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Babe: The Life of Oliver Hardy (John McCabe)

mccabe-john-babe-the-life-of-oliver-hardyThis fascinating biography traces the life and times of one of the best loved film comics of all time. Through a frustrating boyhood to wordwide renown as half of the greatest comedy team in the history of Hollywood, Babe Hardy’s interest in films and filmmaking developed as he began to watch some of the comedies that were being made. In 1913 at the age of twenty-one, he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to join Lubin Motion Pictures and launch a long and hilarious career.

However, Babe’s life was not all laughter and fun. Despite many thrilling moments of professional triumph, his performance was overshadowed by a depressing paradox: all his life he despised being overweight, yet his comic identity relied on him remaining that way. It was only in the last part of his life that he found comfort and contentment which he had sought throughout the years.

This definitive biography does full justice to Oliver Hardy’s genius, bringing to brilliant life a colorful career and an extraordinary man.

JOHN McCABE is an established writer on theatet and cinema in America, and is the authorized biographer of Laurel and Hardy. Of his book Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy, the Times Literary Supplement said: ‘Remarkable… positively miraculous… apart from the rather greedy wish for more of everything, it is difficult to see how this book could be improved upon.’ His biography of Stan Lauren – The Comedy World of Stan Laurel – received similar praise. The author divides his time between two homes, one in New York and the other in Michigan.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 224 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14 cm (8,5 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 486 g (17,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Citadel Press Book, New York, New York, 1989 – ISBN 0-8065-1187-7

Baby Doll: An Autobiography (Carroll Baker)

baker-carroll-baby-dollCarroll Baker found stardom curled up in a crib and sucking her thumb in Baby Doll. 1956 also saw the release of Giant in which she played the daughter of Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, a girl of wealth and breeding – the antithesis of Baby Doll. Not only was she hailed worldwide for her beauty and sensuality, but esteemed critics acclaimed her as the ‘best new dramatic actress in motion pictures’.

During her next eight fame-packed years, Carrol Baker reaffirmed the accolades with a series of excellent performances. In 1964, her passionate portrayal of the sexually aggressive bombshell in The Carpetbaggers resulted in mass hysteria to proclaim her as a Love Goddess. After Silvia and Harlow, she was places on the Sex Symbol pedestal shared by such beauties as Marilyn Monroe and Lana Turner. Then, in 1967, Carroll Baker suddenly disappeared from Hollywood. Whatever happened to Baby Doll?

In this refreshingly honest autobiography, Carroll Baker reveals the woman behind the doll – a story of triumph and tragedy, fame and infamy. She courageously shines the spotlights into the corners of her life telling the story of her tumultuous marriages, her emotional collapse and hard-earned recovery. There are marvellous stories, too, of the people she has worked with – among them Robert Mitchum, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Elia Kazan.

CARROLL BAKER lives in London with her actor husband, Donald Burton. She continues to work in television and films both in this country and America.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 335 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 767 g (27,1 oz) – PUBLISHER W. H. Allen & Co., Ltd., London, 1984 – ISBN 0 491 03452 0

Back Lot : Growing Up With the Movies (Maurice Rapf)

rapf-maurice-growing-up-with-the-moviesBecause of the glamour of the movie business and its tendency to attract attention from the press, much of its past is shrouded in fabrication and skewed by the Hollywood publicity machine. This book tells the story of the heyday of MGM from one who was there: Maurice Rapf tells what it was like to grow up as the son of a great Hollywood producer – Harry Rapf, one of the founders of MGM – and to be on the lots, seeing the way the movie business really worked.

Rapf went on to write screenplays and be blacklisted during the 1950s – providing a  fascinating account of another key era of American film. Part autobiography, part history, this book is a priceless glimpse into the development of the twentieth century’s most important art form.

MAURICE RAPF grew up in Hollywood and worked as a screenwriter from 1936 to 1947. He has credits on thirteen movies, his last produced assignments for Walt Disney including Song of the South, So Dear to My Heart, and Cinderella. In 1966 Rapt returned to his alma mater, Dartmouth College, and founded the school’s film studies program. He is now director emeritus of film studies and an adjunct professor who teaches Writing for the Screen every winter term. His autobiography was written aboard a Blue Star freighter traveling between Los Angeles, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Seattle.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 210 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 444 g (15,7 oz) – PUBLISHER The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, 1999 – ISBN 0-8108-3583-5

Backstory: Interviews With Screenwriters of Hollywood’s Golden Age (edited and with an introduction by Patrick McGilligan)

mcgilligan-pat-backstory“Backstory” is a screenwriter’s term for what happens in a plot before the screen story begins. In this volume a delightfully acute and articulate band of screenwriters tell their side of what happened, on and off the set, before the cameras rolled. Their reminiscences are both entertaining and instructive for anyone who cares about the art of film – past or present. Together, the interviews comprise an affectionate group portrait of movie writers at work.

The illustrious line-up includes Alfred Hitchcock’s collaborator Charles Bennett; the novelists Niven Busch, W.R. Burnett, and James M. Cain; the fixer-upper Lenore Coffee; the comedy writers Julius J. Epstein and Norman Krasna; the sophisticated husband-and-wife team Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett; the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers writer Allan Scott and the James Bond interpreter Richard Maibaum; that witty gentleman Donald Ogden Stewart; and three of Hollywood’s best adaptors: Philip Dunne, John Lee Mahin, and Casey Robinson.

Writers who came to Hollywood met severe demands in the early years of sound film. Among the new “talk experts” imported from the East Coast were playwrights, journalists, essayists, songwriters, advertising copywriters, and press agents. But whatever their backgrounds, their Hollywood mission was to strike a balance between the old visual dominance and the new requirements of dialogue – which had to be expressive, playable, interesting, even witty, yet stay within the morality of the Hayes Code office. And their stories had to have the structural clarity and strength to play for vast millions of weekly viewers. The writers of the thirties created the basic rules that screenwriters still abide by today.

If the newcomers had a certain sameness on the surface, they were disparate under the skin and not necessarily comradely with one another. Cliques and claques emerged – old-timers who did not mix with the young blood, originators who sneered at dialogue specialists, social realists who belittled comedy, liberals who challenged reactionaries, and so on. But the best of the writers in all categories managed to earn an embarrassingly good living and even to impart something of themselves to the films they wrote. Surprisingly often, their work lives on – on the late show, in videocassette, and in the memories of viewers.

Their often acid commentaries help round out the history of screenwriting, give fascinating background on the creation of screen classics, and offer the reader valuable insight into many tricks of the trade.

PAT McGILLIGAN has been a staff critic and arts reporter for the Boston Globe, arts editor of The Real Paper in Boston, contributing editor of American Film, and senior editor of Playgirl. He has written for The Velvet Light Trap, Take One, Focus on Film, Film Quarterly, Film Comment, and Sight and Sound; the best-known of his books is Cagney: The Actor as Auteur. He is now writing a biography of the director Robert Altman for St. Martin’s Press.

[Interviews with Charles Bennett, W.R. Burnett, Niven Busch, James M. Cain, Lenore Coffee, Philip Dunne, Julius J. Epstein, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Norman Krasna, John Lee Mahin, Richard Maibaum, Casey Robinson, Allan Scott, Donald Ogden Stewart]

Hardcover, dust jacket – 382 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 722 g (25,5 oz) – PUBLISHER University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1986 – ISBN 0-520-05666-3

Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s (edited and with an introduction by Pat McGilligan)

mcgilligan-pat-backstory-2“Backstory” is the screenwriter’s term for what happens in a plot before the screen story begins. In this companion volume to McGilligan’s widely praised Backstory: Interviews with Screenwriters of Hollywood’s Golden Age, fourteen studio scribes active in later decades rail and reminisce about their fifty-plus years of inventing and scripting movies.

