Judith Crist

Film Critic


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her four-hour Archive interview, film critic Judith Crist (1922-2012) recounts her early fascination with books and movies. She talks about pursuing a career in journalism and landing her dream job as a film critic for the New York Herald Tribune. She describes how a newspaper strike in 1962 led to her stint as a movie reviewer on WABC-TV.  She also discusses how her scathing review of Cleopatra led to industry notoriety. Crist then speaks of her role as possibly the first regular network movie reviewer on television, as the film critic for the Today show in the 1960s and '70s. She describes the format of her reviews, the film selection process, and her ability to speak extemporaneously on camera. She then talks about her subsequent reviewing on WOR-TV.  Additionally, she chronicles her long tenure as the critic for TV Guide, her appearance in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, and meeting and befriending legendary film director Federico Fellini. Karen Herman conducted the interview on February 24, 2006 in New York, NY.

"To hell with the novel, to hell with the play, I was going to become a movie critic."

Highlights
Judith Crist on her early love of films
01:03
Judith Crist on Al Morgan inviting her to be movie critic for Today
05:08
Judith Crist on TV Guide asking her to become a critic for the publication
01:12
Judith Crist on calling herself a journalistic reviewer
03:45
Judith Crist on reviewing a pivotal episode of Law & Order dealing with the bombing of an abortion clinic
02:13
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on wanting to be a novelist when she was younger; on her early love of films
On policies regarding children attending movies when she was growing up; on favorite film memories

Chapter 2

On remembering watching the film "The Sign of the Cross"; on critics she admired and how she became a film critic
On wanting to attend journalism school; on getting a teaching fellowship at the State College of Washington and meeting a lot of non-New Yorkers and non-elites; on returning to Columbia to do her M.A. and working at the New York Herald Tribune
On reviewing plays; on working with critic Walter Kerr

Chapter 3

On beginning to write film and television critics; on not having her own TV set; on becoming Editor of the Arts for the paper and appearing on television
On her early television appearances; on memories of appearing on Today; on working with Howard Cosell; on officially becoming a movie critic
On Al Morgan inviting her to be movie critic for Today

Chapter 4

On her appearances on Today; on makeup she and Barbara Walters wore on the show; on working with the anchors on Today
On reviewing "Cleopatra" and not enjoying Elizabeth Taylor's performance; on becoming a national figure for that review; on lectures
On TV Guide asking her to become a critic for the publication; on critiquing movies for television
On B-roll photos from her career

Chapter 5

On reviewing "Doctor Zhivago"; on writing for TV Guide
On her time as a film critic on Today; on typical production on the show and how films were selected for review; on reviewing "A Hard Day's Night"

Chapter 6

On the format of her reviews on television; on wearing wigs on Today; on calling herself a journalistic reviewer
On encountering filmmakers and running film weekends; on getting to know Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Bette Davis, and Federico Fellini; on leaving Today and being on a Pulitzer Prize Selection Committee

Chapter 7

On serving on a Pulitzer Prize Selection Committee; on returning to television on WOR TV; on meeting Phyllis Diller and other women in television
On not watching today's critics; on today's ratings systems; on the theater-going experience; on getting recognized and questions people ask her
On her opinion of the Academy Awards; on appearing in Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories"

Chapter 8

On "Stardust Memories" contd.; on not encountering sexism as a film critic
On her greatest achievement; on how she'd like to be remembered
On B-roll photos from her career
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Judith Crist on her opinion of the Academy Awards
02:31

Law & Order

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Judith Crist on reviewing a pivotal episode of Law & Order dealing with the bombing of an abortion clinic
02:13

