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Light Entertainment

Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture, 8 November 2012

... the people who worked at Broadcasting House would meet for drinks during and after working hours. Louis MacNeice conferenced there and the Light Entertainment people came and went too, en route to other haunts. A schoolboy who was part of a team that had done well on Top of the Form told me Gamlin was extremely sweet to him and ‘a nice man all round’. The ...

Educating Georgie

E.S. Turner, 6 December 1984

Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 462 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 340 24465 8
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... liaisons with other men’s wives. At one time she had the curious notion of installing Lord Louis Mountbatten in York House, the Prince’s residence, apparently in order to spread the suspicion when Mrs Dudley Ward was around. Perhaps we should not take Miss Edwards too literally when she tells of the night when the Prince and Mrs Ward ‘dined ...

First Movie in the White House

J. Hoberman: ‘Birth of a Nation’, 12 February 2009

D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’: A History of ‘The Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time’ 
by Melvyn Stokes.
Oxford, 414 pp., £13.99, January 2008, 978 0 19 533679 5
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... everywhere it opened outside the old Confederacy and was banned in Chicago, Cleveland, St Louis and Topeka. On the other hand, for the Atlanta premiere, 25,000 Klansmen marched down Peachtree Avenue in full regalia. Between 1915 and 1973, Stokes writes, The Birth of a Nation was embroiled in 120 different censorship controversies. Fourteen of these ...

Haley’s Comet

Paul Driver, 6 February 1997

The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 431 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 297 81720 5
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... in 1947. Bertrand Russell, Isaiah Berlin, Tippett, Betjeman and Fred Hoyle became familiar voices. Louis MacNeice and Dylan Thomas made a poet’s living in what Thomas called ‘the thin puce belfries’ of the Third. Guided by the producer Douglas Cleverdon, Under Milk Wood and Beckett’s All That Fall came into being; and drama thrived – the careers of ...

Why Goldwyn Wore Jodhpurs

David Thomson, 22 June 2000

The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper 
by Dominick Dunne.
Crown, 218 pp., £17.99, October 1999, 0 609 60388 4
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Gary Cooper Off Camera: A Daughter Remembers 
by Maria Cooper Janis.
Abrams, 176 pp., £22, November 1999, 0 8109 4130 9
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... Montgomery. And there’s absolute vacancy – as in one picture of Edie Goetz, a daughter of Louis B. Mayer. These pictures say so much more than discreet testimony could ever allow. Even if he was never a sure movie-maker, Dunne had enough of an eye and an instinct for gossipy history to know this. But his tide went out. He betrayed Lenny, and there was ...

Why can’t doctors be more scientific?

Hugh Pennington: The Great MMR Disaster, 8 July 2004

... for the general public, despite their importance, their originality and their elegance. Rabies has Louis Pasteur, smallpox has Edward Jenner. Who has heard of Peter Panum? Even the book about the institution where he spent most of his career, S.E. Stybe’s Copenhagen University: Five Hundred Years of Science and Scholarship (1979), while acknowledging his ...

The Price

Dan Jacobson: The concluding part of Dan Jacobson’s interview with Ian Hamilton, 21 February 2002

... be asked to give his views on this and that. Thus we would have a ‘Letter from America’ by Louis Simpson or some such. So the Review had become more magazine-y than polemical. Something had gone, some genuineness, some verve. Some energy and commitment. It was time to jack it in. That would have been 1971 or 1972. Then I went to America for a ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history, 1 April 1999

The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... heroes as Frank Little and Big Bill Haywood of the IWW, the Communist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Louis Tikas (a union leader gunned down in John D. Rockefeller Jr’s ‘Ludlow Massacre’ of striking copper miners and their families), but also recognises the corporate and state industrial violence and denial of labour freedom that was a distinctive feature ...

Trouble down there

Ferdinand Mount: Tea with Sassoon, 7 August 2003

Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet 1886-1918 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 600 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 0 7156 2894 1
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Siegfried Sassoon: The Journey from the Trenches 1918-67 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 526 pp., £30, April 2003, 0 7156 2971 9
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Sassoon: The Worlds of Philip and Sybil 
by Peter Stansky.
Yale, 295 pp., £25, April 2003, 0 300 09547 3
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... and horticultural farrago he enticed an endless procession of celebrities: Charlie Chaplin, Louis Mountbatten, the boxer Georges Carpentier, Wallis Simpson, Haig, Lytton Strachey, Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Noël Coward, T.E. Lawrence, who signed the visitors’ book ‘338171 A/C Shaw’ (though it was not at ...

Festival of Punishment

Thomas Laqueur: On Death Row, 5 October 2000

Proximity to Death 
by William McFeely.
Norton, 206 pp., £17.95, January 2000, 0 393 04819 5
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Death Row: The Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment 
edited by Bonnie Bobit.
Bobit, 311 pp., $24.95, September 1999, 0 9624857 6 4
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... days of the Republic. One has to infer the arguments put by the other side, or look elsewhere (to Louis Masur’s 1989 Rites of Execution, for example). There we will find those who have been less sanguine about human progress and the efficacy of social reform, those who think that punishment ought to reflect a divine and intuitively obvious moral ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... to crew the Nahlin on that fateful Mediterranean cruise, the lady in the yachting cap a Mrs Simpson – a photograph that tended to come and go, and which was never on view when, as often used to happen, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother dropped in for tea. There was not much about the royal family to which Sir Claude had not been privy. After his ...

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