Posts Tagged: Stanley Kubrick Results 4
The Viennese Jewish doctor Arthur Schnitzler, whose 150th birthday was on May 15, 2012 wrote dozens of plays, including “Professor Bernhardi,” about a Jewish doctor, and “Round Dance,” adapted by the German Jewish director Max Ophüls into the 1950 film classic “La Ronde.” Schnitzler’s “Dream Story” inspired the 1999 Stanley Kubrick film “Eyes Wide Shut” starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise.
“Weimar Cinema, 1919–1933: Daydreams and Nightmares,” running at MoMA until March 7, 2011, is billed as the largest-ever retrospective of German cinema from between the Wars to be shown in the United States. The era’s defining cinematic style, expressionism, is well-represented in dozens of offerings, giving a healthy dose of the atmospheric, disturbing and downright spooky in classics like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “M,” “Nosferatu,” “Vampyr” and “Waxworks.”
Comedy, explained Aristotle, has a vague history, because at first no one took it seriously. We cannot know for certain if Aristotle was deadpanning, but his observation would amuse Saul Austerlitz. According to Austerlitz, American film comedy has not been taken seriously, either. In fact, the author quips, it is American film’s “bastard stepchild.” With his latest book “Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy,” Austerlitz gives us a broad survey of the genre, hoping to spark debate.
Although Shabbetai Zevi naturally gets most of the attention, Jewish history has been marked by a series of impostors. On February 16, Bloomsbury USA publishes a collection by the late New Yorker reporter St. Clair McKelway, “Reporting at Wit’s End,” which includes the complete 1968 book “The Big Little Man from Brooklyn” about the Jewish impostor Stanley Jacob Weinberg.
The Brooklyn-born Weinberg (1890-1960) had many aliases, eventually settling on “Stanley Clifford Weyman,” because, as McKelway points out, “he wasn’t entirely satisfied with his name or with himself.” To win fame and prestige, Weinberg pretended to be everyone from Rudolf Valentino’s funeral director to the personal physician of film star Pola Negri. Lawrence J. Epstein’s “The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America” claims that Weinberg may have even inspired Woody Allen’s “Zelig,” a chameleon who blended into various identities to seek anonymity. Yet as McKelway states, “The men [Weinberg] became were never obscure.”