Saturday, August 21, 2010

Popcorn Reverie

by Dave Kehr

New York Times
August 20, 2010

Scratch a film critic, and you’re likely to find a jazz buff. That the opposite is also true was suggested as far back as the 1930s by Otis Ferguson, the startlingly prescient critic who covered jazz, when it was a genuinely popular art, along with Hollywood movies, then entering their classical phase, for The New Republic. It’s demonstrated again by Gary Giddins, the eminent jazz critic of The Village Voice from 1973 to 2003, and more recently the DVD columnist of The New York Sun (which ceased publication in 2008).

A collection of Giddins’s film columns for The Sun, filled out by work for other publications, including DGA Quarterly (a journal from the Directors Guild of America) and The New York Times Book Review, has been published under the alarming title Warning Shadows: Home Alone With Classic Cinema, which somehow conjures a 1970s baby sitter watching The Late Show while waiting for the neighborhood slasher to show up. The book itself is considerably cozier: an anthology of informed, engaged, illuminating writings, mainly concerned with American movies of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.


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