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The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael Hardcover – October 27, 2011
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"Pauline Kael was not only one of our greatest film critics, but one of our best nonfiction prose writers. Her range is on brilliant display in this thrilling collection, reminding us what all the excitement was and still is about." — Phillip Lopate
About the Author
Pauline Kael reached national attention in the 1960s, first in a brief stint as critic for The New Republic, finally as a longtime fixture at The New Yorker (1968-1991). She was considered by many to be the most influential American film critic of the last 50 years. She died in September of 2001.
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If Library of America is going to archive Kael's work and place her within the canon with other great Library of America authors, they should publish all of her works in quality bindings. Instead we have a rather sad book here which is bound in a rather mediocre way.
The amazing thing about Kael is that she reviewed all sorts of stuff for a long period of time -- major hits, cinematic masterpieces, failed films, and the general all-purpose stuff that Hollywood churns out every year. Seeing her takes on minor and forgotten films can be as enlightening as her holding forth at length about Citizen Kane or Disney. For she was a critic, yes, but also a sort of de facto movie beat reporter.
Most of Kael's work (all of it perhaps?) can be tracked down in a series of paperbacks. And the best Kael collection remains the collection titled For Keeps which is a big ol' heavy book, a book so full of Kael's brain power that many of the copies have twisted spines or don't want to lie flat.
Among critics, it's generally said that favorable reviews are harder to write than unfavorable ones, and Kael was particularly gifted at the rave. So all in all this isn't a bad selection and editor Sanford Schwartz has done a good job, and taken an interesting approach, in the space he was given.
As other reviewers have said, the binding is cheap and bad (FOR KEEPS' binding is just as bad and works out even worse, because it has more bulk). But the pages and design here are good, and it's nice to have THE KAEL OF POSITIVE THINKING. Even at that, enough negativity remains to keep everything spicy. The book includes, for example, "Why are Movies So Bad? or, The Numbers," and her review of MAGNUM FORCE, which begins, "Clint Eastwood isn't offensive; he isn't an actor, so one could hardly call him a bad actor."