JOHN HUSTON by Axel Madsen


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This gossipy tribute to film actor/director John Huston is mostly Hollywood tales--tall and otherwise--and offers no new biographical insights and almost no critical insights at all. Madsen begins with the dubious assumption that Huston had such a ""wonderful time"" making his ""wonderful movies"" that ""the circumstances of their making are often more memorable than the movies themselves""; and proceeds with a series of familiar anecdotes--the story of the making of The Misfits, of James Agee's contributions to The African Queen--that lose some credibility in this retelling, a mix of no-nonsense Variety-ese and sloppy new journalism. Huston is ""a nifty Don Juan""; the ""seductive hits of 1969"" offered, among other lures, ""foul-mouthed closeups."" Also on the debit side are outrageous generalizations (""postproduction was always a bore"") and nonsensical simplifications (John Huston and his father missed John's mother's funeral because they'd had troubled relations with her and ""Also, both father and son were happily married--and busy""). Hard-boiled soft-soap.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday