Friday, May 06, 2005

Impetuous! Homeric!

Here's a several-years-old, great article from Written By magazine: "The Pathological Hero's Conscience", by Joseph McBride. It's about Frank Nugent, the New York Times movie critic who left the paper to become a screenwriter, and wound up writing the scripts for many of John Ford's finest postwar films: the Cavalry trilogy, Wagonmaster, The Quiet Man, The Searchers. As a movie critic who actually got creatively involved in the making of movies, he preceded Paul Schrader, Peter Bogdanovich, and the whole Cahiers Du Cinema crowd.

On the downside, when Nugent left the Times he was replaced by Bosley Crowther, thus condemning Times readers to twenty-plus years of bad prose and boring middlebrow tastes. Not that that could ever happen in a major newspaper today.

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