Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: The Editor and His Author

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate April as National Poetry Month, this week’s Movie Spotlight is “Genius” (2016):

Novelists have a dream. To find the perfect editor. And not just any perfect editor. We want Maxwell Perkins.

Maxwell Perkins was an editor at Scribner’s during the first half of the twentieth century. His impact on an American literature in the twentieth century cannot be overestimated. It was Perkins who edited Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and James Jones. Not only was he their editors, he developed strong personal relationships with his authors, relationships that were invaluable to the writers.

“Genius” is the story of his relationship with one of his most difficult writers, Thomas Wolfe. Based on the biography by Scott Berg, Director Michael Grandage gives the viewer a portrait of a friendship between two enormously talented individuals. No matter how difficult Wolfe (Judd Law) became, Perkins (Colin Firth) was able to grasp the potential of a great American writer and work with him to form his prose into the magnificent books they became.

With his performance as Max Perkins, I must say that Colin Firth is now my favorite English actor. And this is the kind of film that makes you want to read the book.

There’s only two more things I could ask  for: a movie of Perkin’s relationship with Fitzgerald and one of his relationship with Hemingway. Now wouldn’t that make a great trilogy? Oh, what the hell. Why not do an HBO series on the life, times and work of Maxwell Perkins? Do it for one season. What a great series that could be.

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