Thursday, September 25, 2008

James Agee on the Movies

Recently having been sentenced to work from home for a long four more days (due to an unfortunate Internet situation, I can't even sit next to the TV while I work, I'm sequestered to sitting near the hall), a friend sent me a slew of books. They're all movie-related, film critics' great works or commentary on them; the first I picked up was "Agee on Film: Criticism and Comments on the Movies."

"Cry Havoc" is a sincere fourth-rate picture made from a sincere fifth-rate play about nurses on Bataan. By fourth-rate I mean it is incomparably less offensive than "So Proudly We Hail." In fact, in spite of many very bad things in it and its intrinsic staginess, I was often touched by it, simply because the members of the cast (Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell, Ella Raines, and several others) seem to care a great deal about the thing they were reenacting.

Agee was a movie critic for The Nation in the 40s, as well as a screenwriter -- works including "The African Queen." To see how he writes about movies, his familiarity with them and passion for them is, hmm, very inspiring. And I've got 443 pps. of text to continue with! I don't know most of the movies he's writing about, but he makes me want to.


1 comment:

Paramendra Bhagat said...

James Agee? Death In The Family James Agee?