Capote in Kansas
January 22, 1966
In Cold Bloodby Truman Capote(Random House; $5.95) Here is a readable, generally interesting book about four murders in Kansas in 1959. If the author were John Doe, literary consideration could well end there. One might perhaps add that some of the writing is overripe, much of the detail is extraneous "color," some of the handling of material injudicious, and that a 343-page true-crime chronicle which does little more than recount a crime is inflated. Beyond that, however, the treatment, the style, the result would preclude extensive criticism.
8 1/2--Ladies' Size
November 13, 1965
"Movies have now gone past the phase of prose narrative and are coming nearer and nearer to poetry. I am trying to free my work from certain constrictions--a story with a beginning, a development, an ending. It should be more like a poem, with metre and cadence." Thus Federico Fellini, in a recent New Yorker article by Lillian Ross, speaking about his latest film, Juliet of the Spirits. What he describes is not a new impulse in filmmaking; it has been felt by (among others) such varied directors as Vigo, Ozu, and Godard.
A Man Named Chaffin
October 03, 1964
My Autobiographyby Charles Chaplin(Simon and Schuster; $6.95) In 1913 the manager of an English music-hall company, which had been touring the US and was laying off for a week in Philadelphia, received a telegram from the New York office of a film company: "Is there a man named Chaffin in your company or something like that?" If so, the man was to communicate with the sender.Turning points, clearly defined, occur in many theatrical careers.
Paris and Hemingway in the Spring
May 09, 1964
A Moveable Feastby Ernest Hemingway(Scribner's; $4.95) The very first entry in Camus' Notebooks might serve as epigraph to Hemingway's posthumous memoirs: "What I mean is this: that one can, with no romanticism, feel nostalgic for lost poverty." It is the city of Paris, in memory and effect that is the moveable feast; to it, Hemingway sat again in these recollections, written between 1958 and 1960, of his Paris life in the early 20's. This book, highly affecting and invaluable, is an anomalous performance in literature.
Miss McCarthy's Era
August 31, 1963
The Groupby Mary McCarthy(Harcourt, Brace & World; $5.95) Mary McCarthy is both representative and sui generis. An intellectual child of the thirties, she has long been concerned with matters that concern many of us; and her total range of interests, has been wider than any other American woman writer's of her time.She has now published a new novel about women. The Group, dealing not merely with her contemporaries but with her classmates, eight members of Vassar '33.
A Jolly Good Fellini
July 13, 1963
Like most autobiographical works Federico Fellini's scintillating new film 8 1/2 reveals something more than its author intended. Begin with the title. It derives from the fact that, up to now, Fellini has made six full-length films and has contributed three "half" segments to anthology films. Before we step into the theater, the title tells us that he is clever, and that he sees the film as part of his personal history.
A Cold Season
May 11, 1963
Ingmar Bergman's new film Winter Light is relatively short (80 minutes), but then none of his films is long. Most of them run 90 minutes or so. Like Through a Glass Darkly, the new one is a "chamber" work: i.e., he uses relatively few actors and settings. The time-span of the story is shorter than in the last film. There is no score; the only music occurs in church services.It takes place on' one wintry Sunday in a country clergyman's life, between matins and vespers. The subject is another aspect of the subject of the last film, a crisis in faith.
Boudoir of the World
March 23, 1963
Jean Genet's play, The Balcony, has a considerable history of adaptation in its short life. It was first published in 1956 in fifteen scenes; it was subsequently published in 1960 in nine scenes. (This is the version available here in translation.) Its first production was in English - London, 1957-over the author's violent protests about the way it was produced. It was first pre- sented in New York, off Broadway, in March, 1960 and was condensed before the opening; it was presented in France the following May and was condensed after the opening.
TNR Film Classic: 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' (1962)
September 24, 1962
Long Day’s Journey into Night (Embassy) Eugene O'Neill's Long Day’s Journey into Night is the full statement of the early autobiography that he had disguised and used partially in several plays. Beyond the Horizon (1918) is about two brothers, one of whom is tubercular; the doomed couple in All God’s Chillun Got Wings (1923) have his parents' first names; other plays contain further references and derivations.
Katherine Anne Porter's Crowning Work
April 02, 1962
Ship of Foolsby Katherine Anne Porter(Atlantic-Little, Brown; $6.50) Katherine Anne Porter has published her first novel at the age of 72, and since she spent 20 years on it, we must assume it will be her only novel. She forecast the book in 1940 in the preface to the Modern Library edition of Flowering Judas: [These stories] are fragments of a much larger plan I am still engaged in carrying out.