The 1940s were a period of transition for the motion picture industry, from an era of hope and glory and the upheavals of World War II to a postwar era of caution and confusion. The 1950s brought a great decline in the number of films produced and led to the extinction of that peculiar creature, the contract writer.

The survivors of Hollywood’s most productive years remain wonderfully talkative, however. In this lively collection of interviews they contribute useful writing tips, radical correctives to screen history and industry folklore, and just plain fascinating gossip. As a whole, the interviews provide a compelling biographical close-up of an entire generation of men and women whose talent, vision, and tenacity were critical to the institution we know as “Hollywood.”

PAT McGILLIGAN writes regularly for American Film, Film Comment, Film Quarterly, and Sight and Sound. His books include a definitive biography, Cagney: The Actor as Auteur, and notable biographies of directors Robert Altman and George Cukor. He lives with his wife and two children in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

[Interviews with Leigh Bracket, Richard Brooks, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Garson Kanin, Dorothy Kingsley, Arthur Laurents, Ben Maddow, Daniel Mainwaring, Walter Reisch, Curt Siodmak, Daniel Taradash, Philip Yordan]

Hardcover, dust jacket – 417 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 736 g (26 oz) – PUBLISHER University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1991 – ISBN 0-520-07169-7

Backstory 3: Interviews With Screenwriters of the 60s (edited and with an introduction by Patrick McGilligan)

mcgilligan-patrick-backstory-3The Backstory series of unique “oral histories” chronicles the lives and careers of notable Hollywood screenwriters – in their own words. The first Backstory: Interviews with Screenwriters of Hollywood‘s Golden Age focused on the early sound era and the 1930s. Backstory 2 featured Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s. Backstory 3 takes up the history of American screenwriting in the 1960s, through the experiences of fourteen key scenarists. These lively interviews, conducted by Pat McGilligan and others, feature Jay Presson Allen, George Axelrod, Walter Bernstein, Horton Foote, Walon Green, Charles B. Griffith, John Michael Hayes, Ring Lardner Jr., Richard Matheson, Wendell Mayes, Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., Arnold Schulman, Stirling Silliphant, and Terry Southern.

The series has proven useful and edifying for film students, scholars, and historians, for screenwriters and other professionals, and for film buffs in general. Applauded by reviewers and named among the “100 essential film books” by a Los Angeles Times-appointed panel, it is cited often and quoted in many film histories.

PATRICK McGILLIGAN, a resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has written acclaimed biographies of James Cagney, Robert Altman, George Cukor, Jack Nicholson, and a new biography of director Fritz Lang, called Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast. His Backstory series for the University of California Press, like the Nicholson biography, has been translated into several foreign languages.

[Interviews with Jay Presson Allen, George Axelrod, Walter Bernstein, Horton Foote, Walon Green, Charles B. Griffith, John Michael Hayes, Ring Lardner Jr., Richard Matheson, Wendell Mayes, Irving Ravetch, Harriet Frank Jr., Arnold Schulman, Stirling Silliphant, Terry Southern]

Softcover – 428 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 15 cm (9,1 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 668 g (23,6 oz) – PUBLISHER University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1997 – ISBN 0-520-20427-1

Backstory 4: Interviews With Screenwriters of the 1970s and 1980s (edited and with an introduction by Patrick McGilligan)

mcgilligan-patrick-backstory-5Continuing Patrick McGilligan’s highly acclaimed series on Hollywood screenwriters, these engrossing, informative, provocative interviews give wonderfully detailed and personal stories from veteran screenwriters of the seventies and eighties focusing on their craft, their lives, and their profession. Backstory 4 is a riveting insider’s look at how movies get made; a rich perspective on many of the great movies, directors, and actors of the seventies and eighties; and an articulate, forthright commentary on the art and the business of screenwriting.

The screenwriters interviewed for this volume include well-known Oscar winners as well as cult filmmakers, important writers who were also distinguished directors, and key practitioners of every commercial genre. These writers have worked with Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Peter Bogdanovich, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Clint Eastwood, and other film giants of the so-called New Hollywood. The stories of their collaborations – some divine, some disastrous – provide some of the most fascinating material in this volume. They also discuss topics including how they got started writing screenplays, their working routines, their professional relationships, their influences, and the work of other major writers and directors.

[Interview with Robert Benton, Larry Cohen, Blake Edwards, Walter Hill, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Lawrence Kasdan, Elmore Leonard, Paul Mazursky, Nancy Meyers, John Milius, Frederic Raphael, Alvin Sargent, Donald E. Westlake]

Hardcover – 424 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15 cm (9,3 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 818 g (28,9 oz) – PUBLISHER University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2006 – ISBN 0-520-21459-5

Backstory 5: Interviews With Screenwriters of the 1990s (edited and with an introduction by Patrick McGilligan)

mcgilligan-patrick-backstory-5Patrick McGilligan continues his celebrated interviews with exceptional screenwriters in Backstory 5, focusing on the 1990s. The thirteen featured writers – Albert Brooks, Jean-Claude Carrière, Nora Ephron, Ronald Harwood, John Hughes, David Koepp, Richard LaGravenese, Barry Levinson, Eric Roth, John Sayles, Tom Stoppard, Barbara Turner, and Rudy Wurlitzer – are not confined to the 1990s, but their engrossing, detailed, and richly personal stories create, in McGilligan’s words, “a snapshot of a profession in motion.” Emphasizing the craft of writing and the process of collaboration, this new volume looks at how Hollywood is changing to meet new economic and creative challenges.

Backstory 5 explores how these writers come up with their ideas, how they go about adapting a stage play or work of fiction, how they organize and structure their work, and much more.

[Interviews with Albert Brooks, Jean-Claude Carrière, Nora Ephron, Ronald Harwood, John Hughes, David Koepp, Richard LaGravenese, Barry Levinson, Eric Roth, John Sayles, Tom Stoppard, Barbara Turner, Rudy Wurlitzer]

Hardcover – 252 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15 cm (9,3 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 543 g (19,2 oz) – PUBLISHER University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2010 – ISBN 978-0-520-25105-2

Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball (Stefan Kanfer)

kanfer-stefan-ball-of-fireFor over fifty years Lucille Ball has been one of television’s most recognizable faces, an iconic figure of American comedy whose best work is rightly compared to Charlie Chaplin’s.

To viewers all over the world, Ball remains the ultimate screwball housewife, getting in and out of outlandish scrapes with hilarious finesse. But now Stefan Kanfer’s biography looks behind the image, tracing Ball’s comedic genius to its beginnings in a lonely childhood in upstate New York. She yearned to make people laugh, to attain stardom and love. For a while she had nothing to show save for a string of bit parts and disappointing affairs. And then a Cuban bandleader called Desi Arnaz came into her life to make her wealthy and famous – and nearly destroyed her in the process.

En route Kanfer chronicles the runaway success of the sitcom I Love Lucy, the
fiery marriage and eventual split from Desi, and Ball’s struggles to manage both a business empire and her own rebellious children.

Ball of Fire is a moving, entertaining, and definitive study of the most popular woman in television history.

STEFAN KANFER is the author of The Eighth Sin, A Summer World, The Last Empire, Seriouys Business and Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx. He was a writer and editor for Time magazine for more than twenty years. He lives in New York and on Cape Cod.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 361 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 651 g (23 oz) – PUBLISHER Faber and Faber Limited, London, 2005 – ISBN 0-571-22030-4

Barbara Stanwyck (Al DiOrio)

diorio-al-barbara-stanwyckNominated for the Oscar four times and the recipient of an honorary award in 1982 for her lifetime career achievement, Barbara Stanwyck is one of the last great thirties’ stars. She has always had the reputation of a tough-as-nails dame, a total pro, but her millions of fans do not know that this self-reliant exterior hides a life of heartbreak and hardship.

