Posts Tagged ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald’

LAST CALL PODCAST EP. 1: Return me to Harry’s Bar, 5 Daunou.

On this episode of “Last Call with Richard Crouse” we visit Paris and James Bond’s favourite bar. The home of the Bloody Mary and “An American in Paris,” Harry’s New York Bar at 5, Rue Daunou, is one of the world’s most legendary cocktail bars. With the help of cocktail historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller of Mixellany, Richard traces the history of the bar where real life “International Bar Flies” like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Humphrey Bogart, Edward VIII and George Gershwin all bent elbows. Join us for a story of a disgraced sport superstar, cocktails, and a New Year’s Eve wild goose chase around Paris.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 2.46.24 PMRichard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, including “Finding Dory,” the buddy comedy “Central Intelligence” with Duane Johnson and Kevin Hart, and a duo of documentaries, “De Palma,” an unflinching look at the films of Brian De Palma and the self explanatory “Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 9.36.51 AMRichard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Todd Van der Heyden chat up the weekend’s big releases, including “Finding Dory,” the literary bio “Genius” with Jude Law and Colin Firth, and a duo of documentaries, “De Palma,” an unflinching look at the films of Brian De Palma and the self explanatory “Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

GENIUS: 2 STARS. “a love letter to the creative spirit and how language has power.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 1.08.35 PMMax Perkins (Colin Firth) was a literary editor when giants roamed the earth. He discovered and guided the careers of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, writers who shaped the way Americans read and wrote. “Genius,” a new film from Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage in his big screen debut, tells the turbulent tale of Perkins’s work with “God’s Lonely Man,” Thomas Wolfe.

When an office boy first drops the weighty, handwritten manuscript for what would become Wolfe’s first book on Perkins’s desk the editor asks a simple question, “Is it good?” “No, but it’s… unique,” comes the reply. It’s 1929, Fitzgerald’s best work is behind him and Perkins is looking for another genius. “The world needs poets.”

Transfixed by the sprawling semi-autobiographical novel he offers Wolfe (Jude Law) a $100 advance and helps the enthusiastic author cut 300 pages from the manuscript. The resulting book, “Look Homeward, Angel” is a sensation and Wolfe’s career is off to a running start.

“The only ideas worth writing about are the big ideas,” Wolfe says as he describes the ideas for his second book. “Big ideas,” says Perkins, “fewer words.” Despite Max’s push towards brevity, Wolfe delivers his next work, a 5000-page epic, in a series of overflowing crates. Another book—“Of Time and the River”—and another success reveals the author’s disregard for the people who helped him along the way, particularly Aline Bernstein (Nicole Kidman) a wealthy, married patron and lover who Wolfe “edits” out of his life.

“Genius” aims to be a multi-faceted look at a literary legend. It explores Wolfe’s hot and cold relationships with Bernstein, his father-son bond with Perkins, the dangers of believing your own press and the inner works of his undisciplined process—it’s like jazz, he says, let it flow, riff upon riff—but for all the ground it covers we don’t really get to know either of the main characters.

Law plays Wolfe as a charming feral cat, a man “hurt and shunned into poetry,” whose selfish ways alienated those closest and most important to him. Law is loud, boisterous—“ I know I seem like a circus freak,” he says, “that’s who I am. Too loud, too grandiose.”—but is stuck in a film that celebrates his rebellion but is too mannered to fully embrace it.

Firth is effectively restrained. His favourite song is the 1837 lullaby “Flow Gently Sweet Afton” and he humbly says, “My job, my only job is to put good books into the hands of readers.” His only quirk appears to be that he never takes off his fedora, even when he is wearing his pyjamas. It’s a nice, quiet performance but it contributes to the film’s reserved feel.

Adding some melodrama to the proceedings is Kidman, who is given the chance to chew the scenery in several emotional passages. “You’re overwriting the scene,” Perkins says to her after one outburst to which I say, “Always trust your editor.” Too bad Kidman didn’t.

More than anything “Genius” aspires to be a look at the creative process, the very lifeblood that flowed through Wolfe’s veins. We get glimpses of it. In one long montage the two men argue, toss pages in the air and trim Wolfe’s 5000 page manuscript into something manageable. More effective is a sequence in a jazz club. Wolfe pays the band to play a traditional version of “Flow Gently Sweet Afton.”

“That’s Henry James,” he says as the players plod along but as the band heats up, splintering off into melodic tangents, he grins and says, “That’s Thomas Wolfe.” The process by which artists go about their work is near impossible to effectively capture on film, but this scene comes close to explaining what it feels like when the creative juices are racing.

“Genius” isn’t a bad movie. It’s a love letter to the creative spirit and how language has power. Both over and under written, it simply feels a bit uninspired to be telling the story of one of the most dynamic and interesting writers of the twentieth century.

A brief history of the Great Gatsby in film By Richard Crouse Metro Canada – In Focus May 8, 2013

the_great_gatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is one of the best-known novels of the twentieth century. Dubbed one of the two best books of the century by The Modern Library these days it may be most familiar as the movie that reestablished Vincent Chase’s career on the show Entourage.

On that HBO series Chase (Adrian Grenier) was a fast-fading movie star until Martin Scorsese cast him in a movie based on the book. That fictional film became a big hit and put Chase back on top of the Hollywood heap.

This weekend The Great Gatsby comes to the big screen for real when Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann unleashes a 3D version of the story starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan.

It’s not the first time the life and times of doomed Jazz Age millionaire Jay Gatsby has been filmed for the screen.

In 1926, just one year after the book was published, a silent movie starring William Powell, appeared. The movie was popular with audiences but at least two paying customers weren’t impressed.

Scott Fitzgerald and wife Zelda walked out of a screening and later Zelda, incensed, wrote to her daughter, “We saw The Great Gatsby in the movies. It’s rotten!”

A 1949 film noir version spun the story to fit its lead actor. Movie tough guy Alan Ladd–he’s billed as Ladd – Man of Violence and Mystery–stars in a cautionary tale about learning “the hard way about the wages of sin.” To play up to Ladd’s core audience he’s seen firing a machine gun in a story that focuses on Gatsby’s violent history as a bootlegger.

Despite Ladd’s fame and passion for the project–he personally convinced Paramount to make the film–the movie was not a success, and was eventually withdrawn by the studio. To this day it’s still hard to find a copy.

The most famous version to date starred two of the biggest stars of the 1970s, Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Working from a script by Francis Ford Coppola–who lived in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s home while he wrote the screenplay–the movie stays true to the novel. Embellished by beautiful set design and lush costumes, it’s a treat for the eyes, but received tepid reviews. The New York Times wrote, “the movie itself is as lifeless as a body that’s been too long at the bottom of a swimming pool.”