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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008

Raving about Otto Preminger

Otto Preminger’s stage and screen Nazis (think Stalag 17) may well have provided a perverse, self-styled role model for the famous director, one he developed with tyrannical relish off-screen as well. According to Foster Hirsch in his stunning, eminently readable biography, Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would be King (Alfred Knopf), the filmmaker’s Prussians registered with conviction, yielding none of the serpentine sophistication that made Conrad Veidt’s characterization in Casablanca an intellectual delight.
A&E Feature
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008

Salome on stage

Richard Strauss’ Salome is one of the world's great operas, combining the last remnants of 19th-century Romanticism with a ravishing score, seeped in late- Viennese tradition but with the bite of the emerging 20thcentury trend toward harsher realism. Strauss’ glorious score transforms the sexual decadence and social depravity of the source material into a breathtaking harmonic outpouring of frenzied erotic frustration that can only self-destruct, conjuring up the awesome trappings of “terror and pity” that underline Aristotelian tragedy. The music is expressively melodious and carefully banks its resources within a seductive yet surprisingly subdued lyricism. Salome encompasses the torrent of high drama while leaning only slightly toward . . .
A&E Feature
Friday, Dec. 14, 2007

The Best Vs. the Rest

Movies have not been around long enough to acquire a degree of prestige comparable to music and literature. The older art forms are generally regarded as monumental artifacts . . .

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