From Pulitzer Prize-Winning Movie Critic Stephen Hunter Comes A Brilliant,
Freewheeling, And Witty Look At The Movies.
Evanston, Illinois, was an idyllic 1950s
paradise with stately homes, a beautiful lake, a world-class university, two
premier movie houses, and one very seedy movie theater — the Valencia.
This was the site of Washington Post
film critic Stephen Hunter's misspent youth. Instead of going to school, picking
up girls, or tossing a football, Hunter could be found sitting in the fifteenth
row, right-hand aisle seat of the Valencia, sating himself on one B-list movie
The Valencia had a sticky floor, smelly
bathrooms, ancient popcorn, and a screen set in a hideously tacky papier-mache
castle wall. It was also the only place in town to see westerns, sci-fi
pictures, cops 'n' robbers flicks, slapstick comedy, and Godzilla.
Playing at the Valencia, the author of such bestselling novels as Havana and Pale Horse Coming has
compiled his favorite movie reviews written between 1997 and 2003, bringing to
the discussion the passionate feelings for cinema he discovered in the '50s, a
time when genres were forming, mesmerizing stars played unforgettable
characters, and enduring classics were made. While filmmaking has changed
tremendously since Hunter first frequented the Valencia, the view from the
fifteenth row, and the thrill of down and dirty entertainment, has remained the