Elia Kazan: A Life

Elia Kazan: A Life

Elia Kazan

Language: English

Pages: 848

ISBN: 0394559533

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Elia Kazan's varied life and career is related here in his autobiography. He reveals his working relationships with his many collaborators, including Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, James Dean, John Steinbeck and Darryl Zanuck, and describes his directing "style" as he sees it, in terms of position, movement, pace, rhythm and his own limitations. Kazan also retraces his own decision to inform for the House Un-American Activities Committee, illuminating much of what may be obscured in McCarthy literature.

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enough. You’re always trying to please other people and so keep everything together. Don’t worry about everyone’s approval. You can’t please everybody, ever.” “I know that,” I said, sounding huffy. “Well, then?” he said. “What does that mean—well, then?” I asked, ready for a quarrel. “Why do you try?” he said. “Her problem is not your problem, and the same goes for your wife. You can’t please them both. Please yourself. Try to find out what you want.” “That’s why I’m going overseas,” I said.

courthouse. Work was joy again. I’d found my way of making films. WHILE I was in Stamford shooting Boomerang, the following declaration appeared in The New York Times: “Harold Clurman, Elia Kazan and Walter Fried announce the formation of a new production company.… Scheduled for the first presentation of this new partnership is an untitled play by Arthur Miller, formerly known as The Sign of the Archer. It is reported that Franchot Tone will have an important interest in the new production.”

confess to a little corner of jealousy. Here I am in Hollywood, trying to bring a concrete slab to life, consoling myself with only one thought, to wit, ‘At least you won’t have to direct this!’ ” It was then that I saw that it had been a terrible mistake for Clifford to testify as he did. I saw the awful damage HUAC had done to a man I loved, and I regretted my influence on what had happened. But by that time—two years later—I had no regrets about my own actions. AFTER our talk that night,

disaster following hard on another. But he never stopped writing—and offering his chin for the knockout. Bob Anderson tells a story of the night when he attended a preview of The Seven Descents of Myrtle, written late in Williams’s life and certainly not one of his better plays. Just before the curtain was raised, the author slid into a side box. Yes, slid; his movements in public had become stealthy. He slumped deep into his seat, but some members of the audience noticed him, then others, and

as if he was offering me the solution to a riddle. “I’ll get you a mess of them when I get back,” I said. I was speaking to my son for the first time. “Where you going?” His eyes were still on the old Italians at their game. “You know what bears do in the winter, Leo? They find a deep, dark cave, crawl into it, and stay there through the stormy weather.” “What do they do there?” “They sleep or think or something. That’s what I’m going to do.” He looked at me and smiled. “You look like a

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