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Donald A. Newlove RSS Feed (Greenwich Village)

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Crime & Punishment - The Complete Miniseries
Crime & Punishment - The Complete Miniseries
DVD ~ Carinthia West
12 used & new from $79.97

11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurrah for Frank Middlemass, July 20, 2005
Frank Middlemass as Marmeladov gives the definitive screen performance of alcoholism in full flower. You may remember Frank in Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON as the snobbish Lord Lyndon who dies of apoplexity at cards while trying to swallow his pills and then Barry marries Lady Lyndon. Middlemass was the definitive snob in that picture. I've only seen the first third of C&P so far but find the show well-done and worthy of the novel. The sense of CRIME comes across hugely, with PUNISHMENT as an immediate aspect of committing the crime, at least in Raskolnikov's case.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2007 12:17 PM PDT

Mahler: Symphony No. 8
Mahler: Symphony No. 8
Price: $17.50
51 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS!!!, July 4, 2005
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (Audio CD)
I began listening to Mahler's Eighth back in the 1950s, and wore out Hermann Scherchen's disks and had to replace them at a fancy price ($30) back in the seventies. Scherchen had had his live recording withdrawn from the Columbia catalogue. However, it was reissued on CD about six years ago and, frankly, to me does not sound as good as on my vinyl. As a Mahler fan I have collected over 200 performances on disk, if not more (three complete run-throughs by Bernstein alone, including live DVD performancess), and I must say that Rattle's performance of the Eighth really rinses your ears out and is a marvel. The Veni Creator Spiritus is not quite as grippingly paced as some but its clarity and the perfection of the instrumental soloists make up for that. They're right in the room with you. Part Two burns me crisp. It is far more orgasmic than any Tristan and Isolde recording.

Let me recommnd Rattle's Mahler Tenth while I'm at it. Some say Rattle''s strings lack the beauty of the early Philadelphia recording, which may be true, but I don't care. It delights me throughout. Although the Purgatorio is always hard to take by anyone, I am swept up Rattle's unusual lyricism with this movement.

River: Poems by Ted Hughes
River: Poems by Ted Hughes
by Ted Hughes
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE OCTOBER SALMON, May 10, 2005
This sequence of poems, RIVER, contains Ted Hughes' greatest poem, and one of tje greatest of the past cemtury, THE OCTOBER SALMON. The salmon is seen as a salmon, not as a symbol of something else, of man, or art, or nature. It is as positive a poem about rebirth in death as I've ever read. There are three poems with salmon in the title in RIVER, but THE OCTOBER SALMON is the great achievement. This poem is both a keystone of and yet falls outside the scheme of Hughes' mystical beliefs about the fallen world. One can read it both ways.

Ruby Braff and His New England Songhounds, Vol. 1
Ruby Braff and His New England Songhounds, Vol. 1
Offered by LightRail
Price: $18.80
19 used & new from $1.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RUBY AT HIS BEST, June 12, 2004
Of all of Ruby's LPs and CDs this and Volume Two show Ruby at his most relaxed and lyrical, with mature, full tone and amazing inventiveness (his unstoppable rolling notes often sound like a saxophone). That he is sided by Scott Hamilton on tenor, Howard Alden on guitar and Dave MeKenna on piano only adds to the joy. Ruby collectors should not miss this and Vol. Two.

Ross And Tom: Two American Tragedies
Ross And Tom: Two American Tragedies
by John Leggett
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.00
64 used & new from $0.09

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DISTORTED - SEE THE ALTERNATE VERSION, March 5, 2004
Readers of ROSS AND TOM should read Ross Lockridge, Jr.'s son Larry Lockridge's version of his father's mental illness that led to his suicide. That's called SHADE OF THE RAINTREE and is both a compelling biography as well as an insightful review of what we knew about depression in the 1940s and what we know about it today. I've read both of these books, as well as RAINTREE COUNTY, which for me is a great American novel whose day will return. I find Legget's version of this wondrous author as distorted as a funhouse mirror.

Ancient Evenings
Ancient Evenings
by Norman Mailer
Edition: Hardcover
313 used & new from $0.01

40 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL, July 6, 2003
This review is from: Ancient Evenings (Hardcover)
I read this the first week it came out, long ago, and thought it the Great American Novel, despite its being set in Egypt. Why so grand an opinion? Because the writing, especially the set-pieces about mummification and a trip up the Nile, as well as others, were better written than any passages of equal length by any American author I'd ever read. RAINTREE COUNTY sets out to be the Great Amrican Novel but, as much as I enjoyed it when I was twenty, its lyricism falls short of Mailer's. The trip up the Nile is equaled only by Twain's Mississippi, Melville's Three-Day Chase at the end of MOBY DICK, and Hemingway's description of the deep waters Santiago fishes in in THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. I found Mailer's characters, even the walkons, more well-rounded and weighted than any by the whole pantheon of classic American writers. Melville, Twain, Thomas Wolfe, Dreiser, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Bellow, Updike, none of them has created Tolstoyan characters with feet as fully plantd on the page as Mailer's Egyptians. Nor has Mailer ever again matched the exquisite bath of light in which he washes these pages.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2013 5:17 AM PST

