I saw Spike Lee's 25th Hour the day it opened. I was was jazzed for it because I'd read the novel in galley and thought it was brilliant. The novelist David Benioff also wrote the screenplay. I left the theater thinking this had to be one of the finest films I'd ever seen. Then I started reading the reviews. Most of the major ones trashed it. I couldn't believe it. Like Vince Keenan and many others I kept pushing the movie over the years. Slowly I saw appreciations starting to appear on the net. This year with Decade's Best lists appearing I see that it's in many top tens and top fives and even number ones in--as I recall--one or two. People like to chatter about how all the indie movies break rules and take chances. Spike Lee and Benioff throw most of the rules away and in so doing get performances from Edward Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, Barry Pepper and Brian Cox you will never forget. If you've never seen it, now's the time when it's finally getting it's due.
--------------Don Congdon, Longtime Literary Agent for Ray Bradbury, Dies at 91
Ed here: I had four or five long conversations with Don Congdon over the years. I could never meet his prices for things I wanted to reprint but I always seemed to catch him in a talkative mood. He had a lot of great stories and was a generous man in sharing credit with others. A fine tough gentleman from the time when publishing was really publishing.
By WILLIAM GRIMES (from the New York Times today)
Don Congdon, a literary agent who spotted the talent of Ray Bradbury early in both their careers and whose long list of celebrated authors also included William Styron, Jack Finney, Evan S. Connell, William L. Shirer and David Sedaris, died on Monday at his home in Brooklyn Heights. He was 91.
The death was confirmed by his son, Michael.
Mr. Congdon, who started out as a messenger at a small New York agency, developed an enviable reputation as a skilled editor, tough negotiator and shrewd judge of talent. While still a young editor at Simon & Schuster, he tuned in to the early stories of Ray Bradbury, who became one of his first clients after he set up as a full-time literary agent in 1947.
In 1966 he caused a stir in the publishing world, and precipitated a celebrated lawsuit by Jacqueline Kennedy, when, after spirited bargaining, he sold Look magazine the serial rights to “The Death of a President,” William Manchester’s study of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, for more than $600,000.
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