Agee: Film Writing and Selected Journalism (Library of by James Agee

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By James Agee

James Agee delivered to undergo all his ethical strength, slashing wit, and boundless interest within the feedback and journalism that validated him as one of many commanding literary voices of the United States at mid-century. In 1944 W. H. Auden referred to as Agee's movie studies for The state "the so much outstanding ordinary occasion in American journalism today." these columns, besides a lot of the motion picture feedback that Agee wrote for Time via lots of the Forties, have been amassed posthumously in Agee on movie: experiences and reviews, certainly the main influential writings on movie by means of an American.

Whether reviewing a Judy Garland musical or a wartime documentary, assessing the impression of Italian neorealism or railing opposed to the compromises in a Hollywood version of Hemingway, Agee constantly wrote of flicks as a pervasive, profoundly major a part of sleek lifestyles, a brand new artwork whose classics (Chaplin, Dovzhenko, Vigo) he respected and whose betrayal within the pursuits of trade or propaganda he usually deplored. If his common disappointments should be registered in acid tones, his enthusiasms have been expressed with passionate eloquence. This Library of the USA quantity vitamins the vintage items from Agee on movie with formerly uncollected writings on Ingrid Bergman, the Marx Brothers, Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat, Vittorio De Sica's Shoeshine, and a wealth of alternative cinematic matters.

Agee's personal paintings as a screenwriter is represented by means of his script for Charles Laughton's distinctive and haunting masterpiece of Southern gothic, The evening of the Hunter, tailored from the unconventional by means of Davis Grubb. This assortment additionally contains examples of Agee's masterfully probing reporting for Fortune-on topics as assorted because the Tennessee Valley Authority, advertisement orchids, and cockfighting-and a sampling of his literary reports, between them appreciations of William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, S. J. Perelman, and William Carlos Williams.

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Extra info for Agee: Film Writing and Selected Journalism (Library of America)

Example text

I particularly liked Jack Carson as the more amorphous of two hoofers, and I thought Dennis Morgan made a good deal of his cold, com plicated partner. Ida Lupino I feel sorry about. She has fine moments, especially one of Zazu Pitts in Greedy but I felt too often that her favorite expression of strained intensity would be less quickly relieved by a merciful death than by Fx-Lax. It is good to learn that in spite of her casting as Emily Bronte, THE NATION 41 Miss Lupine still wants to play comedy, at which she is excel lent.

Boiling along on the handlebars of a motorcycle quite unaware that he has lost his driver, Keaton whips through city traffic, breaks up a tug-of-war, gets a shovelful of dirt in the face from each of a long line of Rockette-timed ditch-diggers, approaches a log at high speed which is hinged open by dynamite precisely soon enough to let him through and, hitting an obstruction, leaves the handlebars like an arrow leaving a bow, whams through the window of a shack in which the heroine is about to be violated, and hits the heavy feetfirst, laioclting him through the opposite wall.

The best one can say of it, with few exceptions, is that it tries on the whole to be "faithfuR to Saroyan; not invariably a good idea. The worst, in my opinion, lies less in its active failures of taste or of plain sense than in its easygoing, selfpleased, Mortimer Snerdish neglect of some magnificent op portunities. There are, as I say, exceptions. Most of them involve the one sound piece of casting and performance, that of Jack Jenkins as the four-year-old Ulysses, who, I fervently hope, will not be used again; otherwise he will become just another actor.

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