Richard Linklater’s Me & Orson Welles, just out on home video, is a witty, ingenious, perfectly cast, brilliantly designed, and astonishingly well-informed backstage rom-com about the Mercury Theatre’s legendary 1937 Broadway production of Julius Caesar. It didn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserved when it was released, so catch up with it now and prepare to be both charmed and enthralled. I don’t know when I’ve seen a better movie about what it feels like to put on a play.Selena Hastings’s The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham(Random House) doesn’t contain all that much fresh dirt about the author of Of Human Bondage and Cakes and Ale, but Hastings is a very good writer who had unrestricted access to previously unknown primary-source material, and the result is a smart biography that portrays its not-very-nice subject with a welcome combination of candor and sympathy.In 1952, the First Drama Quartette — Charles Boyer, Cedric Hardwicke, Agnes Moorehead, and Charles Laughton — performed the “Don Juan in Hell” scene from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman with stupendous verve and elegance on Broadway and on tour. This celebrated performance was recorded in its entirety by Columbia Masterworks. Never previously reissued in any format, it’s now available as an mp3-only download for the unbelievable price of $1.98 (that’s from Amazon — iTunes charges twenty bucks). That’s what I call a deal.— Terry Teachout is the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, is now out in paperback from Mariner Books.
American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
The Russians are engaged in “information warfare” against the United States. That was the big soundbite at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s press conference Friday afternoon, announcing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s election-meddling indictment against 13 Russians and three Russian ... Read More
It has become more urgent to ask: Why is there a special counsel in the Russia investigation? At this point, that question should be put to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — in the federal government, it’s the lawyers’ lawyer. To get down to brass tacks: May the president of the United ... Read More
To understand the American gun-control debate, you have to understand the fundamentally different starting positions of the two sides. Among conservatives, there is the broad belief that the right to own a weapon for self-defense is every bit as inherent and unalienable as the right to speak freely or practice ... Read More
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More