David Thomson

David Thomson’s most recent book is Disaster Mon Amour.

Peachy: LA Rhapsody

David Thomson, 27 January 2022

This​ is a fabulous book, beautiful, generous, sombre and wise, a wistful romance about a man writing a book like Always Crashing in the Same Car. Don’t fall for that subtitle – a mere concession to academic access and what used to be called the zeitgeist. As if a book as good as this can really be expected to flourish. As if, even in LA, there is a crowd waiting for a...

Weare blessed with two books that combine to give us the fullest and most discerning portrait of a movie star we will ever have. But Cary Grant deserves this as much as we do. His subject is Pretending. There are those among us who felt our lives were shaped by the balanced but enigmatic Grant, even as we knew (without understanding properly) that this tanned Mr Lucky, a Beverly Hills...

We’re not​ dealing with an ordinary man, or a conformist. There he is in the abandoned shell of Fort Point in San Francisco, this fierce and frightened man, looking like Lee Marvin. The fat parcel of money he has been demanding throughout the film is at his feet. All he has to do is pick it up. Instead, he fades into the darkness. What kind of movie is Point Blank? And what kind of...

Anactor wants to wake up tomorrow as someone else: that’s the delight and the horror in what is sometimes called a profession or an art, as if its risks can be controlled. An actor can be anyone, if he can stand the pace of change and its rootlessness. Cinema as a medium urges us to view ourselves as actors presenting ourselves.

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando in ‘On the...

Deal of the Century: As Ovitz Tells It

David Thomson, 7 March 2019

By my count​, of the 37 photographs of Michael Ovitz in this book there are 19 in which his mouth stays shut – while he’s smiling. That isn’t intended as a hostile remark. His mouth stayed closed when he smiled because he was concentrating. You may not have heard of him, but for maybe a decade and a half starting in the mid-1970s no one in the motion picture business was...

Pink and Bare: Nicole Kidman

Bee Wilson, 8 February 2007

To understand Nicole Kidman, David Thomson argues, you need to see a film called In the Cut. Not because Kidman is in it. She isn’t. The film stars Meg Ryan, is directed by Jane Campion and...

Read More

Mad Monk: not going to the movies

Jenny Diski, 6 February 2003

I think it is two years since I’ve been to the cinema. This is something of a mystery to me, like love gone wrong: in fact, it is love gone wrong. Was the love misguided in the first place,...

Read More

People shouldn’t be fat

Zachary Leader, 3 October 1996

By the end of his life Orson Welles weighed 350 pounds. His appetite, though, was not a late development. In Simon Callow’s biography the composer Virgil Thomson reports the 22-year-old...

Read More

The Real Magic

David Sylvester, 8 June 1995

I probably wouldn’t have chosen a work of criticism rather than Proust if the Bible and Shakespeare weren’t already there, but for some years now I have taken the view that my...

Read More

Train Loads of Ammunition

Philip Horne, 1 August 1985

In his own words ‘a queer fish’, Sergei Eisenstein declares at one point in this 1946 memoir that he worked amphibiously, by extremes. ‘I create an arbitrary and capricious...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences