Schickel found writing this collection “a rather playful business”; readers will find it infused with his joy.



A noted critic celebrates the pleasure of movies.

By his own count, film critic Schickel (Conversations with Scorsese, 2011, etc.) has seen 22,590 movies. After a 40-year career as “a professional moviegoer,” he admits that he prefers popular movies to “art” films, although his eclectic list of keepers includes some decidedly arty directors, such as Wim Wenders and German expressionist F.W. Murnau. Beginning with the first two decades of the talkies, Schickel praises the exemplary Charlie Chaplin in a movie not well regarded by others, The Circus (1928). To the author, the climax, which “features Chaplin doing a high-wire act while beset by a troop of monkeys,” is “breathtaking in its intricacy, and its thrills.” Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) seems to him “the greatest of the Dracula movies,” but he believes Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and M (1931) to be overrated. Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) was “a great act of modernism”; William Wellman’s The Public Enemy (1931), an iconic gangster picture. The author remarks on virtually every director, from D.W. Griffith to Rouben Mamoulian (a “half-forgotten genius”), Clint Eastwood to Steven Spielberg. He thinks Woody Allen is “trapped by his gift” of creating comedy. Annie Hall (1977), though a huge hit, is only a “charming movie, but scarcely an overpowering one,” and Radio Days (1987) seems to Schickel “one of Woody’s most accomplished films.” Although he concedes that Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) “is not everyone’s dish of tea,” he deems it “an important film because there were not many before it that were essays in pure insanity.” A great admirer of Martin Scorsese, Schickel thought Mean Streets (1973) was clumsy, but Raging Bull (1980) and Taxi Driver (1976) were masterpieces.

Schickel found writing this collection “a rather playful business”; readers will find it infused with his joy.

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-375-42459-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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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...



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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