Critic Judith Crist on 'Let It Be'

Critic Judith Crist on 'Let It Be'


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Articles Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts for publication Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reviews (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Columbia University. Graduate School of Journalism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Crist, Judith Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Critics -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dramatic criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Film criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Film critics -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newspapers -- Sections, columns, etc -- Reviews Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Television criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Theater critics -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women authors, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women film critics -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women journalists -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Judith Crist (1922-2012), pioneering film critic: An appreciation

It was an age before cable, Sundance, video stores, and the Internet. For those of us coming of age, it was a heady time. Films were an international language of expression – the rise of the French new wave, post-neorealism, the underground film and independent film. Movies were considered the lively, seventh art.

The new generation of filmmakers brought brave, new and vital work to the screen. Universities had film clubs and a nearby art film house. One could see X-rated porn in a legit movie theater. It was the time before Hollywood lost the will and the courage to make movies that really mattered. It was also a time when inquiring minds read film reviews and criticism and took it seriously.

It wasn’t the phalanx of male film critics that fueled the rise of the new American film criticism — it was Judith Crist who paved the way.

Crist, who died August 7, was the first woman film critic for a daily newspaper and, almost at the same time, the film reviewer for TV’s Today program on NBC. Soon after, she was writing for TV Guide and New York magazine. Each week her reviews were either the kiss of death for exhibitors or a boost in that week’s box office. And while one doesn’t want to overestimate her power, at one point she was reaching over two million readers and scores more of TV viewers on a weekly basis. It drove the suits at the studios into apoplexy.

Critic Roger Ebert has credited Crist for making film criticism both lively and serious – and by extension, film buffs sought out other critics like Pauline Kael at The New Yorker, Andrew Sarris at the Village Voice and Dwight MacDonald in Esquire. The new era of film reviewing brought readers to consult these critics before and after a night at the movies. Film posters often carried their quotes above the film title.

Crist knew how to pinpoint a film’s strengths and weaknesses, whether she was writing a 500-word or a 25-word or less review. My favorite example of this: Crist’s review of Tora! Tora! Tora! She succinctly wrote: “Bora! Bora! Bora!” When she reviewed The Sound of Music, the first sentence of her review said it all: “If you have diabetes, stay away from this movie.”

After decimating the Liz Taylor-Richard Burton version of Cleopatra, she became the scourge of Hollywood, which banned her from advance screenings and tried to remove film advertising from the Herald Tribune. Director Otto Preminger called her, “Judas Crist.”

Crist was flexible and generous enough to change her mind about a film after initially giving a negative review or reviewing a genre film that wasn’t likely to play well in Middle America. After she panned 1967's Casino Royale, the film’s screenwriter Woody Allen sent her his original script. She saw that it had been ripped to shreds and little remained of what he had written. She told him he was right. They became friends over the years, with Allen asking Crist to play a part in his film Stardust Memories. She initially didn’t review the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night since her TV audience wouldn’t consider a teen film. However, after her young son raved about it, Crist attended an afternoon showing and loved it. She told her editor she was leading her segment with a review of the Beatles film.

Not one to shy from controversy, Crist reviewed the 1973 pornographic film Devil in Miss Jones for the Herald Tribune. She wrote that the star Georgina Spelvin “touched the emotions,” adding “for those whose taste it is, I say leave it lay.” Devil when on to earn $15 million in box office gross, making it one of the most successful films of 1973 right behind Paper Moon and Live and Let Die.

When she interviewed Federico Fellini, he invited her for coffee. She asked what made his brand of filmmaking different than Michelangelo Antonioni, the other celebrated Italian director. She later related that Fellini took a quarter on the table and said that Antonioni would look at the quarter and continue to gaze at it, and try to imagine what was on the other side. Fellini then took the quarter in his hand, flipped it, looked at both sides, and bit it to see if it was real. He then added, “That is how I approach filmmaking.” Crist used that story over the years with her creative writing classes at Columbia University, where she continued to teach until February of this year.

I met Crist twice. The first was at the University of Texas in Austin in 1966. I headed the student film society Cinema 40. By then Crist had already cemented her reputation as the first woman film critic at a daily newspaper and the first film woman reviewer on television.

She told us some wonderful stories of her experiences in doing TV and print film criticism. She asked us why we in Central Texas were so knowledgeable to the new burgeoning art and independent film explosion. We responded that we invited a number of filmmakers, films and critics because there was an enthusiasm for it. She applauded the idea.

Some 30 years later, I attended one of Crist’s film festival weekends at Tarrytown, New York. I felt transported back to my college days when we felt so passionate about films. She had over the years brought almost every major or rising filmmaker to her film seminars to discuss, debate, sleep, and party films. (Allen used her events as a template for his Stardust Memories.)

When asked how she would like to be remembered, she acknowledged that her validation by Dorothy Parker, her lifelong writing role model, was as rewarding as anything she hoped to achieve. Then, speaking in the third person about herself, she said: “She was a very good journalistic critic in her time. And by the way, she was the first woman on network television to review movies.”

