Vale Roger Ebert

April 5, 2013 |

This is a legal blog.  For the most part.  I break tradition once a year, with a Christmas unabashedly sentimental blog.  Lawyers can have hearts too.  But that is about it.

Except when a giant of the written word dies.  As did one of the titans today.  Roger Ebert died aged 70 after long battle with cancer.  He is better known in America than Australia.  He was a film critic and occasional author of mainly film related books.  He scripted the occasional screen play.  Hardly a body of work to fit the description of titan of the written word.  Wrong.  He was a wonderful wordsmith.  I, amongst millions of others, enjoyed his reviews over the years, not so much for what he thought of a film but the way he analysed it and described it.  It is an art form like essay writing, short stories and the ultimate, the novel (of which he wrote one).  I am in good company because he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for journalism, the first movie critic to do so.

He also had the rare gift of writing it as he saw it without attacking that which he did not like.  The warmth with which he was regarded comes through in the obituary in the Atlantic and his home paper the Chicago Sun Times.

His 2011 memoir Life Itself is a wonderful read and was instantly acclaimed.

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