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At the Café Central

Andrew Forge, 22 March 1990

First Diasporist Manifesto 
by R.B. Kitaj.
Thames and Hudson, 128 pp., £7.95, May 1989, 0 500 27543 2
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Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles, 1957-1987 
by John Ashbery, edited by David Bergman.
Carcanet, 417 pp., £25, February 1990, 9780856358074
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... For as long as he has been exhibiting Kitaj has been publishing commentary on his pictures. With him the two activities interlock, coming closer to the idea of the calligram that Foucault played with in his essay on Magritte than to anything that we usually expect from artists’ statements, almost always touched as they are with bravado in the face of the incompatibility of words and pictures ...

As time goes by

Brenda Maddox, 2 July 1981

Ingrid BergmanMy Story 
by Ingrid Bergman and Alan Burgess.
Joseph, 480 pp., £9.50, November 1980, 0 7181 1946 0
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... reaches over with her fork and eats most of her husband’s. Does it tell us something about Miss Bergman’s capacity for self-deception that she could neither leave Alan Burgess alone to write her biography nor sit down and write her own? Instead, they did it together, the actress and the author. Mr Burgess wrote The Small Woman, from which Miss ...

The Kiss

Gaby Wood, 9 February 1995

Jean Renoir: Letters 
edited by Lorraine LoBianco and David Thompson, translated by Craig Carlson, Natasha Arnoldi and Michael Wells.
Faber, 605 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 571 17298 9
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... sides are published) with Robert Flaherty, Dudley Nichols, Clifford Odets, Ingrid Bergman and François Truffaut. Many letters are exchanged, but since Renoir also actually saw these people, their friendship must have evolved in some space other than their writings, and a lot of the letters are filled with little pleasantries. So much so, in ...

Hoo-Hooing in the Birch

Michael Hofmann: Tomas Tranströmer, 15 June 2016

Bright Scythe: Selected Poems 
by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Patty Crane.
Sarabande, 207 pp., £13, November 2015, 978 1 941411 21 6
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... was for our time the poet of the North, the pendant – to use the obvious parallel – to Ingmar Bergman, in one of whose early films he was an extra, as a boy. Like Bergman, he gives you the days that are all night, and the nights that are all day; the interleaving of land and water, and city and country; the half-life of ...

Pink and Bare

Bee Wilson: Nicole Kidman, 8 February 2007

Nicole Kidman 
by David Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 311 pp., £18.99, September 2006, 0 7475 7710 2
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... 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 tells the story of how a lonely creative writing teacher, Fran, becomes involved with a cop (Mark Ruffalo) who is investigating a string of particularly gruesome murders ...

Sergeant Farthing

D.A.N. Jones, 17 October 1985

A Maggot 
by John Fowles.
Cape, 460 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 224 02806 5
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The Romances of John Fowles 
by Simon Loveday.
Macmillan, 164 pp., £25, August 1985, 0 333 31518 9
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... is better informed about the fake soldier, ‘Sergeant Farthing’, claiming that his real name is David Jones and that he is a Welshman loosely attached to the London theatre. As for ‘Mr Bartholomew’, the actor says he believes him to be something of a philosopher, with a dissident and free-thinking bias, a certain mathematical or numerological expertise ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, 30 November 2017

Murder on the Orient Express 
directed by Kenneth Brannagh.
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... audio-visual life, but the relatively recent personifications by Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov and David Suchet dominate most memories. None of these figures much resembles the ‘short, stout, elderly man, his hair cut en brosse’ that Agatha Christie describes. Well, they often manage the stout bit, but for the rest they are tallish, more like ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inside Man’, ‘V for Vendetta’ , 11 May 2006

Inside Man 
directed by Spike Lee.
March 2006
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V for Vendetta 
directed by James McTeigue.
March 2006
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... two good reasons for not worrying about it. First, this is only a movie, as Hitchcock told Ingrid Bergman when she was trying too hard to act like a real person; and second, some people know about the banker’s misdeeds even before they’ve seen the documentation. If we needed a third reason, we could find one in Christopher Plummer, who plays the evil ...

