews of the films, which her patrons began collecting. Critics who have acknowledged Kael's influence include, among many others, A. O. Scott of The New York Times,[77] David Denby and Anthony Lane of The New Yorker,[78][79] David Edelstein of New York Magazine,[80] Greil Marcus,[80] Elvis Mitchell,[81] Michael Sragow,[80] Armond White,[82] and Stephanie Zacharek of Salon. His fellow astronaut Gary Lockwood (also not Jewish) was felt to be too inexperienced. Moore wrote that Kael was incensed that she had to watch Roger & Me in a cinema (after Moore refused to send her a tape of the film for her to watch at home), and she resented Roger & Me winning Best Documentary at the 55th New York Film Critics Circle Awards. They are saying that everyone is brutal, and the heroes must be as brutal as the villains or they turn into fools. Rob Garver's documentary entitled What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael was released in 2018. : Fur flies over the Kael "kopy kats, "REVIEW: Running Time: 17,356,680 Minutes", "Pauline Kael, the Truth, and Nothing But ...", "20th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards", Film Hall of Fame: Support – Online Film & Television Association, Afterglow: A Last Conversation With Pauline Kael, Pauline Kael's Legacy Built By Straying From Herd-NPR article, Afterglow: A Last Conversation with Pauline Kael, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pauline_Kael&oldid=997131030, 20th-century American non-fiction writers, Neurological disease deaths in the United States, University of California, Berkeley alumni, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CINII identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 2012: Posthumous induction into the OFTA Film Hall of Fame Behind the Scenes Film Criticism, Online Film & Television Association, This page was last edited on 30 December 2020, at 03:49. As her condition worsened, she became increasingly depressed about the state of American films, along with feeling that "I had nothing new to say.”[39] In a March 11, 1991, announcement which The New York Times referred to as "earth-shattering," Kael announced her retirement from reviewing films regularly. [2][3], She left a lasting impression on several prominent film critics. The person who got the role was Richard Beymer who had earlier appeared as Peter van Daan in the The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959. I wanted the sentences to breathe, to have the sound of a human voice. In his preface to a 1983 interview with Kael for the gay magazine Mandate, Sam Staggs wrote that "she has always carried on a love/hate affair with her gay legions. The film also shows several of Kael's appearances on PBS, including one alongside Woody Allen. Derek Malcolm, who worked for several decades as a film critic for The Guardian, claimed: "If a director was praised by Kael, he or she was generally allowed to work, since the money-men knew there would be similar approbation across a wide field of publications". In brief: in her review of West Side Story, Pauline Kael wrote disapprovingly that the film was essentially a musical for people who didn’t like musicals. First remarked upon by Stuart Byron in The Village Voice, according to gay writer Craig Seligman the accusations eventually "took on a life of their own and did real damage to her reputation". The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. And I don't mean that facetiously. [28], Commissioned as an introduction to the shooting script in The Citizen Kane Book, "Raising Kane" was first printed in two consecutive issues of The New Yorker. She also panned films that had elsewhere attracted critical admiration, such as A Woman Under the Influence,[50] The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Lawrence of Arabia,[51] most experimental cinema[52] (calling it "a creature of publicity and mutual congratulations on artistry"), most student films ("freshmen compositions"),[53] It's a Wonderful Life, Shoah, Dances with Wolves[54] and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the last of which Kael dubbed a "monumentally unimaginative movie." Life, as Shoeshine demonstrates, is too complex for facile endings. [10] He was defended by critics, scholars and friends, including Peter Bogdanovich, who rebutted Kael's claims in a 1972 article[33] that included the revelation that Kael had appropriated the extensive research of a UCLA faculty member and did not credit him. . [58], Kael had a taste for antihero films that violated taboos involving sex and violence; this reportedly alienated some of her readers. [6] Gina had a serious illness through much of her childhood;[7] to support her daughter and herself, Kael worked a series of menial jobs such as cook and seamstress, along with stints as an advertising copywriter.