Commentary Magazine


Topic: Orson Welles

Orson Welles on Pastrami

Yesterday Orson Welles would have turned 100 years old. That’s all the excuse I need to share this delightful COMMENTARY Symposium from July 1946, in which contributors, including Welles, offer their thoughts on the assorted pleasures of the Jewish deli. Pulled from the archives on this Throwback Thursday, here’s “From the American Scene: One Touch of Delicatessen”:

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New England Testimony
Samuel A. Persky

To Dismiss Ruth Glazer’s article on “The Jewish Delicatessen” as merely an amusing and nostalgic little essay, as I fear most readers might, would be a grave mistake.

My professional life, thus far bracketed between the reigns of Theodore and Franklin, has been devoted almost exclusively to the interests of malefactors of small wealth and bush-league economic royalists. Yet here I find myself spiritually attuned to a woman who has devoted her career to the labor movement.

Click here to read it all.

Yesterday Orson Welles would have turned 100 years old. That’s all the excuse I need to share this delightful COMMENTARY Symposium from July 1946, in which contributors, including Welles, offer their thoughts on the assorted pleasures of the Jewish deli. Pulled from the archives on this Throwback Thursday, here’s “From the American Scene: One Touch of Delicatessen”:

__

New England Testimony
Samuel A. Persky

To Dismiss Ruth Glazer’s article on “The Jewish Delicatessen” as merely an amusing and nostalgic little essay, as I fear most readers might, would be a grave mistake.

My professional life, thus far bracketed between the reigns of Theodore and Franklin, has been devoted almost exclusively to the interests of malefactors of small wealth and bush-league economic royalists. Yet here I find myself spiritually attuned to a woman who has devoted her career to the labor movement.

Click here to read it all.

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And the Best Picture Oscar Goes to … Everybody

I hate the new Best Picture scheme. Sure there are always laudable efforts that get overlooked when you reduce the nominees to five in number, but this list makes it seems as if all you had to do was get your film uploaded onto YouTube and you were in:

“Avatar”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9″
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”
“Up in the Air”

Where’s Underworld: Rise of the Lycans? Or Confessions of a Shopaholic?

And how is it that five of those Best Picture nominees didn’t also rate Best Director nods? Were they first-rate films helmed by second-rate talents?

What makes this all the more obnoxious is that the best film of 2009 is missing altogether: Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo. In case you haven’t seen it (which is almost a sure best), imagine that Federico Fellini, Quentin Tarantino, Ken Russell, and Oliver Stone collaborated on a fictionalized account of former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti’s career, and you’re almost there. Fast, funny, witty, creepy, telling — with an extraordinary performance by Toni Servillo, who plays Andreotti as Renfield to his own Dracula.

Oh well. I console myself that the greatest director this country ever produced, Orson Welles, never won a Best Director Oscar. (At least the second best, John Ford, won four, almost as a kind of compensation.) And of course, that Red Buttons never got a dinner…

I hate the new Best Picture scheme. Sure there are always laudable efforts that get overlooked when you reduce the nominees to five in number, but this list makes it seems as if all you had to do was get your film uploaded onto YouTube and you were in:

“Avatar”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9″
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”
“Up in the Air”

Where’s Underworld: Rise of the Lycans? Or Confessions of a Shopaholic?

And how is it that five of those Best Picture nominees didn’t also rate Best Director nods? Were they first-rate films helmed by second-rate talents?

What makes this all the more obnoxious is that the best film of 2009 is missing altogether: Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo. In case you haven’t seen it (which is almost a sure best), imagine that Federico Fellini, Quentin Tarantino, Ken Russell, and Oliver Stone collaborated on a fictionalized account of former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti’s career, and you’re almost there. Fast, funny, witty, creepy, telling — with an extraordinary performance by Toni Servillo, who plays Andreotti as Renfield to his own Dracula.

Oh well. I console myself that the greatest director this country ever produced, Orson Welles, never won a Best Director Oscar. (At least the second best, John Ford, won four, almost as a kind of compensation.) And of course, that Red Buttons never got a dinner…

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