. . . when it seems that everybody is looking back over their shoulder more with nostalgia than disgust. I am not immune. Scrolling through some old emails, I came across this one called “from NELSON ALGREN’S LETTERS TO RAJAH.” Rajah was Roger Groening, a friend of Nelson’s and later of mine. Roger died in 2015. I think of him often. He and Nelson became friends, initially by mail, when Roger wrote him a fan letter. They remained friends for some 20 years until Nelson’s death, in 1981.
“This worldly, richly layered adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s 1929 novel is one of the triumphs of the storied career of director William Wyler—and that’s saying a lot.” (New York Film Festival.) The chapter about the making of “Dodsworth”—and what went on behind the scenes—also was among the most pleasurable to write for my biography of Wyler.
Meet Jim Haynes in a documentary. As I’ve written before: “I’ve never met Jim. We’ve only corresponded by email about the strange case or Orwell’s typewriter. But I know that he is a man for all reasons — pleasure, food, sex, mind, books, theater, life — and that to meet him in person all you have to do is show up at his door in Paris for dinner.”
The Acker Awards, now in their sixth year, are a tribute given to members of the avant-garde arts community who have made outstanding contributions in their discipline in defiance of convention, or else served their fellow writers and artists in outstanding ways. The award’s novelist namesake, in her life and work, exemplified the risk-taking and […]
The artist Tomi Ungerer has died at the age of 87. He was “a lifelong activist who protested against racial segregation, the Vietnam war and the election of US President Donald Trump . . .” Speaking about himself as an artist, Ungerer said, “I have the full respect of a piece of white paper, which I then shall rape with my drawing or my writing. When I draw, it’s the real me.”
Of all the heavy bombers that saw action during the Second World War, none earned as much admiration, gratitude, and affection from their crews as the B-17. It was durable, maneuverable, easy to fly. It was fast for its size and well-armed. It could bring you back alive even with its tail shot off, or […]
A newly restored print of William Wyler’s World War II air-combat documentary The Memphis Belle and Erik Nelson’s new documentary The Cold Blue (created from recently discovered raw footage shot during the filming of Memphis Belle) are to be featured in screenings at the 56th New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center, accompanied by interviews […]
“Harvey Weinstein entered New York State Supreme Court yesterday clutching a copy of A Talent for Trouble. Was Weinstein looking for someone to teach him about being a mensch?” — Leon Freilich He walked to the courthouse with a copy of “A Talent for Trouble,” the 1997 biography of “Ben-Hur” film director William Wyler, according […]
I’ve never met Jim. We’ve only corresponded by email about the strange case of Orwell’s typewriter. But I know that Jim Haynes is a man for all reasons — pleasure, food, sex, mind, books, theater, life — and that to meet him in person all you have to do is show up at his door […]
One of the beauties of a William Wyler retrospective as big as the one that the Cinemathèque Française has currently mounted in Paris is the chance to see the immense variety of his work. I don’t think as thorough a retrospective (41 films, including some of the silents) has been screened since the 1996 Berlin […]
UPDATED May 21: When the 10-man crew of “The Memphis Belle” completed their 25th mission over Europe in 1943, they and their B-17 heavy bomber were brought home to the U.S. for a cross-country publicity tour and were made famous by William Wyler’s World War II live-action combat documentary (also called “The Memphis Belle”). I […]
WNYC’s Sara Fishko has produced a terrific audio piece about William Wyler and two of his best films — “Dodsworth” and “The Best Years of Our Lives” — both of which are playing among the 25 being screened at the Quad through Dec. 11. Listen: Click for the schedule. “Jan Herman’s biography of William Wyler […]
Her remarks ran for four minutes, 55 seconds. At two minutes in, she said this: There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended […]