The last time I saw Dave Kehr in New York, he seemed happier than he has in years. I have long admired him, not only as one of the most erudite and charming film critics around–my idea of heaven is dinner with Kehr and Richard and Mary Corliss–but for not subscribing to cable.
When he’s home in his Lower East Side condo plastered with the gorgeous oversize foreign film posters that he collects (he’s authored two books on international posters), he watches DVDs, mostly to review them for his weekly NYT column and must-read blog. He also writes the occasional documentary, such as PBS’s Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows for PBS and Turner Classic Movies’ Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That. He also speaks damned good French.
Over the last three decades, Kehr has delivered elegant auteurist reviews for the NY Daily News, after leaving The Chicago Tribune and weekly Chicago Reader. He was top dog in Chicago, but wanted to score in the Big Apple. Why the NYT never gave him the top critic slot, I’ll never know, but he’s better off in some ways, even he admits below, writing about old movies over the new stuff being churned out these days.
Check out this Village Voice interview on the occasion of Kehr’s collection of his movie reviews, When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade. I have not yet received a copy, but then I’m way behind anyway, still plowing through memoirs by Roger Ebert and Michael Moore.