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Nuremberg Rally, Invasion of Poland, Dunkirk …

James Meek: The never-ending wish to write about the Second World War, 6 September 2001

Ghost MacIndoe 
by Jonathan Buckley.
Fourth Estate, 469 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 1 84115 227 7
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The Twins 
by Tessa de Loo.
Arcadia, 392 pp., £6.99, May 2001, 1 900850 56 7
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by John Lawton.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.99, March 2001, 0 297 64345 2
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The Day We Had Hitler Home 
by Rodney Hall.
Granta, 361 pp., £15.99, April 2001, 1 86207 384 8
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Five Quarters of the Orange 
by Joanne Harris.
Doubleday, 431 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 0 385 60169 7
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The Fire Fighter 
by Francis Cottam.
Chatto, 240 pp., £15.99, March 2001, 0 7011 6981 8
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The Element of Water 
by Stevie Davies.
Women’s Press, 253 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7043 4705 9
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The Bronze Horsewoman 
by Paullina Simons.
Flamingo, 637 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 00 651322 0
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The Siege 
by Helen Dunmore.
Penguin, 304 pp., £16.99, June 2001, 0 670 89718 3
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... Corelli’s Mandolin, and the fascination with the war on the part of the human mint that is Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and soon Band of Brothers) must speak eloquently to publishers. In one direct sense at least, the Second World War is about money: it was the last war that materially affected the lives of all the ...

Coruscating on Thin Ice

Terry Eagleton: The Divine Spark, 24 January 2008

Creation: Artists, Gods and Origins 
by Peter Conrad.
Thames and Hudson, 529 pp., £24.95, September 2007, 978 0 500 51356 9
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... the Kabbalah, Finnish mythology and primitive cave paintings to Stravinsky, Duke Ellington and Steven Spielberg, glancing en route at virtually every major European writer or artist. It is crammed with curios and choice anecdotes, all the way from Richard III’s hump to an oiled arm in a Mapplethorpe photograph probing a gaping anus. In a work which ...

Fear of Rabid Dogs

Margaret Anne Doody, 18 August 1994

Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time 
by Marina Warner.
Vintage, 104 pp., £4.99, April 1994, 0 09 943361 3
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... our attention, filling our minds with material worth pondering – including artists as diverse as Steven Spielberg and Derek Walcott. Yet at the same time she is distressed by some of the controlling notions or clichés of our time – ‘myths’ in the lowest sense, dangerous rotten explanations. The six lectures do not allow her the scope to work out ...

Slices of Cake

Gilberto Perez: Alfred Hitchcock, 19 August 1999

Hitchcock’s Secret Notebooks: An Authorised and Illustrated Look Inside the Creative Mind of Alfred Hitchcock 
by Dan Auiler.
Bloomsbury, 567 pp., £20, May 1999, 0 7475 4490 5
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... was not confined to the direction – nor to the preparation, the screenplay or the storyboards. Steven Spielberg storyboards everything: Hitchcock, for all his thorough planning, did not. As Auiler says, Despite his legendary use of storyboards, it was only very rarely that Hitchcock storyboarded an entire film. Lifeboat and The Birds were extensively ...

Slumming with Rappers at the Roxy

Hal Foster: Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture by John Seabrook, 21 September 2000

Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture 
by John Seabrook.
Methuen, 215 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 0 413 74470 1
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... Shawn had shunned and Gottlieb had parried. (Seabrook tells a signal story of this role reversal. Steven Spielberg comes to visit and asks to see the library. ‘The library!’ exclaimed Tina. ‘Wonderful! … Where’s the library?’) At the end of 1997 Brown was replaced by David Remnick, who as an editor is less Buzz-happy than Brown, but as a ...

Don’t wear yum-yum yellow

Theo Tait: Shark Attack!, 2 August 2012

Demon Fish: Travels through the Hidden World of Sharks 
by Juliet Eilperin.
Duckworth, 295 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 0 7156 4291 7
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... obviously sharks stoke deep evolutionary terrors that a car or a chair can’t compete with; as Steven Spielberg proved, sharks produce a supremely efficient balance of unknown fears – whatever’s happening under the water – with highly specific ones. The stats and the shark’s motivation are no consolation if your ‘encounter’ turns out like ...

