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Tinkering

Mark Greif: Walt Disney, 7 June 2007

Walt Disney: The Biography 
by Neal Gabler.
Aurum, 766 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 1 84513 277 4
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The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney 
by Michael Barrier.
California, 393 pp., £18.95, April 2007, 978 0 520 24117 6
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Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson 
by Tom Sito.
Kentucky, 440 pp., £19.95, September 2006, 0 8131 2407 7
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... Mickey at story meetings’; until 1946 Disney also voiced him, in falsetto. In another new Life, Michael Barrier’s The Animated Man, the studio head is seen by animators acting out ‘how a Chinese turtle should dance’, or doing ‘any of the people in the pictures, valets, anything – he all of a sudden was a valet.’ One such episode was burned ...

Taking Darwin in

Michael Mason, 16 February 1984

Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and 19th-Century Fiction 
by Gillian Beer.
Routledge, 303 pp., £17.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9505 8
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... sad result is that Mrs Beer is sometimes obliged to blur her own sharp sense of Darwinism, of the barrier which unambiguously divides this version of evolution from others, a fence not to be sat on. As she well remarks: Darwinian theory ... cannot be made to mean everything ... [It] excludes or suppresses certain orderings of experience. It has no place for ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Senna’, 14 July 2011

Senna 
directed by Asif Kapadia.
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... after the title-figure of Asif Kapadia’s Senna has failed to survive a high-speed crash into a barrier at Imola in the San Marino Grand Prix, the whole of Brazil is seen weeping along with his intimates, in footage that in several ways contradicts the complex image we have been shown of the man. There is no mistaking what has happened for these grieving ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: David Lean, 3 July 2008

... sequence of five films unaccounted for: The Passionate Friends (1948), Madeleine (1950), The Sound Barrier (1952), Hobson’s Choice (1954) and Summertime (1955). At this distance they look like a shift between shifts, the work of a man who doesn’t yet know that colour and dust are going to be his thing. I’ve also left Ryan’s Daughter (1970) out of the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Rebecca’, 20 July 2006

Rebecca 
directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
June 2006
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... I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me . . . On and on wound the poor thread that had once been our drive.’ But of course in the film we see what she is talking about, and it isn’t a dream at all, it’s a shifting picture of a dark and tangled wood. The supernatural powers are ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Playtime’, 20 November 2014

Playtime 
directed by Jacques Tati.
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... a fence, and mounts the fence by mistake, pedalling away at thin air. His bike gets caught on the barrier of a railway crossing and is lifted out of his sight when the train has passed. In one extraordinary sequence his bike escapes him, like the magic of the sorcerer’s apprentice, and takes off for a trip of its own through the village and down a few ...

Body Parts

Lawrence Stone, 24 November 1994

The Making of Victorian Sexuality 
by Michael Mason.
Oxford, 338 pp., £17.95, April 1994, 0 19 812247 0
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The Making of Victorian Sexual Attitudes 
by Michael Mason.
Oxford, 256 pp., £17.99, October 1994, 0 19 812292 6
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... of Aphra Behn, Defoe, Fielding or Smollett, while Dickens ignored the subject of sex altogether. Michael Mason’s main problem is to determine how prudery affected behaviour. Was it merely a veneer of hypocrisy, covering up a very different sexual reality? Were there fewer, and less enjoyable, sexual acts inside and outside marriage? Wild figures once ...

Jacob and Esau

Giles Merritt, 24 November 1988

Upwardly Mobile 
by Norman Tebbit.
Weidenfeld, 280 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79427 2
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Reflect on things past: The Memoirs of Lord Carrington 
Collins, 406 pp., £17.50, October 1988, 9780002176675Show More
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... In my dealings with him, however, I never found him the ‘semi-housetrained polecat’ that Michael Foot once called him. Back in 1980-81, when he was a junior minister at the Department of Industry and I was covering the mysteries of the Common Market for the Financial Times, I found him an agreeable character with a wry and self-deprecating sense of ...

A Hit of Rus in Urbe

Iain Sinclair: In Lea Valley, 27 June 2002

... sense of the Lee Navigation, they’re goal-orientated. Going somewhere. Noticing Atkins, foot on barrier, perched in the central reservation, snapping away, drivers in their high cabs see a nuisance, an obstacle. A potential snoop. They’d be happy to run him down. Atkins sees a speedy blur, abstraction, the chimney of London Waste Ltd blasting ...

Dark Pieces on Dark Places

Malcolm Deas, 3 July 1980

The Return of Eva Peron with The Killings in Trinidad 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Deutsch, 227 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 233 97238 2
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... justify all of Naipaul’s intensities and obsessions. These eight pieces – a long one on the Michael X murders in Trinidad, five on Argentina and Uruguay, one on the Congo and one on Joseph Conrad – are held together by Conradian preoccupations. They represent an ‘effort of thought and sympathy’, an effort that ‘does not stop with the aspect of ...

At Tate Modern

Julian Stallabrass: Conflict, Time, Photography, 19 February 2015

... time photographing in Berlin in 1961 as the Wall is erected: curious US troops peer over the new barrier. This sequence is labelled ‘16 Years Later’, as though McCullin were photographing, not his actual subject, but the echoes of the Second World War. This would doubtless have come as a surprise to him. One problem posed by the show’s conceit, perhaps ...

Short Cuts

David Simpson: The 9/11 Memorial, 17 November 2011

... how the names should be grouped by a principle of ‘meaningful adjacency’. As best he could, Michael Arad listed the names near or next to those with whom they had some sort of living affiliation. The memorial genre that includes trees, pools and waterfalls arouses expectations of an enforced absorption, an unignorable demand that one register the ...

The Road to Chandrapore

Eric Stokes, 17 April 1980

Race, Sex and Class under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and their Critics 
by Kenneth Ballhatchet.
Weidenfeld, 199 pp., £9.50, January 1980, 0 297 77646 0
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Queen Victoria’s Maharajah: Duleep Singh 1838-1898 
by Michael Alexander and Sushila Anand.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £9.95, February 1980, 0 297 77656 8
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... Portuguese, French, nor even the Dutch, a Protestant people, insisted on any such strict sex barrier for the maintenance of empire. There seems to be a more plausible explanation. The British Army was rotated between Britain and India, serving comparatively short periods overseas. The officers of the Indian Army took their social tone from the crack ...

In Pursuit of Pinochet

Michael Byers: The legal implications of the arrest of Augusto Pinochet in London in October 1998, 21 January 1999

... criminal or civil proceedings. Until recently, state immunity presented an almost insurmountable barrier to the effective enforcement of human rights by national courts, even when those courts might otherwise have been willing to exercise universal jurisdiction. Under conceptions of international law which have existed for centuries, the idea that a former ...

What Works

Michael Friedman: The embarrassing cousin, 31 March 2005

The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity 
by Raymond Knapp.
Princeton, 361 pp., £22.95, December 2004, 0 691 11864 7
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... on the more fluid structure of the musical. The gay content and gay participation in musicals is a barrier to their popular acceptance as an expression of American identity, as Knapp notes, but their submerged ‘gayness’, like their origin in blackface entertainment, allows the numbers to tell a more interesting story than the surface would seem to ...

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