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25 авг 2011, 11:37

 Theodore Dreiser's anniversary
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BIOGRAPHY
Theodore Dreiser was born on August 27, 1871 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Part of a large German-American family, and the ninth of ten children, his childhood was marked by poverty. His father, John Paul, had previously been a cotton mill manager, but a series of unfortunate accidents caused his fortunes to dwindle.
In 1864 the cotton mill burned down, and during the reconstruction John Paul was hit in the head with a beam. He never fully recovered and as a result become deeply religious. He further was soon cheated by his business partners. The family was forced to move from one Indiana town to another in order to survive. Theodore Dreiser later resented his father for the family’s poverty.
At the age of fifteen Dreiser moved to Chicago and held jobs washing dishes, clerking a hardware store, and tracing freight cars. Dreiser fortunately was able to escape when a former teacher offered to send him to Indiana University at Bloomington for a year.
He soon became interested in journalism, but returned to Chicago and worked as a bill collector, real estate clerk and laundry-truck driver.
Dreiser first entered the newspaper world by dispensing toys for the needy at Christmas for the Chicago Herald. He subsequently got hired as a cub reporter with the Chicago Globe and later went to St. Louis as a feature writer for the Globe-Democrat.
He left St. Louis and moved to Pittsburgh, working with the Dispatch. With a secure job again, Dreiser married Sara Jug White after meeting her at the Chicago Worlds Fair. The couple moved to New York where he received a job as a magazine editor.
At the suggestion of his editor friend Arthur Henry, Dreiser began writing his first novel, the result of which was “Sister Carrie”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ognp0qyT ... re=related Pauls’ musical Cerrie

“Carrie” is based on Sister Carrie, a novel by Theodore Dreiser.
Dreiser's prose is streamlined into a neat screenplay by Ruth and Augustus Goetz. Jennifer Jones stars as Carrie, who leaves her go-nowhere small town for the wicked metropolis of Chicago.
Here she becomes the mistress of brash traveling salesman Charles Drouet (Eddie Albert), then throws him over in favor of erudite restaurant manager George Hurstwood (Laurence Olivier).
Obsessed by Carrie, George steals money from his boss to support her in the manner to which he thinks she is accustomed. Left broke and disgraced by the ensuing scandal, Carrie deserts George to become an actress.
Years later, the conscience-stricken Carrie tries to regenerate George, who has fallen into bumhood.
If Laurence Olivier seems a surprising casting choice in Carrie, try to imagine what the film would have been like had Cary Grant, Paramount's first choice, accepted the role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Dreiser continued his career by publishing
The Financier (1912)


A master of gritty naturalism, Theodore Dreiser explores the corruption of the American dream in The Financier.
Frank Cowperwood, a fiercely ambitious businessman, emerges as the very embodiment of greed as he relentlessly seeks satisfaction in wealth, women, and power.
As Cowperwood deals and double-deals, betrays and is in turn betrayed, his rise and fall come to represent the American success story stripped down to brutal realities—a struggle for spoils without conscience or pity.
Dreiser’s 1912 classic remains an unsparing social critique as well as a devastating character study of one of the most unforgettable American businessmen in twentieth-century literature.


and The Titan (1914), both of which began his trilogy about the rise of a tycoon.
Fame arrived with his “An American Tragedy “(1925), a story based on newspaper accounts of a sensational murder case. This novel was turned into a Broadway drama and later sold to Hollywood.
With his new success, Dreiser took a trip to Russia but came away unimpressed. He chronicled his observations in “Dreiser Looks at Russia” (1928).
Dreiser became a communist in later years, and focused his attention of writing political treatises such as “America is Worth Saving“(1941).
Unable to write well towards the end of his life, he moved to Hollywood in 1939 and supported himself by the sale of film rights of his earlier works. He died there in 1945 at the age of seventy-four.

Carrie is based on Sister Carrie, a novel by Theodore Dreiser. Dreiser's clumsy, unwieldy prose is streamlined into a neat and precise screenplay by Ruth and Augustus Goetz. Jennifer Jones stars as Carrie, who leaves her go-nowhere small town for the wicked metropolis of Chicago. Here she becomes the mistress of brash traveling salesman Charles Drouet (Eddie Albert), then throws him over in favor of erudite restaurant manager George Hurstwood (Laurence Olivier). Obsessed by Carrie, George steals money from his boss to support her in the manner to which he thinks she is accustomed. Left broke and disgraced by the ensuing scandal, Carrie deserts George to become an actress. Years later, the conscience-stricken Carrie tries to regenerate George, who has fallen into bum-hood. If Laurence Olivier seems a surprising casting choice in Carrie, try to imagine what the film would have been like had Cary Grant, Paramount's first choice, accepted the role.


Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8kaCDEV ... re=related documentary about opera
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdru0NCT ... re=related start of movie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qkyfu2FS ... re=related with factory girl
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-AxFsZ3tCs A Place in the sun dialoque Taylor+
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPxxcGlH ... re=related original movie start
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI-d72I8 ... re=related role of Dreiser in American literature
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwVKOMBxDWk Pauls Sister Kerry hit1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XtNYEiu ... re=related kerri’s song choire


http://video.yandex.ua/#search?text=Dre ... 2730-05-12 monoloque fm S.Kerr


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25 авг 2011, 11:39

 An American Tragedy (by T.Dreiser)
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Theodore Dreiser's massive novel An American Tragedy was published in December 1925 in two volumes. Coming in the middle of Dreiser's long career, it was the first novel to earn him fame and wealth, though not the first to be controversial.

An American Tragedy is a detailed portrayal of the dark side of the American Dream—the story of what can happen when an ordinary man's desire for wealth and status overwhelms his moral sense. Dreiser built the novel around a real-life crime after spending years researching incidents in which men murdered women with whom they had been romantically involved but who had become inconvenient for one reason or another (often because of an unwanted pregnancy, as in the novel). Dreiser chose as his starting point the case of Chester Gillette, who drowned his pregnant girlfriend in a New York lake in 1906. Like the novel's Clyde Griffiths, Chester Gillette was electrocuted for his crime.
An American Tragedy is widely considered Dreiser's best novel and an important work of American naturalism. Naturalism, which began in Europe and flowered in America, is a literary style that explores the premise that individuals' fates are determined by a combination of hereditary and environmental constraints that leave no room for free will or true individual choice. Some scholars and critics consider An American Tragedy one of the greatest American novels of any style or period.
The American Dream as Illusion
The idea of the American Dream is that all Americans have the opportunity to improve themselves economically and socially. In America, it is said, a person's circumstances at birth place no limit on his or her potential; people can make of themselves whatever they choose and rise as high as they are willing to climb.
If Dreiser's message in An American Tragedy can be summed up in a sentence, it is: the American Dream is a lie. Dreiser creates a microcosm of America by introducing characters that represent every stratum of society...

Summary
An American Tragedy opens on a summer evening in Kansas City, Missouri, in the early years of the twentieth century. Dreiser introduces twelve-year-old Clyde Griffiths along with his family: his father, Asa, and mother, Elvira, poor evangelists who run a mission in a shabby part of the city; and his two sisters and one brother. From the beginning, Clyde is antagonistic toward his parents' beliefs and activities. He is entranced by the material world that his parents shun. As a teenager, Clyde gets a series of jobs in increasingly glamorous settings—from streetcorner (as a...
Book 2 opens three years later. Clyde is now living in Lycurgus. He fled to Chicago after the car accident and, at his job at the Union League Club, encountered his wealthy uncle, who was on a business trip. Samuel Griffiths gave his nephew a job in his shirt factory.
Clyde's cousin Gilbert resents him. Being the nephew of the factory owner makes Clyde the social superior of the workers, but most of his relatives see him as an inferior. Clyde is briefly attracted to a lascivious factory worker named Rita Dickerman. When his uncle promotes him, though, he shifts his sights higher....
Book 3
Clyde flees the scene of Roberta's death, but circumstantial evidence, including letters to Clyde from both Roberta and Sondra, leads to his arrest for first-degree murder. Sondra leaves town, and her identity is never publicly revealed. Samuel Griffiths hires attorneys for Clyde, and they devise a complex defense strategy for a client whom they view as extremely inept. Clyde lies to everyone, including his attorneys, about his intentions and actions.
After a long trial, a jury finds Clyde guilty. His mother's efforts to have his death sentence overturned or commuted fail. Clyde...


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25 авг 2011, 12:07

 Hollywood’s American Tragedies
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Hollywood’s American Tragedies: Dreiser, Eisenstein, Sternberg, Stevens
Mandy Merck, Berg 2007.
ISBN 978 1 84520 665 9 Paperback, 171 pages, approximately A5, with some illustrations.

A book about an early 19th century novel, which judging by the library copy I borrowed is now little read, and two adaptations made in Hollywood more than fifty years ago sounds a little esoteric. But in its day the book was a best seller and very influential. Many critics and commentators also saw it as a compelling commentary on US society. Theodore Dreiser used a real-life murder as the basis for his plot of a young man who loves both a working girl and a rich socialite. Faced by the former’s pregnancy, he first tries abortion then killing. Dreiser maintained “it could not happen in any other country in the world”. Mandy Merck comments “the novel and its adaptations both constitute and are constituted by the convulsions of the nation state that is its protagonist and its theme”. The book is concerned with the sociology of the protagonist’s fate, not the drama.

Merck discusses in detail the origins of Dreiser’s novel, (written whilst he worked in Hollywood), and three film versions: one by Sergei Eisenstein, unrealised; one by Josef Von Sternberg for Paramount in 1931: and the most famous, directed by George Stevens for Paramount in 1951, A Place in the Sun starring Montgomery Cliff and Elisabeth Taylor. Merck points out in her introduction that she will study the authors, who include Dreiser, the directors who worked on the adaptations, and the economic authors, the Hollywood studios. She does this in an exemplary fashion, having clearly engaged in very detailed research.

