In 1999, Elia Kazan (1909-2003) received an honorary Oscar for
lifetime achievement; it was a controversial award, for in 1952 he
had given testimony to the HUAC Committee, for which he was
ostracized by many. That Oscar also acknowledged Kazan's remarkable
contribution to American and world cinema, making such films as 'On
the Waterfront' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire'. Kazan's life in the
cinema is due a reassessment, one that is presented expertly and
gracefully by Brian Neve in this book, drawing on previously
neglected and some hitherto untapped
sources._x000D__x000D_Focussing in particular on the
producer-director's post-'On the Waterfront', New York based
independent work, and on his key artistic collaborations, including
those with Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck and Budd Schulberg,
Neve gives a fascinating reassessment of Kazan's famed technique
with such actors as Marlon Brando and James Dean, and his lifetime
concern to provoke and photograph 'authentic' behaviour. He reveals
a pattern, through the films, of personally resonant themes,
relating for example to ethnicity and the American immigrant myth.
He reviews Kazan's style, from the colour and wide screen of 'East
of Eden' to the creative use of location in his Amercian South
films, including 'Baby Doll'. He debates the reception of Kazan's
work and the controversy - which dogged his career - of his 1952
Congressional testimony. These elements and more make this a very
readable and memorable, fresh portrayal of the film career of this
ever fascinating director._x000D__x000D_Working with an
impressively wide variety of archival material, including Kazans
personal papers and notebooks, Brian Neve here offers a solidly
researched, insightful, and historically grounded portrait of Elia
Kazan, his working methods, his 19 feature films from 'A Tree Grows
in Brooklyn' (1945) to 'The Last Tycoon' (1976), and his place in
the cinematic and social world of his age. - Chuck Maland,
Professor of Cinema Studies & American Studies, University of
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