Born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn, Barbara Stanwyck was orphaned in early childhood, raised by an older sister, and left school at thirteen to work in a department store. But she trained herself as a dancer and won a spot with the Ziegfeld Follies. In 1928, Barbara moved to HoIlywood where she began an exceptionally productive career, starring in such films as Stella Dallas, The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number and Executive Suite. She was also seen by millions on television in the popular Big Valley, and – more recently – in the massively successful adaptation of The Thorn Birds.

The great love of Barbara’s life was the extraordinarily handsome Robert Taylor, whom she married in 1939. Their marriage ended in a shattering divorce. There were other romances, an estrangement from her son, and a reclusive retirement that almost rivals Garbo’s for secrecy.

Barbara Stanwyck tells the untold story of a great star, a liberated woman in an unliberated time. With a full filmography and sixteen pages of photographs, this volume will make a handsome addition to every film buff’s collection.

AL DIORIO works for an advertising agency in Manhattan, and lives in Philadelphia. He is also the author of Little Girl Lost, a biography of Judy Garland.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 231 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 536 g (18,9 oz) – PUBLISHER W.H. Allen & Co., Inc., London, 1983 – ISBN 0 491 03373 7

Barbra: A Biography of Barbra Streisand (Donald Zec, Anthony Fowles)

zec-donald-barbra-a-biography-of-barbra-streisandShe’s a star. No qualifications, a star. Larger than life, greater than the sum of her parts, attracting not just attention but a crowd. On the screen, on stage, singing, shopping, in love and at home, she’s news.

She’s difficult, impossible even. She demands complete control – direction, writing, lighting, camerawork, hairdressing. She costs a fortune. Working with her can be hell. She’s rude, overbearing, unrelenting, loud. A perfectionist, without respect for feelings or reputations. And she’s right.

Because these are the top entertainment awards: in films, the Oscar; in television, the Emmy; for records, the Grammy; in the theatre, the Tony. And only one person has ever won them all: Barbra Streisand. By the age of 27. Follow that!

And the book? ‘Absorbing and disturbing,’ Newcastle Journal; ‘Written with masterly care,’ Manchester Evening News; ‘Fascinating,’ The Times.

Softcover – 384 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 11 cm (6,9 x 4,3 inch) – Weight 255 g (9 oz) – PUBLISHER New English Library, London, 1981 – ISBN 0-450-05398-9

Barbra, The First Decade: The Films and Career of Barbra Streisand (James Spada)

spada-james-barbra-the-first-decade-the-films-and-career-of-barbra-streisand“Barbra Streisand’s first decade in show business has been one of unparalleled success. In ten short years, and before her thirtieth birthday, she had conquered Broadway, London, the recording industry, the concert circuit, television and finally and most triumphantly Hollywood. A superstar in a generation otherwise without them, she is a star in the great tradition of stars, inspiring fierce loyalty and worship not seen since the days of Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.

Under any circumstances, Barbra’s magnificent talents – a beautiful, pure singing voice and marvellous comedic timing – would have made her a star. That she has transcended that designation can be traced to many diverse elements of her personality, and the public’s. Streisand’s story is the epitome of the American Dream. She is the homely, awkward, lonely outsider with pent-up talent who has to fight rebuffs, scepticism and outright rejections in order just to be heard, and whose determination and faith in herself keep her going until she makes it to the pinnacle of success. This Cinderella tale, told by Barbra with a flair after her initial Broadway successes, struck a responsive chord in the American public, and it helped to make her an object of cult-worship by millions. She was the embodiment of their dreams, their one hope that they too might succeed against the odds, and they became her loyal partisans.

But unlike Cinderella, Barbra Streisand stayed a Princess. Or rather, she evolved into one. By the time she made her first film, Funny Girl, the homely and awkward young girl was being called beautiful and graceful, and she was. It wasn’t the beauty which left-handed compliments had called ‘the beauty of her talent,’ it was true beauty, and while certainly not in the classic Hollywood mold, it was nonetheless real. Like so many of the great stars before her, Barbra Streisand has screen presence: that indescribable magic which makes it virtually impossible to watch anyone else when she is on screen. Her personality comes across beautifully on celluloid. She is alternately vulnerable, coy, charming, sexy, glamorous and endearing. She can thus at the same time make women want to emulate her and men want to protect her. Most of all, she makes people want to see her: in an era of which it has been said, ‘There are no stars anymore; today, the plot’s the star,’ Barbra Streisand is, in the words of Pauline Kael, ‘a complete reason for going to a movie.’” – From The Introduction.

Softcover – 224 pp. – Dimensions 27,5 x 21 cm (10,8 x 8,3 inch) – Weight 620 g (21,9 oz) – PUBLISHER The Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1974 – ISBN 0-8065-0515-X

Bardot: An Intimate Biography (Willi Frischauer)

frischauer-will-bardot-an-intimate-biography“When Brigitte Bardot says, ‘I will not be held to what I said last year – or yesterday,’ I suspect that she may not want to be held to that statement either. A creature of moods who lives for the moment, she has never revealed more of herself than what she thought and felt at the time, and much of what she has said over the years was colored by the demands of publicity and image-building. While rejecting the Bardot legend, she has astutely helped to perpetuate the Bardot myth, and, for someone so anxious not to be tied down, has been remarkably consistent in this respect.

Because I set out to discover the reality behind the legend and myth I have concentrated on what Brigitte did rather than on what she said and have quoted her only to put her words into the context of her actions, Although I do not entirely accept the simplistic view that Bardot is a creation of the media, the running commentaries which have accompanied her from her beginnings are an integral part of her story. The world’s most photographed woman, her face and her body have been implanted on our minds by a generation of film and press cameramen but these images are not always a reliable mirror of her personality.

First on the scene with a deep analysis of the Bardot phenomenon was Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre’s companion. In her apotheosis, Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome, she defended Brigitte against philistine attacks, but has since denounced ‘women who have the misfortune to find sex with men so pleasurable that they become more or less dependent on them’ – which sounds like a stem criticism of the Bardot ethos.’ – From The Introduction.

Softcover – 214 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 10,5 cm (6,9 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 149 g (5,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Sphere Books, Ltd., London, 1978

Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda: The Memoirs of Roger Vadim (Roger Vadim)

vadim-roger-bardot-deneuve-and-fonda-the-memoirs-of-roger-vadim“This book is dedicated to my future grandchildren. If one day they should feel the impulse to discover what their grandfather or grandmother was like, I shudder to think of the image they would piece together from the thousands of articles, stories and biographies that have appeared in more than fifty countries over the past three decades.

What has been published about Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim isn’t always inaccurate; it’s just that the spotlight often distorts the truth. Even worse is the distortion caused by our gluttonous, information-stuffed society’s habit of labelling or pigeonholing everyone. I don’t like the idea of being buried without having the chance to set the record straight.

But there is one other reason for this book: the need to speak of the joys, the pleasures, the sorrows and the wild times I have known at the sides of three remarkable women. I was unable to resist the desire to open the coffer of the past in which so many unique treasures have been stored. I didn’t want to end my life as a miser hoarding these wonderful memories and images – fairy-tale images which will, one day, have vanished with me to the land where all is erased.

Brigitte, Catherine and Jane: three modern fairy-tale princesses. But fairy tales are also tales of cruelty, although fortunately they usually have happy endings. I want to speak of these adolescents, these young girls, and who they were before they became fairy-tale princesses. I knew them well, these future stars with whom I shared life before they went on to sparkle on screens all over the world. It is their astonishing transformation – often painful, always fascinating – that I am going to tell you about.” – The Preface.

Softcover – 352 pp., index – Dimensions 18 x 11 cm (7,1 x 4,3 inch) – Weight 218 g (7,7 oz) – PUBLISHER New English Library, London, 1987 – ISBN 0-450-40797-7

Bardot la légende (Henry-Jean Servat)

Bardot la légendePetite-fille de son siècle, Brigitte Bardot nous a appris  à aimer, plusieurs décennies durant, le cinéma, la grâce, la fraîcheur, la drôlerie, l’amour, l’irrespect, l’engagement et la lutte. Avec, parfois, des excès mais aussi un débordement de franchise, d’honnêteté et d’inconscience qui continuent, plus d’une demi-siècle après ses débuts, à la rendre attachante, originale, insolente, moderne et inclassable. Brigitte Bardot a distillé des mots, régenté une mode, organisé un monde qui n’est plus, après son passage, le même qu’avant. Voilà déjà 36 ans, qu’un beau soir de l’année 1973, Bardot a décidé d’arrêter le cinéma et de ne plus jamais montrer sa tête face à une caméra dans un film, mais il y a eu et il y aura, de toute éternité, sur la planète, “les années Bardot”, prouvant que Brigitte n’a pas fait son temps mais a bel et bien façonné son époque.

HENRY-JEAN SERVAT rend hommage à la star d’un cinéma de rêves, à la militante de la cause animale, à l’une des plus belles femmes de tous les temps, à celle que des millions d’hommes ont désirées dans ce grand et bel ouvrage illustré de photos rares, d’affiches de films, de couvertures de magazines, de lettres personelles, jalonné d’interviews inédits (Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Sylvie Vartan, Michèle Morgan) et de souvenirs affectueux.

Softcover – 176 pp., index – Dimensions 34,5 x 27,5 cm (13,7 x 10,8 inch) – Weight 1.155 g (40,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Hors Collection, 2009 – ISBN 978-2-258-07057-8

Bardot l’indomptable (Alain Wodrascka, François Bagnaud; photos commentées par Brigitte Bardot)

Wodrascka, Alain - Bardot l'indomptableBelle et libre, Brigitte Bardot qui deviendra en 1956 “le rêve impossible des hommes mariés” – selon la prédiction de Roger Vadim, son premier mari et Pygmalion – s’est hissée en vingt en un ans de carrière au rang des artists françaises les plus renommées de la planète. À son actif, 46 films et plus 80 chansons. Actrice instinctive, ella tourné pour les plus grands réalisateurs: Godard, Clouzot, Malle, Autant-Lara, Vadim… Et alors qu’elle donne la réplique à Jean Gabin, Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau, Annie Girardot ou Jean-Pierre Cassel, la muse provocante des années 50 inspire d’immenses auteurs-compositeurs, à commencer par Serge Gainsbourg, qui écriront pour elle des chansons mythiques.

De l’éducation stricte et bourgeoise de son enfance à son statut incostesté de “star”, jusqu’à sa décision en 1973 d’arrêter sa carrière pour se consacrer aux animaux, B.B., la rebelle, est une femme engagée, amoureuse et souvent incomprise. Icône des sixties, elle incarne dans l’imaginaire collectif une certaine idée de la beauté française et fait rêver le monde entier à la seule évocation de ses initiales. Bardot l’indomptable, sex-symbol qui bouleversa les mœurs de son époque, scintille au firmament des étoiles éternelles.

Véritable odysée dans la mythologie de la star, cette biographie riche de 250 photos et documents souvent inédits et pour partie commentés par Brigitte Bardot elle-même, retrace ce parcours flamboyant et atypique.

Écrivain et parolier, ALAIN WODRASCKA est un biographe de référence en matière de chanson française. Passionné, il découvre très tôt Marie Lafôret, France Gall, avant de rencontrer Barbara, puis Claude Nougaro avec qui entretiendra une longue amitié. Auteur d’une trentaine d’ouvrages, il a notamment publié des biographies consacrées à: Barbara, Nougaro, Ferré, Souchon/Voulzy, Gainsbourg, Johnny Hallyday, Brel, Bashung, France Gall, Véronique Sanson… et tout récemment Renaud. FRANÇOIS BAGNAUD, admirateur et ami de Brigitte Bardot, a collaboré avec elle à ses quatre best-sellers. Fort de cette expérience enrichissante, il devient conseiller littéraire en 1997 et participe à la supervision de nombreux ouvrages, ceux consacrés à B.B. mais aussi des biographies de Barbara, Colette Renard, Marilyn Monroe, Tino Rossi, Martine Carol…

Softcover – 160 pp. – Dimensions 29 x 22,5 cm (11,4 x 8,9 inch) – Weight 951 g (33,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Hugo & Cie, Paris, 2011 – ISBN 9782755608717

The Barrymores: The Royal Family in Hollywood (James Kotsilibas-Davis)

kotsilibas-davis-james-the-barrymoresWhen Lionel Barrymore made his first film in 1912 in a seedy loft in lower Manhattan, the Barrymores were already the first family of Broadway. These were theater people, serious actors, artists. For them, making films was dirty work and the only stimulant for mucking around in the movies was the obvious one – money. Yet when the film business moved west to that godforsaken wasteland known as Hollywood, so did the Barrymores. Despite disdain, “disgrace” and often denial, the Barrymores left us hundreds of monumental movie triumphs, culminating in Rasputin and the Empress, in which John, Lionel, and Ethel each had starring roles.

The Barrymores: The Royal Family in Hollywood chronicles the films of each Barrymore in fascinating detail, but this book is much more than a mere film story. Here also are the personal lives of each: we live the superlative success and gaudy decline of Jack; we experience the myriad talents as well as the personal frustrations of Lionel, we relish the biting wit and indomitable spirit of Ethel. Finally, we witness the rarely studied lives of Barrymore children and grandchildren, especially Diana and John, Jr., who most profoundly experienced both the gifts and the blows of the remarkable Barrymore legacy.

Woven into the glittery Barrymore tapestry are rich anecdotes of other Hollywood kings and queens including Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, John Gilbert, Irving G. Thalberg, George Cukor, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford, to mention only a few. In a panorama even D.W. Griffith would approve, here is the greatest of Hollywood stories and the history of America’s quintessential theatrical family.

JAMES KOTSILIBAS-DAVIS has harbored an interest in the theater – and particularly the Barrymores – since his childhood days in Worcester, Massachusetts. His first book, Great Times, Good Times: The Odyssey of Maurice Barrymore, the romantic, engrossing story of the founding father, garnered fine reviews and served as the roots for this book, which completes the saga of the Barrymore dynasty. In addition to writing for Life magazine for many years, Mr. Kotsilibas-Davis has also served as the film critic for Penthouse magazine. He lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 376 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 19,5 cm (9,5 x 7,7 inch) – Weight 1.125 g (39,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, New York, 1981 – ISBN 0-517-528967

Bébé: The Films of Brigitte Bardot (Tony Crawley)

crawley-tony-bebe-the-films-of-brigitte-bardot“Brigitte Bardot is no creation – more a recreation. No manufactured, Svengali dream-wish fulfilment, not of Vadim, nor anyone else. She is a state of mind, body and spirit. An attitude of body, as critic Raymond Durgnat specified; and a delight in it. A product, not entirely rare, of her time – not ours. Of Paris under the Nazi heel, of the Occupation and the preoccupation with treacherous Vichy politicking, black-market bitterness and the post-’45 French youthful delight in slick American commercialism. In order to sell by demand, first a demand has to be created – and that is where Roger Vadim strolled in. With him, and in the company of several like-minded attitudinists, the lucidly amoral, splendidly disdainful creature to be labelled BB was already self-established before Vadim drew it into the light of cinema projection. For some, the myth has stilled; the attitude remains, however, having drastically liberated much of the world’s mores and, thereby, its tensions. She is past 40 now, an almost sacrilegious statement, not that many will, or can, believe it to be true. Attitudes do not age as fast as flesh. ‘I am Brigitte Bardot,’ says she. ‘And that Brigitte Bardot – the one I see in the magazines and the newspapers, the one up on the screen, that Brigitte Bardot will never, for example, be 60.’ Nor she will.

