1 Acknowlegment: Forward

Updated October 15, 2020

I occupy a space between the academic world and the industry, a space between  being a film scholar, film critic, film spectator, and film fan.


The first time I saw Rear Window was in 1955, in Israel.  It so moved, disturbed, and overwhelmed me by the impact of its images that it altered my perception of life, of art, of myself.

The numerous times I have seen the film since have deepened those reactions.

To feel so passionately about a film is to be able  to relate one’s inner and outer life closely to the themes, and indicate personal approach to movies.

Simon Schama has said: “There is no vulgarity in writing for broader audience.”

Samuel Butler:

“Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.”

Robert Frost:

“My object in life is to unite my avocation with my vocation, as my two eyes are one in sight.”

Film Criticism:

I don’t feel deeply rooted anywhere, so ironically, film criticism is my way of anchoring myself in the real world.

Thru criticism, I take imaginative possession of the American land and culture, from which I feel detached.

Criticism as a process of planting myself into culture, an endless process of transforming myself as American.

The need to historicize my passion  for film, thinking about its intellectual roots and cultural ramifications.

In many ways, the book is an attempt to make sense out of my relations to this milieu–the habits, in Pierre Bourdieu’s resonant and indefinable term, in which my dispositions  were formed and contested.

Ack always attest that a book is never the product of one author.

X’s suggestions and ideas informed the research and I deeply appreciate their spirit of critical debate and friendly discussion.

The original book was, and remains, gratefully dedicated to X

I wish also to thank X for what at the time seemed a hopelessly misguided faith in my abilities and stamina.

I’d like to thank friends and colleagues who have answered or tried to answer my questions from their  stores of curious knowledge, argued with my too hasty conclusions, or just put up with me.

I wish to thank X for the strength and firmness he provided during the most difficult period of my life.

Given the unending interest and limitless complexity of the subject, this book can only serve as a starting point for further discussion and exploration.

So many have helped, esp. RR, who got the ball rolling and kept is rolling as long as it needed.

Beth Mooney whose willingness to research the odd fact at the odd hour was inexhaustible.

I’d like to thank Rob whose love of film helped to inspire the project, and whose patience and fortitude kept it afloat.

R can spot a run on fake  sentence a mile away through.

The staff of the Library have been unfailingly helpful.

R read every single word of the manuscript and improved most of them, while working and being a wonderful partner. That he  makes it all look so easy and does it all with love, only adds to the miracle.

Finally Rob, my companion, lived daily with my ideas, my projects, and me, and thus contributes in countless ways , big and small, to the development of y scholarship.

Finally,  I wish to thank RR but there’s so much to thank him for that I hardly know where to begin or end.

My companion RR gave the manuscript its first, second, and last reading; his time and insight gave the text direction and form.


I wish to inject those concerns into the cultural politics of  our times in ways that will be disturbing and poignant.

The study is organized conceptually–individual films are examined with reference to the particular issues and problems at hand.

I don’t proceed chronologically, film by film; neither do I completely analyze a given film in any single chapter.


Writing the book has been a pure pleasure, not the least of which due to the help and assistance i received from friends and colleagues.

Finally, though she is not a fan of Minnelli, X offered the warmth, kindness, and good cheer that add greatly to the pleasures of producing anew book.

Sifting thru the endless trivia for clues to the tantalizing mysteries of the film medium (Sarris).

Writing film history, one can never finish; one can only stop

So rich a medium, so complex. You never know what is sheer trivia, and what trivia will prove significant at some point.

Personal/autobio: Mazursky knows the scene so well that every word, every hangup, every awkward flip hesitation rings a bell