Film critics who in their prime operated as honorable members of the Great Middle Community (i.e., those who criticized in a measured, perceptive, fair-minded way) are rarely remembered when they’re gone. The critics people do remember are those who seemed overly gracious and forgiving (i.e., often erring on the side of accommodation) or who seemed unreasonably cruel and heartless. The consensus view is that theatre, movie and book critic John Simon, whose influence peaked in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s but is still at it at age 93, belongs to the latter category. This is underlined in a portion of an Andrew Goldman Vulture interview with Anjelica Huston.
Goldman: A Walk With Love and Death was not well received. The critic John Simon wrote, ‘There is a perfectly blank, supremely inept performance by Huston’s daughter, Anjelica, who has the face of an exhausted gnu, the voice of an unstrung tennis racket, and a figure of no discernible shape.” I had to look up what a gnu is.
Huston: Wasn’t that pretty? That’s good, isn’t it?
Goldman: Coming as it did when you were 18, did it stick with you?
Huston: It sticks with you. And now that you’ve reminded me, it will stick with me for another ten years.
Goldman: I probably wouldn’t have quoted it had you not included it in your memoir.
Huston: No, I completely accept that. I think the news there is he’s dead and I’m not.
Goldman: You think he’s dead?
Huston: He must be.
Goldman: I was curious myself. I looked him up. He’s 93 years old. He’s alive.
Huston: He’s dead as far as I’m concerned.