The American Jewish Story Through Cinema, the latest book from author/scholar Eric A. Goldman, is a difficult work to evaluate, primarily because Goldman is quite proficient in one sense (contextualizing the development and production of American Jewish stories/films within Hollywood cinema) and wholly deficient in another (offering a critical lens from which to form nuanced considerations). When presented with these problems, the deficiencies inevitably outweigh the proficiencies, because even the adept historicizing is tainted by a sense that what’s being presented merely gets at the surface of these complex issues. Moreover, Goldman has written an academic book that’s constructed in such a basic, often needlessly explanatory manner, that one cannot help conclude his ultimate aim is less an appeal to academics seeking a thorough, methodologically rigorous framework, than a more biographically inclined reader, whose interest lies purely in the historical context within which the chosen films of study were produced.
Gentlemans Agreement (#1–10 of 3)
Celeste Holm, a versatile, bright-eyed blonde who soared to Broadway fame in Oklahoma! and won an Oscar in Gentleman’s Agreement, but whose last years were filled with financial difficulty and estrangement from her sons, died Sunday. She was 95.
And George C. Stoney, a dean of American documentary film and a leader of the citizens movement that gave every American the right to a public-access television show of his or her own, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 96.
Reviews of The Dark Knight Rises are trickling in.
Hollywood acts warily at Comic-Con.
Imogen Sara Smith enters the dark chambers of Robert Siodmak’s Universal noirs.
Ridley Scott’s Gladiator aspires to be “Spartacus” by way of “The Godfather,” but its production values, moral intelligence and strong cast can’t overcome a certain trash-and-flash factor. Ridley directed it, but brother Tony’s spirit hovers nearby.
Qualifiers: I have never seen Cavalcade or The Broadway Melody.
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