Close
Close

Search Results

Advanced Search

1 to 15 of 84 results

Sort by:

Filter by:

Contributors

Article Types

Authors

Subjects

On the Sofa

David Thomson: ‘Babylon Berlin’, 2 August 2018

... Lucy​ and I had been through the whole of Babylon Berlin – or so we thought – all sixteen episodes, swallowing three a night. We were bingeing, and greedy for more just to get away from that other consuming and insoluble show, playing on MSNBC night after night, where Rachel Maddow and the others were trying to persuade us that it was all beginning to be over, the Trump thing, that it would all be over very soon, because of the investigation, the Mueller thing ...

Diary

David Thomson: Alcatraz, 26 March 2009

... been here far longer than I have: how did people look at the prison without feeling dismay? David Ward and Gene Kassebaum have compiled an immense study of the prison in what they call the gangster years, from its foundation in 1933 to 1948.* Drawing on interviews with inmates and guards that the government gathered decades ago, they have reconstructed ...

The Nephew

David Thomson, 19 March 1981

Charmed Lives 
by Michael Korda.
Penguin, 498 pp., £2.50, January 1981, 0 14 005402 2
Show More
Show More
... This book suggests how an odd mixture of Hungarian nerve, social bluff and show-business instinct once commanded the British cinema. In Michael Korda’s telling, however, the panorama of picture-making is not always alight with understanding or information. The author may have been born on the night in 1933 when his uncle Alexander Korda’s first great success, The Private Life of Henry VIII, opened, and that could have made Michael a good-luck charm in Alex’s eyes ...

How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending, 20 February 2020

Conclusions 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
Show More
Show More
... 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 book is this, written by the man who made it?It would be hard to deliver a brief biographical sketch of John Boorman that was tidy or plausible ...

Deal of the Century

David Thomson: As Ovitz Tells It, 7 March 2019

Who Is Michael Ovitz? 
by Michael Ovitz.
W.H. Allen, 372 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 0 7535 5336 7
Show More
Show More
... of ‘Whatever happened to … ?’ So who was he? Michael Ovitz was born in Chicago in 1946 to David, the son of Jewish Romanian immigrants. David was a liquor salesman for Seagram’s but he worked weekends too, selling patio furniture to support his family after they moved to Encino in the San Fernando Valley. ‘The ...

Why Goldwyn Wore Jodhpurs

David Thomson, 22 June 2000

The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper 
by Dominick Dunne.
Crown, 218 pp., £17.99, October 1999, 0 609 60388 4
Show More
Gary Cooper Off Camera: A Daughter Remembers 
by Maria Cooper Janis.
Abrams, 176 pp., £22, November 1999, 0 8109 4130 9
Show More
Show More
... movies and now the video footage. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was working on the life of David O. Selznick, the man who produced Gone with the Wind, Rebecca and Duel in the Sun. It was a great help, yet a daunting obstacle, that Selznick had kept virtually every bit of paper that passed through his office. But the family archive had other ...

Red silk is the best blood

David Thomson: Sondheim, 16 December 2010

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-81), with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes 
by Stephen Sondheim.
Virgin, 445 pp., £30, October 2010, 978 0 7535 2258 5
Show More
Show More
... Stephen Sondheim is America’s master of musical theatre, as long as we are prepared for the work to be brilliant but not relaxed. His is a voice of solitude struggling to believe in company, and that of a lifelong game-player, so be careful about taking this book at face value as an autobiography, or as giving the whole story. Regard it as pointing a way out of the woods that may only take us deeper into them ...

Merely an Empire

David Thomson: Eighteen Hours in Vietnam, 20 September 2017

The Vietnam War 
directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
PBS, ten episodes
Show More
Show More
... Roger Harris​ is from Roxbury, in Boston. For decades he taught in the school system there. He wears a grey pinstripe suit; his smart bow-tie has a purple streak. He looks patient yet tough, as durable as a former athlete. But he had days in 1967 as a young Marine near the DMZ in Vietnam – the demilitarised zone, aka the ‘dead Marine zone’ – that he can’t talk about:You go over there with one mindset and then you adapt ...

What does a chicken know of bombs?

David Thomson: A Key to Brando, 25 November 2019

The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando 
by William J. Mann.
HarperCollins, 718 pp., £22, November 2019, 978 0 06 242764 9
Show More
Show More
... An​ actor 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 Waterfront’ (1954 ...

Diary

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

... In​ 2012, five years before the wave of accusations against predatory men in the movie business, the film critics of the world – as chosen by the magazine Sight & Sound – voted to give the accolade of ‘best picture ever made’ to a piercing dream of male supremacy and female servitude carried to the point of murder. It was Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and plainly the critics did not vote in pre-emptive defiance of last year’s outbreak of dismay at the way men have run movies at the expense of women ...

What does a snake know, or intend?

David Thomson: Where Joan Didion was from, 18 March 2004

Where I Was From 
by Joan Didion.
Flamingo, 240 pp., £14.99, March 2004, 0 00 717886 7
Show More
Show More
... This is not a long book, except in its view, which is like the view from a Sierra peak, where the omniscient author can see all the way from the Nevada desert, violet and dun, to the biblical meadows, the pretty colours and the plenty that will be California. The art direction of that great trek westwards was perfect – art direction usually is. And now here comes Joan Didion, a little bit like the doomsayer on the wagon train (Walter Brennan, with teeth), but too arresting to be ignored, to tell us the prospectus, like the prospect, was a hoax ...

Nairn is best

Neal Ascherson, 21 May 1987

Nairn: In Darkness and Light 
by David Thomson.
Hutchinson, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 09 168360 2
Show More
Show More
... Some sixty years ago, when David Thomson was a boy, he suffered from a condition that badly affected his eyesight. He could see, but poorly. He read Braille and, though this was forbidden, the printed page. On two occasions, when the condition grew worse, he was condemned to spend six weeks at a time lying on his back in a darkened room ...

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
Show More
Show More
... 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 ...

Mad Monk

Jenny Diski: Not going to the movies, 6 February 2003

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 963 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 316 85905 2
Show More
Nobody’s Perfect: Writings from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Anthony Lane.
Picador, 752 pp., £15.99, November 2002, 0 330 49182 2
Show More
Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film 
by Peter Wollen.
Verso, 314 pp., £13, December 2002, 1 85984 391 3
Show More
Show More
... pleasure that remains to me: I indulge in reading about movies with undiminished enthusiasm. David Thomson has written about his disappointment with contemporary cinema, about how the franchise movie and the blockbuster are killing Hollywood and his hopes, and because I am one of the legion of Thomson’s devoted ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Matrix, 22 May 2003

... just look what happened to Star Wars. Star Wars, along with Jaws, is regularly cited, not least by David Thomson, as the film that ‘killed the movies’. Glenn Kelly’s answer, in his introduction to A Galaxy Not So Far Away: Writers and Artists on 25 Years of ‘Star Wars’ (Allison and Busby, £9.99), is: ‘Get over it, Dad.’ This selective ...

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.

Read More

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