Modesty aside, Judith, you did much more. You raised the bar several notches.

Film studies and criticism are flourishing in no small part due to your pioneering spirit. Your critical eye tempered with an ability to cut through the hype and approach film criticism on its entertainment and artistic value for the movie-going public is sorely absent in the writing of many of today’s wannabe film critics. We salute you and owe you a debt of gratitude. You were an American original. — Gregg Barrios

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Film critic Judith Crist dies at 90

NEW YORK (AP) - Judith Crist, a blunt and popular film critic for the “Today” show, TV Guide and the New York Herald Tribune whose reviews were at times so harsh that director Otto Preminger labeled her “Judas Crist,” has died. She was 90.

Her son, Steven Crist, said his mother died Tuesday at her Manhattan home after a long illness.

Starting in 1963, at the Tribune, Crist wrote about and discussed thousands of movies for millions of readers and viewers, and also covered theater and books.

She was the first woman to become a full-time critic at a major U.S. newspaper and was among the first reviewers of her time to gain a national following. Roger Ebert credited her with helping to make all film critics better known, including such contemporaries as The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris of the Village Voice.

With the growing recognition of such foreign directors as Francois Truffaut and Federico Fellini, and the rise of such American filmmakers as Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese, the 1960s and 1970s were an inspiring time for reviewers. Crist duly celebrated many movies, but her trademark quickly became the putdown.

An early review was for “Spencer’s Mountain,” a sentimental family melodrama starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara. Unmoved by a story that became the basis for the TV series “The Waltons,” Crist denounced the film’s “sheer prurience and perverted morality” and cracked that “it makes the nudie shows at the Rialto look like Walt Disney productions.”

The critic really poured it on for “Cleopatra,” the budget-busting historical epic that starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and was overwhelmed by the actors’ off-screen love affair. “At best a major disappointment, at worst an extravagant exercise in tedium,” Crist called the film, dismissing Taylor as “an entirely physical creature, no depth of emotion apparent in her kohl-laden eyes, no modulation in her voice, which too often rises to fishwife levels.”

Her conclusion: “The mountain of notoriety has produced a mouse.”

Crist was occasionally banned from advance screenings, while studios and theaters would threaten to pull advertising. When her “Cleopatra” review brought her a prize from the New York Newspaper Women’s Club, officials at 20th Century Fox, which released the movie, withdrew from the ceremony.

Preminger, whose “Hurry Sundown” she called the “worst film” she had seen in memory, referred to her as “Judas Crist.” After she condemned Billy Wilder’s cross-dressing classic “Some Like It Hot” for its “perverse” gags and “homosexual `in’ joke(s),” Wilder allegedly remarked that asking her to review your movie was like “asking the Boston strangler to massage your neck.”

But Crist had many friends in the business, from Bette Davis to “Cleopatra” director Joseph Mankiewicz. She ran a film festival for decades out of suburban Tarrytown, N.Y., with guests including Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Steven Spielberg. Woody Allen liked her well enough to give her a cameo in his 1980 drama “Stardust Memories,” widely believed to have been based in part on Crist’s Tarrytown gatherings.

She was born in New York in 1922 and would say that Charlie Chaplin’s silent masterpiece “The Gold Rush” was her first and most vivid film memory. By age 10, she had decided she wanted to be a reviewer movies became her passion and her vice. She would cut classes for a chance to visit a theater or two, including a cherished day in which she took in showings of “Gone With the Wind,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Grand Illusion.”

Her edge was likely formed by her Dickensian childhood. The daughter of a successful fur trader, she lived in Canada until age 9, attending private school, enjoying the luxuries of multiple homes, live-in servants and the family’s bulletproof Cadillac. But in the 1930s, her father’s business was ruined by the Great Depression.

“And then suddenly, our most gracious home was gone. The servants left,” she wrote years later in Time magazine. “After we lost the last of our homes, we moved to New York to get some kind of assistance from my mother’s family. Well, from both of my parents’ families. We lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment while my father went out on the road, recouping things.”

She still managed to attend Hunter College and receive a master’s degree from Columbia University’s journalism school. In 1945, soon after graduation, she was hired as a feature writer by the Herald Tribune, where she remained until the paper closed, in 1966, and where colleagues included Jimmy Breslin and Tom Wolfe. In 1950, her education reporting brought her a George Polk Award, and she was honored five times by the New York Newspaper Woman’s Club.

Crist reviewed film and theater for the “Today” show from 1964-73, and as a print critic worked for New York magazine, TV Guide and the New York Post. She was a longtime adjunct professor at Columbia and her essays, interviews and reviews have been compiled into three books: “The Private Eye, The Cowboy and the Very Naked Girl,” “Judith Crist’s TV Guide to the Movies” and “Take 22: Moviemakers on Moviemaking.”

Crist’s husband, public relations consultant William B. Crist, died in 1993. Their son, Steven Crist, covered horse racing for The New York Times and later became publisher of the Daily Racing Form.

