Reviews & Comments

‘Elia Kazan’s reputation has been kicked around – since his controversial Life Achievement Award at the 1999 Academy Awards and his obituaries four years later – in ways that have seriously obscured an understanding of his work as a film-maker. Brian Neve’s book, by judicious use of archive material (notebooks, letters, scripts) and careful analysis of the films themselves as well as their critical afterlife, at last sets the record straight. The book’s sensitive treatment of the HUAC hearings of 1952, and well-informed analysis of such key films as Viva Zapata, On the Waterfront, Baby Doll and the underrated The Arrangement, amount to a major critical achievement. Elia Kazan: The Cinema of An American Outsider is less interested in settling old scores than in taking the work of this deep-thinking, driven artist – who made one big mistake in April 1952 – as seriously as it deserves.’

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