Richard Nelson Corliss (March 6, 1944 – April 23, 2015) was an
American film critic and magazine editor for Time. As a publisher, he
mainly focused on movies, with occasional articles on other
He was the former editor-in-chief of
Film Comment and author of
several books, including Talking Pictures, which, along with other
publications, drew early attention to the screenwriter, as opposed to
1 Personal life and background
3 Conflict and criticism
4 Number Ones from Corliss' Top-Tens
7 External links
Personal life and background
Corliss was born in 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of
Elizabeth Brown (née McCluskey) and Paul William Corliss. He
attended St. Joseph's College,
Philadelphia (now Saint Joseph's
University), obtaining a bachelor's degree, before progressing to
Columbia University to earn a master's degree in film studies. Corliss
resided in New York City with his wife, Mary, whom he married on
Sunday, August 31, 1969. Mary was formerly a curator in the Film
Stills Archive of the Museum of Modern Art.
In a 1990 article, Corliss mentions his mother clipping movie ads with
quotes of his and posting them to her refrigerator door.
On April 23, 2015, Corliss died under hospice care in New York City
after suffering a stroke.
Corliss wrote for many magazines—
National Review from 1966–1970,
Maclean's and SoHo Weekly News in 1980. At Film Comment,
Corliss helped draw attention to the screenwriter in the creation of
movies. Corliss challenged Andrew Sarris's idea of the Director as
author or auteur of this work. Corliss was one of Sarris' students at
New York University
New York University (NYU); the two remained friends until Sarris'
Jonathan Rosenbaum to
Film Comment as a Paris
correspondent. Despite working for National Review, a conservative
magazine, Corliss was a self-described "liberal". In 1980, Corliss
joined Time. Although he started as an associate editor, he was
promoted to senior writer by 1985.
Corliss wrote for time.com as well as the print magazine including a
retired column about nostalgic pop culture called That Old Feeling. He
wrote occasional articles for Time. He was an occasional guest on
Charlie Rose's talk show commenting on new releases, mostly during the
Janet Maslin and David Denby. His last appearance on the
show was in December 2005 to talk about the year in film. Corliss also
appeared on A&E Biography to talk about the life and work of
Jackie Chan, and appeared in Richard Schickel's documentary about
Corliss attended the
Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival along with
Roger Ebert and
Todd McCarthy for the longest period of any US journalist. He also
attended festivals in Toronto and Venice. Corliss used to work on the
board of the New York Film Festival, but resigned in 1987 after
Richard Roud was fired due to his challenging of
editorial direction of the festival.
Lolita, Corliss's third book, was a study of Vladimir Nabokov's book
and Stanley Kubrick's film. Later Corliss has written an introductory
essay for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: A Portrait of the Ang Lee
Corliss also admired the
Pixar movies, including listing Finding Nemo
as one of his and fellow Time critic Richard Schickel's 100 all-time
greatest movies. With recent
Pixar releases Cars and Ratatouille
Corliss had access into the studio's inner workings. Pixar
Brad Bird has said of critics in general that he has "got
nothing against critics." He also that he had "done very well with
them, over the years."
In addition to writing for Time, Corliss had a lengthy association
Film Comment magazine, serving as its editor from 1970 to 1990.
Corliss covered movies for the magazine and for time.com
simultaneously. Corliss along with
Martin Scorsese first came up with
the idea for the issue on "guilty pleasures".
Corliss along with
Richard Schickel made a 100 Greatest movies list.
Corliss alone created lists of the 25 greatest villains, the 25 best
horror films, and the 25 most important films on race. In addition
Corliss was on the 2001 jury for AFI's 100 Greatest movies list. In a
Time magazine movie review of The Crying Game, Corliss subtly
gave away the spoiler of the film, by spelling it out with the first
letters of each paragraph of his review.
Conflict and criticism
Corliss has had movies on his top ten lists that fellow Time critic
Richard Schickel has rated the worst of the year. These included
2001's Moulin Rouge!, 2003's Cold Mountain and 2004's Eternal Sunshine
of the Spotless Mind. In August 2004, Stephen King, criticizing what
he saw as a growing trend of leniency towards films by critics,
included Corliss among a number of "formerly reliable critics who seem
to have gone remarkably soft – not to say softhearted and sometimes
softheaded – in their old age."
