David Thomson on Films: ‘Sweet Smell of Success’
April 01, 2011
Nobody had seen or heard anything like the first half of Sweet Smell of Success in 1957. It wasn’t just the way the picture went out onto the streets and into the bars of Manhattan, letting cameraman James Wong Howe get his best stuff at dawn and twilight. Film noir had made hay with darkness for ten years, but still, you didn’t get a lot of real night in American pictures.
A Limited Defense of Jerry Lewis
September 04, 2010
First, I would like to apologize for bringing up Jerry Lewis on Labor Day weekend, when most of us who fail to derive voyeuristic pleasure from the deranged spectacle of his annual telethon are doing our best to avoid him. In saying that, I mean not to derogate the Muscular Distrophy Association, of course.
September 06, 2004
The scene has unfolded at least a dozen times over the past year. In some huge sports arena in a large U.S. city, a second-tier pop singer performs a series of patriotic anthems. After a pause, a burst of horns and the gossamer voice of Frank Sinatra fills the stadium. Start spreading the news ... A maelstrom of red, white, and blue confetti fills the air. Now, a roar surges through the crowd--Rudolph Giuliani has come into view. The standing ovation that greets him might last for a full minute before Giuliani finally cuts it off.
October 28, 2002
A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust by David S. Wyman and Rafael Medoff (The New Press, 269 pp., $26.95) Twenty-five years ago, while researching Holocaust history for the Joint Distribution Committee in New York, and as I was preparing to immigrate to Israel, I came across a clipping from The New York Times from 1936.