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When, one day in 1929, writer Thomas Wolfe decided to keep the appointment made by Max Perkins, editor at Scribner's, he had no illusions: his manuscript would be turned down as had invariably been the case. But, to his happy amazement, his novel, which was to become "Look Homeward, Angel," was accepted for publication. The only trouble was that it was overlong (by 300 pages) and had to be reduced. Although reluctant to see his poetic prose trimmed, Wolfe agreed and was helped by Perkins, who had become a true friend, with the result that it instantly became a favorite with the critics and a best seller. Success was even greater in 1935 when "Of Time and the River" appeared, but the fight for reducing Wolfe's logorrheic written expression had been even harder, with the novel originally at 5,000 pages. Perkins managed to cut 90,000 words from the book, and with bitterness ultimately taking its toll, the relationships between the two men gradually deteriorated. Wolfe did not feel ...Written by
Michael Fassbender was cast as Thomas Wolfe but after the film was delayed, it caused scheduling conflicts and Fassbender dropped out. Jude Law later replaced him. See more »
Maxwell Perkins tells Thomas Wolfe his book needs a new title that will appeal to potential purchasers, and gives the example of F. Scott Fitzgerald changing the title of a novel from "Trimalchio in West Egg" to "The Great Gatsby." The real Perkins, as Fitzgerald's editor, certainly would have known that "The Great Gatsby" was a flop upon its release in 1925 and did not sell well until the 1950s. See more »
GENIUS is the name attached to John Logan's screen lay adaptation of A. Scott Berg's 1979 novel 'Max Perkins: Editor of Genius' and Michael Granage directs a superlative cast in this recreation of the Depression of the 1930s America. Despite the fact that the film focuses on the raucous life of Thomas Wolfe, the true remarkable character throughout is Max Perkins – the editor at Scribner's in New York City who is responsible for the editing of the books of not only Wolfe but also of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The film plays the period well opening in 1929 when writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), decided to keep the appointment made by Max Perkins (Colin Firth), editor at Scribner's, he had no illusions: his manuscript would be turned down as had invariably been the case. But, to his amazement, his lengthy autobiographical novel 'O Lost', which was to become "Look Homeward, Angel" was accepted for publication. The only trouble was that it was overlong (5,000 pages) and had to be reduced. Although reluctant to see his poetic prose trimmed, Wolfe agreed and helped by Perkins, who had become a true friend, managed to cut 90,000 words from the book, with the result that it instantly became a favorite with the critics and bestseller. Success was even greater in 1935 when "Of Time end the River" appeared but Wolfe's inability to cope with the editing process got in the way of his relationship with his mistress (Nicole Kidman) and with Max, and Wolfe died in 1938 after writing 'You Can't Go Home Again', 'The Web and the Rock' and some short stories. Wolfe remained faithful to his appreciation for Max Perkins and died from tuberculosis of the brain a lonely man at age 38.
The supporting cast is superb – Laura Linney as Louis Perkins, Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dominic West as Ernest Hemingway – and both Law and Firth carry the story well, maintaining a credible relationship in all its stages. Unfortunately the ending of the film is gushingly saccharine – not at all a good choice. But the movie is a tasty bit of acting and history and deserves to be seen.
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