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Luminous/Numinous

Paul Joannides

10 January 1983
... become the most financially successful film in the history of the cinema, the fifth great money-spinner – after Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Poltergeist – by the wunderkind StevenSpielberg, a film so effectively pre-sold that distributors were fretting over revenue lost to pirate video well before the British opening, a film that had a Venice Film Festival audience cheering ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: HBO

10 June 2010
... Guardian. It was therefore quite natural that The Pacific, HBO’s latest series, should have been described, in Britain and elsewhere, as the television event of the year. Produced by Tom Hanks and StevenSpielberg at a cost of more than $200 million, it was filmed in pretty gruelling conditions in Australia with a cast of hundreds, aiming to capture the story of America’s war in the Pacific. Nine ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Lincoln’

20 December 2012
... There’s a lot of waiting in StevenSpielberg’s Lincoln: for news, for a decision, for a vote, for an opinion, for the end of the Civil War. Not much happens during the waiting. People articulate positions, let us know what they stand for ...

Star Warrior

John Sutherland

6 October 1983
Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas 
by Dale Pollock.
Elm Tree, 304 pp., £9.95, July 1983, 0 241 11034 3
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Olaf Stapledon: A Man Divided 
by Leslie Fiedler.
Oxford, 236 pp., £17.50, June 1983, 0 19 503086 9
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... by Lucas), was the most profitable investment in Hollywood history: it brought in $117m against a production cost of $750,000. Raiders of the Lost Ark (conceived and produced by Lucas, directed by StevenSpielberg) has taken $335m at the box-office (production cost $22.8m) and looks set to run in first-release theatres for as long as The Sound of Music. Lucasfilm Inc., the merchandising branch of ...

Monkey Sandwiches

Robert McCrum

20 October 1983
The Vanishing Hitchhiker: Urban Legends and their Meanings 
by Jan Harold Brunvand.
Picador, 156 pp., £1.95, April 1983, 9780330269506
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... campsites, office blocks, diners and motels. The hapless victims are dating teenagers, harassed nuclear parents, sex-starved executives, bored housewives. The urban legend is to folklore what StevenSpielberg is to the Brothers Grimm. Brunvand does not make with sufficient force the point that not only are these tales repeated as true but the storytellers themselves will find it almost ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘De Palma’

19 October 2016
... by picking up a hot gun by the barrel, and needed to take some time off. ‘I had two weeks to shoot everything but Al,’ De Palma says, so he played with multiplying camera angles for the climax. StevenSpielberg stopped by and suggested a few more viewpoints to shoot from, and the killing went on and on. De Palma’s pleasure in telling this story, along with the lurid clips that accompany it, make ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Norman Rockwell

20 January 2011
... image, not the precious artefact. Or even a distinctive personal angle on things seen. You recognise his covers but the drawing, both characterless and competent, reads as a task not a pleasure. StevenSpielberg and George Lucas admire and collect the paintings – not surprising, since they work in the same genres. Their films, like Rockwell covers, deal in constructed worlds and multiple sources ...

Magician behind Bars

Michael Rogin: David Mamet in a Cul de Sac

2 July 1998
The Old Religion 
by David Mamet.
Faber, 194 pp., £9.99, May 1998, 0 571 19260 2
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... of victim and victimiser, the world of male competition that leaves no one unsure of the meaning of a recent comment by a Dreamworks executive that the relations between the company’s co-owners, StevenSpielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, had ‘David Mamet overtones’. Increasingly, Mamet has extended his interest in the confidence games that made his reputation to a search for the ...
19 August 1993
Perilous Knowledge: The Human Genome Project and its Implications 
by Tom Wilkie.
Faber, 195 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 571 16423 4
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The Language of the Genes: Biology, History and the Evolutionary Future 
by Steve Jones.
HarperCollins, 236 pp., £16.99, June 1993, 0 00 255020 2
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... Nothing in contemporary science seems to trouble the public more than genetic engineering. Despite the cloying sentimentality that StevenSpielberg has introduced into Jurassic Park, the film expresses the sharp scepticism about the benefits of manipulating DNA that forms the moral core of the novel by Michael Crichton on which it is based. In ...

You know who

Jasper Rees

4 August 1994
Jim Henson – The Works: The Art, the Magic, the Imagination 
by Christopher Finch.
Aurum, 251 pp., £20, April 1994, 1 85410 296 6
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... Someone else can answer it.) It is difficult to rank the achievement of Henson alongside the other contemporary purveyors of special effects, because puppetry is an essentially cumbersome skill. StevenSpielberg chose to use computer graphics to get his dinosaurs on the move, rather than put himself at the mercy of so much less manoeuvrable three-dimensional models. All you can say for Henson is ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: David Lean

3 July 2008
... Arabia (1962). More generally, of course, the phrase evokes the director of swirling epics, a sort of Cecil B. DeMille with taste, imperial godfather to the Star Wars movies and much of the work of StevenSpielberg. There is nothing wrong with this evocation except that it invites us to forget Lean’s earlier, quieter or darker films, which notably include Brief Encounter (1945), a black and grey ...

Moguls

J. Hoberman: Did the Jews invent Hollywood?

7 March 2002
Hollywood and Anti-Semitism: A Cultural History up to World War Two 
by Steven​ Alan Carr.
Cambridge, 342 pp., £42.50, July 2001, 9780521798549
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... of anti-semitism to express sentiments that are anti-modern, anti-urban, anti-New Deal, anti-internationalist, anti-capitalist, anti-Communist or anti-American. That, at any rate, is the argument of Steven Alan Carr’s Hollywood and Anti-Semitism, an impressively researched and closely reasoned cultural history, which takes up its theme in 1880, 25 years before the appearance of the first nickelodeons ...
4 February 1999
Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America 
by Ira Berlin.
Harvard, 512 pp., £18.50, October 1998, 0 674 81092 9
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The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern 1492-1800 
by Robin Blackburn.
Verso, 602 pp., £15, April 1998, 1 85984 890 7
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... film among white Americans remains Gone with the Wind (re-released last summer with great fanfare), in which slavery, for both races, seems little more than an occasion for a prolonged party. When StevenSpielberg tried recently to update the celluloid portrayal of slavery, he chose to do so via the Amistad case, which involved not American slaves but Africans who seized control of a Spanish slave ...

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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... suggests, have had something to do with the director’s subsequent decline. Hitchcock’s authorship was not confined to the direction – nor to the preparation, the screenplay or the storyboards. StevenSpielberg 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 ...

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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... Tina Brown over from the editorship of Vanity Fair. Immediately she embraced the mass culture that Shawn had shunned and Gottlieb had parried. (Seabrook tells a signal story of this role reversal. StevenSpielberg 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 ...

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