DWIGHT MACDONALD ON MOVIES by Dwight MacDonald

DWIGHT MACDONALD ON MOVIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dwight MacDonald's reviews and comments have been a favorite feature of The New Yorker and Esquire among others, for years. This is a sizeable collection of his work and much of the material is discursive rather than discussive. The material ranges from an eulogic tribute to the cinematic insights of James Agee, ""the most copiously talented writer of my generation"" to the boring ennui seeping up from the Underground to the fraternicide of film festivals. One of Mr. MacDonald's favorite words is ""kitsch"" which he liberally applies to everything from The Sound of Music to The Pawnbroker, ""a bore and a phoney."" Although he does ramble, repetitively, he is a master of the swipe--Elia Kazan as ""vulgar a director as has come along since Cecil B. DeMille. . . has somehow extracted from Elizabeth Taylor a mediocre performance, which is a definite step up in her career."" Even other critics (and books) will find themselves on the cutting room floor--Kael, ""the cat that walks by herself."" The most edifying portions of the book are the long sections on Russian cinema (post-thirties, post-Stalin) with a dissection of the political influence as well as the leading directors (an elaborate look at the career of Eisenstein). Mr. MacDonald has been a leading influence and this will get the attention that most of it deserves.

Pub Date: June 19th, 1969
Publisher: Prentice-Hall