A KISS IS STILL A KISS: Roger Ebert at the Movies by Roger Ebert

A KISS IS STILL A KISS: Roger Ebert at the Movies

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Celebrity interviews from the past 15 years or so, most originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times or Esquire--by the newspaper/television film critic. In a few of the pieces, Ebert himself is a bemused comic character, trading insults with Rodney Dangerfield, playing chess with John Wayne, or feeling self-conscious at Ma Maison in L.A. (waiting for Michael Caine to arrive for lunch). Mostly, however, he simply transcribes the conversation and behavioral tics of stars and semistars--sometimes allowing them to appear quite strange or foolish. Tony Curtis is cheerfully narcissistic; William Hurt is pretentiously self-involved. (""He looks so open and carefree that it is a little startling to hear the way his speech turns in on itself in tortured introspection. . . ."") In the longest article, Groucho Marx, circa 1972, is preserved in all his irascible, dour insouciance--muttering over all his awards and honors, vowing that ""I'd give it all up for one erection."" And, along with the effective evocations of quotable comics (Mel Brooks, Bob and Ray, Burns and Matthau), there are more serious chats with Ingmar Bergman and Werner Herzog, eulogies for Chaplin and Ingrid Bergman--plus somewhat sentimental thoughts on John Belushi, with bitter words for Bob Woodward's biography. (""You can read Wired carefully and find no passages in which Woodward empathizes with the incredible suffering that Belushi must have endured. . . ."") Several of the subjects here haven't held up well to time, with a few (Edy Williams, Sybil Danning) verging on mere camp in Ebert's wry treatment. But this is above-average show-biz interviewing for the most part--unworshipful, shrewdly observant, capturing many of the famous in unguarded, offbeat postures.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1984
Publisher: Andrews, McMeel & Parker