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I Lost it at the Movies Paperback – January 1, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
I love her reviews now for the same reason I loved them then -- she makes me want to see the movies she writes about. And more than that, she makes me want to see movies, period. Her passion for the medium -- even when she doesn't like a film -- is contagious, and she expresses it beautifully.
Surprisingly to me, in these early reviews she frequently quotes the reviews of other critics and then mercilessly takes apart what they have said. She particularly has it in for the New York Times' Bosley Crowther, but she doesn't let others off the hook easily, either.
Kael is fun to read, even if you haven't seen the movie she is talking about. I've never seen "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone", though I have seen "Suddenly Last Summer" -- both based on works of Tennessee Williams. But Kael's 1961 review of "Mrs. Stone" is a hilarious read. In one part, she says:
"The men who filmed 'The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone' seem to think the idea of an aging woman seeking companionship and love so daring and unusual that they fumble around with it almost as much as the doctor in the screen version of 'Suddenly, Last Summer', who couldn't seem to cope with the simple facts of Sebastian's homosexuality and kept saying, 'You DON'T mean THAT?'-- 'No, it CAN'T be THAT?' -- 'WHAT are you saying?' -- 'What do you MEAN?' I assumed the youngest child in the audience would get the point before he did. By trying so diligently to make Mrs.Read more ›
Simply put, Pauline Kael ranks alongside James Agee, Manny Farber, Dorothy Parker, Andrew Sarris and Frank Rich as one of the greatest American critics of the Twentieth Century. Unlike too many "movie reviewers" who think a snappy quip is all that's required, Kael gave intense analysis even to films she disliked intensely, so that her judgements were highly nuanced and thought through. Her insight into the shift in filmmaking and film consumption in the mid-late Twentieth Century, coupled with understanding of earlier movie eras, helps clarify the Sixties American switch from "movies" to "cinema"...and back again during the Reagan Eighties. She was a lifelong "movie lover" with the intelligence to comprehend the meaning of non-mainstream "cinema" - and the wisdom to know when its praise was earned, and when it was just pseudointellectual cliquishness.Read more ›