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are the greatest. Several remembered, as I should have, that it was New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael who is said to have wondered how Nixon could have won the 1972 election when everyone she knew had voted for McGovern. Joshua Sharf, proprietor of the View from a Height blog, was the first to bring this to my attention. Fraters Libertas also wrote us, pointing out that Ms Kael was both Jewish and, though born in Berkeley, California, a New Yorker.
I heard Kael speak when I was in college. At that time she was my favorite movie critic, although, as is true of many of my tastes at the time, I would have to read her collections of reviews again before recommending them now. I can say, though, that Kael had a great knack for finding one-word put-downs for movies.
Robert Altman found this out to his detriment. Kael was a great promoter of certain Altman movies such as “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and “Nashville.” At some point, Altman began having Kael critique his movies before they were released. The story is that, after watching a cut of a move called “Buffalo Bill and the Indians” (I think), Kael said the movie was “droopy.” Altman pressed her for more specific criticisms, but apparently Kael just kept saying that she fouond the movie droopy. And, in fact, the movie did turn out to be quite droopy.
BIG TRUNK adds: I thought “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” was droopy too. And I have an unimaginative one word put-down — one that I ask my kids not to use — of Altman’s more recent “Gosford Park.” I will confine myself to saying that this highly praised movie is Marxist dreck.


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