The Painted Bed: Poems
The Painted Bed: Poems
by Donald Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.71
69 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, April 26, 2003
This review is from: The Painted Bed: Poems (Paperback)
Heartbreak recollected in sublimity. The long "Daylilies" poem tells of the loss of the poet's family members over two centuries in his New Hampshire farmhouse. Walls, beams, lathe, handmade nails, everything about the house goes into a sense of infinite loss over the centuries and parallels the loss of his wife. We all go into the night, but it's great to go in the hands of a poet like Hall.

DVD ~ Ewan McGregor
18 used & new from $3.74

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BARNACULAR JOYCE, June 1, 2002
This review is from: Nora (DVD)
I too at first wished to hear more of Joyce's famous comments and phrases ("Ireland, the old sow that eats her farrow"). When he writes "The Dead" I'd hoped to hear the glorious final paragraph about flakes falling into the mutinous Shannon. And so on. But this was a filming of Brenda Maddox's book, not a gathering of Joyce writings. The point of "The Dead" in the film is to light up Joyce's compulsive jealousy of "Gabriel", Nora's first lover, not show how that lover later splintered into Blazes Boylan. The Joyce here begins as the callow Stephen Dedalus figure, then matures into a much weightier character with a genius for honesty who must never avoid the worst in human nature and, indeed, must hold it dear as a source of inspiration--even if he finds it in his wife. Dublin has bleached him white and he must write the gray prose of "Dubliners" to match his feelings, and then the photographically gray prose of "Ulysses". Earlier films had already dramatized Joyce's prose, Joseph Strick's "Ulysses" and John Huston's "The Dead"--so why repeat what had already been done? Furthermore, when Joyce complains that Nora never reads his stories, she cries back, Why should I when I see how you twist my life in them? So Joyce's prose is not part of Nora's mind, not even the lovely end of "The Dead"--so it would be out of place in Nora's universe in this film, as would her reactions to any sublime prose moment. We don't want to see Nora saying what a wonderful writer Jimmy is--although in later life she did enjoy the world's opinion of her husband. I found Ewan McGregor fighting against body type in trying to capture the slender figure of Joyce but that at times he did catch the Joyce silhouette balanced on his cane. McGregor's lighting was splendid, with artful shadows at times molding Joyce's features and even reaching into his head to see Joyce's cold gray torment. Since the film ends before "Dubliners" is even published--or rather with the type being smashed by the printers--there can be no reason for working some of Joyce's later writing or glories into the the script. The focus is on Nora, and Susan Lynch, also working against body type in trying to figure forth a robust Nora, does wonderfully. She may never again have as great a role to play. The film successfully plays Nora's burly richness of feeling against Joyce's complexity and writerly distraction snd I for one loved it. Let me add that as I watched it, alas on tape, I kept thinking "Here is a film that will never earn back its costs--except emotionally for what Stendahl calls 'the happy few.'" As movies go, this is a treasure and I plan to see it again on DVD. Rosettes to Ewan McGregor, who produced as well as starred, and to Susan Lynch for her unwavering flow of feeling that lapped at my heart like a cow's tongue.

The Prince and the Showgirl
The Prince and the Showgirl
DVD ~ Marilyn Monroe
Offered by whateverforsale
Price: $10.22
29 used & new from $2.50