According to Columbia, a private burial is planned, with a public memorial possible in September.

AP Movie Writer David Germain contributed to this story from Los Angeles.


CRIST, Judith

Judith Crist attended Hunter College (A.B., 1941) and Columbia College (M.S., 1945). She began her career of film reviewer and critic as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribunein 1945, moving on to editor for the arts (1960-63), film critic and associate drama critic (1963-66), and then to film critic for the New York World Journal Tribune (1966-67). Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Crist could be found almost everywhere as her reputation became firmly established as a film commentator for NBC-TV's Today Show (1963-73) contributing editor and film critic for TV Guide (1966-87) contributor and critic-at-large for Ladies' Home Journal (1966-67), as well as a contributor to Vogue, Look, The Washingtonian, and other mass-market publications. She was also a film critic for New York magazine (1968-75), Palm Springs Life (1971-75), Saturday Review (1975-77), and the New York Post (1977-78).

Through her collected New York Herald Tribune reviews, key events in the film world are documented in a first book, The Private Eye, the Cowboy and the Very Naked Girl: Movies from Cleo to Clyde (1968), followed by a second book on film, TV Guide to the Movies (1974). Crist also contributed to several other books written during the 1970s, including Censorship: For and Against (1971), Marriage: For and Against (1972), and Favorite Movies (1972). Beginning in 1971, she organized a series of Judith Crist Film Weekends in Tarrytown, New York, to allow film professionals, including actors, directors, producers, and screenwriters, to interact with movie buffs and academics. Crist collected transcripts from several of these sessions for a book called Take 22: Moviemakers on Moviemaking (1984, reissued 1991), which she edited with Shirley Sealey. The book includes illuminating anecdotes about both the creative and business angles of the movie industry.

While working on her books, Crist was still reviewing for a number of magazines and organizations, including the Saturday Review (she left in 1977 and returned for 1980-84). In the late 1980s, she was the arts critic for WWOR-TV (Channel 9 News) from 1981-87, and provided film reviews for both Coming Attractions and Hollywood magazine from 1985 through 1993.

Crist is a charter member of an important cultural group: that of women film critics, including such luminaries as Pauline Kael, Penelope Gilliatt, Renata Adler, and Susan Sontag, who lead the burgeoning art form not only by virtue of their extensive backgrounds in film history but also as innovators in prose style (often sardonic, opinionated, and personal), in a serious yet ironic attitude toward their subject, and in setting forth new definitions, standards, and ideals of film aesthetics and effects.

Writing for the general audience of the mass media—the film and, increasingly, the television-movie audience—and feeling she was serving a broad popular readership rather than the elite circles of critics and intellectuals who see movies as "filmic art," Crist is known for her Consumer Reports-style orientation toward film. These reports address the external meanings of subject matter, values, and impact, rather than the film's internal symbolism and aesthetic hence, her concern with issues of sex, violence, and stereotyping of all kinds.

As a self-proclaimed "journalistic critic with no pretensions to esoterica," Crist's position is one of spokesperson for the moviegoer and "fan," not for the elite cineast type of film expert. Crist's ascerbic critical style as a "snide, sarcastic, supercilious bitch" earned her the enmity of film and news industries alike. Her scathing review of the then-huge budgeted Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, for example, caused an uproar and an upset in news and film industry relations. Her brash outspokenness, in the face of studio and film advertising agencies' reprisals, was naturally accompanied by a concern with freedom of speech for the film critic. Crist's own experiences have made her a crusader against the low state of newspaper criticism, whose content is all too easily compromised by the film industry through advertising dollars and the influence of movie moguls on publishers. Crist attributes her anti-industry breakthroughs in film reviewing to the liberal and progressive policies of John Hay Whitney, whose 1960 acquisition of the Herald Tribune "began an era of critical freedom that had not and has not been equaled." These practices and principles give Crist's work a mandate going well beyond providing recommendations for good films and criticisms against bad ones.

Believing with critic James Agee that "film criticism is a conversation between moviegoers," Crist dedicates her work to the idea that the first purpose of criticism is to stimulate the audience's response by offering judgements purposefully controversial and volatile, provoking the individual to draw upon their own responses to make personal judgements of film either in accord with or in conflict against those of the assertive and self-assured critic.


Remembering Judith Crist, Savage Critic and Inspirational Mentor: One Student’s Appreciation

Film Critic Judith Crist at the Festival of India Diaspora in New York City on November 1, 2001.

Judith Crist was a force of nature. Depending on your age, you may have known the film critic best by her byline in the New York Herald Tribune, her early morning critiques on the Today show or the crop of emerging American filmmakers (Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen) she championed. I was one of the few lucky enough to know her as a teacher — the smartest, harshest and most inspiring mentor of my life.

One of the unshakable pillars of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she taught for 50 years, Crist continued to shape and mold young writers until this past spring. She died Tuesday at the age of the 90 — read a full appreciation here — and I am willing to venture that my personal tribute to her will be only the first of many to follow. There is a sizable Crist contingent working in journalism today — critics, essayists and writers who were driven to write savvier, and think bigger, by this professor’s blunt assessments. Nothing stung more than her red scrawl in the margins, but nothing was more rewarding than her appraisal that you had taken a commanding stance and argued your point persuasively.

