Oct 11, 2012

I will probably get around to watching

Martin Scorsese's documentary, A Letter to Elia, just to see what he has to say about Kazan's testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

In the meantime, Renee and I watched The Front, instead, starring Zero Mostel (blacklisted), Woody Allen, and Michael Murphy.  The Front was written by Walter Bernstein, and directed by Martin Ritt, both of whom were blacklisted, also.

It was because of people like Elia Kazan that many artists in Hollywood and New York were blacklisted.  And, not just writers, actors, and directors, but technicians and studio people of all types.

Honestly, I have never been a big fan of Kazan's anyway, or of "The Method", period.  I think On the Waterfront is one of the most egregiously over rated films of all-time.  And, I have never cared much for A Streetcar Named Desire, either.  Even Kazan's mea culpa, if you will, A Face in the Crowd -- a film he made after naming names -- is uneven and truly short shrift for all those he helped put out of work, branding them as villains for simply believing that free market capitalism might not the be all and end all form of government systems.

And, like, David Thomson discusses here, Kazan had plenty of opportunities to repent, most notably when he received a completely unwarranted special Oscar, but never did.

I was disgusted when Kazan got that last Oscar.  And, I was not the only one.  There were a smattering of boos as he walked on stage, and folks had a picket line outside the event, as well.

I am disappointed that Scorsese has made this film, and that PBS has included it as part of their American Masters series.  Elia Kazan is about as much a "Master" to me as Phillip Seymour Hoffman's charlatan extraordinaire, Lancaster Dodd, in Paul Thomas Anderson's, The Master.

Some things, I suppose, I just can not forgive.


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