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MY FAVORITE MM FILM, April 6, 2002
This review is from: The Prince and the Showgirl (DVD)
I've seen this film perhaps twenty times since it came out in 1957 and find the glowing DVD version perfection, much better than the laserdisk.When I first saw it, I believe it was projected through a lens masked for widescreen. So I was disappointed through the years when the videocassette and laserdisk versions weren't in widescreen. Now I'm delighted that the DVD isn't in widescreen, since the show was shot in standard format and we get almost the whole negative image on screen, with only a shot or two faintly cramped or with a figure not quite as fully seen as it was meant to be. No such worry about MM though, no image of her gets trimmed: the magnificent ballgown she's poured into becomes a character in itself. For me, this is MM's greatest performance just as "Camille" is Garbo's. In "Camille" you never catch Garbo acting, every line feels tossed off or thrown away except the big ones, which get the full heartcry the script calls for. In MM's film her every line flows from her with an assurance she matched only in "Bus Stop" and never feels acted. Inge's "Bus Stop", aside frin MM's scenes, strikes me as far less interesting than Rattigan's neatly built comedy, whose scenes without MM retain strong interest both because of the script and of Olivier's hand for detail and grip on staging. Also, Jack Cardiff fills the screen with glowing color to match the decor and costumes and much of my delight lies in having the full screen aglow, wall to wall and top to bottom with luscious light--light focused often on MM's sheer glory. Olivier's line readings are great fun, a grotesque joy, but MM reads like an angel and steals the show with her heartfelt method realism. What can one say about her that isn't less than she deserves here?
For the horrors behind the filming, you might turn to Colin Clark's "The Prince, the Showgirl, and Me: Six Months on the Set with Marilyn and Olivier" (St. Martin's Press, $20.95) where this angel's neuroses are revealed in full. And yet Sybil Thordyke, her costar here as the Queen Mother, said of MM during the shooting that MM was the only one on the set who knew how to act on film and be natural. The crew often thought she wasn't acting--until the rushes starte showing up. Colin Clark himself (he's the son of art historian Kenneth Clark, was Olivier's gofer on the set, and later helped establish NYC's PBS station Channel 13) said that when the film was done, despite the endless agony everyone had working with her, MM was "a force of nature" onscreen, although the whole crew threw her wrap party's gifts into the garbage. Yes, one must admit that MM had more serious flaws than we the still living. But do we take issue with the model for Velazquez's gorgeous Venus in "The Toilet of Venus" (who may have been a waitress he hired) whose long bare body and glorious behind have the same pale rosiness as MM's skin under Cardiff's lighting, while Cardiff treats her hair and eyes and mouth, her bottom and her bitty little belly, with all the care of Velazquez. We no longer remember Velazquez's model but that painting of her captures the eternal feminine. And someday MM's Elsie Marina in this film will rise in the heavens of art and be remembered while MM becomes a receding historical figure, like Pola Negri the Vamp whose dark eyes once spilled their eroticism over the planet, and just as Garbo the unread rather brainless woman fades farther from view every year while her Marguerite Gautier in "Camille" remains a serene image of artistic divinity.
As a footnote, let me add that all the actors are superb, as is the score. I was so delighted by the score (not to mention MM's sweet singing) in 1957 that I wrote a fan letter to Richard Addinsell, the composer (best-known for his "Warsaw Concerto") and he wrote back about his thankfulness to Olivier for his not asking him for "music by the yard," as was the custom when Addinsell wrote film music for others, but rather allowed him to let go and write every note from the heart. That music adds no little lift of pleasure to the images--and to MM and Olivier's big waltz scene at the ball. May I live to see this wonderful movie many more times.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2014 11:01 PM PDT

The Singing Detective [VHS]
The Singing Detective [VHS]
Offered by newbrite
Price: $9.40
21 used & new from $2.86

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ACTUALLY I RATE THIS TEN STARS********** There!, March 3, 2002
...this is Potter's masterpiece and a work of genius. If you can find Potter's last BBC itnerview, with the BBC's top interviewer of artists, Melvyn Bragg, you will find your admiration for THE SINGING DETECTIVE reinforced by Potter's toweringly well-spoken farewell, his improvised sentences that marvels pf intelligence and dependent clauses that go on forever and at last nail themselves to uplifting periods. One would not get more out of this than if listening to a Shakespeare born today exploring his Hamlet under Bragg's questioning. I've now watched THE SINGING DETECTIVE three times, which is to say given it eighteen hours of my life, and it only gets better. I can at last follow every nuance and now know that the central theme, if I didn't know it before, is that the mystery writer wants to know WHO DID THE CRIME that resulted in his psychosomatic illness--and the answer is his mother, a redhaired Eve in the Garden of Eden, which is magnificently presented as the Forest of Deanm its nearby mining community filled with blinkered, blunted miners dying of coal dust--yes, I see the mining and the coal dust as subliminal underpainting about the Christian myth. And of course the densely boorish, grunting, piggish Devil who tempts her into adultery is cast as the suavely smooth-talking villain in Marlow's ongoing hallucinagenic mystery novel. Now Marlow sees his mother's sin repeated in his own redhaired wife, and so has himself become a cynic of Shakespearean size, chewing on his own leg so hard, spiritually, that he has himself become "a Job locked into the prison of my own skin." Michael Gambon's playing of Marlow rises above praise and becomes a benchmark performance by which to measure all acting. Well, and so on, and so on. Beg, borrow or steal this film. Meanwhile, pray that it be released on DVD with the Potter/Bragg interview as an extra. I've watched the interview three times, having taped it from PBS, and will watch it numberless times more as a touchstone of glowing strength for my own writing. Farewell, my lovely Potter.

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