It is a credit to her fervent talent that she could so quickly and decisively dissect and dismiss a phrase, an opinion or a critical assessment. But it is a credit to her warmth and compassion that she channeled such confident expertise into lifting up the next generation of tastemakers. When I auditioned for Crist’s class in 2005, she must have seen right through this naïve Midwestern transplant. She asked why I was here, and what I hoped to accomplish, and I pointed to the influence that Roger Ebert’s criticism had had on my lifelong obsession with film. She said she remembered meeting Ebert, that he seemed to be fan of hers. That night I Googled the two together and arrived at the 1990 Chicago Tribune article that cited Ebert’s praise of Crist: “The high profile of film critics actually can be traced by to Judith Crist at the New York Herald Tribune in the early 󈨀s…Crist attacked ‘Cleopatra’ and was banned by Fox from their screenings, and that got an avalanche of national publicity, which led to every paper in the country saying, ‘Hey, we ought to get a real movie critic.’ When I got my job in 󈨇, that was still part of the fallout from Crist.”

If Ebert inspired my journey, Crist inspired his, and so it was with great trepidation that I filed my assignments in her class. Challenging us to critique everything from professional artworks to public spaces, Crist placed a special emphasis on peer review — choosing a handful of assignments each class to be read aloud without byline, and to open the floor to comments from the class. These were agonizing but unforgettable interactions, leaving exposed and insecure writers aware of their printed flaws while the remainder of the class was subtly converted into more discerning and demanding editors. To some degree, those charged readings and communal assessments emerged as her real teaching legacy. I can recall how obvious my writing flaws became when read aloud, as well as how illuminating it was to hear my peers twist and tear at my arguments. I also remember how three weeks in her class instantly made me a more critical reader and self-editor, leaving me much more inclined to scrutinize my own work for the flaws that she would inevitably find. Whereas other criticism instructors may have focused on the fine art of dissection, Crist was a mainstream reviewer who relished in the interaction. Anyone could have an opinion, she would tell me, and it was a critic’s responsibility to take a stand, whip up discussion, and embrace one’s ego.

As a student still learning the ropes, questioning the value of my opinion and my grasp of film history, it was a powerful point for Crist to make: the value of my review was to be found in the authority of my voice, and my willingness to construct prose as precisely and palpably as possible. So much about writing comes down to confidence, and Judith Crist was a master at obliterating arrogance into humility, and then building students back up with skill, voice and poise.

Halfway into the course, not long after I received a particularly scathing edit of a piece that questioned not just my appraisal but also my background facts, I somehow found the nerve to ask Crist to line edit my three most cherished film reviews to date. She agreed, and I printed out the pieces (she was always averse to e-mails), and when the final day of class came and went, I assumed she had forgotten all about the request. But near the end of the semester, when she invited the class over to her Upper West Side home for cocktails, she handed me a sealed envelope with meticulous, exhaustive notes. There were dismissals (“we can skip the clichés”) and irritated asides (“this paragraph is quite pointless”) to spare. But in the years to come, as I continued to return to this red blueprint of what not to do, bristling at all the excised paragraphs and crisscrossing arrows that suggested a new order for my argumentation, I started to see beyond her critiques. She was also careful to dot the reviews with words of encouragement and praise, noting hints of a fully formed opinion that I had shied away from, and seeing glimpses of the confident zealousness that she said defined every great critic.

I had a lot to learn, still have a lot to learn, and Judith Crist made sure that her students always thought that. But she also saw the talent that was evident, and hinted at the path that would get us from here to there. Rare are the teachers who lodge themselves into a pupil’s soul, but Crist’s class was ultimately about a whole lot more than words on paper, and her influence extended well past a passing grade. She shaped the way Hollywood and Main Street thought about movies, and challenged a generation of critics to maintain the standards she helped to create. I’m pretty sure she’d have an issue here with my grandiosity — I can see her questioning the word count wasted on sentimental excess — but I would retort that we all have an obligation to sing the praises of those who defined our lives. I might not be fully qualified to assess Judith Crist the film critic, but I can tell you with that she was one of the world’s great teachers. And given the remembrances already rolling in to the Columbia journalism school’s website, I’m hardly alone.


Judith Crist and The Persistence of Wisdom

Judith Crist 1922-2012

Movie critics are not, by and large, a nurturing lot. We make snarky comments before screenings, gossip about celebrities, and pool our collective genius for annual Best of the Year awards. It's the rare critic who takes a younger colleague under his or her wing.

I have no idea if legendary critic Judith Crist , who died at age 90 on August 7, ever consciously guided a fledgling critic along, but she did have a profound impact on me, one spring day in 1972.

