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Around 1940, New Yorker staff writer Joe Mitchell meets Joe Gould, a Greenwich Village character who cadges meals, drinks, and contributions to the Joe Gould Fund and who is writing a voluminous Oral History of the World, a record of 20,000 conversations he's overheard. Mitchell is fascinated with this Harvard grad and writes a 1942 piece about him, "Professor Seagull," bringing Gould some celebrity and an invitation to join the Greenwich Village Ravens, a poetry club he's often crashed. Gould's touchy, querulous personality and his frequent dropping in on Mitchell for hours of chat lead to a breakup, but the two Joes stay in touch until Gould's death and Mitchell's unveiling of the secret. Written by
In my home town, I never felt at home. In New York, New York City, in Greenwich Village, down among the cranks, and the misfits, and the one runners, and the has-beens, and the might-have-beens, and the would-bes, and the never-wills, and the God-knows-whats, I have always felt at home.
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Outstanding drama- two great actors- the mystery continues.
Starring one of the best actors in the world, Ian Holm; and Stanley Tucci, who also does a great job in this period drama based on a true story about one of the most unusual New York writers in modern history (Joe Mitchell), and his attempt to write a feature story on one of New York's most notable philosopher characters- a street person who is well-known in writer circles. Joe Gould claims to have written a massive volume that is the complete history of the world based on countless conversations he has heard from people- overheard in the street, and in conversations with friends and strangers. It is never revealed whether Gould really ever had such a manuscript, or if he was a total hoax- possibly somewhere in between. But the effect he has on Joe Mitchell (an actual top feature writer for the New Yorker during the 1940s), is profound. This is an outstanding drama- one of the best of a couple years ago (2000). <p>As reported on NPR after this film release, Joe Mitchell later unexpectedly stopped writing anything, and became a recluse himself. He would never reveal Joe Gould's secret to anyone. Now this film is inexplicably out of print on DVD, which adds a touch of irony to this important piece of American literary history.
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