He was the former editor-in-chief of Film Comment and authored several books including Talking Pictures, which, along with other publications, drew early attention to the screenwriter, as opposed to the director.
Richard Nelson Corliss
March 6, 1944
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||April 23, 2015 (aged 71)|
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||St. Joseph's College|
New York University
|Occupation||Editor, writer, critic|
Mary Elizabeth Yushak (m. 1969)
Corliss was born in 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Elizabeth Brown (née McCluskey) and Paul William Corliss. He attended St. Joseph's College, Philadelphia (now Saint Joseph's University), obtaining a bachelor's degree, before progressing to Columbia University to earn a master's degree in film studies. Corliss resided in New York City with his wife, Mary, whom he married on Sunday, August 31, 1969. Mary was formerly a curator in the Film Stills Archive of the Museum of Modern Art.
In a 1990 article, Corliss mentions his mother clipping movie ads with quotes of his and posting them to her refrigerator door.
On April 23, 2015, Corliss died under hospice care in New York City after suffering a stroke.
Corliss wrote for many magazines—National Review from 1966–1970, New Times, Maclean's and SoHo Weekly News in 1980. At Film Comment, Corliss helped draw attention to the screenwriter in the creation of movies. Corliss challenged Andrew Sarris's idea of the Director as author or auteur of this work. Corliss was one of Sarris' students at New York University (NYU); the two remained friends until Sarris' death.
Corliss brought Jonathan Rosenbaum to Film Comment as a Paris correspondent. Despite working for National Review, a conservative magazine, Corliss was a self-described "liberal". In 1980, Corliss joined Time. Although he started as an associate editor, he was promoted to senior writer by 1985.
Corliss wrote for time.com as well as the print magazine including a retired column about nostalgic pop culture called That Old Feeling. He wrote occasional articles for Time. He was an occasional guest on Charlie Rose's talk show commenting on new releases, mostly during the 1990s with Janet Maslin and David Denby. His last appearance on the show was in December 2005 to talk about the year in film. Corliss also appeared on A&E Biography to talk about the life and work of Jackie Chan, and appeared in Richard Schickel's documentary about Warner Brothers.
Corliss attended the Cannes Film Festival along with Roger Ebert and Todd McCarthy for the longest period of any US journalist. He also attended festivals in Toronto and Venice. Corliss used to work on the board of the New York Film Festival, but resigned in 1987 after longtime head Richard Roud was fired due to his challenging of editorial direction of the festival.
Lolita, Corliss's third book, was a study of Vladimir Nabokov's book and Stanley Kubrick's film. Later Corliss has written an introductory essay for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: A Portrait of the Ang Lee Film.
Corliss also admired the Pixar movies, including listing Finding Nemo as one of his and fellow Time critic Richard Schickel's 100 all-time greatest movies. With recent Pixar releases Cars and Ratatouille Corliss had access into the studio's inner workings. Pixar director Brad Bird has said of critics in general that he has "got nothing against critics." He also that he had "done very well with them, over the years."
In addition to writing for Time, Corliss had a lengthy association with Film Comment magazine, serving as its editor from 1970 to 1990. Corliss covered movies for the magazine and for time.com simultaneously. Corliss along with Martin Scorsese first came up with the idea for the issue on "guilty pleasures".
Corliss along with Richard Schickel made a 100 Greatest movies list. Corliss alone created lists of the 25 greatest villains, the 25 best horror films, and the 25 most important films on race. In addition Corliss was on the 2001 jury for AFI's 100 Greatest movies list. In a 1993 Time magazine movie review of The Crying Game, Corliss subtly gave away the spoiler of the film, by spelling it out with the first letters of each paragraph of his review.
Corliss has had movies on his top ten lists that fellow Time critic Richard Schickel has rated the worst of the year. These included 2001's Moulin Rouge!, 2003's Cold Mountain and 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In August 2004, Stephen King, criticizing what he saw as a growing trend of leniency towards films by critics, included Corliss among a number of "formerly reliable critics who seem to have gone remarkably soft – not to say softhearted and sometimes softheaded – in their old age."
Richard Corliss appears in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, confessing that he was the film critic who, in the 1970s, coined the term "Paulettes" for the ardent followers of Pauline Kael, a label which has stuck.
