By James Agee
James Agee dropped at undergo all his ethical strength, slashing wit, and boundless interest within the feedback and journalism that confirmed him as one of many commanding literary voices of the United States at mid-century. In 1944 W. H. Auden known as Agee's movie experiences for The country "the such a lot notable general occasion in American journalism today." these columns, besides a lot of the motion picture feedback that Agee wrote for Time via many of the Nineteen Forties, have been accrued posthumously in Agee on movie: studies and reviews, definitely the main influential writings on movie via an American.
Whether reviewing a Judy Garland musical or a wartime documentary, assessing the impression of Italian neorealism or railing opposed to the compromises in a Hollywood version of Hemingway, Agee continuously wrote of films as a pervasive, profoundly major a part of smooth lifestyles, a brand new paintings whose classics (Chaplin, Dovzhenko, Vigo) he respected and whose betrayal within the pursuits of trade or propaganda he usually deplored. If his widespread disappointments will be registered in acid tones, his enthusiasms have been expressed with passionate eloquence. This Library of the United States quantity vitamins the vintage items from Agee on movie with formerly uncollected writings on Ingrid Bergman, the Marx Brothers, Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat, Vittorio De Sica's Shoeshine, and a wealth of alternative cinematic topics.
Agee's personal paintings as a screenwriter is represented by way of his script for Charles Laughton's distinct and haunting masterpiece of Southern gothic, The evening of the Hunter, tailored from the radical via Davis Grubb. This assortment additionally contains examples of Agee's masterfully probing reporting for Fortune-on topics as assorted because the Tennessee Valley Authority, advertisement orchids, and cockfighting-and a sampling of his literary studies, between them appreciations of William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, S. J. Perelman, and William Carlos Williams.
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Additional resources for Agee: Film Writing and Selected Journalism (Library of America)
He looks like a daguerreotype, not an impersonation. He bears himself like a man of i860, not like a studious actor in a costume picture. He talks like a half-crazy devil. He supplies, in fact, the two primal requirements of the camera, in whose neglect or dilution you might better not use a camera at all: living—rather than imitative—visual, aural, and psychological authenticity, and the paralyzing electric energy of the present tense as against the rest of the show's glossy, comfortably researched reenactment at eight)^ years' remove.
His movies were more extroverted and closer to ordinary life than any others of the best comedies: the vicissitudes of a New York taxi driver; the unaccepted college boy who, by desperate courage and in spired ineptitude, wins the Big Game. He was especially good at putting a very timid, spoiled or brassy young fellow through devastating embarrassments. He went through one of his most uproarious Gethsemanes as a shy country youth courting the nicest girl in town in Grandma^s Boy. He arrived dressed "strictly up to date for the Spring of 1862," as a subtitle ob served, and found that the ancient colored butler wore a simi lar flowered waistcoat and moldering cutaway.
I think it unfortunate, since the crew of this bomber is supposed to be going night after night without sleep, that the cast was not required to. The camera work varies between competence in the air and the gummiest sort of "Rembrandt" sentimen talities on the ground. A few all but annihilating cut-ins of actual combat adequately measure the best of the fiction, and my own uneasiness about it. Barring a few infallible bits of slap-stick and one or two Idtschy ingenuities with color, Saludos Amigos depresses me.