The Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Meby Lillian Gish with Ann Pinchot(Prentice-Hall; $7.95)The Studioby John Gregory Dunne(Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $5.95) For a long time, there have been rumors that Lillian Gish was writing an autobiography centered on D. W. Griffith. Ten years ago when I was in book publishing, I tried to get the manuscript and was told by Miss Gish that it did not yet exist. Now the book is published, and anyone with the smallest interest in films can be glad.No one would reasonably expect it to be literature of any kind, and it isn't.
Max Ophuls’ Lola Montes was made in 1955, in France and Bavaria, and, except for some festival showings, is now seen here for the first time in unmutilated form. (A butchered, dubbed version was released in 1959.) This is an important event both because of what the film is and is not, and because of what it crystallizes in critical approaches. Lola Montes was Ophuls’ last work; he died in 1957. He was a German Jew, born Max Oppenheimer, who changed his name because his family objected to his becoming an actor.
My Father and Myselfby J. R. Ackerley(Coward-McCann; $5.00) J. R. Ackerley is not much known in this country and possibly never will be. It is a small loss but a real one. In Britain, although hardly famous, he has long been a connoisseurs' choice. (His admirers include E. M. Forster, Harold Nicolson, Elizabeth Bowen and Angus Wilson.) From 1935 until 1959 he was literary editor of The Listener, the BBC weekly (a very good review section, too). During his life he published only three books--a novel and two books of memoirs--and a play.
Portnoy’s Complaint By Philip Roth (Random House, $6.95) Early in Portnoy’s Complaint, the hero discovers that he has an undescended testicle. The image sticks in the mind, because one feels that, as a writer, Philip Roth has had a similar problem. Goodbye, Columbus , which made his reputation, is a talented book by a young man whose voice is still changing. Letting Go impresses one as the work of a promising but temporarily impotent imagination.
When the ice starts to shiver all across the reflecting basin or water-lily leaves dissect a simple surface the word 'drowning' flows through me. You built a glassy floor that held me as I leaned to fish for old hooks and toothed tin cans, stems lashing out like ties of silk dressing-gowns archangels of lake-light gripped in mud. Now you hand me a torn letter. On my knees, in the ashes, I could never fit these ripped-up flakes together. In the taxi I am still piecing what syllables I can translating at top speed like a thinking machine that types out 'useless' as 'monster' and 'history' as 'la
THE EDITORS: What's the significance of this month's trip around the moon?MR LAPP: From a technical viewpoint, a successful shot could probably move up the date of the first lunar landing from the summer of 1969 to the spring. From a scientific angle, I don't think it will add much to what we already know about the moon. After all, we have has surveyor experiments made by instruments on the lunar surface.Does the Apollo-8 flight have political significance?If we beat the Soviets around the moon we are then one up in the race to the moon--and a notch higher on the lunar totem pole.
It has become fashionable among scholars, retired public officials, and politicians to admit that our involvement in Vietnam has not been a success. It has also become fashionable to turn from this admission of failure to the post-Vietnam future without pausing to ask what accounts for that failure. It is more important, so it is argued, to end the war than to discover what led us into it. To bury the past and get ready for the future is taken as a manifestation of both positive and patriotic thinking.