By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"He retains a reputation for maintaining his integrity, for not bowing to the craven demands of the Industry. This rectitude is not without price, however, and the price is a life apart."
And then we meet the great man:
"I found him in a buff-colored abandoned armory on the outskirts of town. . . . He was dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt pulled over a torso kept free of middle-age bulges by a regimen of skiing, tennis, riding and mountain climbing. He was sitting on a crate, elbows on his knees. . . ."
My God, let's get on with it, I say.
The account by Leonard Reed of the Los Angeles Times drips with equal reverence for the great auteur:
"He [Redford] gets up and sits in a folding chair, alone in the center aisle of the trailer, away from the table but trapped by words: vexing, slippery, on-the-point, off-the-point words."
If you can read that sentence and tell me what it means, please send me a self-addressed envelope and stamp and I will arrange to send you back an autographed photograph of Joe Bugel. "The book is a tone poem," Reed quotes Redford as saying. "Norman's language is a map of the soul, of the place, of the time--where he was raised. And it contains universal themes--I like to think it deals with families, on how we connect and do not connect."
What incredible claptrap.
It reminds me of the line Dorothy Parker wrote in her New Yorker book review column called "Constant Reader."
Reviewing A.A. Milne's children's book The House at Pooh Corner, she became revolted and ended her piece with this by-now-famous quote:
"Pom,' said Pooh, 'I put that in to make it more hummy.' And it is that word 'hummy,' my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner where Tonstant Weader fwowed up."
But I am not through. The "On Your Knees, Overwriting of the Year" award goes to Michael Kilian of the Chicago Tribune, who managed to include at least 120 lines of fulsome praise in his piece. Kilian genuflects not only to Redford but to Maclean's son, now an editor at the Tribune.
"The work is a labor of great love for Redford," Kilian tells us. "Movies like this aren't made anymore . . . and he needs not merely to please critics but to fulfill his vows to author Maclean, who died two years ago, before filming had begun."
Then Kilian hits us with this memorable passage. It is so redolent of obsequiousness as to be reminiscent of James Fenimore Cooper in his prime:
"The response that Redford has cared about most came from author Maclean's son, John, an editor at the Chicago Tribune.
"Bob Redford,' John Maclean said, 'has kept the promise to my father in thought, word and deed.'"
And here's the kicker. How about this for the poignant and memorable portrait of the star of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?
"When told of this in the course of an interview, a few days ago," Kilian writes, "Redford paused to gather up his emotions, then said, 'I can't tell you how much it means to me to hear that.'"
My God! Gadzooks! Ned Buntline has been reincarnated as Michael Kilian!
@body:Here's another, far less adulatory view of Redford from a man with his own Academy Award and lots of money in his bank account.
Minutes after being introduced, Bernstein was talking about the terrible experience he had while writing the musical score for Redford's film.
"The thing that has been a disaster for music in films has been the emergence of the auteur directors like Robert Redford," Bernstein said.
"The experience I had with Redford while working on A River Runs Through It is very typical of what happens to music in film.
"This could possibly have been a very nice film. I say possibly, because I have long been off it and it's been cut and butchered to a great extent since."
Bernstein said that he suggested to Redford that he saw the picture as a sort of poem about fishing and family relationships.
"So I went off and recorded some stuff that Redford didn't like. Redford's problem is that he doesn't know what he likes. This is because he doesn't know what he wants. "He told me he wanted more sort of down-home music. I told him I thought that would denigrate the poetical part of the film."
Next Bernstein was ordered to write a set of themes for the film. "By the way," Bernstein said, "Redford was also congenitally late for any appointment he made. One time he was 27 hours late. The earliest he showed up was two and one half hours late."
The audience broke into laughter. Bernstein shrugged as he described what happened next to a film set in Montana.