No Strings

Bee Wilson: Pinocchio, 1 January 2009

by Carlo Collodi, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
NYRB, 189 pp., £8.99, November 2008, 978 1 59017 289 6
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... does at the end of Collodi’s book). This may be hokum, but it’s also deeply affecting. As Steven Spielberg recognised in his SF version of Pinocchio, A.I., the only way to crank up the pathos still further is to remove Geppetto’s love. In A.I., an android boy, David, is offered as a child replacement to a woman who cannot love him: ‘How can a ...


Sherry Turkle: Tamagotchi Love, 20 April 2006

... Last All Summer Long’, the short story by Brian Aldiss that was made into a film by Steven Spielberg. In Spielberg’s AI, scientists build a humanoid robot, David, who is programmed to love. David expresses his love to a woman, Monica, who has adopted him as her child. Current experience suggests that ...

On the Salieri Express

John Sutherland, 24 September 1992

Doctor Criminale 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 436 20115 1
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The Promise of Light 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16715 2
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The Absolution Game 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 204 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 0 09 471460 6
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 388 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 436 20114 3
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Written on the Body 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 190 pp., £13.99, September 1992, 0 224 03587 8
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... direct apology for boyhood’. So, too, with Watkins. If he has a contemporary analogue, it is Steven Spielberg in such nostalgic exercises as Young Sherlock Holmes and his homage to Treasure Island, Goonies. Like Stevenson, Spielberg raises the romp to an art form. The Promise of Light cries out for film ...

Skating Charm

James Wolcott: Kenneth Tynan, 13 December 2001

The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan 
edited by John Lahr.
Bloomsbury, 439 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 7475 5418 8
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... parties (among the guests at one of them are Warren Beatty, Peter Bogdanovich, Ryan O’Neal, Steven Spielberg, James Coburn, Dudley Moore, Tuesday Weld and Angie Dickinson), peddling movie ideas (Kathleen trumped him here, too, selling her screenplay for Agatha) and driving to Las Vegas to catch Shirley MacLaine headlining at Caesar’s Palace. But ...

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
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... years: Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider, the breakthrough films of Altman, Rafelson, Bogdanovich, Spielberg and Scorsese, the two parts of The Godfather, American Graffiti, Chinatown and then Jaws. The weakness of the studios had forced them to take risks, and film-mad young men were allowed to make pictures that were often dark, tough and less than ...

Tacky Dress

Dale Peck, 22 February 1996

Like People in History: A Gay American Epic 
by Felice Picano.
Viking, 512 pp., $23.95, July 1995, 0 670 86047 6
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How Long Has This Been Going On? 
by Ethan Mordden.
Villard, 590 pp., $25, April 1995, 0 679 41529 7
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The Facts of Life 
by Patrick Gale.
Flamingo, 511 pp., £15.99, June 1995, 0 602 24522 2
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Flesh and Blood 
by Michael Cunningham.
Hamish Hamilton, 480 pp., £14.99, June 1995, 9780241135150
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... love affair. Gale writes with an almost virtuoso facility. He has managed to do for Aids what Steven Spielberg did for the Holocaust. Tragedy isn’t Michael Cunningham’s objective either. His subject in Flesh and Blood is want – the gap between what one needs and what one has. It seems a modest goal for a novel so grand in scope – but ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... At the end of the mangy, scrambling movie decade that gave us Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, there was nary a murmur from her (just imagine what she might have made of Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky). We know from Nunez and others that Sontag boogied in Studio 54, and yet where was her disco inferno ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... who had expressed interest in him. He was happy to dismiss Paul Greengrass, Alex Gibney or Steven Spielberg with a flick of the tongue. The three of us went to a very pink café in the town and ordered sandwiches and cakes. We sat outside, and Julian got distracted by some young girls walking past. ‘Hold on,’ he said, and turned his ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... dogs,’ a former neighbour of Zainab’s said. ‘Like, there was this guy on the 15th floor, Steven Power, he had two bull terriers, you know those dogs? Loved them, he did. Would’ve died for those two dogs.’ People in the tower would go round to Steven’s for a drink. Sometimes they sat together outside the ...

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