Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mick LaSalle's Prix review

Today, Mick LaSalle, the well known film critic for the San Francisco Chroniclereviewed the recent Kino DVD release, Prix de Beaute. Mick is a fine newspaper critic, and the author of two worthwhile books on pre-code film, Complicated Women, and Dangerous Men. However, he has never much liked Louise Brooks.

A 1995 article by LaSalle, titled "Pandora's Box is Steeped in Critical Hysteria," began by stating "Pandora's Box, which opens today for a four-day run at the Castro, is one of those revered classics, so steeped in critical hysteria that it's almost heresy to question its greatness." He goes on to suggest that Brooks (who he refers to as "a minor star best known for her Moe-in-the-Three-Stooges haircut") is today known only because of her friendships with a number of film critics. LaSalle also refers to Kenneth Tynan's long 1979 article in the New Yorker as "critical lunacy." LaSalle's review of Prix de Beaute echoes his earlier sentiments. Today's piece begins "More nonsense has been written about Louise Brooks than any other silent-era figure. A minor American actress . . . ." I would suggest that some of that nonsense about Brooks is LaSalle's own.

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