THE DEVIL'S CANDY

THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES GOES TO HOLLYWOOD

Engaging, in-depth study of how Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities was transferred from megahit book to megaflop movie; by the film critic of The Wall Street Journal, novelist of White Lies (1987). With an okay from Brian de Palma, Bonfire's director, Salamon jumped on board early, when only Tom Hanks had been hired to play Sherman McCoy. She charts the movie's birth pains, financing, script revisions, casting, location-scouting in the Bronx and Manhattan, the New York shoot and the Los Angeles shoot, second unit work for backgrounds not directed by de Palma, editing, sound mixing, scoring, previews around L.A. and in Boston, reediting, advertising, premiere, and reviews. Salamon keeps a steady interest both in the artisans and the mechanics of their art without ever quite finding a voice of her own (say, like Pauline Kael's) or revealing how her presence on the scene may have affected anything. ``The devil's candy'' is a phrase from Peter Guber, the movie's original producer, which means both the actress to be cast as Sherman's mistress and the orgasm of instant success, as in E.T. or Batman. The book's embattled center is de Palma, who is rescued from his ghoulish image in suspense films, and would be the book's tragic hero were the abortive film a tragedy instead of a creative misfire from the first script and first compromise onward. Even so, this movie struck its makers as ``the definitive vehicle of dreams...the stretch limo of hopes and ambition.'' Stephen Spielberg's take on what happened is right on target: ``Brian is stepping into shoes that can be worn by other film makers. When he does that he's caught up in the machinery of the studio system.'' Like watching a World Trade Center tower topple onto Wall Street. (Eight-page b&w photo insert—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-56996-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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