Today

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Judith Crist on memories of appearing on Today
00:56
Judith Crist on Al Morgan inviting her to be movie critic for Today
06:27
Judith Crist on her appearances on Today
12:35
Judith Crist on reviewing "Cleopatra" and not enjoying Elizabeth Taylor's performance
06:40
Judith Crist on her time as a film critic on Today
08:30
Judith Crist on the format of her reviews on television; on wearing wigs and who her audience was
07:21
Judith Crist on interviewing Federico Fellini on Today
05:43
Judith Crist on why she left Today
01:33
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Judith Crist on Roger Ebert telling her she was his inspiration
01:02

Diversity in Television

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Judith Crist on Al Morgan of Today being a big supporter of women
01:19
Judith Crist on why she left Today and feeling the decision to let her go was sexist
01:33
Judith Crist on getting to know women in television
03:54
Judith Crist on not encountering sexism in the television industry
12:24

Women

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Judith Crist on Al Morgan of Today being a big supporter of women
01:19
Judith Crist on why she left Today and feeling the decision to let her go was sexist
01:33
Judith Crist on getting to know women in television
03:27
Judith Crist on not encountering sexism in the television industry
12:24
Professions

Film Critic

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Judith Crist on wanting to be a film critic
00:42
Judith Crist on her first attempt at becoming a film critic
06:33
Judith Crist on beginning to read movie reviews
01:35
Judith Crist on beginning to write film and television criticism
05:10
Judith Crist on Al Morgan inviting her to be movie critic for Today
06:27
Judith Crist on calling herself a journalistic reviewer
03:45
Judith Crist on interviewing Federico Fellini on Today
05:43

Interviewer

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Judith Crist on interviewing Federico Fellini on Today
05:43
Genres

News and Documentary

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Judith Crist on Al Morgan inviting her to be movie critic for Today
06:27
Judith Crist on reviewing "Cleopatra" and not enjoying Elizabeth Taylor's performance
Judith Crist on her appearances on Today
12:35
Judith Crist on her time as a film critic on Today
08:30
Judith Crist on interviewing Federico Fellini on Today
05:43
People

Woody Allen

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Judith Crist on getting to know Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen
02:29
Judith Crist on appearing in Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories"
05:26
Judith Crist on Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories" contd.
06:16

Howard Cosell

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Judith Crist on working with Howard Cosell
01:30

Bosley Crowther

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Judith Crist on how she became a film critic
05:05

Bette Davis

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Judith Crist on being on a panel with Bette Davis
02:27

Phyllis Diller

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Judith Crist on meeting Phyllis Diller
00:42

Hugh Downs

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Judith Crist on working with Hugh Downs on Today
00:32

Roger Ebert

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Judith Crist on Roger Ebert telling her she was his inspiration
01:02

Federico Fellini

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Judith Crist on interviewing Federico Fellini on Today
05:43

Reuven Frank

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Judith Crist on NBC News' Reuven Frank
01:48

Richard Levinson

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Judith Crist on Levinson and Link supporting her
00:39

William Link

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Judith Crist on Levinson and Link supporting her
00:39

Al Morgan

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Judith Crist on Al Morgan inviting her to be movie critic for Today
06:27
Judith Crist on Al Morgan asking her to join Today
02:23

Dorothy Parker

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Judith Crist on how she'd like to be remembered
02:48

Cliff Robertson

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Judith Crist on a set visit with Cliff Robertson on a children's show
00:25

Budd Schulberg

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Judith Crist on NBC's producer Budd Shulberg
00:56

Gene Shalit

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Judith Crist on NBC News' Reuven Frank and critic Gene Shalit

Bob Smith

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Judith Crist on Bob Smith making her wigs for Today
02:40

Steven Spielberg

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Judith Crist on getting to know Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen
02:29

Elizabeth Taylor

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Judith Crist on reviewing "Cleopatra" and not enjoying Elizabeth Taylor's performance
06:40

Barbara Walters

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Judith Crist on makeup she and Barbara Walters wore on Today
01:02
Judith Crist on working with Barbara Walters on Today
02:15

Dick Wolf

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Judith Crist on reviewing a pivotal episode of Law & Order dealing with the bombing of an abortion clinic
02:13

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