My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pauline Kael's back in the New Yorker

The New Yorker has a long piece on Pauline Kael, who, as it happens, was no fan of Joan Didion:

She hated what she viewed as Didion’s fashionable despair. She used the adaptation of “Play It as It Lays” (1972) as an occasion to sneer, in print, at the novel’s style. (“I read it between bouts of disbelieving giggles.”) The following year, Didion’s husband, John Gregory Dunne, published an essay pointing out that Kael’s ignorance of the moviemaking process meant she sometimes praised or chastised directors for choices they didn’t make.

Dunne, it turns out, wasn't the only Hollywood insider who chided Kael for being insufficiently savvy about what actually happens on a movie set. After Kael, in a takedown of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, complained that each line of dialogue in the film “comes out of nowhere, coyly, in a murmur, in the dead sound of the studio,” the picture’s director, George Roy Hill, who had, in fact, shot it outdoors, shot off a letter to her:

“Listen, you miserable bitch,” he began, “you’ve got every right in the world to air your likes and dislikes, but you got no goddam right at all to fake, at my expense, a phony technical knowledge you simply don’t have.”

Fun stuff.


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