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5001 Nights at the Movies (Holt Paperback) [Kindle Edition]

Pauline Kael
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.99
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Book Description

The intelligent person’s guide to the movies, with more than 2,800 reviews
Look up a movie in this guide, and chances are you’ll find yourself reading on about the next movie and the next. Pauline Kael’s reviews aren’t just provocative---they’re addictive.

These brief, informative reviews, written for the “Goings On About Town” section of The New Yorker, provide an immense range of listings---a masterly critical history of American and foreign film. This is probably the only movie guide you’ll want to read for the sheer pleasure of it.

Editorial Reviews Review

This series of capsule movie reviews by the great Pauline Kael is actually an anthology of her writings for the "Goings on About Town" section of the New Yorker magazine. In 5001 Nights, Kael digs into the heart of each movie she considers with extraordinary penetration and exuberance. And while every movie you know may not appear here, each of Kael's reviews is detailed enough to provide tremendous insight into the movies that are covered. This book is as much fun to browse as it is to read through. Whether you've run the rounds at your local video store, Kael will lead you to treasures you may not know are out there.


"She is, indeed, the Edmund Wilson of film reviewers."---Larry McMurtry

"She’s the best film critic we’ve got."---Details

"A great critic…with a body of criticism that can be compared with Shaw’s criticism of music and the theatre."---The Times Literary Supplement (London)

"Kael changed the way we see. Poets aren’t the only unacknowledged legislators of the world; great critics write the text as well."---San Francisco Examiner

Product Details

  • File Size: 2347 KB
  • Print Length: 958 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0805013679
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (August 2, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,566 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loads of fun April 24, 2000
Gosh... Movie reviewers can certainly offend easily. I agree with Pauline Kael's assessments roughly 50% of the time, but I still love reading her. She is always intelligent (even when she is wrong wrong wrong) --- and what a great writer! She manages to be "mean" over and over again without exactly being mean-spirited. And why on earth is a movie reviewer not supposed to have political opinions? I never understand this peculiarly American criticism. Can you review "Triumph of the Will" or "Rambo" or "La Chinoise" without venturing into the realm of politics? Probably, but why would you want to? I don't think the type of person who makes this criticism is really looking for a dry, studied dissection of film technique, but perhaps I'm wrong. Anyway, she's no more "political" than any other worthwhile reviewer I can think of. This book is full of buried treasures --- quite a few films in it that I had never even heard of before. It's just a darned entertaining read, too. Every few pages, there is a laugh-out-loud funny turn of phrase. Usually a pretty mean turn of phrase but it's hard to have harsh feelings towards someone who writes, for example, in her review of "Funny Lady", "The moviemakers weren't just going to make a sequel to 'Funny Girl'---they were going to kill us." Or, in a review of "The Last Tycoon", " enervated, it's like a vampire movie after the vampires have left."
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sine qua non of movie reference guides January 5, 2003
Since this book first came out in the mid 1980s I have gone through no less than four well-thumbed, well-handled editions that have fallen apart from overuse. This is a compendium of all Pauline Kael's shorter reviews from the front of THE NEW YORKER, and it has perhaps given me more pleasure than any other book in my life. By no means exhaustive (Kael even made a gesture towards its ultimate incompleteness by neglecting to comment directly on GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ), the book covers more films than you would imagine, and its always fun to see what Kael saw and what she thought about it. Her aesthetic--simultaneously magisterial and informal, Olympian and fun-loving--has been discussed, critiqued, and even criticized to death; yet there is no getting around the fact that she is not only smarter than most other movie critics but also funnier. Her reviews of works as disparate as "The White Cliffs of Dover," "The Sound of Music," and the 1951 "Show Boat," have given me joy for years. Buy this, and see if you don't have to buy yourself another copy when the first one wears out.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for any film book collection. August 28, 1998
This is a very good anthology of Pauline Kael's writings, but capsule reviews are very unsatisfying to those who are familiar with the strengths of her reviews as they were originally written. Kael is known for her flowing, "conversational" writing style; by chopping many of her reviews into two or three paragraphs, the main reasons for reading her in the first place tend to evaporate. In a typical Kael review, she literally layered opinions on top of opinions. It was not enough for her to simply review a movie--she had to express exactly how the directors and actors had grown (or diminished themselves). One looked forward to reading her because she had such a superb way of relating the film she was writing about to other films, whether by the same director or not, and she could intelligently speculate on how the film tied in to current events or may have been a product of them. She would talk expertly about how many films seemed to evolve out of other less superior ones and then expand due to a director's vision and desire to update a particular theme. Kael focused on what a movie is about--what it is really saying--and her dedication and playfulness was quite infectious (the many reviewers who used her style became known as Paulettes.) For a reference book, "5001 Nights At The Movies" is fun to look through; it is full of reviews but it is Kael-lite. She didn't call one of her best books "Deeper Into Movies" for nothing!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview July 25, 2003
As someone who is just beginning to explore the classics, I love being able to see what Pauline Kael thought about many of the most important movies of our time. Since I often agree with her, it helps me save time and money in determining which movies I want to rent (and if not available to rent, buy). All movie titles are in alphabetical order, and there is an index in the back which contains film titles, directors, actors, etc.
However, the capsule reviews can occasionally be misleading. From the capsules, I thought Pauline liked (or at least didn't dislike) "8 1/2" by Fellini and "Hiroshima Mon Amour" by Resnais. But in her book "I Lost It At The Movies", the full reviews are a pretty harsh pan.
I also wish that she had a "Best Movies" list. Nevertheless, still a very useful (but thick) book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As much fun as a giant buttered popcorn! March 8, 2008
Pauline Kael was at her tangy, erudite best in the long-form reviews she wrote for "The New Yorker." Nevertheless, these capsule reviews she culled from her longer articles to comprise "5001 Nights at the Movies" manage to capture the acerbic essence of her style. (There are a few exceptions, such as the bare-bones squib on the Gene Deitch-Jules Feiffer satirical cartoon "Munro," so short and bland that I wonder why they bothered to print it.)

