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The First Protest

Stephen Frears, 24 May 2018

... drama. I was possibly the only Englishman there. I remember interviewing the American director Nicholas Ray in his small hotel room – he began the interview by sweeping his dressing table clear of all his pill bottles – and I remember a meeting in a cinema in Paris. Renoir was there, bald-headed and wearing a mac, and Truffaut and Simone Signoret ...

The Right to Murder

Gaby Wood: ‘In a Lonely Place’, 22 March 2018

In a Lonely Place 
by Dorothy B. Hughes.
NYRB, 224 pp., $14.95, August 2017, 978 1 68137 147 4
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In a Lonely Place 
directed by Nicholas Ray.
Criterion Collection, £14.99
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... What​ does it mean for a romance to take the shape of a murder investigation? In a Lonely Place, Nicholas Ray’s elegantly bitter film about damaged trust, throws that question at its viewers. If all love stories are inquiries of one kind or another, the movie seems to suggest, perhaps they differ only in their relative violence ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Breathless’, 22 July 2010

Breathless 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... or, if you like, in a reflective Godard movie rather than a darker or more dramatic one by Nicholas Ray or Michael Curtiz, or Mark Robson (the director of The Harder They Fall, the poster for which appears in Breathless and entrances Belmondo). Godard himself said he used to think of the film as being in the line of Scarface, but had come to see ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... Marx, Vincente Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Robert Ryan, Edward G. Robinson, Donna Reed, Nicholas Ray, Robert Siodmak, Frank Sinatra, Sylvia Sidney, Claire Trevor, Franchot Tone, Walter Wanger, Keenan Wynn, William Wyler, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, Jerry Wald and Robert Young. Ronald Reagan, a New Deal Democrat at the time (and an FBI informant ...

Traffaut’s Heroes

Richard Mayne, 4 September 1980

The Films in My Life 
by François Truffaut, translated by Leonard Mayhew.
Allen Lane, 358 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 7139 1322 3
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... Hawks, Hitchcock and Orson Welles, but also Robert, Aldrich, Frank Tashlin, Robert Wise and Nicholas Ray. Characteristically, his best remarks about them home in on technique. ‘Hitchcock’s mastery of the are grows greater with each film and he constantly needs to invent new difficulties for himself. He has become the ultimate athlete of ...

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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... of a Chambermaid in 1964, and Dudley Nichols’s idea of making Thieves like Us was taken up by Nicholas Ray in 1948 and by Robert Altman in 1974. All these stories, of course, were originally novels written by someone else, but we do get a sense that in Hollywood this process is less like recycling and more like playing a jazz standard, done with a ...

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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... unobtrusively spreading out the surface of their world for ninety minutes and nothing else’. And Nicholas Ray, director of Rebel without a Cause and The Lusty Men, the darling of the Cahiers, is Wenders’s favourite; he used him as an actor in The American Friend (1977) and filmed his dying in Lightning over Water (1980). There is here a 1983 essay on ...

As If

Jonathan Romney: ‘Cahiers du cinéma’, 9 September 2010

A Short History of ‘Cahiers du cinéma’ 
by Emilie Bickerton.
Verso, 156 pp., £12.99, March 2010, 978 1 84467 232 5
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... And by doing so, these critics proved it was so. They wrote as if Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Nicholas Ray et al were as sophisticated and as consistent in their styles, worldviews, personal ‘signatures’ as, say, William Faulkner – and thanks to Cahiers, few cinephiles would today think of disputing that. They were, however, less successful in ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... on himself the facade of the character with whom he had become identified. The great Bogart/Nicholas Ray/Gloria Grahame noir, In a Lonely Place, metamorphosed that character back into film, for the movie knows, as the Marlowe novels do not, that the problem is the hero’s violence against women. The Big Sleep went the other way. Twinned with ...

Why do you make me do it?

David Bromwich: Robert Ryan, 18 February 2016

... the happiest of his relationships with a major director, though he did remarkable work for Nicholas Ray (Born to Be Bad, On Dangerous Ground), Fritz Lang (Clash by Night) and Jean Renoir (The Woman on the Beach). Lieutenant Benson is fighting in Korea because he has to, and the progress of his platoon is by inches, through a mined road and enemy ...

A Particular Way of Looking

J. Hoberman: NeoRealismo, 21 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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... Luis Buñuel’s Los Olvidados (1950) stood Neorealism on its head. The Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s first feature, Pather Panchali (1955), is a masterpiece of non-Italian Italian Neorealism. So is John Cassavetes’s first movie, Shadows (1959), populated by underemployed jazz musicians and shot in and around Times Square. Neorealism was the inspiration ...

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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... advertisements for kitchenware. It is worth emphasising how far Penn, Anthony Mann, Fuller, Nicholas Ray and Peckinpah have disproved those rosy, statuesque images. Could Ford match the harrowing historical perspective of Little Big Man, the moral ambiguity of The Far Country, the painful violence of Run of the Arrow, the passion of Johnny ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth, 19 August 2004

Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... Like Godard, Raworth is fond of quoting from Samuel Fuller (Pick Up on South Street) and Nicholas Ray – and to hell with the subtext. The film-influenced books, westerns watched to survive the low-pressure weather systems of Colchester, shadow Godard’s career curve; until the lushness is burned out of both of them and the audience has to sit ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: On @, 28 May 2009

... as shorthand for pricing items – 60 widgets @ $2 = $120 – that it subsisted until 1971, when Ray Tomlinson of arpanet invented email. And now, of course, it’s ubiquitous. No one would know where anything was meant to go if it wasn’t for the amazing @. Tomlinson, when interviewed on the subject, claimed that he simply needed a handy symbol to separate ...
Dust-bowl Migrants in the American Imagination 
by Charles Shindo.
Kansas, 252 pp., £22.50, January 1997, 0 7006 0810 9
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In the Country of Country 
by Nicholas Dawidoff.
Faber, 365 pp., £12.99, June 1997, 0 571 19174 6
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... Tobacco Road. Nor did the Collins model produce unfailing harmony between migrants and managers. Ray Mork quarrelled with the campers at Indio in 1939, threatening to throw them out if they did not obey regulations. In 1941 Conrad Reibold, manager at Firebaugh, reported that participation in camp democracy was so half-hearted as to make positions on the camp ...

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