Her devastating image – and note, she mentioned the press media version of it before the screen’s – is time encapsulated for ever. Like Greta Garbo – yet more blatantly, courageously; living dangerously in the ever-staring public eye – Bardot is untouched by age or reason and endures for her most ardent or even lukewarming devotees, the same as she always was, and surely, always will be. The essence of youth. Ageless youth. Her youth; our youth. A hank of hair, lank of leg, never considered classically beautiful (whatever that may mean), but with a mouth, a male chauvinist pig’s dream of a mouth, and an androgynous figure of unbridled, and suggestively ambiguous, sensuality. This is the girl who washed away the pimples of global adolescence… while still struggling with eczema herself. She made growing up a distinct pleasure, chasing off post-war restraints and attacking the ruling-class hypocrisy with a warming, thrilling gusto. That girl is now a woman, she could be a grandmother before the end of this decade; yet the image, the mouth, the perfectly proportioned frame, reek no less of sexual musk. She remains no less a siren, no less a fond dream of an entire generation… or three.” – From the chapter ‘Bébé Doll: the fesses that launched a thousand strips.’

Softcover – 256 pp. – Dimensions 27,5 x 21 cm (10,8 x 8,3 inch) – Weight 903 g (31,9 oz) – PUBLISHER LSP Books, London, 1975 – ISBN 0 85321 068 3

Been There, Done That: An Autobiography (Eddie Fisher, with David Fisher)

fisher-eddie-been-there-done-thatEddie sang at local fairs, talent contests, and bar mitzvahs, until at age fourteen, he got a job singing on Philadelphia radio shows for twenty-five dollars a week. A few years later, a stint at the Copacabana launched him into Dreamland. Suddenly the Jewish kid from Philly and his golden sound were sending millions of fans screaming to their feet. More than just the music, it was his personality, his great charm, the exuberance with which he lived his life, that attracted hordes of screaming teenage girls, the bobby-soxers. By the time he was twenty-one he was one of the most popular entertainers in America, bigger even than Frank Sinatra, with an income in the millions. His life quickly evolved into a whirl of women, money, and fame. It was the quintessentiatial American success story, the rise and rise of “the Coca-Cola Kid.”

For the next two decades he ran with the best and brightest, seeing it all, doing it all, seeing it all done to everyone. Eddie’s story is more than just an entertainer’s memoir: it’s the insider tale of two decades of American pop culture and celebrity royalty. Here is a man who romanced, charmed, seduced, and married Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens, and Elizabeth Taylor. He drank and caroused far into the night with the likes of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. His affairs with women from Ann-Margret to Mamie Van Doren were legendary. He shared mistresses with John F. Kennedy, Sam Giancana, and Frank Sinatra, and was welcomed everywhere from the White House to Las Vegas, back when such a thing actually meant something.

Eddie’s a natural storyteller, with a captivating story to tell, of beautiful women and fascinating men, wild parties and cool nightclubs, and the American dream seen through the blazing Technicolor lens of the sixties and seventies. It’s Eddie’s life, and for the first time, it’s all here.

EDDIE FISHER is a singer and entertainer. He was previously married three times, to Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, and Connie Stevens. He now lives happily with his wife Betty Lin in San Francisco and remains close to his children, including Carrie Fisher and Joely Fisher. DAVID FISHER is an author and journalist who has written books for Ed McMahon, George Burns, Leslie Nielsen, and several top sports figures.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 341 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 699 g (24,7 oz) – PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York, 1999 – ISBN 0-312-20972-X

Before Hollywood: Turn-Of-the-Century American Film (various authors)

before-hollywoodBefore Hollywood presents a fascinating survey of the first two decades of American cinema. From 1895 to 1915 filmmakers began to explore and define the limits and resources of their new medium. Before Hollywood, based on research in America’s leading film archives, examines a selection of sixty-nine rare surviving silent films, many of which have not been seen since their initial release. Shot at Vitagraph, Biograph, Edison, and other early studios in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and along the Eastern seaboard, as well as at some of the pioneering studies on the West Coast, the films range from several seconds to ninety minutes long, and all provide provocative insights into turn-of-the-century American values.

Among the genres represented are animations, documentaries, travelogues, comedies, dramas and melodramas, Westerns, and serials, some by such celebrated innovators as D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. Also represented are such stars as Mary Pickford, Blanche Sweet, Mabel Normand, and William S. Hart. The authors provide individual commentaries on the sixty-nine films (each illustrated by a frame still), some including quotes from reviews of the period. In addition, Before Hollywood features nine intriguing essays on film preservation and various aspects of early American cinema such as scene design, images of women, the changing status of the film actor, dream visions, and cinematography. The book is richly illustrated with period photographs depicting film production, theaters, advertising, and more. With a bibliography and index, Before Hollywood is a resource of lasting importance.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 169 pp., index – Dimensions 30 x 22,5 cm (11,8 x 8,9 inch) – Weight 984 g (34,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Hudson Hills Press, New York, New York, 1987 – ISBN 0-933920-91-1

Before I Forget: An Autobiography (James Mason)

mason-james-before-i-forgetJames Mason first won fame as the charismatic star of such classic films as The Seventh Veil and Fanny by Gaslight, going on to become an American idol and England’s most popular actor. His successes include such sensational box-office smashes as A Star Is Born, Rommel The Desert Fox, North by Northwest, and the controversial Lolita. He has acted with Judy Garland, Margaret Lockwood, Ann Todd, Cary Grant and Peter Sellers.

His performance and character on and off-screen have won him the praise and scorn of Hollywood’s sharpest critics.

But this is not just the record of a brilliant and controversial film actor: it is also the story of a determined Yorkshire boy who worked his way through English provincial theatre companies to the boards of the Old Vic. Before I Forget is a frank and fascinating self-portrait of one of the greatest stage and screen actors of our time.

JAMES MASON has been an outstanding star of the British and American screen for nearly forty years.

Softcover – 466 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 10,5 cm (6,9 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 250 g (8,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Sphere Books, Ltd., London, 1981 – ISBN 0-7221-5763-0

Before, In and After Hollywood; The Autobiography of Joseph E. Henabery (edited by Anthony Slide)

Henabery, Joseph E - Before, In and After Hollywood“Late in life, I came to realize that my movie career started long before I ever entered a studio. Today, I am positive that the events of my very early days, the period of my business life, and the total experience of twenty-five years of living before I started in pictures contributed greatly to my success.” – from Part 1 of ‘Before, In and After Hollywood.’

In 1914, a young midwesterner quit his railroad job to break into the Hollywood motion picture boom. Starting as a crowd extra, Joseph Henabery landed the coveted role of Lincoln in D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Impressed by Henabery’s energy and honesty, Griffith made him his assistant for Intolerance. Later, as a director, Henabery worked at the major studios with stars such as Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolph Valentino and knew C. B. DeMille, Erich von Stroheim, and Louis B. Mayer, among others. His silent-film career was crowned by the Paramount production of The Stranger, based on a John Galsworthy story. He pioneered sound short-subjects for Vitaphone Studios in Brooklyn and later directed World War II training films for the Army Signal Corps in Astoria.

