Though the World Trade Center makes only a cameo appearance here, Sanders’s valentine to New York provides a tonic reminder...

CELLULOID SKYLINE

NEW YORK AND THE MOVIES

Architect Sanders, who collaborated with documentarist Ric Burns on New York: An Illustrated History (not reviewed), goes solo with this opulent tribute to Hollywood’s Big Apple.

New York, he notes, has always been incontestably “the city for Hollywood.” Yet although film production began in Astoria and Menlo Park at the turn of the last century, it was not until the 1930s, when the talkies drew Gotham writers by the score to a California diaspora, that the absent city began to assume the glamorously mythic proportions that have alternated ever since with demythologizing reports from its lower depths as location shooting has periodically returned (following the 1948 success of The Naked City) and receded (in the wake of a 1990 studio boycott of union rules and pay scales). Sanders’s true subject, in fact, is the dialectic of realism and fantasy in the creation of Hollywood’s New York. Leaping as agilely as King Kong from Metropolis to Dead End, from Holiday to Smoke, from Rear Window (“the most sophisticated and complex exploration of the movie city”) to On the Waterfront (“the most ambitious attempt ever to orchestrate the elements of an urban locale into a unified filmic setting”), and among the four filmmakers most closely associated with New York—Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee—he observes that identifiable landmarks play a less important role in New York movies than public spaces like streets and plazas, traces the alienating influence of the International Style on The Apartment, and examines the decline of civic order in such urban-jungle thrillers as Fort Apache, the Bronx. Most readers, however, dazzled by the interspersed 330 photos, will be hard-pressed to keep their eyes on the text.

Though the World Trade Center makes only a cameo appearance here, Sanders’s valentine to New York provides a tonic reminder of the power of its mythic images to outlast their own roots in reality.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2001

ISBN: 0-394-57062-6

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2001

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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