A groundbreaking filmmaker dogged by controversy in both his personal life and career, Elia Kazan was one of the most important directors of postwar American cinema. In landmark motion pictures such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and Splendor in the Grass, Kazan crafted an emotionally raw form of psychological realism. His reputation has rested on his Academy award-winning work with actors, his provocative portrayal of sexual, moral, and generational conflict, and his unpopular ...
A groundbreaking filmmaker dogged by controversy in both his personal life and career, Elia Kazan was one of the most important directors of postwar American cinema. In landmark motion pictures such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and Splendor in the Grass, Kazan crafted an emotionally raw form of psychological realism. His reputation has rested on his Academy award-winning work with actors, his provocative portrayal of sexual, moral, and generational conflict, and his unpopular decision to name former colleagues as Communists before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. But much of Kazan’s influential cinematic legacy remains unexamined. Arriving in the wake of his centenary, Kazan Revisited engages and moves beyond existing debates regarding Kazan’s contributions to film, tackling the social, political, industrial, and aesthetic significance of his work from a range of critical perspectives. Featuring essays by established film critics and scholars such as Richard Schickel (Time), Victor Navasky (The Nation), Mark Harris (Entertainment Weekly), Kent Jones (Film Comment), Jonathan Rosenbaum (Essential Cinema, 2004), Jeanine Basinger (The Star Machine, 2007), and Leo Braudy (On the Waterfront, 2008), this book is a must for diehard cinephiles and those new to Kazan alike.
Contributors include: JEANINE BASINGER, LEO BRAUDY, LISA DOMBROWSKI, HADEN GUEST, MARK HARRIS, KENT JONES, PATRICK KEATING, SAVANNAH LEE, BRENDA MURPHY, VICTOR NAVASKY, BRIAN NEVE, JONATHAN ROSENBAUM, RICHARD SCHICKEL, ANDREW TRACY, and SAM WASSON.
“Dombrowski offers a number of telling examples from each film…that illustrate Kazan’s mastery of a format most directors found troubling.”—Dan Georgakas, CINEASTE
In the 1940s–50s, Elia Kazan alternated between the film and theater worlds, working with exciting playwrights and talent, particularly Marlon Brando and James Dean, to bring a new style of acting to the screen. Dombrowski (film studies, Wesleyan Univ.; The Films of Samuel Fuller) collects essays featuring material drawn from Kazan's papers at Wesleyan University. Avoiding such familiar films as On the Waterfront, the book instead examines less-appreciated works like Baby Doll and Wild River. Kazan enjoyed working on location with nonprofessional actors, and several essays shed welcome light on such docudramas as Boomerang! and Panic in the Streets. Contributions describe Kazan's frequent depiction of "female pain" and, less convincingly, his alleged "homoeroticization of the American male movie star." Finally, no portrait of Kazan would be complete without coverage of his controversial decision to reveal the names of former associates to the House Un-American Activities Committee. VERDICT First purchases on Kazan should remain the director's autobiography, Elia Kazan: A Life, and Richard Schickel's Elia Kazan: A Biography. This somewhat scholarly book will be useful to Kazan scholars and film fans discovering or renewing an acquaintance with Kazan's key films.—Stephen Rees, formerly with Levittown P.L., PA
Introduction – Lisa Dombrowski
On Kazan the Man – Jeanine Basinger
The Quiet Side of Kazan – Kent Jones
Elia Kazan, Seen From 1973 – Jonathan Rosenbaum
“The Director, That Miserable Son of a Bitch”: Kazan, Viva Zapata! and the Problem of Authority – Leo Braudy
Mr. Kazan Goes to Washington: A Case Study in Misguided Ambivalence – Victor Navasky
Man on a Tightrope: Kazan as Liberal Anti-Communist – Brenda Murphy
“Independence” and the “Art Film”: Baby Doll and After – Brian Neve
The Search for Humor and Humanity in Baby Doll and A Face in the Crowd – Sam Wasson
A Straight Director’s Queer Eye: 1951-1961 – Mark Harris
The Other Side of the Story: Elia Kazan as Director of Female Pain – Savannah Lee
Documentary and Democracy in Boomerang! and Panic in the Streets – Andrew Tracy
Elia Kazan and the Semi-Documentary: Composing Urban Space – Patrick Keating
Choreographing Emotions: Kazan’s CinemaScope Staging – Lisa Dombrowski
Lost River – Richard Schickel
Late Kazan, or the Ambiguities – Haden Guest
Filmography as Director