Did their scathing reviews of the hit musical costs these revered female film critics their jobs? Why not just send the director, Robert Wise, a wire: ‘You win, I give up’?”. the recent success of The Greatest Showman. In 1965, Didion was writing for Vogue Magazine. Penning a bad review of the The Sound of Music changed one writer’s career. We believe in Truth & Movies. At the same time, Kael was building her own reputation as a film critic. One week Kael would praise the Jane Fonda comedy western Cat Ballou, while in the next issue Didion would review The Sons of Katie Elder, making sure to take a swipe at Ballou in the process (Vogue was a weekly until 1973). Her initial assessment of the movie, in an unsigned note for the New Yorker, admitted she was not immune to its contrivances and charms and praised Plummer’s “sinister, archly decadent performance”. Kael thought that The Sound of Music fit the bill, predicting it would prove “the single most repressive influence on artistic freedom in movies for the next few years.” If Didion took issue with the film’s historical dishonesty, Kael spoke of a general “luxuriant falseness,” finding the combined effect of the wholesome story and high production value to be emotional manipulation. To the Editor: Sorry to be a spoilsport, but Pauline Kael's review of ''The Sound of Music'' in McCall's was not what cost her the job [''All Together Now: The Hills Are Still Alive . “Whom could this operetta offend?” she wrote. This documentary about Pauline Kael hits all the expected beats: Limelight, Hiroshima Mon Amour, The Sound of Music, Bonnie and Clyde, Last Tango in Paris, "Raising Kane," Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, Shoah, and Casualties of War. The actor, director and producer discusses his latest project and reflects on his remarkably varied career. Take a bow, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Rodgers and Hammerstein, director Robert Wise, all the warbling Von Trapp children and even that saucy, if wooden. Each link contains between 20-30 reviews. Right at the beginning of the film the nuns debate the question: how do you solve a problem like Maria? Others took exception not just to its sweetness but its distortion of history. On the film’s first release in 1965, the answer from most critics was a flat no. “To be able to play an Austrian with impeccable English vowels, to make us concerned for her because she’s the politest rebel in all cinema, to be able to make singing sound exciting whilst never giving the impression it is anything but radiantly enjoyable, above all to challenge Audrey Hepburn in the tomboy stakes.” Just like Captain Von Trapp himself, we may start out sceptical but soon find ourselves to warming to plucky Maria and her guitar. Other critics gagged on that taste, with noted grump Bosley Crowther describing it in the New York Times as “cosy-cum-corny”. In Conversation. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. Many, people, including academic Stacy Wolf, read androgynous Maria as radiating “delicious queerness”. .'' For a brief period during the 1930s, this unlikely idol became part of Hollywood’s glamorous elite. Movies That Pauline Kael Really Liked. Pauline Kael, A new version of The Magnificent Ambersons restores Welles’ vision, It’s time to rethink the established film canon, How we filmed Pieces of a Woman’s one-shot birth scene, Why a David Bowie biopic will always be doomed to fail. She was known for her "witty, biting, highly opinionated, and sharply focused" movie reviews. There is also more than one way to watch The Sound of Music. We shouldn’t forget that even Kael herself was susceptible. Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (2019) Film criticism is not the same as a film review. I had to read her as an undergraduate and could not believe she dismembered Orson Wells Citizen Kane. These women, who by this point had built up a comfortable rivalry, were temporarily bonded by their mutual hatred of Robert Wise’s Oscar-sweeping musical. It takes all sorts … The Greatest Showman proved a fan favourite. Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) and his family. “It’s so overt and it even has a critic character who can’t appreciate the show because he can’t appreciate joy.” The Sound of Music does something similar. She took particular issue with the film’s artificiality and wholesomeness, calling it a narcotic for the masses. “Only those of us who, despite the fact that we may respond, loathe being manipulated in this way and are aware of how self-indulgent and cheap and ready-made are the responses we are made to feel.”, Didion’s review isn’t quite laced with same venom, but it is snide and caustic. Movies. In the UK, Monthly Film Bulletin called the three-hour tale of a gamine postulate who gives seven precocious children and their uptight widowed father the gift of music and affection “an exceedingly sugary experience” whipped up from ingredients “that might have been bearable if the songs had been better”. One of the great legends of 20th century film criticism is that both Joan Didion and Pauline Kael were fired from their respective jobs for trashing The Sound of Music. Is it a musical classic or is it “cheap,” “self-indulgent” and “embarrassing?”, Tags: It was dismissed as a ‘sugar-coated lie’ by Pauline Kael – but The Sound of Music’s enduring success suggests audiences enjoy being manipulated. Pauline Kael (/ k eɪ l /; June 19, 1919 – September 3, 2001) was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. These women, who by this point had built up a comfortable rivalry, were temporarily bonded by their mutual hatred of Robert Wise’s Oscar-sweeping musical. Pauline Kael trounced it as “mechanically engineered” to transform the audience into “emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs.” Dr Martha Shearer, a musicals expert at King’s College London, takes issue with the critics: “There’s some kind of implication that the audience for this film is either too stupid to pick up on how bad it is. “Its recognition of how ridiculous it is, is part of the pleasure of it,” argues Shearer. “Only those of us who, despite the fact that we may respond, loathe being manipulated in this way and are aware of how cheap and ready-made are the responses we are made to feel. They’re effectively asking whether we should enjoy her effervescent spirit or condemn her for breaking the rules. Pauline Kael’s review of Interiors is full of the same holes, but goes a step further in the way it reverts to her classic brand of ad hominem, faulting Woody Allen for his supposed Jewish (or non-Jewish?) 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