Milton Moses Ginsberg (September 22, 1935 – May 23, 2021) was an American film director and editor. He was noted for writing and directing Coming Apart, a 1969 film starring Rip Torn and Sally Kirkland, and The Werewolf of Washington starring Dean Stockwell.
Ginsberg was born in The Bronx on September 22, 1935. His father, Elias, was employed as a cutter in the garment district; his mother, Fannie (Weis), was a housewife. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, before studying literature at Columbia University, where he obtained a bachelor's degree.
Ginsberg directed his first feature film, Coming Apart, in 1969. It starred Rip Torn as a mentally disturbed psychologist who secretly films his sexual encounters with women. Sally Kirkland, who was simultaneously filming Futz! at the time, also stars. The film was shot in a one-room, 15 ft × 17 ft (4.6 m × 5.2 m) apartment in Kips Bay Plaza, on a budget of $60,000. Shooting lasted three weeks. Ginsberg filmed the entire movie with one static camera setup, in a manner simulating a non-constructed "fake documentary" style, influenced by Jim McBride's David Holzman's Diary.:86
Critical reception was mixed. Life reviewer Richard Schickel praised Torn's performance, Ginsberg's inventive use of camera and sound, and the "illuminating" portrayal of a schizophrenic breakdown. Critic Andrew Sarris gave it a less-favorable review, and the film was a commercial failure. The film later attained a cult following among critics and filmmakers.
In a 1999 volume of Film Comment, Ginsberg stated:
... the film was about a psychiatrist encased in his own reflection, using a hidden camera to record his own disintegration. The film was also about the pleasures and price of promiscuity, and about the form and duration of cinema itself - or so I hoped. And to a degree that still embarrasses, it was about me. Appropriate, the title, Coming Apart.:4
In 1973, Ginsberg wrote and directed the satirical horror film The Werewolf of Washington starring Dean Stockwell. Eschewing the minimalism of his previous feature, Ginsberg demonstrated a more technically complex film style.
After a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 1975, Ginsberg became depressed and withdrew from filmmaking. He returned to directing in 1999 and 2001, with the short films The City Below the Line and The Haloed Bird.:6
After his final feature film, Ginsberg primarily made a living as a film editor, working on two Academy Award-winning documentaries, Down and Out in America and The Personals, among others. He edited both parts of the miniseries Fidel (2002) for director David Attwood.
Ginsberg married Nina Posnansky, a painter, in 1983. They remained married until his death.
Ginsberg died on May 23, 2021, at his apartment in Manhattan. He was 85, and suffered from cancer prior to his death.
- ^ a b c d e f Sandomir, Richard (June 12, 2021). "Milton Moses Ginsberg, Unconventional Filmmaker, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ Smith, Howard (March 13, 1969). "Rip Torn, Sally Kirkland, and the Sexual Revolution on Stage and Film". The Village Voice.
- ^ a b c d e Smith, Dinitia (September 10, 1998). "After 'Coming Apart,' a Life Did Just That". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ Horwath, Alexander (2004). "A Walking Contradiction (Partly True and Partly Fiction)". In Elsaesser, Thomas; King, Noel; Horwath, Alexander (eds.). The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 90-5356-493-4.
- ^ Schickel, Richard. "Cracking Up On Camera" Life, October 17, 1969
- ^ Malcolm, Derek (October 23, 1976). "Yawning space: Derek Malcolm reviews more new films". The Guardian. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- ^ Puchalski, Steven (2002). Slimetime: A Guide to Sleazy, Mindless Movies. Headpress/Critical Vision. ISBN 1-900486-21-0.
- ^ Senn, Bryan (February 6, 2017). The Werewolf Filmography: 300+ Movies. McFarland. p. 238. ISBN 9781476626918.
- ^ Wertheimer, Ron (January 26, 2002). "Television Review – Castro's Road, a Historical Pageant". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Milton Moses Ginsberg". British Film Institute. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ Ebert, Roger (October 5, 1990). "Listen Up: The Lives Of Quincy Jones movie review (1990)". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved June 13, 2021.