McCarthy, Todd 1950–
McCarthy, Todd 1950–
(Daniel Todd McCarthy)
Born February 16, 1950, in Evanston, IL; son of Daniel Francis and Barbara Jean McCarthy. Education: Stanford University, B.A., 1972.
Office—Variety, 360 1400 North Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028. Agent—Michael Hamilburg, Mitchell J. Hamilburg Agency, 292 South La Cienega Blvd., Ste. 212, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. E-mail—[email protected]
Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, CA, assistant to Elaine May, 1974-75; New World Pictures, Los Angeles, director of advertising and publicity, 1975-77; Le Film francais, manager of English-language editions in Paris, France, 1977, and Cannes, France, 1978; Film Comment, Hollywood editor, 1978-79; Daily Variety, Los Angeles, reporter and critic, 1979—. Film critic for Hollywood Reporter, 1975-76. Producer and director of documentary film Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient.
(Editor, with Charles Flynn) Kings of the Bs: Working within the Hollywood System, Dutton (New York, NY), 1975.
(And director, with Stuart Samuels and Arnold Glassman) Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (screenplay), Kino International (United States), 1993.
Fast Women: The Legendary Ladies of Racing, Miramax Books/Hyperion (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to magazines and newspapers, including American Film and Take One.
Todd McCarthy, film critic for Variety, is perhaps best known for his Hollywood biography, Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. This book, hailed as a well-researched and honest depiction of a seminal figure in the history of film, chronicles the director's life and career from his early silent films to his subsequent work in several genres, including western, adventure, romantic comedy, noir, biopic, musical, and science fiction. Hawks worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, among them Cary Grant, John Wayne, and Humphrey Bogart, and is remembered for such classics as Red River, Bringing up Baby, The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Scarface. A reviewer for the Economist observed that, while McCarthy does not unearth new information about his subject, he "has sure judgment and a crisp delivery … and is revealing about Hawks's largely posthumous reputation as an important auteur." The book, the critic concluded, is one "that capture[s] the spirit of an age of film giants—an age that the world may never see again."
Booklist reviewer Gordon Flagg found McCarthy an ideal biographer of Hawks, noting that McCarthy identifies how Hawks achieved such phenomenal success in Hollywood: the straightforward, entertaining pictures he liked to make were the type that big studios wanted to support and audiences wanted to see. L.S. Klepp wrote in Entertainment Weekly that McCarthy conveys the "stoic, comic essence of Hawks and his films," while a writer for Publishers Weekly praised the biography as "exhaustively researched, judiciously written and full of wonderful stories." In Library Journal, contributor Stephen Rees commended Howard Hawks as a "major contribution to film literature" that should inspire new interest in Hawks's work.
McCarthy found the subject for his next book by accident: while visiting a friend, he noticed a framed photo of a racing car and, as Rosemary Feitelberg explained in a WWD piece, "was intrigued by the driver's regal posture, the perfectly placed hands that resembled a clock set at ten and two and the attire—white cuffs beneath a blazer, sunglasses and a polo cap-inspired helmet." The driver, it turned out, was Evelyn Mull, a leading competitive racer of the 1950s. Inspired by the photo, McCarthy researched and wrote Fast Women: The Legendary Ladies of Racing. In addition material on Mull, the book includes information on several women racers from the early 1900s through the 1950s and 1960s, including Suzy Dietrich, whom McCarthy describes as an "enormously cute" librarian; Denise McCluggage, who was an early friend of actor Steve McQueen; and Ruth Levy, who, in McCarthy's view, helped to make the 1950s "fabulous." Kathy Ruffle, reviewing the book in Library Journal, observed that McCarthy emphasizes the colorful personalities and anecdotes in the world of women's racing and provides a "unique look at a fascinating period."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Antioch Review, summer, 1998, Jon Saari, review of Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood, p. 375.
Booklist, May 15, 1997, Gordon Flagg, review of Howard Hawks, p. 1554; May 1, 2007, Colleen Mondor, review of Fast Women: The Legendary Ladies of Racing, p. 63.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, December 1, 1997, review of Howard Hawks, p. 645.
Daily Variety, May 22, 2007, F.X. Feeney, review of Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient, p. 2.
Economist, September 6, 1997, review of Howard Hawks, p. 18.
Entertainment Weekly, April 23, 1993, Owen Gleiberman, review of Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography, p. 38; June 27, 1997, L.S. Klepp, review of Howard Hawks, p. 114.
Film Comment, September 1, 1993, Donald Lyons, review of Visions of Light, p. 81.
Hollywood Reporter, September 5, 2007, Kirk Honeycutt, review of Man of Cinema, p. 10.
Journal of Popular Film and Television, summer, 1997, review of Kings of the Bs: Working within the Hollywood System.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2007, review of Fast Women.
Library Journal, May 15, 1997, Stephen Rees, review of Howard Hawks, p. 79; May 15, 2007, Kathy Ruffle, review of Fast Women, p. 96.
New Republic, April 26, 1993, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Visions of Light, p. 29.
Newsweek, July 14, 1997, Malcolm Jones, review of Howard Hawks, p. 68.
New Yorker, April 5, 1993, Terrence Rafferty, review of Visions of Light, p. 101.
New York Review of Books, November 20, 1997, Michael Wood, review of Howard Hawks, p. 27.
New York Times, April 2, 1993, Vincent Canby, review of Visions of Light, p. 10.
New York Times Book Review, November 26, 2000, review of Howard Hawks, p. 32; December 3, 2000, review of Howard Hawks, p. 109.
Publishers Weekly, May 5, 1997, review of Howard Hawks, p. 187.
Sight and Sound, May, 1994, Philip Strick, review of Visions of Light, p. 58.
Time, May 3, 1993, review of Visions of Light, p. 81.
Tribune Books, July 6, 1997, review of Howard Hawks, p. 4.
Variety, May 21, 2007, F.X. Feeney, review of Man of Cinema, p. 48.
Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1998, Jeffrey Meyers, review of Howard Hawks.
Wall Street Journal, June 4, 1997, Donald Lyons, review of Howard Hawks, p. 16.
WWD, March 26, 2007, Rosemary Feitelberg, "Fast Women Fast Cars; a Few Female Racers Saw Speeding Tickets as the Cost of a Good Time," p. 65.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com (January 14, 2008), Ron Kaplan, review of Howard Hawks.