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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Raising Kael: What’s In A Title?

PAULINE KAEL is set to join the ranks of the esteemed litterateurs of the Library of America (alongside her peer Manny Farber), and there are new collections of Philip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut in the next batch of releases as well. The volume’s edited by Sanford Schwartz, and coming from the critic who wrote “I Lost It At The Movies,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Going Steady,” “Deeper Into Movies,” “When The Lights Go Down” and “Taking It All In,” what sweetly skeevy double-entendre of a title has the august press arrived at? “The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael.” Whut? What opportunity has been missed here? “The Tender Age Of Movies”? Nah. “The Underage of Movies”? No. “The Long And Short: Selected Movie Writings By Pauline Kael,” that wouldn’t be half-bad. Why is an appropriately inappropriate title so hard?

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“I wanted to make you love a murderer. There’s no way of redeeming him. He’s a drunk and a killer. He killed at least seven people (that we know of). But there were reasons he was a bad guy. He was surrounded by evil in those days. A lot of people were killed building modern Florida—modern everywhere. Watson had plenty of opportunities to see how rough those guys were playing and he thought he could do it too. At least he rationalized it that way. He had the devil beaten out of him and became a very dangerous guy. And he couldn’t handle his liquor, which is one of the worst aspects of him. And he went crazy. Understanding how that happened is useful, I think. There’s no reason any one of us couldn’t be Edgar Watson.”
~ Peter Mathiessen On Writing “Killing Mister Watson”

 

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