Kael was the first celebrity film critic, and still the most bracing and fun to read, although she can be extremely annoying when you disagree with her. (I don't understand her enthusiasm for John Boorman's indigestible "Excalibur," or her condescending summation of John Ford's masterful "The Quiet Man" as "fearfully Irish and green and hearty," to give two of many examples.) Kael had an encyclopedic knowledge of film technique and history, and she was never afraid to call them the way she saw them. One of her sharpest putdowns was of the Dustin Hoffman-Mia Farrow romantic drama "John and Mary": "Remember when that man in `The Graduate' told Hoffman to go into plastics? Well, he did when he made this one." And she was no respecter of inflated reputations, as when she took on Alain Resnais' revered "Hiroshima, Mon Amour": "Hushed and hypnotic, it makes you feel so conscious of its artistry that you may feel as if you're in church and need to giggle."

Kael excelled at giving readers the exact mood and feel of a movie, and when she was right about a movie, she was very, very right. She puts the finger on Jean Cocteau's "Orphee": "Cocteau's special gift was to raise chic to art.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of movie review collections
If you claim to like movies and do not have Pauline Kael's mammoth collection of capsule reviews in your library, then you're kidding yourself. Read more
Published 8 months ago by JasparLamarCrabb
4.0 out of 5 stars For Movie Buffs
This is a good book for movie aficionados. I always enjoyed Pauline Kael's movie reviews in the New Yorker. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Anita Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Pauline kael's movie reviews - very well writtem
One of the most literate of film reviewers this compilation gives a much deeper review of films than most of thos popular and shallow compilations. Read more
Published 14 months ago by S. murugananda
1.0 out of 5 stars Typo on nearly every page
This is a must-have book, but the Kindle edition was clearly a rush job. Typos and formatting errors are present on nearly every page. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brevity as the Soul of Crit
For those who might think that Pauline Kael couldn't write anything of value without a 1,500 word running start, here, in its entirety, is her opinion of the 1936 Hollywood costume... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Roochak
4.0 out of 5 stars 5001 nights at the movie
Good condition and timely delivery. I was disappointed in the brevity of the reviews themselves. I wish she would have done less movies and more space on each.
Published on March 21, 2011 by Johnathan D. Istre
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, funny, informative
Always enjoy Ms. Kael's reviews, even when I heartily disagree with them. Her wit, obvious love for the craft and identification of both historical and directorial trends make for... Read more
Published on October 9, 2010 by Hourly Internet Recruitment
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Reference Gem
Pauline Kael's 5001 NIGHTS AT THE MOVIES is the best short note movie reference book. Kael has the ability both to describe and unload with a paragraph or two, which is the... Read more
Published on February 21, 2010 by olingerstories
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive critic's guide to films
This covers - as you may have guessed - 5001 movies, and her views are clear, intelligent and valuable. I find myself looking in this for reference and just curiosity. Read more
Published on August 8, 2008 by CJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Kael Encapsulated
Pauline Kael did not specialize in capsule reviews, and in her NEW YORKER columns, any film that did not merit much more than one or two paragraphs was literally and figuratively... Read more
Published on December 30, 2007 by Gregor von Kallahann
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