A balanced portrait of a man and a panorama of his times, told with exceptional grace.




Dudley Murphy (1867–1968) doesn’t bear a household name like vaunted film directors John Ford or King Vidor, but, as chronicled by Delson, his ambitious career out-barnstormed them all—even if it often only sputtered in the public eye.

Murphy was an innovative, socially adventurous Hollywood insider, a reckless aviator and playboy to outgun Howard Hughes, but with artistic aspirations forged in European modernism. He is often recalled as merely the technical facilitator behind his two enduring works, the experimental montage Ballet Mecanique and the film that rendered Paul Robeson a diasporic icon, The Emperor Jones. Delson challenges this notion and makes a convincing case for the filmmaker as auteur. The author displays a scholarly grasp of the facts, but also the fluid, resonant prose to animate them. She illuminates what certain cultural, corporate and technological developments meant to both Murphy and his tumultuous times. Cineastes looking for rigorous analysis of Murphy's work might find the early passages tough going, filled as they are with the minutiae of the subject’s life. But this personal intimacy proves useful, locating plausible and compelling connections between Murphy’s life and art. Like his near-contemporary Luis Buñuel, Murphy was the son of upper-crust intellectuals. He, too, broke through with an avant-garde classic and made a globetrotting career of blending experimental techniques into more mainstream fare. Along the way, Delson treats us to encounters with Murphy’s dizzying roster of collaborators and pals: DeMille, Selznick, Hemingway, Man Ray, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Charlie Chaplin, Fats Waller, Sergei Eisenstein. Yet Murphy never gets lost in the fray.

A balanced portrait of a man and a panorama of his times, told with exceptional grace.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-8166-4654-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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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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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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