So we get the development of Dreiser’s mammoth novel, running to 800 pages. Dreiser was an important contributor to a movement for realist fiction. He himself had researched the real-life love and affairs and subsequent murders that are the prime focus. He always carefully researched the places and people who fill his novels. H. L. Mencken commented, “When he sent some character into an eating-house for a meal it was always some eating-house that he had been to himself, and the meal he described in such relentless detail was one he had eaten, digested and remembered.” (Introduction to the 1948 edition). Another writer quoted in this volume opined, “No one else confronted so directly the sheer intractability of American social life and institutions, or … the difficulty of breaking free from social law.” (D. Denby in 2003).

The length and complexity of this novel made for a daunting adaptation. It was one of the projects worked on by Sergei Eisenstein when he sojourned briefly in Hollywood in 1929. Dreiser’s depiction of class divisions and his sociological standpoint clearly appealed to Eisenstein. He worked up a script for a 14-reel version. Merck studies this in detail, and it promised to be an intelligent and cinematic version of the novel. Dreiser certainly gave his approval. However, it did not get past the studio bosses, presumably made nervous by moral and red-baiting would-be censors. The author’s discussion is interesting in terms of his career, though I always wonder how either Eisenstein or his companions seriously imagined they could make a film in Hollywood.

The Sternberg version seems mainly to have been an attempt to recoup some of the costs by the studio. Sternberg was interested in illusion and artifice rather than realism. A quote by Selznick runs, “I don’t think he has the basic honesty, the tolerance, the understanding this subject absolutely requires, . . .” Moreover, the imminent arrival of Hollywood system of censorship, the Hays Code, made the explicit subject of the novel difficult. On completion, Dreiser was appalled at what his original had become, and undertook legal action, but he lost.

The post-war version that was very much Stevens’ own project. But Ivan Moffat complained, “Stevens was a romantic, so the bleak social picture painted by Dreiser took second place to the steamy love-affair between George and Angela” (the protagonist and his privileged amour). Certainly the film’s centre was the on- (and off-) screen romance: which I vividly remember from my younger film-going days.

All four versions of the story suffered from censorship and social outrage, since the original plot contained seduction, attempted abortion, murder and official corruption. Some of those involved in the 1950s version were also caught up in the HUAC’s attack on the Industry’s ‘liberals’. Merck spends time on these various social angles and their impact on the succeeding projects, and the overall discourse of book and films.

The book develops into a compelling and informative study of Hollywood and its relationship to US society and the wider world. At the end of the book Merck notes that 2005 saw a version of the original novel at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House: and a faintly disguised borrowing in Woody Allen’s Match Point. Even Jean-Luc Godard joined the act with a brief reference in Histoire(s) du cinéma. There is no mention of a planned new film version, which is a shame.

I certainly recommend Mandy Merck’s authoritative study. I also recommend Dreiser’s original An American Tragedy. The 800 pages do not seem so many when you get involved in the novel. Coincidentally, I have also recently re-read novels by Dreiser’s fellow realist, Upton Sinclair. So I am now resolved to read that other doyen of North American realism, Frank Norris. Hollywood famously filmed his McTeague as Greed (1923), with equally problematic results. The director was Erich Von Stroheim, who, along with Eisenstein, was one of the filmmakers preferred by Dreiser for his own epic work.

http://itpworld.wordpress.com/2008/07/2 ... n-tragedy/


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25 авг 2011, 12:31

 A Place in the Sun (1951)
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We invite you to watch the movie A Place in the Sun (1951) from Window on America collection!

Previously filmed in 1931 under its original title, Theodore Dreiser's bulky but brilliant novel An American Tragedy was remade in 1951 by George Stevens as A Place in the Sun. Montgomery Clift stars as George Eastman, a handsome and charming but basically aimless young man who goes to work in a factory run by a distant, wealthy relative. Feeling lonely one evening, he has a brief rendezvous with assembly-line worker Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters), but he forgets all about her when he falls for dazzling socialite Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor). Alice can't forget about him, though: she is pregnant with his child. Just when George's personal and professional futures seem assured, Alice demands that he marry her or she'll expose him to his society friends. This predicament sets in motion a chain of events that will ultimately include George's arrest and numerous other tragedies, including a vicious cross-examination by a D.A. played by future Perry Mason Raymond Burr. A huge improvement over the 1931 An American Tragedy, directed by Josef von Sternberg, A Place in the Sun softens some of the rough edges of Dreiser's naturalism, most notably in the passages pertaining to George's and Angela's romance. Even those 1951 bobbysoxers who wouldn't have been caught dead poring through the Dreiser original were mesmerized by the loving, near-erotic full facial closeups of Clift and Taylor as they pledge eternal devotion. A Place in the Sun won six Oscars, including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, although it lost Best Picture to An American in Paris. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


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