Between 1915 and the introduction of sound more than a decade later, silent film was a work in progress. Henabery, described by Griffith scholar Richard Schickel as an extraordinarily versatile and free-spoken man, contributed to the development of film, not only as a director, but also as a researcher, writer, makeup artist, actor, mechanic, architect, scenic designer, special effects innovator, and photographer. His autobiography, Before, In and After Hollywood, was completed in 1975 shortly before his death. Film students, historians, and scholars will find that it contains unique documentation of a fascinating era in film.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 345 pp., index – Dimensions 22,5 x 14 cm (8,9 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 623 g (22,0 oz) – PUBLISHER The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, 1997 – ISBN 0-8108-3200-3

Behind the Mask of Innocence – Sex, Violence, Prejudice, Crime: Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era (Kevin Brownlow)

Brownlow, Kevin - Behind the Mask of InnocenceDuring the first twenty years of this century, crime, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, venereal disease, abortion, poverty, racism – all the problems that torment America today – were rampant, disrupting the lives of millions. Many contemporary silent films depicted a society shielded by ‘a mask of innocence’; but there were others – hundreds of them, both serious and exploitative – that went behind that mask, to reveal the deep rents these problems tore in the social fabric. A tragic number of these films have been lost, but almost all of them are vividly re-created for us in this definitive study. Cinema historian Kevin Brownlow has delved deeply into contemporary sources to describe the context, creation, plot, and reception of the movies that showed America its true face – extraordinary documents that still have the power to move us, although we can know many only through this book.

This is the final segment of Kevin Brownlow’s trilogy, of which the first two volumes were The Parade’s Gone By… (1968, about the entertainment movies of the Twenties) and The Way, the West, and the Wilderness (1979).

KEVIN BROWNLOW is a film historian whose other books include Hollywood: The Pioneers and Napoleon. He is a documentary filmmaker and has recently completed a trilogy of films on Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. He lives in London.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 579 pp., index – Dimensions 26 x 18,5 cm (10,2 x 7,3 inch) – Weight 1.675 g (59,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Jonathan Cape, Ltd., London, 1990 – ISBN 0-224-02903-7

Behind the Scenes of Otto Preminger (Willi Frischauer)

Frischauer, Willi - Behind the Scenes of Otto PremingerOtto Preminger is one of the very few film directors whose name is as famous as those of his stars. He has had a phenomenal career directing a string of famous films. In recent years, he has acquired recognition as one of the cinema’s outstanding stylists.

From his early days in Vienna, Preminger was stagestruck. Eventually he became a protégé of Max Reinhardt. As a brilliant young producer he directed many plays and one film in Vienna. In 1935 he left Austria for America and a new career. Beginning, unhappily, at Twentieth Century-Fox, he returned to Broadway for a time as a director. His first Hollywood success, Laura, was followed by dozens of movies, some famous, some forgotten.

Preminger made a specialty of films on controversial subjects: The Man With the Golden Arm (drugs), Anatomy of a Murder (sex crime), Advice and Consent (political corruption, homosexuality). He himself is a thoroughly controversial character. His rages are famous, and he has personally involved himself in bitter controversy over such films as Exodus and The Cardinal, never afraid of making enemies, and all too often succeeding.

WILLI FRISCHAUER was born in Vienna (1906), the youngest of five sons of a famous lawyer. After studying at Vienna and London Universities, he joined the family weekly, Wiener Sonn-und-Montags-Zeitung, in Vienna, becoming Acting Editor at the age of 23. In 1935 he was appointed press representative of the Austrian Chancellor in London, where he settled finally in 1938. Since then Frishauer has been a special features writer for Odhams Press in London, and he has traveled widely as a war correspondent and on other assignments covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the United States. Mr. Frischauer has written many books including Twilight in Vienna, Houghton Mifflin, 1938; The Rise and Fall of Herman Goering, Houghton Mifflin, 1950; Himmler, Beacon Press, 1952; Grand Hotels of Europe, Coward, McCann, 1966; Onassis, Meredith, 1968; The Aga Khans, Hawthorn, 1970; David Frost, Hawthorn, 1971.

Willi Frischauer has known Preminger for more than forty years, since they were both young men in Vienna. He has painted a fascinating picture of his old – if not always warmest – friend, a picture which is neither flattering nor hostile, but intimate and truthful.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 279 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14 cm (8,5 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 496 g (17,5 oz) – PUBLISHER William Morrow & Company, Inc., New York, New York, 1974 – ISBN 0-688-00262-5

Behind the Scenes: The Making of… (Rudy Behlmer)

behlmer-rudy-behind-the-scenes-the-making-ofThis is a rare “behind-the-scenes” view of all the machinations, foibles, triumphs and happy accidents that were the making of some of America’s greatest films. The author follows each film from nascent story ideas through the screenplay, the studio politics, the shoot, the edit, the censorship quarrels, and finally, into theatrical release.

Mr. Behlmer’s research into original source materials offers the reader a meticulously accurate “backstory” on each of the sixteen films, and a fascinating study of Hollywood in the heyday of the great American movie. This expanded edition of America’s Favorite Movies: Behind the Scenes is an invaluable source book for both the serious film student and the casual film buff.

Author-producer-director Rudy Behlmer has been involved with film and television for thirty-five years. He has lectured on film and related subjects at Cal State University, Northridge, Art Center College of Design, and USC. He is the author of Inside Warner Bros. and Memo from David O. Selznick, and the co-author of The Films of Errol Flynn and Hollywood‘s Hollywood. This book includes the making of The Maltese Falcon, Singin’ in the Rain, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Stagecoach, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tarzan and His Mate, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The African Queen, All About Eve, Casablanca, Frankenstein, The Grapes of Wrath, Gunga Din, High Noon, Laura, Lost Horizon.

Softcover – 343 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 15,5 cm (9,1 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 595 g (21,0 oz) – PUBLISHER Samuel French, Hollywood, California, 1990 – ISBN 0-573-60600-5

Behind the Screen (Samuel Goldwyn)

goldwyn-samuel-behind-the-screen“It was something more than nine years ago that I walked into a little motion-picture theatet on Broadway. I paid ten cents admission. As I took my seat, a player-piano was digging viciously into a waltz. Upon the floor a squalid statuette lay under its rain of peanut-shells.

And all around me men, women, and children were divided between the sustained comfort of chewing-gum and the sharp, fleeting rapture of the nut. Only a decade ago! Yet this was a representative setting and audience for motion-pictures. Likewise typical was the film itself. For, as were practically all productions of that day, this was only one or two reels. And, faithful to the prevailing tradition, the drama of tonight was Western. I looked at the cowboys galloping over the Western plains, and in their place there rose before me Henry Esmond crossing swords with the Young Pretender, wiry young D’Artagnan riding out from Gascony on his pony to the Paris of Richelieu,  Carmen on her way to the bull-fight where Don Jose waited to stab her.

Why not? Here was the most wonderful medium of expression in the world. Through it every great novel, every great drama, might be uttered in the one language that needs no translation. Why get nothing from this medium save situations which were just about as fresh and unexpected as the multiplication tables? When I went into that theater I had no idea of ever going into the film business. When I went out I was glowing with the sudden realisation of my way to fortune. I could hardly wait until I told my idea to my brother-in-law, Jesse L. Lasky. ‘Lasky, do you want to make a fortune?” With these words I burst in upon him that evening. Lasky, who was at that time in the vaudeville business, indicated that he had no morbid dread of the responsibility of great wealth. ‘Very well, then,’ I continued. ‘Put up some money.’ ‘In what?’ ‘In motion-pictures,’ I answered. ‘Motion-pictures!’ scoffed he. ‘You and I would be a fine pair in that business – me, a vaudeville man, and you, a glove salesman! What do we know about the game? Besides, how about the trust?’ His last words touched upon a vital issue in the screen industry of that period. The truth of it was that motion-picture theaters throughout the country were practically at the mercy of ten companies which, for the privilege of showing pictures, collected a weekly license fee of two dollars each, from fifteen thousand theaters. I shall not enter here into the argument by which the combine justified their taxation. I shall merely remark that the existent system presented an obstacle worthy of consideration. However, all the way home I had been preparing an answer to this protest of Lasky’s, and now I eagerly put it forth. ‘Give the public fine pictures,’ I urged. ‘Show them something different from Western stuff and slap-stick comedies and you’ll find out what will become of the trust. And why should your entertainment have to be so short? If it’s a good story there’s no reason why it couldn’t run through five reels. I tell you the possibilities of the motion-picture business have never been touched. We could sell good films and long films all over the world.’ – From Chapter 1.

