Saturday, April 4, 2015

the last book I ever read (The Sound of Music Story, excerpt seven)

from The Sound of Music Story: How A Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain, and Ten Singing von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time by Tom Santopietro:

It was not, of course, only The Sound of Music that inspired vitriol in the mid- and late 1960s. Reviews from that sour era of upheaval reveal that critics were writing in a particularly acerbic and ofttimes nasty fashion. If in the twenty-first-century age of the Internet all criticism appears to be shot through the prism of irony, critics in the mid-sixties simply grew mean, as if the more vicious attacks, the more firmly they established their bona fides. Former favorites such as Doris Day were not just criticized, but actually ridiculed. As pointed out by Mark Harris in his first-rate study of late 1960s Hollywood, Pictures at a Revolution, Time magazine didn’t just dislike Charlie Chaplin’s Countess from Hong Kong, but eviscerated it with a headline that screamed: “Time to Retire.” Countess from Hong Kong may not have been a great film—and it wasn’t—but the film involved three certifiable legends in Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, and Sophia Loren, and as such was worthy of even-handed consideration. By the mid- and late 1960s, if the film in question carried even a hint of sentiment, let alone sentimentality, the knives were drawn and shots fired. Explaining why a film didn’t work was less of a priority than wit at the expense of others.

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