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The Age of Movies: Selected Writings (The Film Writings)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  116 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
"Film criticism is exciting just because there is no formula to apply," Pauline Kael once observed, "just because you must use everything you are and everything you know." Between 1968 and 1991, as regular film reviewer for The New Yorker, Kael used those formidable tools to shape the tastes of a generation, enthralling readers with her gift for capturing, with force and f ...more
Hardcover, 828 pages
Published October 27th 2011 by Library of America
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Oct 09, 2014 Antigone rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays-shorts
This Library of America volume presents a generous selection of Kael's essays culled from ten collections published during the course of her lifetime. To say they are confined to film review, film history and the state of the film industry is to sell them quite short. She was as much an observer of humanity as were the movies she took aim at. In fact, I think her sharpest skill may have rested in her unique ability to untangle the sinuous threads of juxtaposition that frequently confused the ...more
Roy Kenagy
Oct 18, 2011 Roy Kenagy marked it as to-read
Excellent essay on the life & work of the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael Probably prompted by the issue of a compilation of her reviews by Library of America
Duane Dunkerson
Jun 11, 2013 Duane Dunkerson rated it it was ok
The Age of Movies, Selected Writings of Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael and Our Un Peu Culture
Pauline Kael did indeed lose it at the movies. She lost "it" in a sexual sense as implied by her first book's title. Other titles of her movie review collections in book form had a sexual connotation. Certainly movies had become her passion. One can affirm that her loss was akin to losing virginity. She did swoon over some films like the effect on her was sexual. To use Mr. Ebert's term - she was "knocked-up
Apr 02, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I have always been a Paulette--in fact, I can remember the first review of her I read and noticed, of Brian De Palma's "Dressed to Kill"--and I've been working my way through this posthumous anthology with pure enjoyment. Why can't all criticism be this exciting, this much fun? And she's so smart about so many things, especially about the role of pleasure and the artistic experience.

In reading some of these pieces, most of which I'd read ages and ages ago, I've realized that she may have given
Jul 29, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: film-crit
Cavils: it doesn't recuperate unreprinted published material (like her first review, of Limelight), of which there's not so much as to forbid it, nor does it well-judge a much-needed selection from her big effort, the book-length analysis of the Welles-Mankewicz collaboration on Citizen Kane that got her into trouble with academics when she filched a few ideas she didn't scrupulously credit, and which she apparently would have spun quite differently, were the publication of the scholarly source ...more
Dec 27, 2012 Brett rated it it was amazing
Having been quite dedicated to cinema and film criticism for all of my adult life I thought it might be prudent to finally bone up on the writings of one of America's most famed and controversial critics. This volume is a perfect overview of Kael's career being a collection of selections from her published work (mostly for the New Yorker).

Kael is ultimately a fascinating critic for me not in what I agree with (her love of specific actors and recognition that filmmaking is a collaborative process
Mar 12, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it
Over the Christmas break, there was some long, juicy reading to be had in the form of The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael. It was a good time to read something reflective, discursive, funny, and fitting for the film festival season. I miss her voice - highly critical but also respectful, funny, witty, and joyous. She really loved movies. Best quote from the book: “And for women, if the roof leaks, or the car stalls…you may long for a Clark Gable to take charge, but when you ...more
May 06, 2015 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I only got through about a fifth of the "selected writings" from this 800-plus-page tome. I can happily say that I'm more familiar with Kael's work now, and I hope to buy this book someday when I have more shelf space, and really read each essay. Of the essays I got through, I enjoyed her writing on Orson Welles and Bonnie and Clyde most. I did NOT understand her hatred for West Side Story. I mean really, who could hate it that much?!

Feb 26, 2012 Leonard rated it liked it
I didn't read much of this book, but scanned it and since I'm a fan of Pauline Kael's film reviews and even received a letter from her once when I wrote and disagreed with one of her reviews, specifically the one on the film Ghandi. I amy come back to this again and again which is why I placed it on my list.
May 12, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it
Great read. Especially her insights into the emergence of independent cinema running counter to the studio system. She saw it early, and championed that movements' artists.
Fun book you can pick up at any section and dive into a smart essay.
Christian Hamaker
Nov 14, 2014 Christian Hamaker rated it it was amazing
Nearly two years to the day since I added this book to my GoodReads "currently reading" titles, I finished it, although I'm almost certain I've had it on my end table longer than two years.

It's as good as you've heard. Better, even.
I liked it, but it felt like work from to time to time. And sometimes, even I do not care about the films she's writing about. My interest perks up when I have seen the film. Try a later review.
Joe W.
Feb 01, 2016 Joe W. rated it it was amazing
One of America's unsung thinkers...Paglia without the hoopla...with sharp insights into the culture via its most successful art form, the film.
May 28, 2012 Olivia rated it it was amazing
Sharp, insightful film reviews and essays. I wish we still had Kael's voice critiquing current releases.
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Nov 20, 2013
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  • Agee on Film: Criticism and Comment on the Movies
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  • Film Form: Essays in Film Theory
  • Film As Film: Understanding And Judging Movies
  • Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark
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  • Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs
  • Nobody's Perfect: Writings from The New Yorker
  • On the History of Film Style
  • The Films of Akira Kurosawa
  • The Great Movies III
  • From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies
  • Film Theory: An Introduction
  • From Caligari to Hitler
  • The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film
  • Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings
Pauline Kael was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. She was known for her "witty, biting, highly opinionated, and sharply focused" movie reviews. She approached movies emotionally, with a strongly colloquial writing style. She is often regarded as the most influential American film critic of her day and made a lasting impression on other major critics ...more
More about Pauline Kael...

Other Books in the Series

The Film Writings (10 books)
  • I Lost it at the Movies: Film Writings, 1954-1965
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Film Writings, 1965-1967
  • Going Steady: Film Writings, 1968-1969
  • Deeper Into Movies: Film Writings, 1969-1972
  • Reeling: Film Writings, 1972-1975
  • When the Lights Go Down: Film Writings, 1975-1980
  • Taking it All In: Film Writings, 1980-1983
  • State of the Art: Film Writings, 1983-1985
  • Hooked: Film Writings 1985-1988
  • Movie Love: Film Writings, 1988-1991

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