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The Author Who Tried to Disappear: A New Documentary About J.D. Salinger

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most influential writers of the 20th century was J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye.  He spent the last decades of his life living quietly, almost reclusively, writing but not publishing anything more from 1960 to his death at age 91 in 2010.  A documentary called Salinger will be released on September 6.   Through the use of exclusive video, images, news clips, and other memorabilia, the Salinger site subtly gives clues and hints to what happened to J.D. Salinger. Users are encouraged to explore and discover hidden content for themselves. The site includes two famous magazine covers featuring Salinger – TIME Magazine (1961) and ESQUIRE Magazine (1997) – as well as the only photo ever seen of Salinger on his bed, in his bedroom.

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The documentary features interviews with 150 subjects including Salinger’s friends and colleagues who have never spoken on the record before as well as film footage, photographs and other material that has never been seen. Additionally, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito, John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E.L. Doctorow, Gore Vidal and Pulitzer Prize winners A. Scott Berg and Elizabeth Frank talk about Salinger’s influence on their lives, their work and the broader culture. The film is the first work to get beyond the Catcher in the Rye author’s meticulously built up wall: his childhood, painstaking work methods, marriages, private world and the secrets he left behind after his death in 2010.

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