The briefest blurb from Pauline Kael about the movie

When I starPauline Kael Conversations Thumbnailted paying serious attention to movies, the Voice of the Art for me (as for many others) was Pauline Kael, movie critic of The New Yorker.  She stopped working for the magazine in 1991, and so just missed being called upon to review The Age of Innocence, released in 1993. But Kael wrote about Scorcese so often (and so positively) that I’ve been looking for some comments she might have made about the movie, in print or interview.  So far, I have turned up only one reference: a brief exchange in a book, Conversations with Pauline Kael.  During a 1994 discussion with Evelyn Renold, we find the following:

Q:    I know you weren’t a fan of Scorsese’s Age of Innocence

PK: It was an honest effort, but wrong-headed. I think nothing could be as foreign to his sensibility as Edith Wharton. I mean, he didn’t seem to share her revulsion at those moneyed, vulgar people. He made the dinner look good.

From: Conversations with Pauline Kael edited by Will Brantley, University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, 1996.

2 thoughts on “The briefest blurb from Pauline Kael about the movie

    • Jane: I started reading Kael in 1968 – on the recommendation of a friend at Amherst – and I’ve never looked at movies the same since. Her tastes could be odd, but her writing style was amazing – she brought you right into the movie theater. Like so many great writers at the time (Mailer comes to mind immediately) she could be a pain in the neck – but, as with Mailer, I often thought that her ideas were led around by her images and metaphors rather than the reverse (like that horrid critic, John Simon) – and I didn’t mind that. Her arrogance bothered me less because I was fascinated to see how “she led with her language” (a more pugilistic way of saying that her thoughts and her responses were partly shaped by her style – by her use of language). I probably learned more about writing from her than I did about movies – which were (and are) a rather secondary interest in my life, given my suspicions about the visual vs the verbal. … But that’s a rant for another day.

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