Crist had just spoken to an auditorium full of high school students during the Columbia Scholastic Press Association convention at Columbia University. I don't recall what her topic was I do remember she seemed impossibly cool (in retrospect, that cool may have been detachment as Crist, an adjunct professor at Columbia, collected an easy honorarium in exchange for a stroll across campus).

As she exited the hall, a small knot of students, including me, gathered around her. They peppered her with questions, mostly about how they, too, could enter the glamorous, high-paying world of film criticism (Her advice, as I remember it: "Write for free until you find someone silly enough to pay you to do it.")

Her eyes somehow settled on mine, and I blurted out a question that had been vexing me for some time, ever since I wrote a truly bad (in every sense of the word) review of an ambitious-yet-awful Michael York film called Zeppelin .

"Do you ever feel badly," I asked, "when you know people have worked really hard and spent a lot of money on a movie, but you give it a bad review ?"

Now she was staring at me, and the slightly bored cast over her eyes vanished.

"You just can't," she said. "I worried about that, too, until one day Bosley Crowther (her competitor over at The New York Times) told me he was thinking about quitting. He said, 'The minute you start to worry about the people behind the camera, that's when you have to find something else to do.'"

Crist, it seems, took Crowther's advice to heart: She became known as Hollywood's most hated critic. Inviting Judith Crist to review your movie, Billy Wilder said, was "like asking the Boston Strangler for a neck massage."

Crist lingered for a while to take more questions, and I filed away her words of wisdom. I've occasionally pulled them out, dusted them off, and tried to take them to heart. But their truly profound effect, I've found, has been in fostering in me the notion of a continuum among the men and women who practice this craft of criticism.

Here it is 2012, and I'm still drawing upon 40-year-old wisdom from a writer who, years before that, gathered that wisdom from a writer who'd been sitting in dark rooms and writing about movies since before World War II (Crowther reviewed Citizen Kane for the Times ). He'd been handed the reins at the Times by Frank Nugent (who went on to become one of Hollywood's greatest screenwriters), who succeeded Andre Sennwald, who came after Mordaunt Hall, the first bylined Times film critic, who was born barely a decade after the Civil War (he probably reviewed Birth of a Nation , which to him may have resembled a home movie).

Did those gentlemen pass similar words of wisdom to each other? I can't know that. But that advice I got from Judith Crist that afternoon-and which I hope to pass on to someone, some day, if they'll only ask-can in some form or other trace its DNA to a time when the movies were little more than flickering shadows on a storefront wall.

It's a lesson to me, and a lesson to anyone who has spent a lifetime accumulating experience and perhaps even wisdom .


RIP Judith Crist

A big day for deaths in the arts--three in one day (Hamlisch, Robert Hughes, Judith Crist).

She never got the love from intellectuals that Pauline Kael received, but she was at one point the most read film critic in the entire nation. And she could be very funny when she zinged movies she didn't like.

Was she as big a critic in the bedroom?

I loved her tagline to that dreadful Warren Beatty-Leslie Caron flick in 1965: "Promise Her Anything" - but don't take her to this.

Pretty soon all the really smart and talented people will have kicked off this mortal coil and we'll be left with the Kardashians and Bieber.

I thought she was already dead but then I realized I was thinking of Pauline Kael.

This is interesting, from the NY Times obit, about her career as a reporter:

[quote]She saw her first “blue” movie as the only woman covering Senate hearings on pornography in New York in 1945. Her male colleagues insisted that she leave the room during their private screening of the film in question, “Breaking In Blondie.” The unbuttoning scene was just beginning when she had to leave.

[quote]Her pocketbook gave her an advantage, however, while covering a news conference for a new Marilyn Monroe film. When Monroe broke a shoulder strap, Ms. Crist supplied her with a safety pin and was granted an exclusive interview.

Those were the day, huh, girls?

R3, why don't you just fuck off, you dried-up old hag. I get so tired of you eldergays reducing current pop culture to the most obvious shit.

There's always been Kardasians and Biebers. Always.

I recall she looked somewhat like Julia Child.

[quote]There's always been Kardasians and Biebers. Always.

And always will be. Always!

Didn't she also have a column in the old TV Guide?

Now the only person we have left who knows squat about films is Richard Finegan.

She was by-lined in TV Guide, R10. Did they summarize her movie reviews or something?

She always struck me as a poor man's Pauline Kael. She was Jayne Mansfield to Kael's Marilyn.

I read her in TV Guide growing up. I remember she'd review an upcoming movie on TV or two I don't think they were rehashes on condensations.

Film critic Judith Crist taught her students well

For more than 50 years the late Judith Crist passed on her passion for the craft of film reviewing, changing lives, including this Times critic's, along the way.

By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

Who remembers the great names of the city room? In a single generation, someone said, paraphrasing Kipling, they are one with Nineveh and Tyre, covered over with dust and forgotten.

Which is one reason why it was so satisfying to see the sizable obituaries for film critic Judith Crist, who died Tuesday at age 90. Though regularly passed over in the deserved attention paid to the twin towers of Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael, Crist was a force to be reckoned with in her prime, writing successively for the New York Herald Tribune, New York Magazine and TV Guide and appearing regularly on "The Today Show."

