WAR PICTURES

The American film industry released hundreds of war-themed pictures between 1941 and 1945. A few, like Air Force (1943) and Objective: Burma! (1945), were passably realistic portraits of men at war. Most of the rest, like Casablanca (1942), were propaganda-tinged romances. But all had in common the fact that they were made not by the U.S. government but by commercial film studios. While their content was vetted by the Office of War Information’s Bureau of Motion Pictures, the Roosevelt administration made no attempt to take over the industry or supervise its operations other than at a distance…”

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BOOK

Tony Palmer, Julian Bream: A Life on the Road. A vivid extended profile of the great British classical guitarist, who does most of the talking and proves himself in the process to be both highly intelligent and deeply thoughtful about his art. Originally published in 1983 and now forgotten, it’s one of the most readable books ever written about a performing artist (TT).

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PLAY

Act One (Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center, closes June 15). James Lapine’s thrillingly well-staged dramatic adaptation of Moss Hart’s theatrical autobiography, in which Tony Shalhoub plays both George S. Kaufman (Hart’s collaborator and mentor) and Hart in middle age, has the open-hearted impact of a melodrama, one that has the advantage of being true. His was an old-fashioned American-dream-come-true tale, and it doesn’t embarrass Mr. Lapine in the least to dish it up on a pageant-like scale reminiscent of the spectacular stage version of Nicholas Nickleby. You’ll cheer–and cry (TT).

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CD

Julian Bream: My Favorite Albums (Sony, ten CDs). A stupendously economical way to acquire ten of Bream’s finest albums for RCA (it costs less than $30). Included are his classic recordings of Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, and a pair of Bach lute suites, together with shorter pieces by Albéniz, Berkeley, Dowland, Granados, Roussel, Tárrega, and Villa-Lobos. If you aren’t familiar with his playing, start here and revel (TT).

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