This work, written by one of the founders of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production company, discusses some of the more important actors and actresses that made Hollywood famous. Goldwyn was known for employing famous writers and actors for films and is one of the most important founders of modern film making today. Includes such actors and actresses as Mary Pickford, Fanny Ward, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Garden, Jackie Coogan, Rudolph Valentino, Pola Negri, Mae Murray, and many others.

Hardcover – 263 pp. – Dimensions 22 x 15,5 cm (8,7 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 620 g (21,9 oz) – PUBLISHER George H. Doran Company, New York, New York, 1923

Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood 1910-1969 (William J. Mann)

Mann, William J - Behind the ScreenWilliam J. Mann’s Behind the Screen is a thoughtful and eye-opening look at the totality of the gay experience in studio-era Hollywood. Much has been written about how gays have been portrayed in the movies, but until now, no book has looked at their influence behind the screen. Whether out of or in the closet, gays and lesbians have played a significant role in shaping Hollywood from the very beginning. Gay actors – from the screen’s first matinee idol, J. Warren Kerrigan, through Ramon Novarro, Marlene Dietrich, Clifton Webb, and Rock Hudson – have defined movie stardom. Gay directors and producers – such as George Cukor, James Whale, Dorothy Arzner, and Ross Hunter – have long been among the most popular filmmakers. In fact, gay set and costume designers – Adrian, Travis Banton, Orry-Kelly, and George James Hopkins, among many more – created the very look of Hollywood.

Based on seven years of exacting research – scrupulously documented – Behind the Screen chronicles an era never before seriously or thoroughly considered. With a historian’s precision, Mann sets the story of Hollywood’s gays in context with their times – from the free-loving Roaring Twenties through the conservative Depression years to the progressive flowering of World War II and the turbulent backlash of the McCarthy era. He describes which fields offered gays the most freedom and which de facto barred their entrance.

Mann examines not only the working conditions of Hollywood’s gays but also their after-hours’ pursuit of Los Angeles’s rowdy gay underground. With the recollections of dozens of survivors, Mann has woven together unpublished memoirs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and scrapbooks to assemble the first thoughtful analysis of the gay experience during cinema’s initial fifty years.

While always concious and sensitive to the shifting social construction of homosexual desire and identity, Behind the Screen remains a platform for a whole new way of seeing both the Golden Age of Hollywood and the history of gay men and lesbians. It is destined to become a classic of film literature.

MICHAEL J. MANN is the critically acclaimed author of Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood’s First Openly Gay Star, as well as the novels The Men from the Boys and The Biograph Girl. He lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 422 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 680 g (24 oz) – PUBLISHER Viking, New York, New York, 2001 – ISBN 0-670-03017-1

Being and Becoming (Myrna Loy, with James Kotsibilas-Davis)

loy-myrna-being-and-becomingMyrna Loy’s ravishingly witty portrayal of Nora Charles in The Thin Man movies of the 1930s and 1940s elevated her to near-icon status as the wife every man wanted and every woman wanted to be: she created one of the most loved and timelessly entertaining characters in film history and became, herself, one of the most popular Hollywood actresses ofher time. (A poll of twenty million fans crowned her Queen of the Movies; women flocked to plastic surgeons to be given “the nose”; in the laboratories of the Manhattan Project, where uranium was code-named Tuballoy, thorium became Myrnaloy.) Now, with candor and warmth, this most private of stars takes us from the Montana of her girlhood (Gary Cooper lived down the street) to her beginnings in the Hollywood of the 1920s, and beyond. We see this red-haired cattleman’s daughter, because of her unique beauty – Charles Laughton would later describe her as “Venus de Milo at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine” – cast as every kind of exotic. We follow her from silents to sound as her career is catapulted, in 1934, into the highest orbit by the first of six Thin Man movies she made with William Powell. She perceptively profiles Rudolph Valentino, who discovered her, and Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Tyrone Power, Jean Harlow, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, and the others with whom she worked, played, and formed lasting friendships. We see her on the sets of her early movies and at the social center of Hollywood, New York, and Washington, with the fascinating but often troublesome men she married.

With the onset of World War II she develops the activist in herself while working for the Red Cross and carrying on a long-distance mutual infatuation with F.D.R. Over the years she would support the United Nations, fight the onslaught of Joseph McCarthy and the witch hunts of the 1950S, and serve on civil rights commissions. She participates in the presidential campaigns of Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, and Eugene McCarthy, works with Harry Truman, Dean Acheson, and Eleanor Roosevelt – and shares with us her astute perceptions of them all. We see her career enter a new phase, as she moves to more mature roles with unusual grace and success; and she gamely tries television and theater at a time of life when most performers would be content to rest on their laurels.

Interspersed with Loy’s lively and revealing narrative are the words of friends from her childhood and youth as well as reminiscences by colleagues such as William Powell (“Even my best friends never fail to tell me that the smartest thing I ever did was to marry Myrna Loy on the screen”), Loretta Young, Rosalind Russell, Spencer Tracy, Burt Reynolds, and Cary Grant, who said that Loy acted with “a supreme naturalness that had the effect of distilled dynamite.”

What emerges from this book – a personal account as direct as it is entertaining – is the portrait of a talented, spirited, indomitable woman: in other words, the real Myrna Loy.

JAMES KOTSILIBAS-DAVIS met MYRNA LOY when he was a writer/reporter for Life while working on a story about celebrities in politics. Their friendship prospered during the years when he wrote his two-volume Barrymore saga (Great Times, Good Times: The Odyssey of Maurice Barrymore and The Barrymores: The Royal Family in Hollywood), and ultimately led to their collaboration on this book.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 372 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 989 g (34,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1987 – ISBN 0-394-55593-7

Being Red: A Memoir (Howard Fast)

fast-howard-being-red-a-mamoirFrom 1944 to 1957, Howard Fast was a member of the Communist party. Begun with patriotic and idealistic zeal, ending with dismay at ideological rigidity and the appalling revelations about the Stalinist era in Khrushchev’s famous “secret” speech, it was a political affiliation destined to affect Fast’s life beyond politics, often beyond reason.

Author of such internationally acclaimed best sellers as The Last Frontier, Citizen Tom Paine, and Freedom Road, Fast was at the peak of his career when he joined the Party, fresh from a stint as writer and originator of the wartime Voice of America. But the years that followed – what Fast calls the “mini-terror” – were the years of the McCarthy witch-hunt and the blacklist, of paranoia and betrayal, one of the most shameful periods in American history. Fast’s life became one of tapped phones, FBI surveillance, thwarted attempts to publish, and even a prison sentence for refusing to give names to the HUAC.