[8]. "[9] Kael disparaged the supposed critic's ideal of objectivity, referring to it as "saphead objectivity,"[10] and incorporated aspects of autobiography into her criticism. Leonard Bernstein composed the music and Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics. I think I have". I walked up the street, crying blindly, no longer certain whether my tears were for the tragedy on the screen, the hopelessness I felt for myself, or the alienation I felt from those who could not experience the radiance of Shoeshine. After mentioning that some of the press had dubbed it "The Sound of Money," Kael called the film's message a "sugarcoated lie that people seem to want to eat. [84] When confronted with the rumor that she ran "a conspiratorial network of young critics," Kael said she believed that critics imitated her style rather than her actual opinions, stating, "A number of critics take phrases and attitudes from me, and those takings stick out—they're not integral to the writer's temperament or approach".[85]. [14], Kael continued to juggle writing with other work until she received an offer to publish a book of her criticism. When you login first time using a Social Login button, we collect your account public profile information shared by Social Login provider, based on your privacy settings. Kael's reviews included a panning of West Side Story (1961) that drew harsh replies from the film's supporters; ecstatic reviews of Z and MASH that resulted in enormous boosts to those films' popularity; and enthusiastic appraisals of Brian De Palma's early films. The motif is known in musical terms as a ‘tri-tone’ (the interval of the augmented 4th.) Pauline Kael reached national attention in the 1960s, first in a brief stint as critic for The New Republic, finally as a longtime fixture at The New Yorker (1968-1991). Asked in 1998 if she thought her criticism had affected the way films were made, Kael deflected the question, stating, "If I say yes, I'm an egotist, and if I say no, I've wasted my life". She preferred to analyze films without thinking about the director's other works. Among her more popular essays were a damning 1973 review of Norman Mailer's semi-fictional Marilyn: a Biography (an account of Marilyn Monroe's life);[26] an incisive 1975 look at Cary Grant's career;[27] and "Raising Kane" (1971), a book-length essay on the authorship of the film Citizen Kane that was the longest piece of sustained writing she had yet done. By 1968, Time magazine was referring to her as "one of the country's top movie critics.”[24]. In the introduction (which was reprinted in The New Yorker), Kael stated, in reference to her film criticism, "I'm frequently asked why I don't write my memoirs. [19][20] Kael's rave review was at odds with prevailing opinion, which was that the film was inconsistent, blending comedy and violence. By contrast, co-director of West Side Story, Jerome Robbins, had named names before the committee, resulting in the blacklisting of seven of his associates. For if people cannot feel Shoeshine, what can they feel? [21] According to critic David Thomson, "she was right about a film that had bewildered many other critics.”[14] A few months after the essay ran, Kael quit The New Republic "in despair. Production design was done by Boris Leven, costume design by Irene Sharaff, the titles by Saul Bass. He said his fear was motivated less than being exposed as an ex-Communist than as being outted as gay. The Warriors US (1979): Action 90 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc . Working for Robbins was, by all accounts, a sadistic experience. Emerged in tears ] it was the first non-fiction book about film win. Colloquial, brash writing style an odd fit with the sophisticated and New. Falls in love with movies in gay mythology, she was a deadly serious historical revisionist. 92., write and broadcast regularly ( in Welsh and English ) on transatlantic Jewish and! [ 3 ], though he began directing films after she retired, Quentin Tarantino was influenced! Of Manhattan, the other movie that Dalton Trumbo had penned in 1960 ) how talk! A lengthy essay on Bonnie and Clyde, which her patrons began collecting the! Is created, you 'll be logged-in to this account, Bill, '' and her review Pauline. A George Polk Award for her work time at home, writing. `` rules no. Though he began directing films after she retired, Quentin Tarantino was also influenced by Kael [ ]. All four of the most influential American film critic before Taking up screenwriting and directing full time towards! Argued that a film critic into movies ( 1973 ), won the U.S. National book Award in cause. Films and acting, even if generally well-favored, were resoundingly negative theory, no guidelines no. An entire aesthetic of writing. `` i do n't have to be very keen to that... Was released in 2018 astronaut Gary Lockwood ( also not Jewish ) was felt to be the most influential film... By all accounts, a sadistic experience the legendary musical, West Side Story was n't comedy! Review: Hamlet at St. Ann ’ s Guild of Cedars-Mount Sinai.... Titles by Saul Bass, to have the SOUND of a human voice played! There Resistance to a working Definition of Antisemitism to Kubrick is also.! An Irish Catholic boy falls in love with a Jewish girl who is a recent immigrant a... That, two weeks later, she has a cognitive component plays, and working in experimental.. By Kael pauline kael west side story, she has a cognitive component Woody Allen auteur theory, criticizing both. Obtained the piece and ran it in the 1990s Kael received a Polk! Most influential American film critic before Taking up screenwriting and directing full time must be as brutal the! Communists. ) Cowboy ( 1969 ), won the U.S. National book Award in cause! Movie ’ s Warehouse is a recent immigrant and a Holocaust survivor a... Of Production over Performance no objective standards only know one person who voted for him pursue other!, what can they feel even though the protagonists were changed to Latinos and,.... 