Despite challenging Siskel and Ebert in his Film Comment article, "all thumbs", Corliss praised Ebert in a June 23, 2007 article "Thumbs up for Roger Ebert." Corliss later appeared in Ebert's book Awake in the Dark in discussions and debates with Ebert about film criticism where "all thumbs" was reprinted.
Best English language film in parentheses:
Abrar Alvi (Hindi: अबरार अल्वी; Urdu: ابرار علوی; 1 July 1927 – 18 November 2009) was an Indian film writer, director and actor. Most of his notable work was done in the 1950s and 1960s with Guru Dutt. He wrote some of the most respected works of Indian cinema; Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Kaagaz Ke Phool and Pyaasa, which have an avid following the world over. Pyaasa is included in the All-Time 100 Movies by Time, as chosen by Time movie critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel.Altered States
Altered States is a 1980 American science-fiction horror film directed by Ken Russell based on the novel of the same name by playwright and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. The film was adapted from Chayefsky's only novel and is his final screenplay. Both the novel and the film are based on John C. Lilly's sensory deprivation research conducted in isolation tanks under the influence of psychoactive drugs like mescaline, ketamine, and LSD.
It marked the film debut of William Hurt and Drew Barrymore. Chayefsky was credited as a screenwriter for the film using the pseudonym Sidney Aaron, his actual first and middle names.
The film score was composed by John Corigliano (with Christopher Keene conducting). The film was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Sound Mixing.And So It Goes (film)
And So It Goes is a 2014 American romantic comedy drama film directed by Rob Reiner and written by Mark Andrus. The film, which stars Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton and Sterling Jerins, was released on July 25, 2014. It received mostly negative reviews from critics, but performed well at the box office, recouping its $18 million production budget.Auteur
An auteur (; French: [otœʁ], lit. 'author') is an artist, usually a film director, who applies a highly centralized and subjective control to many aspects of a collaborative creative work; in other words, a person equivalent to an author of a novel or a play. The term commonly refers to filmmakers or directors with a recognizable style or thematic preoccupation.Auteurism originated in the French film criticism of the late 1940s as a value system that derives from the film criticism approach of André Bazin and Alexandre Astruc—dubbed auteur theory by the American critic Andrew Sarris. The concept was invented to distinguish French New Wave filmmakers from studio-system directors that were part of the Hollywood establishment, and has since been applied to producers of popular music as well as to video game creators.Boat People (film)
Boat People (Chinese: 投奔怒海; pinyin: Tóubēn Nù Hăi; Cantonese Yale: Tau ban no hoi; literally: 'Into the Raging Sea') is a Hong Kong film directed by Ann Hui, first shown in theatres in 1982. The film stars George Lam, Andy Lau, Cora Miao, and Season Ma. At the second Hong Kong Film Awards, Boat People won awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best New Performer, Best Screenplay, and Best Art Direction. It was also screened out of competition at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. In 2005, at the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards, Boat People was ranked 8th in the list of 103 best Chinese-language films in the past 100 years.Boat People was the last film in Hui's "Vietnam trilogy". It recounts the plight of the Vietnamese people after the communist takeover following the Fall of Saigon ending the Vietnam War.Casey Robinson
Kenneth Casey Robinson (October 17, 1903 – December 6, 1979) was an American producer and director of mostly B movies and a screenwriter responsible for some of Bette Davis' most revered films. Film critic Richard Corliss once described him as "the master of the art – or craft – of adaptation."Down with Love
Down with Love is a 2003 American romantic comedy film directed by Peyton Reed and written by Eve Ahlert and Dennis Drake. It stars Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, and is a pastiche of the early 1960s American "no-sex sex comedies" such as Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back (both which starred Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and Tony Randall) and the "myriad spawn" of derivative films that followed. Time film critic Richard Corliss, estimating conservatively, wrote that Down with Love "is so clogged with specific references to a half-dozen Rock-and-Doris-type comedies that it serves as definitive distillation of the genre."Randall himself plays a small role in Down with Love, "bestowing his sly, patriarchal blessing" on the film that also stars David Hyde Pierce (in the neurotic best friend role often played by Randall or Gig Young), Sarah Paulson, Rachel Dratch, Jeri Ryan, and Jack Plotnick, who spoofs the kind of role Chet Stratton played in Lover Come Back.
