The Times Square Story

By Geoffrey O'Brien
(W. W. Norton & Company, Paperback, 9780393318463, 96pp.)

Publication Date: October 1998

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" . . . so this picture we're talking about is The Times Square Story this is New York, show biz, crossroads of the world, entertainment capital, international center for scope and variety and pacing, everything open after midnight, not just a bunch of dumb gangsters pushing people around, this one has jazz, exotic nightlife, hipster talk, blacks tights, psychoanalysis . . . " Imagine Damon Runyon on speed, with a graduate degree in cultural studies and access to the world's most extensive video archive of low-budget exploitation films, and you'll get some idea of the ultra-hip mind-movie that is Geoffrey O'Brien's The Times Square Story. It evokes the one-time glitter, the glamour, and the grunge of this fabled piece of real estate before it became Disneyfied its grind houses and strip joints and freak shows and novelty stores and night clubs and peep shows and fleabag hotels. The Times Square Story also celebrates the world of below-the-line filmmaking as the kid, the producer, the broken-down actor, and Miss Columbus 1952 struggle to bring Fury of Macumba to the big screen-their artistic impulses crippled by financial reality and human frailty. With more than fifty evocative photographs from the golden era of this mythic patch of asphalt, The Times Square Story is a roller-coaster ride through gaudy, seedy, glorious cultural territory.

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