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Citizen Kael

lareviewofbooks:

LAURIE WINER and RICHARD SCHICKEL

on the life and work of Pauline Kael.

Pauline Kael © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. All rights reserved. www.AlHirschfeldFoundation.org

Brian Kellow
Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark

Viking Adult, October 2011. 432 pp.

RICHARD SCHICKEL
Hell to Sit Next To

Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark is a very good biography: well-written, carefully reserched, admiring of its subject, but not at all taken in by its subject’s many vagaries and, yes, several episodes in her career that deserve perhaps to be called sinful (or at least careless to a very large degree).

It is also, for me, an exceedingly depressing book. That’s understandable. I have been a movie critic for national publications far longer than Kael was. Indeed, I am credited in Brian Kellow’s book with helping her (belated) emergence as the force to be reckoned with as a reviewer because I wrote a piece in 1965 in The New York Times Book Review, praising (deservedly so, I still think) her first collection of movie articles, I Lost it at the Movies.

Kael was, at the time, 46 years old, and she had not published anywhere but in little magazines. Nevertheless, she had written, by her own estimate, something like a million words of film criticism, mostly for a radio program for which she supplied reviews or in the form of program notes for a theater she managed in Berkeley. She had, astonishingly, not been paid for most of this output — and what she did collect was more in the realm of “honoraria” than of healthy fees. I think the book I reviewed was pretty much a now-or-never proposition for her.

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Pauline Kael fascinates me. Might be adding another book to my Christmas list.

Tags: pauline kael
16 notes
  1. cockeyedcaravan reblogged this from lareviewofbooks
  2. hyperbody reblogged this from lareviewofbooks and added:
    Renata Adler taking down Kael is always a fun read. Adler’s a puritanical cow, but when was the last time you read that...
  3. cafe-expresso reblogged this from lareviewofbooks
  4. lizlemming reblogged this from lareviewofbooks and added:
    Pauline Kael fascinates me. Might be adding another book to my Christmas list.
  5. lareviewofbooks posted this
reblogged via lareviewofbooks