But to me Judith Crist was not just an illustrious professional forebearer. She was the person who more than anyone else made me a critic. More years ago than I want to remember, I took her class in film reviewing at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and nothing has been the same since.

I had always loved film and loved writing, but I had never really thought about putting the two of them together until that class. It was Judith Crist who first made me believe I could do this professionally, and, as anyone who ever met her knows, when Judith Crist spoke, you listened.

Though she was not the only critic who taught, no one passed on the art and craft of journalistic reviewing with as much passion or longevity as she did. Crist taught that criticism class for more than 50 years, longer than anyone taught any single course in the entire history of the journalism school. She was still teaching it this past February, and her other alumni include film critic David Denby of the New Yorker and New York Times critics Anna Kisselgoff and Margo Jefferson.

While it's an occupational hazard for critics to be inwardly directed, to focus exclusively and excessively on their own thoughts, in both her reviewing and her teaching Crist was outwardly motivated. She wrote to help people decide what to see, and she taught because she wanted to pass on a way of writing and thinking she felt was worth promulgating.

One of the many things Crist's workshop class taught was that what was important was not whether you liked or disliked a given film, but how you articulated those feelings. She went over our weekly review assignments meticulously, pointing out what worked and what didn't, and though she had a reputation for savage lines, she was far from an advocate of scorched-earth criticism.

"Resist the temptation," she said more than once, "to sell your grandmother down the river for a good line." Showing off was not the point of criticism, and anything you said, even a flashy line, had to be in the service of a point you were making. Though she never explicitly said you had to love film to do this job well, it was implicit in everything she did.

Crist took her students to the same screenings she attended, and as much as anything she schooled us in screening room etiquette, making sure we respected the perks of the job. Being on time was critical, as was not screaming your thoughts across a crowded room. After the film was over, she mandated silence about your opinion until you were at least a block away from the theater, considering anything else rudeness to the host. These are rules I try to follow to this day.

Though it wasn't part of the curriculum, Crist also passed on pithy career advice. One of my favorites was wisdom she heard from a commencement speaker at her own high school graduation: "The secret to success is written on the doors of this auditorium. One side says 'Push,' the other side says 'Pull.'"

Judith Crist, however, did more than place me on a career path. She showed, by example, the power and value of teaching. She demonstrated how much influence you can have on a young student's life by intelligent encouragement. Because of what her class meant to me, I've taught an identical one for more than a dozen years, first at Berkeley and now at USC, and nothing makes me prouder than seeing my former students find gainful employment as critics, writers, even at one point my editor here at The Times.

When I received the Columbia Journalism School's Alumni Award a few years ago, I was more than pleased that Crist was in the audience when I accepted it. In my speech I talked about a concept in Yiddish culture called "die goldene keit," "the golden chain" of language that links generations. Though I didn't know it at the time, her class made me a link in that kind of a chain, something I am grateful for to this day.

Jesus Crist! I thought she died years ago.

Did you know she lost her job at Playgirl magazine when she panned Babs' "A Star is Born." Complete proof that the magazine was only read by gays and fraus.

I think there is a certain intelligence which is dying off.. which is sad and scary

I thought she died years ago too.

Crist was well known way back when because she wrote for TV Guide, and I think she also wrote for New York and Saturday Review. I think I remember reading somewhere she was on the Today Show in the 1960s I think. But I wouldn't compare her with Kael. Kathleen Carroll maybe.

Andrew Sarris (who died a couple of months ago) is the one critic I'll miss - if only because his Village Vocie articles are what made me to take films seriously.

Or Andrew Tsuris, as Meryl Streep called him after he basically called her a one-trick pony.

On the "Today" show, she outed Chuck Conners. She viewed the Sailor/Marine gay porn film said to be Connors and announced that there is not the slightest doubt that it's Connors in the film. He died 20 years ago.

Before Gene Shalit was the film critic on the "Today" show, Judith Crist had the job. She once did a feature on porn that was popular in that much sexually freer era and one of the things she talked about was Chuck Connors gay porn film. She stated emphatically that there was no mistaking Connors in that silent b&w film. It involved a sailor and a Marine who got undressed and had sex in the bushes. It was just a short film that lasted less than 5 minutes.

Naturally, they didn't show any film clips of the movies she was discussing.

If you're shocked at this revelation being discussed on TV, you have to remember that when celebs like Jackie Kennedy went with friends to see "Deep Throat" or "I Am Curious (Yellow)" it was usually mentioned in NY papers of the day along with other party news. This was before Fundies ran the media and the country.

I wonder if Tony Danza will be at the funeral. Or that gay kid?

Jesus Christ is giving up drag? What a pity.

[quote]why don't you just fuck off, you dried-up old hag. I get so tired of you eldergays reducing current pop culture to the most obvious shit.

Wow, you are so sad that you actually defend obvious shit.

It's to her credit that she called out The Sound of Music for the piece of shit it is.

