Reporting on the film industry over the last six decades, Lillian Ross has captured epic personalities and landmark moments in the history of cinema. Shortly after her start at The New Yorker in 1945, Ross wrote a series of articles on John Huston and the making of The Red Badge of Courage (1951), covering all aspects of its production as well as the critical and financial reception that greeted the finished product. Collected and republished as Picture (Rinehart, 1952), Ross’s pieces caught the studio system at a critical turning point, and they are widely regarded as the most informative and engaging record of a now-extinct filmmaking era. In subsequent decades, Ross reported on the battles mounted by Otto Preminger and Francis Ford Coppola against the film distribution system and spent reflective moments with Akira Kurosawa and Tony Curtis. Filled with crisp observations and astonishing quotes, her profiles reveal individual passions and provide a larger picture of the ever-changing landscape of American filmmaking. As a tribute to the vivid and enduring images created by her words, MoMA presents five films that have been illuminated by her writing. Related profiles are available at www.newyorker.com.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Assistant Curator, Research and Collections, and Leigh Goldstein, Executive Assistant, Department of Film.