Like most other “my-favorites” projects, this one will surely ignite debate, disdain and delight.

NOT TO BE MISSED

FIFTY-FOUR FAVORITES FROM A LIFETIME OF FILM

A veteran critic offers a decade-by-decade list of the films that have been like “friends who’ve enriched my life.”

Los Angeles Times and NPR’s Morning Edition film critic Turan (Now in Theaters Everywhere: A Celebration of a Certain Kind of Blockbuster, 2006, etc.) confesses his discomfort with his own project: so many films. He was so uncomfortable, in fact, that at the end, he suggests two others for slot 55, then appends yet another list of 54 that he’s loved. Film lovers will eagerly swoop in to see if their favorites are present, and there are certainly some surprises. Turan does not mention either Charlie Chaplin or Harold Lloyd. Citizen Kane does not make the first cut—though it does appear as a recommendation at the end of his discussion of Sweet Smell of Success; it also appears in the appended list (as do two other Welles films). Turan’s tastes are eclectic: documentaries (Stranded), Westerns (The Unforgiven), an animated feature (Spirited Away), crime films (Kiss Me Deadly), musicals (Singin’ in the Rain), films based on classic novels (Great Expectations), films everyone’s heard of (Casablanca) and films that few beside the cognoscenti know (The Best of Youth). In each case, the author introduces each decade and discusses the directors and performers; in many instances, he summarizes the plots and/or gives some back story about the making of the films. Principally, however, he explores how each film affected him and how the filmmaker managed to do what he did (male filmmakers dominate here). Among the principal factors are cinematography, music, individual performances, the power of the plot, the settings, the ambiance, the effect of surprise and the styles of the directors. Although Turan discusses many Hollywood studio films, he also includes films from Japan, Italy, Denmark, Israel and elsewhere.

Like most other “my-favorites” projects, this one will surely ignite debate, disdain and delight.

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58648-396-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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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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