Actually, the early reviews were so bad, Fox thought they had a bomb on their hands. Never underestimate the public's appetite for sentimental, saccharine garbage.


Tributes To Those We Lost in 2012

Judith Crist was a force of nature. Depending on your age, you may have known the film critic best by her byline in the New York Herald Tribune, her early morning critiques on the Today show or the crop of emerging American filmmakers (Steven Spielberg,Woody Allen) she championed. I was one of the few lucky enough to know her as a teacher — the smartest, harshest and most inspiring mentor of my life.

One of the unshakable pillars of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she taught for 50 years, Crist continued to shape and mold young writers until this past spring. She died Tuesday at the age of the 90 — read a full appreciation here — and I am willing to venture that my personal tribute to her will be only the first of many to follow. There is a sizable Crist contingent working in journalism today — critics, essayists and writers who were driven to write savvier, and think bigger, by this professor’s blunt assessments. Nothing stung more than her red scrawl in the margins, but nothing was more rewarding than her appraisal that you had taken a commanding stance and argued your point persuasively.

It is a credit to her fervent talent that she could so quickly and decisively dissect and dismiss a phrase, an opinion or a critical assessment. But it is a credit to her warmth and compassion that she channeled such confident expertise into lifting up the next generation of tastemakers. When I auditioned for Crist’s class in 2005, she must have seen right through this naïve Midwestern transplant. She asked why I was here, and what I hoped to accomplish, and I pointed to the influence that Roger Ebert’s criticism had had on my lifelong obsession with film. She said she remembered meeting Ebert, that he seemed to be fan of hers. That night I Googled the two together and arrived at the 1990 Chicago Tribune article that cited Ebert’s praise of Crist: “The high profile of film critics actually can be traced by to Judith Crist at the New York Herald Tribune in the early ’60s…Crist attacked ‘Cleopatra’ and was banned by Fox from their screenings, and that got an avalanche of national publicity, which led to every paper in the country saying, ‘Hey, we ought to get a real movie critic.’ When I got my job in ’67, that was still part of the fallout from Crist.”

If Ebert inspired my journey, Crist inspired his, and so it was with great trepidation that I filed my assignments in her class. Challenging us to critique everything from professional artworks to public spaces, Crist placed a special emphasis on peer review — choosing a handful of assignments each class to be read aloud without byline, and to open the floor to comments from the class. These were agonizing but unforgettable interactions, leaving exposed and insecure writers aware of their printed flaws while the remainder of the class was subtly converted into more discerning and demanding editors. To some degree, those charged readings and communal assessments emerged as her real teaching legacy. I can recall how obvious my writing flaws became when read aloud, as well as how illuminating it was to hear my peers twist and tear at my arguments. I also remember how three weeks in her class instantly made me a more critical reader and self-editor, leaving me much more inclined to scrutinize my own work for the flaws that she would inevitably find. Whereas other criticism instructors may have focused on the fine art of dissection, Crist was a mainstream reviewer who relished in the interaction. Anyone could have an opinion, she would tell me, and it was a critic’s responsibility to take a stand, whip up discussion, and embrace one’s ego.

As a student still learning the ropes, questioning the value of my opinion and my grasp of film history, it was a powerful point for Crist to make: the value of my review was to be found in the authority of my voice, and my willingness to construct prose as precisely and palpably as possible. So much about writing comes down to confidence, and Judith Crist was a master at obliterating arrogance into humility, and then building students back up with skill, voice and poise.

Halfway into the course, not long after I received a particularly scathing edit of a piece that questioned not just my appraisal but also my background facts, I somehow found the nerve to ask Crist to line edit my three most cherished film reviews to date. She agreed, and I printed out the pieces (she was always averse to e-mails), and when the final day of class came and went, I assumed she had forgotten all about the request. But near the end of the semester, when she invited the class over to her Upper West Side home for cocktails, she handed me a sealed envelope with meticulous, exhaustive notes. There were dismissals (“we can skip the clichés”) and irritated asides (“this paragraph is quite pointless”) to spare. But in the years to come, as I continued to return to this red blueprint of what not to do, bristling at all the excised paragraphs and crisscrossing arrows that suggested a new order for my argumentation, I started to see beyond her critiques. She was also careful to dot the reviews with words of encouragement and praise, noting hints of a fully formed opinion that I had shied away from, and seeing glimpses of the confident zealousness that she said defined every great critic.

I had a lot to learn, still have a lot to learn, and Judith Crist made sure that her students always thought that. But she also saw the talent that was evident, and hinted at the path that would get us from here to there. Rare are the teachers who lodge themselves into a pupil’s soul, but Crist’s class was ultimately about a whole lot more than words on paper, and her influence extended well past a passing grade. She shaped the way Hollywood and Main Street thought about movies, and challenged a generation of critics to maintain the standards she helped to create. I’m pretty sure she’d have an issue here with my grandiosity — I can see her questioning the word count wasted on sentimental excess — but I would retort that we all have an obligation to sing the praises of those who defined our lives. I might not be fully qualified to assess Judith Crist the film critic, but I can tell you with that she was one of the world’s great teachers. And given the remembrances already rolling in to the Columbia journalism school’s website, I’m hardly alone.