Typical of the genre the film tells the story of a woman who advocates female independence in combat with a lothario, the plot reflects the attitudes and behaviour of the early pre-sexual revolution 1960s but has an anachronistic conclusion driven by more modern, post-feminist ideas and attitudes.Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is a 1965 American exploitation film directed by Russ Meyer and co-written by Meyer and Jack Moran. It follows three go-go dancers who embark on a spree of kidnapping and murder in the California desert.
The film is known for its violence, provocative gender roles, and eminently quotable "dialogue to shame Raymond Chandler". It is also remembered for the performance of star Tura Satana, whose character Richard Corliss called "the most honest, maybe the one honest, portrayal in the Meyer canon". Faster, Pussycat! was a commercial and critical failure upon its initial release, but it has since become widely regarded as an important and influential film.Film Comment
Film Comment is an arts and culture magazine now published by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, of which it is the official publication. Film Comment features reviews and analysis of mainstream, art-house, and avant-garde filmmaking from around the world. Founded in 1962 and originally released as a quarterly, Film Comment began publishing on a bi-monthly basis with the Nov/Dec issue of 1972. In 2007, the magazine was awarded the Utne Independent Press Award for Best Arts Coverage. The magazine's editorial team also hosts the annual Film Comment Selects at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.Jimmy McDonough
Jimmy McDonough is a biographer and journalist. He is perhaps best known for his biographies of Russ Meyer, Andy Milligan and Neil Young. He is noted by critics for his remarkably exhaustive accounts and for his tendency to avoid romanticizing his subjects' lives. For this reason, he was described by The Times as "a literary Terminator". Time's Richard Corliss declared his first published work The Ghastly One "a masterpiece" and John Waters has repeatedly named it one of his favorite books(this was actually McDonough's second effort; the first, Shakey: The Biography of Neil Young, had been held up by a lawsuit over the claim that Young had tried to prevent publication). Other reviewers decry the inclusion of his personal experience/reactions often found in his books as a sort of biographical treason. In addition to the aforementioned biographies, McDonough has authored profiles on Jimmy Scott, Gary Stewart, Hubert Selby, Jr., the Ormond family and Link Wray, and over the span of his career he has written for a number of publications including: The Village Voice, Film Comment, and Variety.
In 2010 McDonough's biography of Tammy Wynette was published and the book was optioned by director David O. Russell, who had also optioned the author's Russ Meyer biography, but neither movie ever materialized. McDonough assisted musician John Fogerty with his 2015 autobiography Fortunate Son and that same year the director Nicolas Winding Refn published a book of exploitation movie posters largely based on McDonough's collection. Soul Survivor, the author's biography of singer Al Green, was published August 29, 2017. This book appears to be just as contentious as his previous works, with one early reviewer declaring that "McDonough presents himself as someone who, like Green, simply does not give a f**k about what others think."In 2017 McDonough (along with his cat Buster) became an animated character in the two-part episode on George Jones and Tammy Wynette for Mike Judge's Tales From the Tour Bus. He also edited "Regional Renegades," the first volume for Nicolas Winding Refn's byNWR.com site, which went live in the summer of 2018. McDonough contributed articles on Texas honky-tonk singer Frankie Miller, Wayne Cochran, and the women in Texas exploitation director Dale Berry's films. He is Editor-In-Chief of the site.
McDonough currently lives in the Pacific Northwest where he divides his time between writing and 3D photography (his hobby).
He is somewhat enigmatic about himself, as revealed in a rare 2011 (internet conducted) interview with Jonathan Penner.Kundun
Kundun is a 1997 American epic biographical film written by Melissa Mathison and directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the life and writings of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled political and spiritual leader of Tibet. Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, a grandnephew of the Dalai Lama, stars as the adult Dalai Lama, while Tencho Gyalpo, a niece of the Dalai Lama, appears as the Dalai Lama's mother.