Richard Corliss appears in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of
Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, confessing that he was
the film critic who, in the 1970s, coined the term "Paulettes" for the
ardent followers of Pauline Kael, a label which has stuck.
Despite challenging Siskel and Ebert in his
Film Comment article, "all
thumbs", Corliss praised Ebert in a June 23, 2007 article "Thumbs up
for Roger Ebert." Corliss later appeared in Ebert's book Awake in the
Dark in discussions and debates with Ebert about film criticism where
"all thumbs" was reprinted.
Number Ones from Corliss' Top-Tens
Best English language film in parentheses:
1969: Midnight Cowboy
1980: Mon Oncle d'Amerique (The Elephant Man)
The Mystery of Oberwald
The Mystery of Oberwald (Thief)
1982: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
1983: Berlin Alexanderplatz (The Big Chill)
1986: The Fly
1988: The Singing Detective
1989: Distant Voices, Still Lives
L'Atalante (re-release) (Internal Affairs)
My Father's Glory
My Father's Glory and
My Mother's Castle
My Mother's Castle (The Simpsons: Lisa's
1992: The Simpsons: Black Widower
1993: The Age of Innocence
1994: Pulp Fiction
Ponette (Chasing Amy)
2001: Kandahar (Moulin Rouge!)
Talk to Her (Gangs of New York)
2003: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004: Hero and
House of Flying Daggers
House of Flying Daggers (Sideways)
The White Diamond
The White Diamond (The Squid and the Whale)
Pan's Labyrinth (Borat)
2007: No Country For Old Men
2009: The Princess and the Frog
2010: Toy Story 3
2011: The Artist (Hugo in second place)
2012: Amour (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Corliss, Richard (1974). Talking pictures : screenwriters in the
American cinema, 1927-1973. Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press.
Greta Garbo (1974)
Mom in the Movies: The Iconic Screen Mothers You Love (and a Few You
Love to Hate) (2014)
Corliss, Richard (April 20, 2015). "Date with an android : two
guys and a robot square off in Alex Garland's Ex Machina". The
Culture. Reviews. Time (South Pacific ed.). 185 (14): 45.
^ Corliss, Richard (1974). Talking Pictures : Screenwriters in
the American Cinema, 1927–1973 (1st ed.). Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook
Press. ISBN 978-0879510077.
^ Corliss, Richard (1974). Sennett, Ted, ed. Greta Garbo (1st ed.).
New York: Pyramid Publications. ISBN 978-0515034806.
^ Richard, Corliss (August 11, 1980). "TV's Dallas: Whodunit?". Time
Magazine. access-date= requires url= (help)
^ Villanova University Proquest search list of 2596 articles,
Richard Corliss (1974), Talking Pictures: Screenwriters in the
American Cinema, 1927–1973
^ a b Profile, filmreference.com; accessed September 6, 2014.
Richard Corliss (1990) "All Thumbs, Or, Is There a Future for Film
Criticism?" Film Comment, March/April. Reprinted in Roger Ebert
(2006), Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert, p. 394.
^ Weber, Bruce (April 24, 2015). "Richard Corliss, 71, Longtime Film
Critic for Time, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17,
Richard Corliss (August 17, 2007). "Superbad: A Fine Bromance".
^ Jackie Chan: From Stuntman to Superstar on IMDb
^ "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: A Portrait of Ang Lee's Epic Film".
Barnes & Noble. January 23, 2001. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
^ Corliss/Emeryville, Richard (June 7, 2007). "Savoring Pixar's
^ Blogsite, orlandosentinel.com; accessed September 6, 2014.
^ "Mail Page". Entertainment Weekly. October 3, 1997.
^ Corliss, Richard (January 25, 1993). "Queuing for the Crying Game".
Time magazine. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
Stephen King on summer film's four-star follies". Entertainment
Weekly's EW.com. February 1, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
Richard Corliss on IMDb
In Memoriam – Time Magazine
Biography – from Allmovie
Corliss's Top Ten Picks – a yearly breakdown of Corliss's favorite
Top 100 Movies Ever – Corliss and fellow Time critic Richard
Schickel's list of the greatest movies ever made
Richard Corliss, 1944-2015: Everywhere At Once by Matt Zoller Seitz,
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