Book Review: Maitland McDonagh’s “Movie Lust”

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“Movie Lust”

By Maitland McDonagh

Sasquatch Books

ISBN 10 1-57061-478-4


If you’re a cinemaniac or want to impress one, Maitland McDonagh’s “Movie Lust” is a must!

In this collection of 90-plus short essays and a dozen director profiles, the erudite and witty McDonagh, who’s known to a wide range of fans as’s Flick Chick, draws upon her encyclopedic knowledge and a genuine passion for the movies to deliver the goods on classic cinema– and let you know what films you really must see.

McDonagh covers a comprehensive compilation of genres and sub-genres, including road trips, adventures in space, at sea or aboard trains, beach scenes, horror and haunt, search and rescue, anime and ‘toons, Shakespeare derivatives, swashbucklers and drug dramas, silents and songfests, flicks featuring dogs or werewolves or starlets, and those with plots revolving around stage doors, cocktail hours or telephone connections, and a whole lot more.

McDonagh’s discerning list of “landmark” movies, stretching from 1917’s “Quo Vadis?” to 1977’s “Star Wars,” traces the changing face of cinema, while her selection of featured directors, ranging from Pedro Almodovar to Peter Weir, spotlights its highlights.

Her style’s so light and breezy, it’s easy to overlook the depth of McDonagh’s insights, as she generously reveals personal associations with specific films (we all have those moments when movies express exactly what we’re going through or carry us as far away from our circumstances as possible).

“Movie Lust” is a book to be referenced repeatedly. You’ll get a clearer picture of the movies every time you turn a page, guaranteed.

Jennifer Merin

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).