When I worked at my first journalism gig as associate editor at Film Comment Magazine back in the 80s, Elliott Stein was one of my favorite regular contributors. He was erudite about world cinema, an omnivorous global cinephile and historian who knew more about Asian cinema than anyone I knew. He was warm and witty and a delight to be with. He helped Kenneth Anger to write "Hollywood Babylon," programmed the "Cinemachat" series at BAMcinématek, and over the years wrote about film for many outlets including the Village Voice, where Criticwire's Matt Singer used to type his hand-delivered reviews.
I am very sad to hear of his passing Wednesday at age 83.
BAMcinématek's tribute to Stein is below:
"Elliott Stein was a film critic, historian, programmer, and script writer -- a true cinematic multihyphenate. He wrote for The Village Voice, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Sight and Sound, Film Comment, the Financial Times, Opera, and many other publications.
Born December 5, 1928 in Bensonhurst, Elliott saw the original 'King Kong' in first run in 1933 at Radio City Music Hall. He saw the film more than any other in his life, way into the many hundreds of times, and decades later on the eve of the 1976 remake -- to this day referred to as the definitive story on the original film -- he wrote 'My Life with Kong,' an article for Rolling Stone. Falling in love with the movies at a very young age, he ended up at NYU at age 15 in the 1940s where he was one of the first students to study film, before cinema studies was an established course of study. Elliott moved to Paris in 1948 and lived there for more than two decades, an experience that shaped a sensitivity and knowledge of film that was then original for an American writer and critic.