The Last Film of Emil

Thomas Gavin, Author Viking Books $17.95 (403p) ISBN 978-0-670-80492-4
On Ash Wednesday, 1938, in the midst of making his last film, the brilliant actor-director Vico vanishes. Griswold Farley, Vico's cameraman and artistic alter ego, hectically narrates the intricate story of Vico's life and possible murder. Could Vico have been killed by Spyhawk, the name Farley gives to the sinister, demented creature dwelling within Vico, the other ""person'' of his dual nature? What of Lisa, Vico's second wife, a beautiful fashion model turned movie star? In the enveloping dark atmosphere, these matters are not so much the point as the pretext of this uncommonly interesting novel. The true subject is not whodunit but the nature of art and its relation to life. The world and reality are so intimately involved with the camera and the voyeuristic eye of the artist that the lines of demarcation blur and dissolve. Art and life, reason and madness, novel and film, the identities of the characters, the calculable world and phantasmagoriaall fuse. If the novel is at times even more intricate, melodramatic, mystifying and strident than seems warranted, it is also often mesmerizing, carefully wrought by a highly accomplished hand. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
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