In the dark

Philip Horne, 1 December 1983

The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
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Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
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... Hitchcock with a faint scar on the chin. He also wrote the wondering, stunned reaction of Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946) to the news of her father’s suicide (Hitchcock’s elder brother had died, probably by his own hand, in 1943). Such eloquently personal contributions illuminate the idea of authorship. It seems important to know, of Hawks’s Only ...

A Particular Way of Looking

J. Hoberman: NeoRealismo, 19 November 2019

NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-60 
edited by Enrica Viganò.
Prestel, 349 pp., £49.99, September 2018, 978 3 7913 5769 0
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... Lollobrigida. Other stars were imported. Rossellini made a series of movies with his wife, Ingrid Bergman; Visconti’s Senso (1954) paired Alida Valli (returned to Italy from Hollywood) with Farley Granger; De Sica’s Stazione Termini (1953) starred Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift. De Sica had originally planned to make Bicycle Thieves with Hollywood ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester, 8 June 1995

A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... now I have taken the view that my ‘Desert Island’ book, if I were asked, would have to be David Thomson’s A Biographical Dictionary of the Cinema. First published in 1970, it has just re-appeared as A Biographical Dictionary of Film in a third edition that is revised and considerably enlarged. Despite its titles it is indeed a work of ...

Hiatus at 4 a.m.

David Trotter: What scared Hitchcock?, 3 June 2015

Alfred Hitchcock 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 279 pp., £12.99, April 2015, 978 0 7011 6993 0
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Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much 
by Michael Wood.
New Harvest, 129 pp., £15, March 2015, 978 1 4778 0134 5
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Hitchcock à la carte 
by Jan Olsson.
Duke, 261 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 8223 5804 6
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Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews, Vol. II 
edited by Sidney Gottlieb.
California, 274 pp., £24.95, February 2015, 978 0 520 27960 5
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... gaze, as it does in Vertigo. In Notorious (1946), for example, Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), dining in Rio with the Nazi super-scientists among whom she has been planted, notices a commotion around the bottles of wine stood on the sideboard. A dolly in on a label shows us what she would like to see, but can’t quite from where she’s ...

Diary

David Thomson: ‘Vertigo’ after Weinstein, 21 June 2018

... and he threatened her career. The anticipation that had hovered over Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly was released. I do not doubt what Hedren has said, or question the accuracy of what her testimony reveals about the whole enterprise of filmmaking. That’s why Vertigo has to be explored all the way down into its pit. It doesn’t have to ...

So Hard to Handle

John Lahr: In Praise of Joni Mitchell, 22 February 2018

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell 
by David Yaffe.
Farrar, Straus, 420 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 0 374 24813 0
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... Hendrix noted in his diary after their first, brief meeting. ‘She just knocked me on my ass,’ David Crosby said after hearing her sing ‘Both Sides, Now’. ‘It was the highest quality of songwriting. I liked her better than Dylan.’ Crosby briefly became Mitchell’s inamorato and produced her first album. Leonard Cohen, another influential early ...

No more pretty face

Philip Horne, 8 March 1990

Emotion Pictures: Reflections on the Cinema 
by Wim Wenders, translated by Sean Whiteside and Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 148 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 0 571 15271 6
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Scorsese on Scorsese 
by Martin Scorsese, edited by David Thompson and Ian Christie.
Faber, 178 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 9780571141036
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... with the decline or disappearance of the main series that flourished in the Sixties, the era of Bergman, Fellini and Godard. Secker had Cinema One and Cinema Two; Lorrimer did Classic and Modern Film Scripts; and Movie magazine, through Studio Vista, produced a couple of dozen Movie Paperbacks. These mostly gave way in the mid-Seventies to the theories of ...

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