Art and artists on screen.

By: Walker, John A.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Manchester : Manchester University Press, c1993Description: viii,226p, ill, ports, 23cm.ISBN: 0719037816.Subject(s): Film, Television and Radio | Arts | Special subjects | Films (Motion pictures) | CinemaDDC classification: 791.43657WAL
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Includes bibliographical references and index.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


An intelligent but discursive, chatty survey of how film has treated the image of the plastic artist. The analysis of individual films is not especially strong. The author tends to pad his discussion with background information: mini-biographies of the actors and directors, for example, and (more useful) comparisons between a film's treatment of a historical artist and a more scholarly biographer's version. But, then, it is amusing (if not vital) to know that Charlton Heston's Michelangelo used chocolate pudding to paint the Sistine Chapel so that it would not taste so bad when it dripped into his mouth! In the first section, about film biographies of historical painters, Walker skims the Hollywood versions of Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Michelangelo plus a British Caravaggio, 1986; a Danish Gauguin (The Wolf at the Door, 1986); and the French Camille Claudel, 1988. Curiously absent is the brilliant Peter Watkins's film Edvard Munch (1976). A common psychologism dilutes the conventional film biography, Walker finds. Strange bedfellows are found in Part 2, "Films About Fictional Artists and Architects": Ayn Rand (Howard Roark), Tony Hancock, and Peter Greenaway. Apart from a detailed description of Dali's work on Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945) and an overview of Warhol's early films, the remainder of the book surveys the image of artists in Hollywood films (e.g., Legal Eagles, 1986; Beverly Hills Cop, 1984) and films by and about contemporary artists. The book is more rewarding as introductory information for general readers than as a searching probe of the subject. M. Yacowar; Emily Carr College of Art and Design