In Love with Movies: From New Yorker Films to Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

Columbia Univ.. Mar. 2022. 288p. ed. by Toby Talbot. ISBN 9780231203142. $100; pap. ISBN 9780231203159. $25. PERFORMING ARTS
Before his death in 2017 at 91, film connoisseur Talbot penned this extraordinary memoir, edited by his wife Toby Talbot (The New Yorker Theater and Other Scenes from a Life at the Movies), a tale of his lifelong love affair with movies and the people who make them. After a childhood spent haunting local movie houses, Talbot, a voracious reader, attempted a career in publishing but quickly returned to his first love; under his leadership, the New Yorker Theater flourished. He later branched out into film distribution, founding New Yorker Films in 1965. Talbot focused on foreign and independent films, films with souls that were an extension of society’s dreams. His remarkable relationships with directors—Louis Malle (Talbot financed My Dinner with André); Roberto Rossellini; Jean Eustache—make for tantalizing reading, and his enthusiasm for finding the brilliance in obscure films is contagious (his description of Dominique Benicheti’s Cousin Jules, a documentary about an octogenarian French peasant couple, is particularly moving). Talbot finds humor in his sometimes-routine job, such as when New York’s pickpockets, eager for inspiration, turned out for a screening of Robert Bresson’s 1959 Pickpocket.
VERDICT Cinephiles will be captivated by Talbot’s insights and passion.
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