METHOD ACTORS

THREE GENERATIONS OF AN AMERICAN ACTING STYLE

Survey in depth of Method acting, focusing largely on film, by the film and theater critic of The Boston Phoenix. No two people agree on what Method acting is. While Vineberg gives a historical background to the style, ranging from Stanislavsky's work with the Moscow Art Theatre to Broadway's proletariat Group Theatre and later the Actors Studio, this finely spaded loam only prepares the way for his detailed story of the Method's absolute grip on American film acting over the past four decades. He explains that earlier actors, such as Barbara Stanwyck and Burgess Meredith, were unwittingly using a Method approach with their ``uncluttered, uncalculated approach to acting—acting that doesn't announce itself as acting.'' In Stanwyck's early films, lines spring from her and pierce her fellow players as if from life, not from a script, and Vineberg goes through her each performance for our delectation. After a rich review of the works (and acting) of Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan, he gives a role-by- role career history of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Julie Harris, Paul Newman, Blythe Danner, and Jack Nicholson, among many others. Of these, only Nicholson's entry feels scanted. A spacious book, this takes on a tremendous amount of material and allows Vineberg to highlight forgotten or overlooked roles (Brando's homosexual Army officer in Reflections in a Golden Eye, Dean's TV features, Nicholson's superb—and Method-rich—cop in The Border). These actors re-create real emotions and have been geared for it in part, Vineberg says, by the psychological darkness of the American stage following WW II, with the great plays of O'Neill, Williams, and Miller. Major, and as seismically sensitive as a Brando soliloquy. (Sixteen-page photo insert—not seen.)

Pub Date: July 15, 1991

ISBN: 0-02-872685-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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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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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