We have another event this week, and it's Patrick McGilligan speaking about Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director on Thursday, August 11. McGilligan's biography was the subject of a Shepherd Express column this week from Dave Luhrssen who offers this assessment:
Before Rebel, Ray had already made some noteworthy movies, especially the film noir They Live by Night and the Hollywood drama In a Lonely Place. The lucid new biography by Milwaukee film historian Patrick McGilligan, Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director, questions whether it was Ray's misfortune to have continued making movies after Rebel. His final decades included such Hollywood fiascos as a wacky melodrama on the dangers of cortisone, Bigger Than Life, and a cumbersome biblical epic, King of Kings, followed by much unusable, drug-induced stumbling after the avant-garde. And in McGilligan's words, Ray often behaved, in the lowest period of his last years, "like a regrettable wreck of a human being.Read the whole article here.
Nicholas Ray was also written up in the new issue of The Onion's AV Club. Vadim Rizov notes:
Ray’s most ardent admirers will bristle at McGilligan’s tone, from the title on down: He’s merciless in chronicling the many drugs, irresponsible relationships, and self-sabotaged opportunities, emphasizing the semi-gossipy over the analytical. But McGilligan makes no claim that he’s providing a critical study: He’s just setting out the facts of a long, colorful, often depressingly bleak downward spiral. A quote from James Mason sums it up: "I could tell you many conversations about Nick Ray, and mostly they’re an exchange about Nick’s strange conduct in one way or another. They all seem to end up with someone saying, ‘Mark you, Nick is not without talent!’”
Addendum on 8/10--Chris Foran reviews Nicholas Ray in the Journal Sentinel.
"As laid out by McGilligan - the author of books on James Cagney, Alfred Hitchcock and Oscar Michaeux, among others - Ray's life is sort of the Bizarro-world version of the American dream: the tale of a man, full of energy and ideas, who, given loads of opportunities, squanders them again and again."
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