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TURN-ONS AND TURN-OFFS IN CURRENT HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES : AUDIOCASSETTES : ****Excellent ***Good **Fair *Poor

May 12, 1987|CHARLES CHAMPLIN | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"The American" by Henry James. Read by Jim Killavey. Books on Tape (11 cassettes, unabridged). James' 1877 novel watches Christopher Newman, a quiet, attractive, self-made American millionaire who could have been played by Gary Cooper, discover Paris. The beautiful young widow he asks to marry him is wrenched from him by her icily hateful mother (who pre-echoes Regina in "The Little Foxes"), because Newman is a commercial man. His intended retreats to a Carmelite nunnery and Newman retreats to San Francisco. Expatriate that he was, James painted a warmly admiring portrait of the American, open, generous and sensitive, and gave a subtly savage account of a spent and hypocritical aristocracy defending its honor dishonorably. The Killavey reading is competent, but the interest lies in the James text, not the performance. Information: (800) 626-3333. ***

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