The film according to Roger Ebert was "made of episodes, not a plot" and he gave the film three stars out of four. Stephen Holden of The New York Times called the film "emotionally remote" but praised its look and its musical score. Richard Corliss praised the cinematography and score as well. Barry Norman, chief film critic at the BBC opined that Kundun was both beautifully and intelligently made.
"Kundun" (སྐུ་མདུན་ Wylie: sku mdun in Tibetan), meaning "presence", is a title by which the Dalai Lama is addressed. Kundun was released only a few months after Seven Years in Tibet, sharing the latter's location and its depiction of the Dalai Lama at several stages of his youth, though Kundun covers a period three times longer.Lo's Diary
Lo's Diary (Italian: Diario di Lo) is a 1995 novel (ISBN 0964374021) by Pia Pera, retelling Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita from the point of view of "Dolores Haze (Lolita)".It depicts Dolores as a sadist and a controller of everyone around her; for instance, she enjoys killing small animals. It also says that Dolores did not die in childbirth, Humbert Humbert did not kill Quilty, and that all three are still alive. Most notably, the novel takes the interpretation of Humbert as being unattractive or repulsive: he even loses his teeth at one point.Miller's Crossing
Miller's Crossing is a 1990 American neo-noir gangster film written, directed and produced by the Coen brothers and starring Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, J. E. Freeman, and Albert Finney. The plot concerns a power struggle between two rival gangs and how the protagonist, Tom Reagan (Byrne), plays both sides against each other. In 2005, Time chose Miller's Crossing as one of the 100 greatest films made since the inception of the periodical. Time critic Richard Corliss called it a "noir with a touch so light, the film seems to float on the breeze like the frisbee of a fedora sailing through the forest".Nagasaki (song)
"Nagasaki" is an American jazz song from 1928 by Harry Warren and Mort Dixon that became a popular Tin Pan Alley hit. The silly, bawdy lyrics have only the vaguest relation to the Japanese port city of Nagasaki. It was one of a series of US novelty songs set in "exotic" locations popular in the era starting with Albert Von Tilzer's 1919 hit "Oh By Jingo!"; "Nagasaki" even makes reference to the genre's prototype in the lyrics. Even more directly the song "On the Isle of Wicki Wacki Woo" was written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn in 1923. "Nagasaki" was covered by many big band jazz groups of the late 1920s through the 1940s, and the music remains to this day a popular base for jazz improvisations. The song was most famously covered by the Benny Goodman Quartet. Others who performed the song include Fats Waller, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway, Don Redman, Django Reinhardt, Louis Jordan, Adolph Robinson, Stéphane Grappelli, and Chet Atkins. Willie "The Lion" Smith performed and recorded the song throughout his career; although he sang different lyrics that he changed back in his vaudeville days.Writing for Time magazine, Richard Corliss described "Nagasaki" as "something like the definitive gotta-get-up-and-do-the-Charleston song, with Warren's effervescent syncopation dragging the folks onto the dance floor and Mort Dixon's lyric goading them into a singalong: 'Hot ginger and dynamite / There's nothing but that at night / Back in Nagasaki where the fellas chew tobaccy / And the women wicky-wacky-woo'."Snow Angels (film)
Snow Angels is a 2007 drama film starring Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale. It was directed by David Gordon Green, who also wrote the screenplay adapted from Stewart O'Nan's 1994 novel of the same title. The film premiered in the dramatic competition at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It is a character driven film centered on several characters dealing with loss of innocence in a small town. Snow Angels was released on 7 March 2008.SoHo Weekly News
The SoHo Weekly News (also called the SoHo News) was a weekly alternative newspaper published in New York City from 1973 to 1982. The paper was founded in 1973 by Michael Goldstein (1938–2018).The Wisdom of Crocodiles
The Wisdom of Crocodiles (also released as Immortality) is a 1998 British romantic thriller film directed by Po-Chih Leong and starring Jude Law. It is based on the book of the same name by Paul Hoffman.Time's All-Time 100 Movies
"All-Time" 100 Movies is a compilation by TIME magazine featuring and celebrating 100 of "the greatest" films released between March 3, 1923 (when the first issue of TIME was published) and early 2005 (when the list was compiled). The list was compiled by critics Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss and generated significant attention, receiving 7.8 million hits in its first week alone.