Billy Wilder said of Judith Crist: “inviting her to review one of your pictures is like inviting the Boston Strangler to massage your neck.”
The merciless film critic for New York magazine and TV Guide died yesterday (August 7, 2012), aged 90. A champion of the blockbuster who believed that James Bond was more important than Ingmar Bergman, Crist explained that her job was to expand on the “Wow!” or the “Yuck!” a moviegoer might say.
Nevertheless, her putdowns were equal opportunity with 1976’s King Kong summarised as a story of “a dumb blonde who falls for a huge plastic finger” and Anne Bancroft a ”cowlike creature with no aspirations or intellect above her pelvis”.
Crist, born Judith Klein, also established the Judith Crist Film Festival in Tarrytown, New York in 1970. The festival closed in 2006, and was Woody Allen’s inspiration for his film Stardust Memories.