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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’

5 April 2012
The Bad and the Beautiful 
directed by Vincente Minnelli.
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... It’s all too much for her, and she goes off on a drinking binge, her old habit. The film is Vincente Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), soon to be shown in cinemas across the country. Pauline Kael thought it was ‘spangled’ and ‘overwrought’, although she did have a kind word for the ‘hysterical stylishness’ of the ...

Falling Stars

Alan Coren

5 November 1981
Richard Burton 
by Paul Ferris.
Weidenfeld, 212 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77966 4
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Peter Sellers 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77965 6
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... Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, Sir John Gielgud, Hugh Griffiths, Joseph Losey, James Mason, Vincente Minnelli, Mike Nichols, Rachel Roberts, Daphne Rye, Jean Simmons, and three of his wives, Sybil Christopher, Elizabeth Taylor and Susan Hunt. I particularly enjoyed the parenthesis Mr Ferris appended to Hugh Griffith’s name in the list of ...

Diary

Gaby Wood: On Gene Kelly

21 March 1996
... a musical. Everybody who came (Judy Garland, Leonard Bernstein, Frank Sinatra, Comden and Green, Vincente Minnelli, Rita Hayworth) was in musicals, and they would sing and dance and make up new routines right there next to the cold cuts. (André Previn said everyone working in the Freed Unit was so close their films became like ‘very expensive home ...

Scentless Murder

Michael Wood: Billy Wilder

2 March 2000
Conversations with Wilder 
by Cameron Crowe.
Faber, 373 pp., £20, December 1999, 0 571 20162 8
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... and that it was ‘the most elegant picture I’ve ever shot. I don’t shoot elegant pictures. Mr Vincente Minnelli, he shot elegant pictures.’ There is a reply to Pauline Kael lurking in these phrases, although Wilder insists that he doesn’t want to reply to her. ‘I like Pauline Kael. She never had a good word to say about my pictures. Maybe a ...

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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... 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, Nicholas Ray, Robert Siodmak, Frank Sinatra, Sylvia Sidney, Claire Trevor, Franchot Tone, Walter Wanger, Keenan Wynn, William Wyler, Orson Welles, Billy ...

What We Have

David Bromwich: Tarantinisation

4 February 1999
The Origins of Postmodernity 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 143 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 222 4
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The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-98 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 206 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 182 1
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... for Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien’s dance number in Meet Me in St Louis, not because Vincente Minnelli stole the idea from Eliot but because both were freely borrowing from the same source. Given the absence of novelty in Pomo’s fondness for popular culture, the new insistence on what-we-have could only be taken as an affirmative ...

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