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Nicholas Ray

An American Journey

2011
Author:

Bernard Eisenschitz
Translated by Tom Milne

Nicholas Ray

The definitive biography of American filmmaker Nicholas Ray

Perhaps best known for Rebel without a Cause, American filmmaker Nicholas Ray directed dozens of film noir movies, including In a Lonely Place and Johnny Guitar. From Martin Scorsese to Jean-Luc Godard and Jim Jarmusch, Ray’s influence can be seen throughout the work of some of the twentieth century’s greatest directors. In this authoritative biography, Bernard Eisenschitz leaves no stone unturned.

A monumental job of research (even the footnotes are irresistible reading).

Washington Post

Perhaps best known for Rebel without a Cause, American filmmaker Nicholas Ray directed dozens of movies in the film noir genre, including In a Lonely Place, Johnny Guitar, and They Live by Night. Born in Galesville, Wisconsin, in 1911, Ray was an iconoclastic figure in film—an alcoholic, depressive, and compulsive gambler—who found himself increasingly blacklisted in Hollywood in the 1960s only to be heralded as the spiritual father to American cinema’s New Wave and one of America’s greatest rebel auteurs. From Martin Scorsese to Jean-Luc Godard and Jim Jarmusch, Ray’s influence can be seen throughout the work of some of the twentieth century’s greatest directors. In this authoritative biography, Bernard Eisenschitz leaves no stone unturned.

Nicholas Ray

Bernard Eisenschitz is a film historian, translator, and program curator living in Paris. He is the author and editor of books about German, Soviet, and American cinema. From 2001 to 2007, he edited the magazine Cinéma. His book Fritz Lang au travail is scheduled for publication next fall.


Tom Milne was a British film critic. He wrote for Sight & Sound, the Observer, and the Times and was the founding editor of Time Out Film Guide.

Nicholas Ray

A monumental job of research (even the footnotes are irresistible reading).

Washington Post

Spells out the extraordinary and tumultuous life of a man who found his fullest expression in filmmaking, yet never fully resolved his battles with himself and with the world he lived in.

Film Comment

Nicholas Ray

UMP blog - A Q&A with Susan Ray

Q. Does your documentary DON'T EXPECT TOO MUCH show us a different side of Nicholas Ray?

You will have to tell me! It's my hope that this full-length documentary will contribute to an understanding of what Nick was trying to accomplish with WCGHA. Nick used to say—and it's been my direct experience as well—that few people know how to view a finished film and anticipate what it could become. It seems that many, viewing the rough and messy nature of WCGHA, assumed that Nick had somehow lost his discernment as a filmmaker. I believe that DON'T EXPECT TOO MUCH will make clear that this was not the case.

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