Martha Frankel

  • Norman Mailer’s Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man

    IN MIAMI A FEW YEARS BACK, during a reading of his novel Harlot’s Ghost, Norman Mailer told the audience that “authors reveal more about themselves through their choice of words than with the subjects they write about.” Then he went on to use words like rage, psychopath, revenge, violence, chaos, and fury.

    If this was irony, Mailer seemed oblivious. After taking on the life of Marilyn Monroe in an early-’70s “interpretive biography”—a hodgepodge of facts woven together with bits of psychosexual speculation—Mailer has now done the same for Pablo Picasso. Borrowing liberally from other sources,

  • Martha Frankel


    It was a bad year for good movies. No Pulp Fiction, nothing that galvanized moviegoers and shot them right out of their seats. Hollywood offered little new, only recycled television shows, bad cartoons, and witless comedies. But a few films remain memorable. William Hurt’s New York accent was dreadful, but SMOKE was almost perfect. This little story of Brooklynites who connect over their cigars can be watched again and again and still offer up new insights into its characters. UNZIPPED, the documentary about fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, was a side-splitting piece of reportage,

  • FILM


    High Travoltage
    Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was a perfect little movie. It aspired to nothing that it didn’t do, brilliantly. Tarantino knew how to keep the camera moving while the actors tossed their lines like they were grenades: he fast-forwarded the gangster genre way past the previous innovations of Brian DePalma and Martin Scorsese. Reservoir Dogs was wildly funny, unremittingly brutal, and heroically human. It also knew how to stay small while trying out some big ideas.

    Pulp Fiction is an imperfect big movie. But imperfection has seldom felt so liberatingly giddy. The