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Elia Kazan : A Biography - Richard Schickel

Elia Kazan

A Biography

By: Richard Schickel

eBook | 21 November 2023

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"No mere page-turner, this is a page-devourer, generating the kind of suspense that is usually the province of the playwright or novelist." —The New York Times Book Review

Few figures in film and theater history tower like Elia Kazan. Born in 1909 to Greek parents in Istanbul, Turkey, he arrived in America with incomparable vision and drive, and by the 1950s he was the most important and influential director in the nation, simultaneously dominating both theater and film. His productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Death of a Salesman reshaped the values of the stage. His films—most notably On the Waterfront—brought a new realism and a new intensity of performance to the movies. Kazan's career spanned times of enormous change in his adopted country, and his work affiliated him with many of America's great artistic moments and figures, from New York City's Group Theatre of the 1930s to the rebellious forefront of 1950s Hollywood; from Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy to Marlon Brando and James Dean.

Ebullient and secretive, bold and self-doubting, beloved yet reviled for "naming names" before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Kazan was an individual as complex and fascinating as any he directed. Noted film historian and critic Richard Schickel illuminates much more than a single astonishing life and life's work: He pays discerning tribute to the power of theater and film, and casts a new light on six crucial decades of American history.

Includes photographs

A New York Times Notable Book

"Magnificent." —The Washington Post

"Unsparingly thorough." —Publishers Weekly

"Remarkably insightful." —Martin Scorsese

"Vividly conveys the director's potent personality: his exuberance, relentless work ethic, and frank assessments of the fleeting nature of fame." —Booklist (starred review)

Industry Reviews
"Breathtaking, often riotous but never excessive...[Elia Kazan] could not be a more pertinent study of a spellbinding subject."
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