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Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington Wilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: Andrew Sarris (1928-2012)

 

ANDREW SARRIS  (1928-2012)

Andy Sarris was my favorite movie critic because, in The American Cinema, he opened up a world for me, for all of us. That’s what a good critic, or a great one, does. Others opened doors as well, but Andy (no one I knew called him “Andrew”) opened it first and opened it wide– and took some lumps for doing it.

I don’t think everything in his book is gospel, or that auteurism doesn’t have some mistakes or misconceptions. I like every much some directors he at first low-rated (Lean, Wilder, Curtiz, Kazan). I feel he sometimes short-shrifted screenwriters in general. But what a world it was he gave us: from Hawks to Hitchcock, from Renoir to Rossellini, from Stanley Donen to Fritz Lang, from John Ford to Budd Boetticher to Chaplin to Ophuls to Orson Welles (“Rosebud!”) He gave us a great screening list, and a great companionable literary spirit to share it all with. And he could always revise his opinions — which I often wish he’d done for us, every five years. That would have been something to look forward to. Thanks Andy. Best to Molly. Goodbye, pal.

 

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Lola Montes (Max Ophuls)

Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock)

 Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)

The Searchers (John Ford)

2 Responses to “Wilmington on Movies: Andrew Sarris (1928-2012)”

  1. Donald Cohen says:

    i bought The American Cinema when I was 20 and found it a great doorway into chasing up the films of the directors Andrew Sarris admired. Yes, he neglected some very gifted filmmakers but he argued intelligently and he’ll always be respected.
    i loved the his battles with Pauline Kael. Almost as enjoyable as some of the films.
    Cheers Don Cohen

  2. ycherrs says:

    Yes, he will always be respected and remembered. Good bye Andrew Sarris!

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“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many recappers, while clearly over their heads, are baseline sympathetic to finding themselves routinely unmoored, even if that means repeating over and over that this is closer to “avant-garde art” than  normal TV to meet the word count. My feed was busy connecting the dots to Peter Tscherkassky (gas station), Tony Conrad (the giant staring at feedback of what we’ve just seen), Pat O’Neill (bombs away) et al., and this is all apposite — visual and conceptual thinking along possibly inadvertent parallel lines. If recappers can’t find those exact reference points to latch onto, that speaks less to willful ignorance than to how unfortunately severed experimental film is from nearly all mainstream discussions of film because it’s generally hard to see outside of privileged contexts (fests, academia, the secret knowledge of a self-preserving circle working with a very finite set of resources and publicity access to the larger world); resources/capital/access/etc. So I won’t assign demerits for willful incuriosity, even if some recappers are reduced, in some unpleasantly condescending/bluffing cases, to dismissing this as a “student film” — because presumably experimentation is something the seasoned artist gets out of their system in maturity, following the George Lucas Model of graduating from Bruce Conner visuals to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenwriting.”
~ Vadim Rizov Goes For It, A Bit

“On the first ‘Twin Peaks,’ doing TV was like going from a mansion to a hut. But the arthouses are gone now, so cable television is a godsend — they’re the new art houses. You’ve got tons of freedom to do the work you want to do on TV, but there is a restriction in terms of picture and sound. The range of television is restricted. It’s hard for the power and the glory to come through. In other words, you can have things in a theater much louder and also much quieter. With TV, the quieter things have to be louder and the louder things have to be quieter, so you have less dynamics. The picture quality — it’s fine if you have a giant television with a good speaker system, but a lot of people will watch this on their laptops or whatever, so the picture and the sound are going to suffer big time. Optimally, people should be watching TV in a dark room with no disturbances and with as big and good a picture as possible and with as great sound as possible.”
~ David Lynch