Intelligent and informative email.
All kinds of email.
A sampling is posted below. Surnames and email addresses have been deleted to protect the privacy of the correspondents (I assume they'll appreciate that), although surnames remain for several correspondents who are widely known public figures. It's truly astonishing who you can meet out here in cyberspace.
I saw your comments on the Internet Movie Database regarding Vanished. I wonder if you have some academic or industry background as you sound quite informed about TV history. I'm writing a book (Macmillan Publishing, NY) and would like to chat briefly. May I call you? Or if you'd like perhaps you can just reply.
I just want to compliment you for the consistently high quality of your user comments on the Internet Movie Database. I rented "Shadow of a Doubt" this evening. ) I liked the ambience (Hitchcock) created in the film, but I was kind of disappointed that the ending wasn't very believable. As you said, the acting of Macdonald Carey was kind of bland. I had forgotten that I must have seen it many years ago in a theatre. Perhaps that's why I read some of your other mini-reviews - you were the only one who didn't completely gush over the film. In reading your other reviews I found that you are a very good writer (and you generally have good taste!). (I have been intending to rent "How to Murder Your Wife" once I find it - I know it's not great, but I recall seeing it many years ago on the late show and enjoying it.)
Hello, I am writing a dissertation on Tom Hanks as part of my degree, and as I was reading through his sites on Internet, I found your comment on "Forrest Gump". I think it is very interesting and relevant to my dissertation. As a result, do you mind if I use it to back up my argument? It would appear anonymously in my work so that nothing would identify you, except your nationality. I hope you will agree,
My name is Joel Hirschhorn. I write theatre and book reviews for Variety, and have won two Oscars for Best Song. I just wanted to say that your profile of Burt Lancaster was superb. You really captured his blend of power and sensitivity, and your compassionate yet honest approach brought him brilliantly alive.
A participant on another web page told me that Paul Harvey once did a mini Biography of James Garner. Apparently Paul says that James was raised as a girl early on, as I was, but I see no reference to that. He was using that as an illustration to show that an odd childhood does not have to "ruin" a person.
Have a nice day.
Just thought I'd tell you I loved your essay on dean martin---it was very well written and the best i've read online.
I have just read yor review of "Johnny Guitar", and I really cannot remember the last time I was so pissed off. I can certainly respect your praise of Welles, who made many truly great films such as "The Magnificent Ambersons", and "Touch of Evil", but his most admired work, and supposedly the greatest single American film ever made "Citizen Kane" has always been for me and many others that I have talked with over the years nothing more than an extremely visually & technically impressive excersize in tedium, and as for the visual genius I have surmised over many years of viewing his other work that the greatness of this particular aspect of the film is far, far more attributable to the cinematographer Greg Toland than to any contribution from Welles. As for your's and Welles's admiration for Griffith the very best I can say for him is that he knew how to direct a good looking spectacle. He is really not much more than Cecil B. DeMille with more respect, and even so DeMille was by far the greater storyteller which , if I am not greatly mistaken is the main purpose of filmmaking. Griffith's "Intolerance" is a perfect example. Monumental in scope, breathtaking visually, and though noble in concept the film in actual viewing is as heavy handed and leaden as any of the cheap melodramas produced in the period. DeMille's "King Of Kings" and especially his original "The Ten Commandments" though made only a few years later are head and shoulders above Griffith, hammy as they are. "Birth of a Nation" is certainly no better artistically than "Intolerance", and has been rightfully despised as a paeon to racism( I will not accept any argument that it was simply a product of it's time, and that Griffith was only reflecting this. People of intelligence and good will have always known better), and in consideration of the period the films of both directors pale almost to total mediocrity when compared with even the minor works of Chaplin, with whom not even in his genius could Welles's ego beg comparison. I suspect your disdain for Nicholas Ray stems from the fact that his films, though certainly made with a most singular artistic vision, were made primarily to entertain which, if I have understood most film critics lo these many years, and I have, is the most cardinal of sins. Much as music critics into the Fifties said that if it had any semblance of melody it could not possibly be art, so have film critics up to the present implied and even "in not so many words" stated that if it entertains it similarly cannot be art. I think this is so often the reason why the tastes of the public and the tastes of the critics have diverged so markedly, and by "public" I do not mean the general masses who have made stars of the likes of Stallone and VanDamme I mean the thoughtful, intelligent moviegoer. Those who have been by their patronage, discussion, and love responsible for the recognition of almost every true "classic" in the history of film. Films thrown away by critics of their time, but now revered such as "The Bride of Frankenstein", "It's A Wonderful Life", and Chaplin's "Monsieur Verdoux". Ray's films figure greatly in this list. Teenagers now in 2001 still look at "Rebel Without A Cause" and identify completely with the emotions expressed in it. This, and indeed all of Ray's films have and retain this deep connectivity and resonance with the public that I mentioned precisely because of their "over the top" intensity with which you seem to take issue. Besides your smirkingly dismissive attitude toward "Johnny Guitar" as a whole your crack about the "insipid" theme song by Victor Young and Peggy Lee really annoyed me. Ever since I first saw this film as a child this has been to me one of the most beautiful and memorable film themes ever composed, and though I'm sure I have nowhere near the formal education that you have this is my opinion, and when it really comes down to it it really is nothing more than a matter of opinion, and no matter what you tell yourself yours is still NO more valid than mine.
Thank you so much for the great read on a great star. "Pickup on South Street" remains a favorite of mine to this day. Do you by any chance know how Mr. Widmark is doing in retirement. I know he lost his wife and I just wondered if he is well. Thank you.
Hi, I went to your website for some information concerning film noir, specifically about the significance of the detective character in these films. Could you please help me out with a few general sentences concerning this topic?
Dear Mr. Fairbanks,
Did you write a book or just a magazine article about Richard Widmark: The Face of Film Noir? I am interested in purchasing the book but would be unable to read the French magazine. If it is a book, I would be interested in knowing publisher, etc. and then I could order it from my local Barnes and Noble.
I'm playing "The Essential Leonard Cohen" and just read your "Singer of Mercy" entry on your web site. You really nailed it! That's the best analysis I've read of the man, his music, the Austin City Limits appearance (which I love) and why he appeals to those who discover him. Thanks!
Hey there ho there. Just wanted to drop you a quick line and let you know how much I appreciated your review of "The Last Temptation Of Christ" on amazon.com. Yesterday I was just doing some random research on David Bowie in aid of a song I'm currently writing about him, and in the process of trying to find a cheap copy of "The Last Temptation Of Christ" I ran into your review, and I was very impressed at how well you crystallized my own thoughts on that film; it's hard to be even-handed in matters of divinity and faith, and I can't tell you how much I agreed with most of everything you said regarding that film. I've never really so much hated that movie so much as had some gnawing reservations about some elements in it, and you got straight to the heart of the matter on things there that bugged. Encouraged, I decided to visit some of your other amazon.com reviews (as well as your prose on your website), and I was really heartened to see such intelligent and amusing criticism in regard to some of my favorite subjects (Bob Dylan, David Bowie, film noir, the many facets of patriotism, et al), especially as rendered in that rarest of rare birds: a worldview that's compassionate, liberal and Christian. Anyway, I ended up staying up way past my bedtime perusing your stuff, and I just wanted to write and tell you kudos!