Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

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Nasir007
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 11:58 am

Re: Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

#26 Post by Nasir007 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:13 am

Roscoe wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:06 am
Full disclosure here: I came to the novel fairly late. I read it while I was working the worst job of my life, a pure living hell of Authority Run Stupid, and finding that damn book saved my sanity and very possibly a couple of lives. At last I got a vocabulary for the Idiocy Of Those In Charge.
If you don't mind my asking, were you in the military?
Roscoe wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:06 am
I watched a couple episodes of the series on Hulu, and bailed on it in short order. They made the decision to iron out the chronological games in the novel, those shifting time frames are pretty well gone. I read a review that said that the more familiar you are with the novel, the more likely you are to be shouting at the screen, and yeah.
I am going to give it a shot as well. I am kinda curious to see what it feels like when it is laid out chronologically. It might possibly make less sense than more.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

#27 Post by beamish14 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:00 pm

I've been thinking quite a bit about Catch-22 as well. My father, who recently passed away, was hugely impacted by the novel, and
he thought the film was absolute perfection. I'd try to watch it with him, but as with Casablanca, it was difficult because he would
quote so much of it aloud!

I mentioned on another thread that I saw Buck Henry in person some years ago during a double bill of this and Taking Off. He spoke after
the latter, but mentioned that he wanted to stick around just to watch the first reel of Catch-22, as was still so taken with what Nichols
had achieved with those aircraft.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

#28 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:14 am

NYMag just published an excerpt from the Nichols bio coming out in a few weeks. It focuses more or less on Heartburn, and though it's not a good film, the excerpt about that project and what was happening with Nichols is a good read.

It also has this insightful bit about Jack Nicholson:

“He didn’t know how to talk to men unless you were talking about sports or something he was interested in,” says [Richard] Masur. “But with women, he was engaged, connected, funny. In the wedding scene, he was wonderful with the little girls — he would listen to every word they said — charming to the old ladies. I said to Mike, ‘What do you think that comes from?,’ and Mike said, ‘That’s what happens when you grow up with two mothers. He didn’t have a father to kill.’ ”

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

#29 Post by beamish14 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:43 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:14 am
NYMag just published an excerpt from the Nichols bio coming out in a few weeks. It focuses more or less on Heartburn, and though it's not a good film, the excerpt about that project and what was happening with Nichols is a good read.

It also has this insightful bit about Jack Nicholson:

“He didn’t know how to talk to men unless you were talking about sports or something he was interested in,” says [Richard] Masur. “But with women, he was engaged, connected, funny. In the wedding scene, he was wonderful with the little girls — he would listen to every word they said — charming to the old ladies. I said to Mike, ‘What do you think that comes from?,’ and Mike said, ‘That’s what happens when you grow up with two mothers. He didn’t have a father to kill.’ ”
Thank you so much for the heads-up. Very surprising to see another major book on him being released so quickly on the heels of the massive oral biography.
I'm really interested to see if this book mentions Nichols' longtime, on/off affair with photographer Richard Avedon, which is detailed extensively in Norma Stevens and
Steven M.L. Aronson's Avedon: Something Personal.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

#30 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Sun Jan 24, 2021 7:58 pm

I was given the oral biography of Mike Nichols for Christmas last year and plowed threw it in two days. The introduction actually mentions that this biography is in the horizon and is attempting not to step on the toes of this book too much, especially as Mark Harris allowed his interviews for his book to be a resource for the other. I'll wait to read this until the full book is released, but do know that 1986 was the year of his heart attack, which was probably triggered by his massive pill addiction. It seems like at this point of his life, he had a lot of troubles with people and wasn't interested in men unless they were into breeding horses or could make him more money.

Was there anyone other than Avedon who was a romantic male partner in his life? The oral biography mentions the numerous women he was involved with, but makes no mention of men. I'm a little surprised as the book makes him seem girl crazy.


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Wigs by Leonard
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:52 pm

Re: Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

#32 Post by Wigs by Leonard » Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:56 pm

beamish14 wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:43 pm
I'm really interested to see if this book mentions Nichols' longtime, on/off affair with photographer Richard Avedon, which is detailed extensively in Norma Stevens and
Steven M.L. Aronson's Avedon: Something Personal.
I just picked up my copy from the library - I've been heavily anticipating this coming out since I read Pictures at a Revolution a few years back and learned Harris was working on the "official" biography. Flipping through it, I found a quarter-page footnote discussing the Avedon relationship (it's the only entry in the index under "Nichols, Mike...and homosexuality"), which Harris more or less dismisses as alleged and unconfirmed by facts or testimony beyond Avedon's assistant. He's not snidely dismissive of the possibility (and it would be quite odd if he was, since he's gay himself), and in fact writes the following:
Mark Harris wrote:In researching this biography, I remained open to any information about Nichols's history with men that was specific and/or confirmable; I found none. If I had, I would not have considered it to be embarrassing, scandalous, or necessary to suppress--nor was I ever asked to.
That last perhaps answering the call of any who would accuse his friendliness with Diane Sawyer as a factor that might lead to the biographical omission of any deviation from heterosexuality. He states outright at the start of the Acknowledgements that he began research only after seeking the consent of Sawyer and her children, who gave it with no conditions, and who didn't read the manuscript prior to publication.

I haven't read the Avedon bio in question, but both it and the Nichols book were published by divisions of Penguin Random House, making them both pretty trustworthy and also, one would think, fact-checked and vetted by teams of similar integrity. My suspicion is that the truth lies somewhere in between: no question, it seems, that he and Avedon were close. But sometimes (I think of Ratso and Buck in Midnight Cowboy) the nature of intimacy and the peculiarity of the bond between two men can be ineffable and not satisfyingly described by the twin poles of "they were friends" or "they were lovers." I'm looking quite forward to reading the whole book, and, homo though I am, I can't confess to having any sort of horse in the race of whether or not Nichols was strictly straight (not that I'm casting aspersions upon those seeking definitive answers! And I would be curious to know what the Avedon bio contains) because his deft and un-skittish treatment of both The Birdcage and Angels in America indicates that, at the most unremarkable, he was, well, an ally. (I've always shuddered to think what Altman would have done with Angels - that always seemed like an incompatible pairing to me.)

On a separate note, this is a truly gorgeous book, from the very effective cover to the layout to the two spreads of plates, some in color. It reminds me of Benjamin Moser's spectacular Sontag bio from a year or two back - they even share the same font and momochrome jackets.

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