An iconic voice for North Texas film fans was silenced this week. Philip Wuntch, who reviewed movies for The Dallas Morning News for 37 years, died after a long illness. He was 70. KERA's vice president of news, Rick Holter, and the newspaper's culture critic, Chris Vognar, worked with Wuntch. They sat down Tuesday to talk about talk about the critic and his legacy.
... On Wuntch's most indelible mark:
Vognar: “I think he was a beloved lover of movies. He was very much part of this community for years and years before I arrived about 20 years ago. He was the voice of moviegoing to a large extent in the Dallas area for a really long time. At a time when frankly, movie critics mattered more than they do now.”
…On the critic being one of the last bridges between the current era and movie history in Dallas:
“There’s a sense of municipal knowledge and institutional knowledge that you’re always going to miss when someone like Philip passes.”
…On being a prolific reviewer:
“He would review everything, and there was a time when movie critics who did that. He was a movie reviewing machine, and he really wanted to put his stamp on whatever was coming out that week. And he did it week after week, year after year.”
…On his taste in movies:
“He knew quality. I remember once he was supposed to pick a film to show at the Dallas Museum of Art, and I don’t think he was able to do the intro. But it was “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” which is the very great, artsy Robert Altman Western. He appreciated film as art.”
…On the fun in his writing:
“He had a real fizz. There was an effervescence about his prose, and you could just sense the joy that he took in going to the movies and then writing about the movies. I think that’s what defines him as much as anything. The vicarious pleasure you sensed he took, you could just tell how much he liked what he did."