Rouben Mamoulian Dwight Macdonald - Essay

Dwight Macdonald

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mamoulian is a bright young Armenian. [His] productions are glib, imitative, chic, with a fake elegance, a pseudo-wit and a suggestion of Oriental greasiness. They are marked with that vulgarity which is continually straining for effect, which cannot express a simple thing simply. A Mamoulian production can be depended on to overstress the note, whether pitched to lyricism, melodrama, fantasy. Thus his City Streets, a gangster melodrama, is directed as heavily and pretentiously as if it were Greed or Sunrise. There are brooding shadows, shots of pigeons flying beyond prison bars (freedom—get it?), weird angle shots of sculpture. Thus, too, in Applause, a sentimental little backstage...

(The entire section is 418 words.)