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Conversations with Pauline Kael (Literary Conversations) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Literary Conversations
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878058990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878058990
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Conversations With Pauline Kael is a collection of interviews conducted between 1966 and 1994. Kael, who wrote brilliantly about the movies for four decades, proves to be as disarming and revelatory in conversation as she was in print. Highlights of this volume include a debate between Kael and Jean-Luc Godard and Kael's comments on movies like Schindler's List, Pulp Fiction, and The Piano, which appeared after she retired from the New Yorker magazine in 1991. Kael also talks frankly about other critics' treatments of her, her stint in Hollywood as executive consultant for Paramount Pictures, and the New Yorker with Tina Brown as editor. Editor Will Brantley provides an informative preface to this book, which is both an excellent introduction to Kael's unique perspective and a treat for the faithful who thought they might not hear from her again.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jonsj on February 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pauline Kael was a brilliant interview subject. She could often, in just a few words, get to the essence of what was wrong or right with a movie in as piercing a way as her longer reviews. This book includes a number of early interviews with her and a few from after she retired from The New Yorker. Those last interviews are perhaps the most valuable because you get her insights on movies that she never got to review in print. You also get a fascinating look at her life and tastes outside of film and some revealing comments about working for The New Yorker.

My fervent wish is that this book be updated. The last interview in the book is from c. 1995, and she gave several more interviews before her death in 2001. I hope desperately that U. Mississippi Press will collect these and reissue the book. It's a travesty that so much of Kael's writing is out of print, and this is a valuable resource that could be even more valuable with an update.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Aita on August 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
Pauline Kael gave us hundreds of excellently written and thought provoking movie reviews, and yet since she retired from The New Yorker, there is still an intense yearning to hear what she has to say about recent movies. One never wants her to stop writing. This book is an entertaining collection of articles and interviews that were collected through the years, many of them taken from hard to find magazines. The wonderful thing that this book shows about Pauline Kael is that she talks almost exactly like she writes--an interviewer may ask her a relatively simple question, and she'll answer in her ever-playful way that will take up at least a half page of text. She has a terrific sense of verbal rhythm as well as her famous "conversational" writing style. Those who are new to her work should read her "Deeper Into Movies" and "Reeling", the two books that cover what she feels is the most innovative period in film history--the early to mid-seventies.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The interviews collected here span nearly thirty years, and are most remarkable for Kael's consistency of vision; that also means she says much the same things over and over again, with minor variations. The exception is the Mandate interview, where Kael clarifies her position on sexual politics in film. Those wanting to know more of her views on 90s films may well be frustrated, as the last interview was conducted in 1995, and Kael doesn't go into nearly as much detail as her written work. Be content with 'For Keeps', an excellent compilation of work from her entire career.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By smoothsoul on May 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This will be a short review because there's no point in trying persuade people who aren't fond of Kael. For the rest of us - fans and those willing to try her - this is a wonderful read. Kael's idiom was deceptively casual when she wrote, so these interviews aren't so far off from her critical writings.

It's surprising the overall rating for this book isn't higher. I often browse the interviews here. Kael was so witty and so insightful, there are few books I could recommend more. And she was so eloquent - reading these pieces is aesthetically pleasing.

Kael's the greatest film critic there's been, and as she wrote how she spoke, this book is a welcome addition to her oeuvre. Do read it.
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