Death of film critic Judith Crist

Judith Crist once said that a critic must be an egomaniac. But she went on to say that a larger job requirement was passion—perhaps even love—for what movies are, do, and can be.

“Amid all the easily loved darlings of Charlie Brown’s circle, obstreperous Lucy holds a special place in my heart,” she said. “She fusses and fumes and she carps and complains. That’s because Lucy cares. And it’s the caring that counts.”

Crist was network TV's first theater and film critic on the Today show from 1963 to 1973. Along with her reviews in the weekly TV Guide, she had the largest mass appeal of any American film critic.

Judith Klein was born in Manhattan on May 22, 1922. Her family moved to Montreal when she was an infant, and she spent her first twelve years there before moving back to New York. Her father, Solomon Klein, had business interests in furs and jewelry but lost everything in the Depression. He became a traveling salesman and amateur inventor. Her mother, the former Helen Schoenberg, was a librarian and translator.

But she became a “movie nut,” she said, when she saw Charlie Chaplin's Gold Rush. She began sneaking out to the movies, telling her mother that she was swimming at the Y or studying at the library. She later said she might have made Phi Beta Kappa at Hunter College in Manhattan had she not cut class so many times to go to the movies. "The greatest day of my life I cut school and went to see Gone With the Wind at the Capitol for 25 cents, then across the street to the Rialto to see The Grapes of Wrath and down to 42nd Street for Grand Illusion on Broadway," she said in an interview with Eve's Magazine. "And there was still 75 cents left over to sustain us with an enormous chunk of many-layered whipped cream pie at Hector's."

Crist went on to do graduate work in 18th-century English literature at Columbia, teach at Washington State University, become a civilian English instructor for the Air Force and attend the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia, finishing her degree in 1945. Her first job at The Herald Tribune was assistant to the women’s editor. In 1947 she married William Crist, a PR consultant. After becoming a general-assignment reporter, she won a George Polk Award in 1951 for her education coverage. From 1958 until shortly before her death, Crist was an adjunct professor of writing at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

It was during a newspaper strike in 1963 that she took up the assignment of reviewing theatre and movies for WABC. Those reviews brought her to the notice of the Today show as well as her employers at the Tribune. They named her their movie critic on April 1, 1963. A month later, her negative review of the blockbuster Cleopatra (which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) “as a monumental mouse” added to her notoriety. There were threats by film companies to ban her from their screenings. But the critic Roger Ebert told The Chicago Tribune in 1999 that the movie industry’s retaliation for her commentary “led to every newspaper in the country saying, ‘Hey, we ought to get a real movie critic.’ ”

She became notorious for her cutting reviews, leading director Billy Wilder to observe, “Getting her to review a film is like asking the Boston Strangler for a neck massage.” Of The Sound of Music, a box-office smash in 1965 and one of the most popular films of all time, she said, “The movie is for the 5-to-7 set and their mommies who think the kids aren’t up to the stinging sophistication and biting wit of Mary Poppins. ” Of the 1967 Otto Preminger film, Hurry Sundown, she wrote, “For to say that Hurry Sundown is the worst film of the still-young year is to belittle it. It stands with the worst films of any number of years.”

But she championed filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen, in whose 1980 movie Stardust Memories she made a cameo appearance. "If you're going to be a movie fan, you take Bond as seriously as you do the grand auteurism of Bergman," she explained.

Ms. Crist published a collection of reviews, The Private Eye, the Cowboy, and the Very Naked Girl: Movies From Cleo to Clyde (1968) and edited, designed, or contributed to several more books. She also held Judith Crist Film Weekends near her home in Tarrytown, New York, each attended by about 200 people, including actors and filmmakers, from 1971 to 2006.

She once said of herself, “The critics who love are the severe ones. We know our relationship must be based on honesty.”

Sources: “Judith Crist dies at 90 film critic ‘most hated by Hollywood,’” Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2012 “Judith Crist, a Blunt and Influential Film Critic, Dies at 90,” New York Times, August 8, 2012 “Judith Crist obituary,” The Guardian, August 10, 2012 “Judith Crist: Queen Mother of Critics,” Eve’s Magazine “Judith Crist,” Archive of American Television.


Watch the video: Rare Bill Lyric from Let It Be Movie Outtake


Comments:

  1. Woolcott

    Well, well ... it will be necessary to take a closer look at this area :)

  2. Mikalkis

    I absolutely agree with you. This is a good idea. I support you.

  3. Shajind

    It is remarkable, rather amusing piece

  4. Haligwiella

    Happens ... Such accidental coincidence

  5. Kigazragore

    I suggest you try google.com and you will find all the answers there.

  6. Morrey

    Really and as I have not thought about it earlier

  7. Taugis

    at you the inquisitive mind :)



Write a message