Dallas Movie Screening

Dallas Movie Screenings started out as a mailing list on Yahoo Groups to facilitate finding free screening passes in the DFW area. When Yahoo Groups shut down, we are now posting screenings on our Facebook page at http://www..facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings
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Thursday, September 19, 2013


Shane Salerno’s documentary about J. D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye, is perhaps overlong but entertaining nonetheless. Some of us never forgot reading Catcher (a definite rite of passage) but it may have been off our radar for too long. Salinger brings back just how important this classic’s impact was, besides revealing much about its author who died in 2010 at the age of 91.

As informative and lively as this documentary is, there’s a touch of irony to the whole enterprise. Salinger would never allow a film to be made of his famous novel, and it’s more than likely he’d shun this exploration, warts and all. He hated Hollywood and above all, phonies – and he’d probably find evidence of it here. It may not be the whole truth (does it even exist?) but it’s a fascinating portrait of an odd and secretive artist.

Who knew Salinger had the first eight chapters of The Catcher in the Rye tucked within his battle fatigues as he stormed Normandy Beach on D-Day? There’s much on view about his wartime experiences, aptly suggesting the “ghost in the machine” that would inform the shell-shocked tone of his writings. These images are often harrowing.

There’s a lovely segment about the beautiful Oona O’Neill, whom Salinger dated (before she married Charlie Chaplin). Throughout this documentary, Director Salerno provides splendid archival footage highlighting the era Salinger lived through, nicely edited within the usual talking heads of friends, family and fans. Two episodes detail ardent fans seeking Salinger out in modern times. It’s surprising to hear how the supposed reclusive writer interacted with these stunned admirers.

At 130 minutes, Salinger at times feels over padded. The reenactments by an actor as the world-renowned writer sitting down at a typewriter are definitely cliché and should have been left on the editing floor. Still, for most fans, the ultimate effect is thrilling. Towards the finale, it’s announced that new, unpublished writings of Salinger’s will be released within the next couple of years. Perhaps the greatest impact of seeing Salinger will be making one want to reread The Catcher in the Rye along with his other stories.
(Review by David Bacon)

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