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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, NicholasRay’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 ...

The First Protest

Stephen Frears

24 May 2018
... the world’s great directors telegrammed their support and I turned up to make a film of all this drama. I was possibly the only Englishman there. I remember interviewing the American director NicholasRay 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 ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Breathless’

22 July 2010
Breathless 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... Seberg, is in the wrong movie, the violent romantic comedy that he thought was going to be a thriller – or, if you like, in a reflective Godard movie rather than a darker or more dramatic one by NicholasRay 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 ...

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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... Henry Hathaway, Van Heflin, Fritz Lang, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Burgess Meredith, Groucho Marx, Vincente Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Robert Ryan, Edward G. Robinson, Donna Reed, NicholasRay, 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 ...
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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... Rider ‘is political because it is beautiful’; American films have a ‘stance ... of quietly and unobtrusively spreading out the surface of their world for ninety minutes and nothing else’. And NicholasRay, 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 ...
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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... Britain. Truffaut devotes long sections of the book to his American heroes – including not only Lubitsch, Hawks, Hitchcock and Orson Welles, but also Robert, Aldrich, Frank Tashlin, Robert Wise and NicholasRay. 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 ...

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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... Lang re-made La Bête humaine as Human Desire, and La Chienne as Scarlett Street, Buñuel re-made Diary of a Chambermaid in 1964, and Dudley Nichols’s idea of making Thieves like Us was taken up by NicholasRay 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 ...

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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... seemingly disposable Hollywood genre movies – could be taken as seriously as classical tragedy. And by doing so, these critics proved it was so. They wrote as if Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, NicholasRay 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 ...

Why do you make me do it?

David Bromwich: Robert Ryan

18 February 2016
... of three films he made with Anthony Mann (coming between The Naked Spur and God’s Little Acre): evidently the happiest of his relationships with a major director, though he did remarkable work for NicholasRay (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 ...

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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... In the 1950s, Neorealism spread across the world. With its theatre of cruelty depiction of the poor, 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 ...
30 October 1997
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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... word, and treated their charges at best as amusing rustics, at worst as ignorant degenerates out of 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 ...

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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... and his alcoholism almost aborted the making of the film. Bogart, said Edward G. Robinson, was imposing on himself the facade of the character with whom he had become identified. The great Bogart/NicholasRay/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 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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... in so many films, the lone figure in Monument Valley, the homestead interior, as airy and vulgar as gravure advertisements for kitchenware. It is worth emphasising how far Penn, Anthony Mann, Fuller, NicholasRay 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 ...

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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... then, was more present than literature; cinema and poetry dissolving (not cutting) into politics (theatre). Like Godard, Raworth is fond of quoting from Samuel Fuller (Pick Up on South Street) and NicholasRay – 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 ...
28 September 1989
The Vision of Elena Silves 
by Nicholas​ Shakespeare.
Collins, 263 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 00 271031 5
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Billy Bathgate 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Macmillan, £11.95, September 1989, 0 333 51376 2
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Buffalo Afternoon 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 535 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 241 12634 7
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The Message to the Planet 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 563 pp., £13.95, October 1989, 0 7011 3479 8
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... and the revisionist ‘dogs’ of Moscow, Albania, Cuba and – above all – China as it has backslidden under Deng Xiaoping. The Senderistas own no allies, hold dialogue with no one. According to Nicholas Shakespeare, they accept no funds from abroad and their weapons of choice are stolen guns and hand-made beer-can bombs hurled from slings made of llama hair. Theirs will be one revolution without the ...

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