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Hollis Alpert

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Hollis Alpert

Hollis Alpert (September 24, 1916 – November 18, 2007) was an American film critic and author. Alpert was best known as the cofounder of the National Society of Film Critics, which he started in his New York City apartment.[1]

Early life

Hollis Alpert was born in Herkimer, New York on September 24, 1916 to Abram and Myra Alpert.[2] Alpert's father, Abram, left the family when he was still very young.[2] His mother, Myra, ran a bra and girdle factory.[2]

He joined the U.S. Army during World War II where he worked as a combat historian.[1] He often wrote historical accounts of major World War II battles. He also wrote pieces on the war which appeared in American magazines.[1]


Alpert took a job as an assistant fiction editor for the New York Times from 1950 to 1956 following his departure from the Army.[1] He simultaneously worked for a number of other publications at the same time as a freelance film and book reviewer.[1] His freelance work led to his position as a film critic for the Saturday Review.[1] He stayed at the Saturday Review as a reviewer until 1975.[1] Alpert then worked for the American Film Magazine as an editor for the next six years.[1] In 1966 he was a member of the jury at the 16th Berlin International Film Festival.[3]

National Society of Film Critics

The National Society of Film Critics was founded in Hollis Alpert's New York City living room in 1966 by a group of film critics who had been denied membership into the New York Film Critics Circle, a group favored critics who worked in mainstream newspapers and publications.[1] Alpert was working for the Saturday Review at the time. The New Yorker film critic, Pauline Kael, was also instrumental in the founding of the society, along with Alpert.[1]

The National Society of Film Critics referred to itself as a "national" group, despite the fact that all of its founding members were from New York, because most of its members wrote for publications with a readers nationwide.[1] Many joined Alpert's new group in order to counteract the influence of then New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther.[1] There are now over 60 members of the society who write for weekly and daily newspapers, as of 2007.[1]

According to another founding member, Joe Morgenstern, Alpert "was widely seen as a serious, knowledgeable, dedicated film critic. The Saturday Review . . . was a considerable presence on the scene then when movie reviews mattered and were taken seriously as an intellectual matter."[1]


Hollis Alpert died of pneumonia in Naples, Florida, on November 18, 2007.[1] He was 91 years old.[1]

Bibliography of works authored


  • "Some other time" (1960)
  • "For Immediate Release" (1963)[1]
  • "Smash" (1973)[1]
  • "How to Play Double Bogey Golf" (1975)


  • "The Barrymores" (1964)[1]
  • "Fellini: A Life" (1986)[1]


  • "The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess" (1990)[1]
  • "Broadway! 125 Years of Musical Theatre" (1991)[1]


External links

  • Los Angeles Times: Hollis Alpert, 1916-2007: Writer co-founded National Society of Film Critics

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