Tag Archives: James Agee


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“A terrifying number of Americans, most of them in all innocence of the fact, are much more ripe for benevolent dictatorship—and every dictatorship is seen as benevolent by those who support it—than for the most elementary realization of the meanings, hopes, and liabilities of democracy.” — James Agee, 1947

James Agee, review of The Roosevelt Story, (originally collected in Agee on Film: Reviews and Comments) in James Agee, edited by Michael Sragow (New York: Library of America, 2005), 318.


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Agee was a regular contributor to The NationFortuneTime, and Life, and wrote the screenplays for The African Queen (1951, directed by John Huston) and The Night of the Hunter (1955, directed by Charles Laughton). He wrote the text for Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), with photographs by Walker Evans, who took the photograph below.

See: newyorker.com/a-famous-man

Image result for james agee

Image result for james agee






Leonard Bernstein’s operetta CANDIDE (1956)—musical theater’s polymorphous masterpiece—started out as a Cold War retort against McCarthyism, with a libretto by Lillian Hellman, and lyrics by film writer James Agee (which were dropped), Richard Wilber, John Latouche, and Dorothy Parker. In the 1970s, a book by Hugh Wheeler—truer to Voltaire’s satire—replaced Hellman’s (who had prohibited use of her work in any revivals).

The acclaimed production now at the Music Center—directed by Glimmerglass Festival general director Francesca Zambello, and conducted by James Conlon—is a co-production of Glimmerglass, the Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, and features the John Caird libretto from his 1999 Royal National Theatre staging.

Jack Swanson stars as Candide, the disillusioned optimist, and Erin Morley as his elusive love Cunegonde. Broadway legend Christine Ebersole plays the Old Lady, and Kelsey Grammer performs double duty as Voltaire and the misguided Professor Pangloss.



Thursday, February 8, at 7:30 pm; Sunday, February 11, at 2 pm; Thursday, February 15, at 7:30 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, February 17 and 18, at 2 pm.

DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION, Music Center, downtown Los Angeles.


From top:

Erin Morley, Brian Michael Moore, and Danny Lindgren in CandideL.A. Opera, 2018.

Morley, Jack Swanson, and Christine Ebersole in Candide, L.A. Opera, 2018. Photographs by Ken Howard.