Elia Kazan: A Biography

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He enables us to understand the excitement with which the Group Theatre staged those s productions and the enthusiasm with which they were received.

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If to us they seem like crude agitprop, to the Group and their admirers they were revolutionary. For him direction was not a matter of coaching actors but rather of turning psychological, interior phenomena into external behavior.

Elia Kazan: A Biography

He liked to allow actors an opportunity to invent, and he worked with them extensively in rehearsals, helping them help him flesh out the characters and the action. But his accounts, however brief, of the film projects Kazan engaged in on the downside of his career are affecting. One is that Schickel does not always seem to have read the books he lists in his bibliography. The struggle Kazan must have engaged in before coming to that point would have been a fascinating and rather expected topic for a biography to explore.

Early work

This oversight is suggestive of another, more serious flaw in the book. Schickel seems oddly unengaged in his subject.

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Kazan's career was interrupted by his interactions with the House Un-American Activities Committee, a federal committee that was investigating Americans' ties to Communism at the time. He also named eight fellow Group Theatre members who had joined the party.

However, Kazan made a professional comeback in with On the Waterfront , starring Marlon Brando as a dockworker and former boxer who confronts the corrupt, mob-run unions of his blue-collar New Jersey neighborhood. Brando and Kazan were both awarded Oscars for their work in this film.

Force of Nature

Kazan had several additional film successes in the early s. America, America , a film based on Kazan's own family background, earned him his final Oscar nomination for best director.

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He directed an acclaimed stage production of Arthur Miller's After the Fall in Kazan wrote several novels in the s and '70s, and in , he published a biography titled Elia Kazan: A Life. He was awarded an honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar in This award created some controversy in Hollywood, where not everyone had forgiven Kazan's cooperation in the '50s with the HUAC.

Kazan died on September 28, , at the age of 94, in New York City. He had been married three times: to playwright Molly Day Thacher from until her death in , actress Barbara Loden from until her death in and Frances Rudge in We strive for accuracy and fairness.


Elia Kazan - Director - Biography

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