David Sheward, Rage and Glory: The Volatile Life and Career of George C. Scott (Applause, $29.95). The first full-scale biography of the actor who turned down an Oscar for Patton, Rage and Glory serves as a useful reminder that there was far more to George C. Scott than his legendary temper. Detailed and decently written, it devotes as much attention to his stage career as to the films–most of them, alas, awful–for which he is now best remembered. As for the films, take a look at Anatomy of a Murder, Dr. Strangelove, The Hustler, and The Hospital if you haven’t done so lately. Along with Patton, they’re the only worthy movies that Scott made, but they’re good enough to ensure that he won’t be forgotten (TT).
Archives for October 9, 2008
Last week I pointed to a New Republic review of a new collection of the letters of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. The book, Words In Air, won’t be out till the end of the month, but until then you can find a nice sampling of the letters in the October issue of Poetry (unfortunately not available online).
I’ve read much of Bishop’s side of the correspondence in One Art but it’s even more enjoyable to read her letters alongside Lowell’s own volleys and sallies. The letters are little gems, and I’m tempted to type them all in here, but in lieu of copyright larceny I’ll give you this sauntering paragraph from one of Lowell’s:
Since my last letter it has become autumnal (nice but muggy) and I’ve read Black Arrow, Weir of Hermiston, The Master of Ballantrae, and Graves’ abridgement of David Copperfield. Saw Black Arrow as a movie too — it’s a cumbersome pot-boiler at best, but redone with the plot of a western thriller it is, is — words fail me. Had a drunken discussion with two Englishmen in which I tried to use the Socratic method, but only discovered that none of us could define “right” or “good.” And finished off 23 more poets; God, how I dislike them!
Here’s my list of recommended Broadway, off-Broadway, and out-of-town shows, updated weekly. In all cases, I gave these shows favorable reviews (if sometimes qualifiedly so) in The Wall Street Journal when they opened. For more information, click on the title.
Warning: Broadway shows marked with an asterisk were sold out, or nearly so, last week.
• Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (comedy, G, suitable for bright children, reviewed here)
• August: Osage County (drama, R, adult subject matter, reviewed here)
• Avenue Q (musical, R, adult subject matter and one show-stopping scene of puppet-on-puppet sex, reviewed here)
• Boeing-Boeing (comedy, PG-13, cartoonishly sexy, reviewed here)
• Equus (drama, R, nudity and adult subject matter, closes Feb. 8, reviewed here)
• Gypsy (musical, PG-13, adult subject matter, reviewed here)
• The Little Mermaid * (musical, G, entirely suitable for children, reviewed here)
• South Pacific * (musical, G/PG-13, some sexual content, brilliantly staged but unsuitable for viewers acutely allergic to preachiness, reviewed here)
“I sometimes suspect that New Yorkers do not have a desire to be in theatres, I think they want to go to whatever the certified hit is, of the season. What the Delphic oracle tells them to go and see, sometimes in depressed moments I think, ‘Well, they really don’t want to be there at all. They’re looking for every excuse not to go. The New York Times tells them it’s not up to much, “Oh good, we’ve got a reason for not going.”‘ The English are not like that. They’re much more independent about their theatre. They’re much more naturally theatrical in their instincts. Theatre is part of their life in a way that it is not part of the average American’s life.”
Peter Shaffer, interviewed by Mike Wood for the William Inge Theatre Festival, Feb. 27, 1992