Home » The Pleasure Dome: The Collected Film Criticism, 1935-40 by John Russell Taylor
The Pleasure Dome: The Collected Film Criticism, 1935-40 John Russell Taylor

The Pleasure Dome: The Collected Film Criticism, 1935-40

John Russell Taylor

Published August 1st 1987
ISBN : 9780192812865
Paperback
284 pages
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 About the Book 

Greenes stint as a film critic was relatively short-lived, but somewhat legendary and still fodder for oft-quoted gems. His high literary status has given him cred, for one thing. For another, he operated during some of the peak years of Hollywoods golden age, so the films he covered were sometimes significant ones, though his often razor-sharp critiques of slick tripe unworthy of his attention also are fun and fascinating. The most notorious of his reviews, however, is regrettably missing from this collection: that of the John Ford-directed Shirley Temple opus, Wee Willie Winkie. Its actually not a half-bad film, and Greene says as much in his 1938 review, but not before he penned some of the most discomfiting and dark observations ever to be seen in print. He basically accused Temples male audiences of being middle-aged pedophiles, of Temple being a prepubescent tart who knew what she was doing when she shook her well-rounded ass, and 20th-Century Fox of child exploitation and kiddie-porn peddling. Its a real eye-popping and disturbing bit of prose, partly for where Greenes mind had to go to write it. Luckily we can read this review on the internet, and I assume its not in the book because, even as of this writing, Temple is still alive and the article was judged libelous in its time- Greene and the magazine had to pay up big when Temple sued them, so much so that the magazine that printed the review folded from bankruptcy. Greene even had to leave the country for awhile. Darker truths in the land of the good ship lollipop were not going to be tolerated, especially from a lowly movie reviewer.-------INTRO AND OPENING REVIEWS (1935):Reading these erudite, witty, devastating and masterfully written and observed reviews makes one realize how far the art of film reviewing has fallen. There seems to be nothing that Greene does not know, and thus his reviews are exemplars of the proper use of wider context- of the place not just of movies as movies or as art or entertainment, but their place in the world. Greene appreciates the messy over the properly crafted, the small poetic moment and the happy accident. His review of a documentary about the BBC becomes a critique of society at large: At enormous expense from its steel pylon at Daventry the BBC supplies din with the drinks at sundown.That fucking ROCKS!------This is best taken in little snippets. I think this will be my toilet read for the foreseeable future...