‘I get awful intense about these movies I do. I become, in fact, obsessed with them.’ So Elia Kazan (1909–2003) wrote to his daughter in 1957. A workaholic, Kazan was both extremely self-assured and plagued by self-doubt, terrified he would produce mediocrity. He rarely did. As a stage and screen director he achieved remarkable success. Kazan was an egotist, and the confidence he exhibited publicly, and in these letters, is at once impressive and repugnant.
The letters of Kazan
The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan
edited by Albert J. Devlin with Marlene J. Devlin
Knopf, US$40 hb, 649 pp, 9780307267160
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Eloise Ross is completing a PhD in film studies at La Trobe University. She is a writer and researcher specialising in Hollywood film history, sound studies, and phenomenology. She works for the Melbourne Cinémathèque and helps out at Screening the Past.
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