Now Playing at the Valencia: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Essays on Movies (Google eBook)

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Simon and Schuster, Dec 1, 2005 - Performing Arts - 352 pages
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From Pulitzer Prize-Winning Movie Critic Stephen Hunter Comes A Brilliant, Freewheeling, And Witty Look At The Movies.
Evanston, Illinois, was an idyllic 1950s paradise with stately homes, a beautiful lake, a world-class university, two premier movie houses, and one very seedy movie theater -- the Valencia.
This was the site of Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter's misspent youth. Instead of going to school, picking up girls, or tossing a football, Hunter could be found sitting in the fifteenth row, right-hand aisle seat of the Valencia, sating himself on one B-list movie after another.
The Valencia had a sticky floor, smelly bathrooms, ancient popcorn, and a screen set in a hideously tacky papier-mache castle wall. It was also the only place in town to see westerns, sci-fi pictures, cops 'n' robbers flicks, slapstick comedy, and Godzilla.
In Now Playing at the Valencia, the author of such bestselling novels as Havana and Pale Horse Coming has compiled his favorite movie reviews written between 1997 and 2003, bringing to the discussion the passionate feelings for cinema he discovered in the '50s, a time when genres were forming, mesmerizing stars played unforgettable characters, and enduring classics were made. While filmmaking has changed tremendously since Hunter first frequented the Valencia, the view from the fifteenth row, and the thrill of down and dirty entertainment, has remained the same.
  

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Page 9 - There's too much pretentious nonsense talked about the artistic problems of making pictures. I've never had a goddam artistic problem in my life, never, and I've worked with the best of them. John Ford isn't exactly a bum, is he? Yet he never gave me any manure about
Page 13 - I've always been disappointed in Ian MacDonald, who played the evil Frank Miller. When we finally see him, after an hour and a half of buildup, he's a major disappointment. Far from an icon of towering Western...

About the author (2005)

Stephen Hunter has written eighteen novels. The retired chief film critic for The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, he has also published two collections of film criticism and a nonfiction work, American Gunfight. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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