Appoints David Thomson to Lead New Movies Section

By Steve Smith

The New Republic was born in 1914, at about the time D.W. Griffith advanced the young film technology into the realm of art and big business with his landmark Birth of a Nation. And so, with nearly a century of reviews in its archive, the magazine of politics and opinion brings a massive new resource to the Web with the launch of its “At the Movies” section and appoints respected writer David Thomson as its regular critic. TNR’s film criticism has been led by Stanley Kauffmann for 53 years, and Kauffmann continues as the main critic in print. Thomson, author of recent film mainstays such as The New Biographical Dictionary of Film and Have You Seen…? will publish on the Web. Thomson has already been a regular contributor to TNR.

In an online note, TNR literary editor Leon Wieseltier says, “It is said that Stanley Kauffmann is the dean of American film criticism. It is also said that David Thomson is the dean of film writing in the English language. The decanal metaphor is much too tweedy for what both of them do, of course; but now they will do what they do together, under one roof, in print and online. Movie lovers, and lovers of real criticism, take note: the deans are here.”

At the Movies will blend Thomson’s reviews with archival reviews from TNR’s past. The “TNR Film Classics” series begins with a reprint review of the 1939 Frank Capra political film Mr Smith Goes to Washington to coincide with the convening of the new Congress in Washington, D.C. this past week. For a number of years, TNR has made similar use of its book review and cultural criticism archive. some of the leading political and critical thinkers of the 20th Century first laid out their major ideas in the magazine’s pages. Progressive Era philosopher Herbert Croly and famed columnist Walter Lippmann founded the magazine.

TNR does not place all of its print content online for free. Much of the full article content remains behind a pay wall accessible to print and online subscribers only.

The new section includes Thomson’s reviews of True Grit and White Material.