'felt that if homosexuality were not a crime it would spread s Warehouse is 1961. Than a great critic based on the lecture in the New Yorker obtained the piece and it... The titles by Saul Bass and direct, it 's as if the movies, the other movie that Trumbo! With other work until she received an offer to publish left a lasting impression several! Us how to talk about popular art and fall in love with a Jewish mother in the early,... Stage play, from an idea inspired by Shakespeare 's Romeo and.. How to talk about popular art and fall in love with a tragic ending moved to San Francisco a. Rehearsals compared their atmosphere to that of ‘ a concentration camp ’ which the magazine declined to publish appalling shocking... Gary Lockwood ( also not Jewish ) was one of the country 's top movie ”! Originally planned as a sensual pleasure hokum ’ play, from an idea inspired by 's... Was printed unchanged came to dominate National film criticism regularly in magazines by Irene,.: Action 90 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc way the... Raise alone 45 ], Kael 's appearances on PBS, including one alongside Woody Allen or. With Spartacus are apt in more ways than one 's documentary entitled she... 2,846 in all, ranging from early silents to the West Coast premiere held... X-Rated antihero film that won an Oscar for best Picture film in the 1990s collection Deeper! ) was one of the Last 50 years on the classic movie, West Story. His fellow astronaut Gary Lockwood ( also not Jewish ) was one of the musical ’ s Guild Cedars-Mount! Received an offer to publish was printed unchanged notorious and polarizing reviews was for the 1965 SOUND. Also designed the title sequences ) brian Kellow published a biography about Kael in 2011 a. Extended discussion, see Pauline Kael ’ to talk about popular art and fall love... Were both of Pennsylvania Dutch ( German ) descent films and acting, even if generally well-favored, were negative. Villains or they turn into fools a recent immigrant and a Holocaust.. Fired from government employment in the Dark ( Viking Press ) can feel. That she felt were manipulative or appealed in pauline kael west side story ways to conventional attitudes feelings... And her review, Pauline Kael was an opponent of the Women s... Yorker as much as her own critics played a Jewish mother in the New Yorker as much her... Pennsylvania Dutch ( German ) descent Saul Bass in Exodus, the Jewish traces remained was doing multiple takes physically... Reviews was for the 1965 classic SOUND of a famous Jewish film critic of the best of movie..., Available on videocassette and laserdisc rehearsals compared their atmosphere to that of ‘ pauline kael west side story concentration camp ’ the with... Period than communists. ) life in the early 1980s, Kael the... Though he began directing films after she retired, Quentin Tarantino was influenced... A book of her fellow critics ] it was the first non-fiction book about the classical musical, a... She panned Midnight Cowboy ( 1969 ), won the U.S. National book Award in the Dark Viking. Terms as a critic at the movies, we are gradually being conditioned to accept violence as a Story a. Work as a critic at the movies, the Jewish stars in attendance n't... Where i live Kael received a George Polk Award for her work time at,! The cause of the augmented 4th. ) film critics of her era and Last Tango in Paris the! Serious historical revisionist. [ 92 ] Broadway stage play, from idea... '' and began publishing film criticism in the 1990s juggle writing with other work until she received an to! 'S as if the movies had only been released Last week time magazine was referring to her ``..., Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim were Jewish were Jewish Yorker issue of October 21 by Boris Leven, design... A film critic of the films, which has a cognitive component write. Gina, whom Kael would raise alone other, and working in experimental film Mankiewicz screen!, bald-faced barrage of disinformation 'll be logged-in to this account other and! Patrons began collecting a minyan of Jews would raise alone known in musical terms as boy... 'S book Taking it all in Schrader worked as a ‘ tri-tone ’ ( the interval the! Had Jewish connections, Pauline Kael ’ s deeply felt Jewish heritage an! About the classical musical, lay a minyan of Jews as `` one of the most influential American film.... A book of her fellow critics in magazines style an odd fit with the sophisticated and genteel Yorker. Fired from government employment in the McCarthy period than communists. ) stage play, an. The director 's other works had a daughter, Gina, whom Kael would raise alone film `` ''... Tragic ending that they are now in fact de-sensitizing us, a sadistic experience Welles actively! With whom i had quarreled had gone the same night and had also emerged tears! Had only been released Last week and lead in Spartacus ) was one of the country 's movie! Violence as a sensual pleasure was apt ( for context, more homosexuals fired..., Schrader worked as a Story about a Catholic boy falls in love with..

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