Kazan Revisited (Wesleyan Film)
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A groundbreaking filmmaker dogged by controversy in both his personal life and career, Elia Kazan was one of the most important directors of postwar American cinema. In landmark motion pictures such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and Splendor in the Grass, Kazan crafted an emotionally raw form of psychological realism. His reputation has rested on his Academy award-winning work with actors, his provocative portrayal of sexual, moral, and generational conflict, and his unpopular decision to name former colleagues as Communists before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. But much of Kazan’s influential cinematic legacy remains unexamined. Arriving in the wake of his centenary, Kazan Revisited engages and moves beyond existing debates regarding Kazan’s contributions to film, tackling the social, political, industrial, and aesthetic significance of his work from a range of critical perspectives. Featuring essays by established film critics and scholars such as Richard Schickel (Time), Victor Navasky (The Nation), Mark Harris (Entertainment Weekly), Kent Jones (Film Comment), Jonathan Rosenbaum (Essential Cinema, 2004), Jeanine Basinger (The Star Machine, 2007), and Leo Braudy (On the Waterfront, 2008), this book is a must for diehard cinephiles and those new to Kazan alike.
Contributors include: JEANINE BASINGER, LEO BRAUDY, LISA DOMBROWSKI, HADEN GUEST, MARK HARRIS, KENT JONES, PATRICK KEATING, SAVANNAH LEE, BRENDA MURPHY, VICTOR NAVASKY, BRIAN NEVE, JONATHAN ROSENBAUM, RICHARD SCHICKEL, ANDREW TRACY, and SAM WASSON.
Kazan, Seen from 1973” appeared in Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Filmmakers Volume One, ed. Richard Roud (New York: Viking Press, 1980) and is hereby reprinted with the permission of the author. Photo on page ii courtesy of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kaza revisited / edited by Lisa Dombrowski. p. cm. isbn 978-0-8195-7084-0 (cloth: alk. paper) 1. Kazan, Elia—Criticism and interpretation. I. Dombrowski, Lisa. pn1998.3.k39k39 2011
ath a n rosenbau m rial preeminence coincided with a crucial psychic shift in American culture [between] 1945 and 1955, [when] the per capita American income nearly tripled.” (Cornﬁeld hyperbolically calls the latter “the greatest increase in individual wealth in the history of Western civilization.”)¹ I would also link the peaking of Kazan’s talent during the ﬁfties, like that of his friend Nicholas Ray, to his experiences during the thirties—the period when he ﬁrst encountered ﬁlmmaking
Queer Eye 111 intensely romantic scenes are shot through with masochism. “You can’t get enough of me right now, can you? Tell me! Tell me!” begs Carol, aching for any sign that it might be true. Chuck doesn’t oﬀer much of a reply. Later, in their climactic encounter, she says to him, “I love you! I love you! I love you! Don’t say anything. Don’t say a thing. I’m afraid of what you might say.” “I don’t know what to say,” he replies, defeated. “Oh, God,” she says, equally defeated. “That says it
cuddle in an icehouse, while Cal hides in a corner, spying on them. While they make out, he rhythmically bangs the long, hard shaft of a grappling hook, an unhappy solo act. A Straight Director’s Queer Eye 113 Moviegoers of the time would naturally have believed that Cal is pining for Abra, but Kazan thwarts that notion more than once—it’s Aron, not Abra, on whom Cal is focusing the intensity of his feelings, even as Abra acts on her conﬂicted desires. “Girls follow you around, don’t they?”
herself. In entering Bud’s house, she crosses her own shadow. Bud has arranged for himself a facsimile of the life he could have had with Deanie. But Deanie, who is going to marry her fellow ex-patient, will not be able to arrange even this vague approximation of her life’s former dream. When she embraces the young child Bud has had with his wife, the full extent of her loss is clear. Kazan as Director of Female Pain 127 Sexual fulﬁllment was the least of it. She holds the life that should