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Elia Kazan: A Biography Paperback – November 21, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Stepping back though, Schickel recognizes Kazan for the major creative force he was, well worthy of the praise heaped upon him during his lifetime. The journalist delves into how Kazan helped mold promising young actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean into legends and establish the careers of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, all doing their best work under his aegis.Read more ›
Richard Schickel, film critic for Time magazine, had the difficult task of picking and choosing which ascepts of Mr. Kazan's life to focus, which stories to tell and which stories to omit. This biography easily could have been double its 500+ pages. Mr. Schickel covers his immigrant childhood and college days rather quickly (a pity when one realizes that the overriding theme of many of his plays and movies was being an outsider, like his immigrant family). His interest is in Mr. Kazan's craft and he does credit to his artistic creations. He covers Mr. Kazan's controversial testimony of naming names during the McCarthy era of the 1950's and the equally controversial Honorary Oscar awarded to him in 1999. For a film buff, "Elia Kazan: A Biography" would make a great gift.
But first, this book gives a complete chronological analysis of his career. From his low level involvement with "The Group", a self-contained theater group with strong communist influences, to his first movie directorial debut. Kazan started as an undistinguished worker and grew to an "actor's director". This is overlaid with his involvement as a Communist and early disenchantment. Later, he is called before the committee after his great success and names former stage communists with whom he worked. The initial negative input dies down and he goes on to some of his best work including the classic, "On the Waterfront".
This book will have great appeal for movie and stage historians as it really is it is an in-depth analysis. But the main appeal to me was understanding the hysteria of the Red scare and why 50 years later it would elicit such a negative response. This book demonstrates the artists coming out of the depression influence when faith in capitalism weakened. The growth of fascism heightened the "sales pitch" to this new theory of a great life for all, communism. But, as was later proven, communism had weaknesses also causing many Americans to experiment with a form of government that was cruel and a rival of America.
It's impossible to determine how difficult it was for Kazan to name names. While he lost some friends, his career continued very successfully for some time before it faltered as it does for most in show business after a good run.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Elia Kazan was almost fated to be a controversial figure from the mid-Fifties onwards when he gave evidence to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), as well as naming... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw
It only took a few pages before they referenced the HUAC, which appears to loom large in the life of a director who considered it only a footnote.Published 6 months ago by don treado
Elia Kazan lived life large. Some say he was like a snake who needed to shed his skin and his friends every several years. Read morePublished on June 27, 2013 by paulyboy3
I read Elia Kazan's amazing autobiography many years ago and was thoroughly engrossed in his story. Written at the age of 77, it was told with the emotional detachment of a man... Read morePublished on September 5, 2012 by Pugwash
I live in the Uk and i took this book out of the library to read.Other more important books got in the way till i had only a short time left to read this. Read morePublished on July 12, 2010 by Wingate
A paste up job, ill written, with some rehashed material, and very dubious conclusions. A shameful, inebriate performance from a once interesting enthusiast.Published on May 28, 2009 by Robert B. Cornfield
Elia Kazan was born in Istanbul, Turkey to Greek parents. Immigrating to America at the age of 4 he was the son of a middle class rug merchant. Read morePublished on December 12, 2006 by C. M Mills
Schickel adds nothing to the telling of Elia Kazan's story that wasn't already written up better by Kazan himself in his huge memoir A LIFE, except for constant interjections of... Read morePublished on June 4, 2006 by Kevin Killian
Schickel is one of the few film critics of any authenticity; he certainly has credentials, having written about film for Time magazine, having directed, produced, and written... Read morePublished on February 6, 2006 by Magda Neville