Elia Kazan: A Life

Elia Kazan

Published by Da Capo Press, 1997
ISBN 10: 0306808048 / ISBN 13: 9780306808043
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Synopsis: Elia Kazan's varied life and career is related here in his autobiography. He reveals his working relationships with his many collaborators, including Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, James Dean, John Steinbeck and Darryl Zanuck, and describes his directing "style" as he sees it, in terms of position, movement, pace, rhythm and his own limitations. Kazan also retraces his own decision to inform for the House Un-American Activities Committee, illuminating much of what may be obscured in McCarthy literature.

Review: One of the most important theater autobiographies of the 1980s, Elia Kazan: A Life, has finally been released in paperback. The extra decade adds to the book's poignancy and its value: a history of backstage personalities and politics in the 20th century is included in this release. Elia Kazan was a founding member of the Group Theatre, was among those shouting "Strike! Strike!" on the legendary opening night of Waiting for Lefty, directed the two greatest Broadway dramas ever--Death of the Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire--and earned countless other credits, but he also played a flawed role in the greatest real-life moral drama of his era: the McCarthy Communist witch hunts of the 1950s. Kazan offered names to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He cut his conscience to fit the fashion of the time, and his conscience continues to bleed. Though this book is framed, like so much of Kazan's best stage and film work, as a lifelong search for man's proper relationship to society, the book serves as a massive explanation and apologia for Kazan's one monumental lapse. He lived his life intensely, a life in which a single word could transform you, where a misdeed might be "never forgotten or forgiven." Such were the times, and Kazan captures them with appropriate drama.

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Title: Elia Kazan: A Life
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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