Duncan Shepherd

Duncan Shepherd was the Reader's sole movie critic for nearly 40 years. Shepherd was a disciple of Manny Farber, a man Roger Ebert once called "the great iconoclast of American film criticism." Like Farber, Shepherd sought to assist moviegoers "in seeing what was in front of their faces, to wean them from Plot, Story, What Happens Next, and to disabuse them of the absurd notion that a film is all of a piece, all on a level, quantifiable, rankable, fileable." Instead of simply describing a film's attributes, he took hold of it like Jacob wrestling the angel, and sought to see it face to face. He retired in 2010.

His collection of five-star reviews collects those relatively few films that merited his highest indicator of priority, from 1924's The Last Laugh to 2009's A Serious Man. It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Read about Shepherd on Wikipedia.

Some of Shepherd's work from the print archives of the Reader:

Dec. 4, 1975, page 10 Thick Skin (Shepherd's view on pornography)

June 10, 1976, page 9 Naysaying (response to Shepherd critics)

Oct. 18, 1979, page 16 Gorin by Himself (collaborator of Jean-Luc Godard, friend of Shepherd's)

April 30, 1981, page 22 Cease Fire (another frontal stand against Shepherd's critics)

July 7, 1994, page 95 Upside, Downside (the new phenomenon of films on video)

March 7, 1996, page 86 More Than Money (review of Fargo)

Sept. 27, 2001, page 126 One Cent's Worth (reflections on 9/11)

Nov. 1, 2001, page 116 Bloop (review of The Man Who Wasn't There, first Coen Bros. film to disappoint author)

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