Like many great artists, Elizabeth
Taylor, who died today at the age of 79, peaked
at the age of 12. Her first lead performance in National Velvet (1944) inspired the critic James Agee to pen a
rhapsodic paean that nowadays might warrant him charges of pedophilia. He starts
his review "choked with the peculiar sort of adoration I might have felt if we
were both in the same grade of primary school."
I have been reading "Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings
of Manny Farber," edited by Robert Polito (also contributing an illuminating introduction), which just came out yesterday.
Farber is best known for his seminal collection of film essays "Negative Space,"
but I am finding this more rewarding.