Shirley Clarke Tony Rayns - Essay

Tony Rayns

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Far from being the luridly cautionary tale that [a] narrative outline perhaps suggests, The Cool World works primarily as a flow of everyday incident, in much the same way as Shirley Clarke's earlier feature, The Connection; for every calculated 'dramatic' scene there are at least three others that draw their interest from the commonplaces of life in the Harlem ghetto. The film's dramatic focus, of course, is on Duke as central character: both the turns of the plot and the generalities are filtered through his growing self-consciousness of his position, explored in a series of introspective voice-overs. But these interior monologues … are only one element in an exceptionally well-thought...

(The entire section is 428 words.)