One of Elia Kazan’s personal favorites among his films, the tepid, televisiony Wild River is indeed superior to such cinematic atrocities as Kazan’s On the Waterfront (1954), Splendor in the Grass (1961) and America, America (1963). Based on William Bradford Huie’s 1942 autobiographical novel Mud on the Stars, Kazan’s handsome, moderately interesting film revolves around […]
The circus of life, where death continually hovers—a rootless or uprooted existence reflecting realities ranging from the status of refugees who were generated by war’s dislocations, to political upheaval and uncertainties, such as behind the Iron Curtain: these and related themes partially account for the plethora of films set around a circus, or employing the […]
John Steinbeck himself recommended to Elia Kazan the scenarist of Madame Curie (Mervyn LeRoy, 1943), Paul Osborn, to adapt for the screen his—Steinbeck’s—sprawling new novel, East of Eden, at least in part, one presumes, because Osborn was capable of nailing the science: rather than the process that led the Curies to the discovery of a […]
Please see the first two paragraphs of my essay on Elia Kazan’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), filed under “Hollywood Film Reviews,” for my response to his later On the Waterfront.
Vivien Leigh (best actress, Venice; BAFTA, Oscar, New York critics) is brilliant as Blanche DuBois, whose layers of theatricality attempt to bury a tragic memory, which she is doomed to revive periodically by re-enacting the original event in a masked form. Why is Leigh so much greater in Elia Kazan’s absorbing film of A Streetcar […]