This is an electrifying biography, by one of America's foremost film scholars, of the controversial director Elia Kazan (1909-2003), that looks at the man and his art in the context of the social, political, and cultural environments in which he lived and worked. From the late forties through the sixties, Elia Kazan was the most important and influential director in America, and the only one who managed simultaneously to dominate both theater and film. In that role, he manifestly shaped the conception and writing, as well as the presentation, of many of the period's iconic works, reshaping the values of the stage and bringing a new realism and intensity of performance to the screen. His various achievements include the original Broadway productions of "All My Sons", "A Streetcar Named Desire", and "Death of a Salesman" and such Hollywood films as "Brando's Streetcar", "On the Waterfront", "East of Eden", and "Splendor in the Grass". These enormously popular works, in turn, shaped the social, sexual, and political ideas of a generation. The result is an intelligent and lively biography and social history.