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ROGER EBERT: THE CRITIC WHO LOVED MOVIES

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by Peter Bogdanovich
April 6, 2013 10:01 AM
3 Comments
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Most critics make their reputation by writing scathing and very amusing reviews. Not Roger Ebert. He made "thumbs up" his signature, and wrote his best pieces about films he liked or adored. It's much easier to write a negative notice, but it takes real skill to write engrossingly about something you value. Roger made a career out of that. He definitely accentuated the positive. And brought a lot of people to good movies.

The truth is, Roger loved pictures; they really were his life, his passion. Despite the nightmarish bouts with cancer that he endured and triumphed over for a considerable time, he kept writing, and the quality of his work never diminished. He wrote about the latest releases and about the classics, book after book came out, it seemed like he couldn't possibly have time to do anything else, nor was he so inclined. His love affair with film sustained him. That and his remarkable and beautiful wife, Chaz.

I remember him fondly at the end of the 90s on a Telluride Film Festival Cruise on the QE2, deconstructing Citizen Kane for a large group of passengers over a period of several days; running a sequence, then stopping to illuminate it for his crowd, going over details in the most dedicated manner. You don't have that kind of patience unless there's true love involved.

We shall all be the poorer for his absence. The movies have lost a dear and valuable friend. Luckily, his books remain to remind us of how much he has meant to kindred spirits, of which there were many, thanks to him.


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3 Comments

  • MDL | April 8, 2013 5:14 PMReply

    I had watched Siskel and Ebert through the years off and on but my appreciation for Ebert came at the Telluride Film Festival - also in the 90's. It was there that festivalgoers were able to see the wide range and knowledge that Roger had. Because of his popularity he was also, probably, the only critic who could get mainstream viewers, who didn't read film journals and such, interested in movies that were off the beaten path. People listened to him, read him and trusted his viewpoint because he was so down-to-earth. For that alone he will be missed.

  • alex | April 8, 2013 8:36 AMReply

    good words. He is probably the only truly international film critic known around the world.

  • Andrew | April 8, 2013 6:22 AMReply

    Ebert was an educator about film as much a "critic".

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