Being Red is an intimate memoir of that extraordinary time and one of the most revealing looks we have had yet at the workings of the Communist Party in America. It is the story of one man’s rise from poverty, his courage in the face of a hostile government, his struggles of conscience, and the terrible price paid for good intentions. Here is a remarkable personal story that sheds new light on a dark time.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 370 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 696 g (24,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 1990 – ISBN 0-395-55130-7

Bekoorlijk: Het Leven van Audrey Hepburn (Donald Spoto; originally titled Enchanting)

scannen0310Bekoorlijk is de biografie die Audrey Hepburn verdient: een levendige en gedetailleerde beschrijving van een turbulent leven en wereldwijde roem. Nooit eerder kreeg een biograaf rechtstreeks toegang tot al haar intimi, haar recent ontdekte brieven en persoonlijk archief. Het levert een adembenemend portret op van Audrey’s jeugd tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Arnhem, de moeizame relatie met haar moeder en vader, de jaren als actrice in Londen en haar doorbaak in Hollywood. Ook wordt ons een inkijkje vergund in haar stormachtige huwelijk met Mel Ferrer en haar vele liefdesaffaires.

Audrey Hepburn werd wereldberoemd om haar elegantie, stijl en filmtalent. Ze schitterde in films als Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina en Roman Holiday met hoofdrolspelers als Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart en Cary Grant. Alles wat ze aanraakte veranderde in goud. Desondanks verlaat ze op het hoogtepunt van haar roem Hollywood om tot haar dood in haar geliefde Afrika voor UNICEF te werken.

DONALD SPOTO is een gerenommeerd auteur van succesvolle biografieën, onder andere over Jacky Kennedy Onassis, Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel en Ingrid Bergmann. Donald Spoto woont in Denemarken.

Softcover – 343 pp. – Dimensions 21 x 13 cm (8,3 x 5,1 inch) – Weight 525 g (18,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Uitgeverij Archipel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2006 – ISBN 90 6305 245 6

Beneath Mulholland: Thoughts on Hollywood and Its Ghosts (David Thomson)

thomson-david-beneath-mulhollandDavid Thomson is at his incomparable best in this stunning collection of essays on Hollywood films – their stars and the illusions they create. He explores a sort of twilight zone where film actors and the characters they play become part of our reality, as living beings and as ghosts, residing on or buried beneath Mulholland Drive, or wandering among us.

Like all of Thomson’s writing on the movies, Beneath Mulholland is rich in its understanding of Hollywood, laced with irony, thoroughly provocative and brilliantly creative. There is also a steady fascination with love, sex, death, voyeurism, money and glory, all the preoccupations of Los Angeles – or of that movie L.A. whose initials, Thomson says, stand for Lies Allowed.

He writes about James Stewart in Vertigo, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, Cary Grant (“Having fun, perched somewhere between skill and exhilaration, Grant is both the deft director of the circus and a kid in love with the show”), Greta Garbo (“She knows that she is a latent force that works in the minds of audiences she will never meet”) and about stardom in general: “The star is adored but not liked: that is the consequence of a religious respect that enjoys no ordinary relations with the object of its desire.”

Entering another dimension, we meet James Dean at age 50 – he survived the car crash – and discover how his career developed (and how it affected Paul Newman’s). We see what happened to Tony Manero (John Travolta) after Saturday Night Fever ended and how Susie Diamand (Michelle Pfeiffer) moved on when The Fabulous Baker Boys was over. We are given a rollicking but instructive version of how Sony learned to live and die in Hollywood. We learn the 20 Things People Like to Forget About Hollywood (“All People in Hollywood Are Dysfunctional” is the first). And there is insight into How People Die in Movies – “the empire of bang bang.”

Dazzling in its range, its style and its wisdom, Beneath Mulholland immeasurably enlarges and enriches our already undying memories of, and pleasure in, the Hollywood movie.

DAVID THOMSON is the author of A Biographical Dictionary of Film (three editions), Showman: The Life of David 0. Selznick, Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles and three works of fiction: Suspects, Silver Light and Warren Beatty and Desert Eyes. His writing has appeared in Film Comment, Movieline, Vanity Fair, The New Republic and Esquire, to which he contributes a monthly column on the movies. Thomson lives in San Francisco with his wife and their two sons.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 268 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16,5 cm (9,5 x 6,5 inch) – Weight 619 g (21,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, 1997 – ISBN 0-679-45115-3

The Bennett Playbill (Joan Bennett, with Lois Kibbee)

Bennett, Joan & Kibbee, Lois - The Bennett PlaybillThis is the story of a star and her equally famous family. Joan Bennett writes of her own life and recalls the fame of five generations of acting tradition – a tradition that spanned two continents and 200 years of theater history.

The family tree begins with great-great-grandfather, Will Wood, who was a strolling player in eighteenth-century England and branches out to include all the generations, most especially Joan’s father. Richard Bennett’s career in the American theater is legendary. Handsome, high-spirited and unpredictable, he was constantly in and out of newspaper headlines. But he was also a brilliant actor who enriched Broadway’s Golden Era of Frohman, Belasco, the Barrymores, and Maude Adams by introducing Eugene O’Neill’s first full length play to the New York stage. The three Bennett daughters – Constance, Barbara and Joan – inherited the celebrated Bennett temperament and produced their own headlines during Hollywood’s most dazzling era.

Joan Bennett became one of Hollywood’s most prominent stars soon after her first movie in 1929. Her screen career was abruptly ended 22 years and 65 films later by the personal disaster of the Walter Wanger/Jennings Lang shooting in 1951. She salvaged her career by turning to legitimate theater, and is now seen daily by millions on the daytime serial, Dark Shadows.

Miss Bennett writes of her personal dramas and those of her volatile family with honesty, humor and candor. She speaks frankly about her marriages, her children, her career, her full life that was sometimes turbulent, sometimes sad, but always rich with the sense of commitment to life. The Joan Bennett who emerges from this autobiography is a resilient, mature woman of style.

LOIS KIBBEE is an actress, director and writer. She has appeared in 300 plays and has directed 50 stage productions. This is her second book collaboration and she is currently working on a third.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 332 pp. – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 645 g (22,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, New York, 1970 – SBN 03-081840-0

The Best of MGM (Elizabeth Miles Montgomery)

scannen0332It would be hard to imagine Hollywood without the studios of MGM. From 1924, when their first hit, He Who Gets Slapped, starring John Gilbert, Norma Shearer and Lon Chaney, was produced, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films have included many of the all-time greats. Here are silent favorites such as Greed and The Big Parade, horror movies such as Freaks and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy, war movies such as 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and Mrs. Miniver, musicals such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and An American in Paris, as well as blockbusters such as Dinner at Eight, A Night at the Opera, The Wizard of Oz, lt’s Always Fair Weather, Ben Hur, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and of course, Gone With the Wind.

The claim of ‘more stars than there are in heaven’ was not an idle boast. Beginning with Lillian Gish and Buster Keaton in the twenties, the MGM roster included such as luminaries as Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Ronald Colman, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. The only movie made by Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, The Guardsman, was made by MGM, as was the only film with all three Barrymores, Rasputin and the Empress.

More recently there have been such diverse films as Dr. Zhivago, with Omar Sharif and Julie Christie; The Sunshine Boys, with Walter Matthau and George Burns, and Network, with Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch. MGM has also made great compilations of their own best musicals – That’s Entertainment, Parts I and II, and their latest, That’s Dancing.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 240 stills and posters in color and black and white, The Best of MGM is a nostalgic compilation of Hollywood’s finest movies made by Hollywood’s finest studio. It is a must for every film buff, and for everyone who ever wanted to meet Judy Garland in St. Louis, Thank Heaven for Little Girls with Maurice Chevalier in Gigi, or go Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly.

ELIZABETH MILES MONTGOMERY was born in New York and saw her first movie, a revival of Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), starring Will Rogers, at the age of six. While attending the Rockland County Day School in Congers, New York, she took advantage of early dismissal on Fridays to spend the afternoon at the movies. She holds a BA in history from Hollins College in Virginia, where she also showed films for the student activities office. Mrs. Montgomery has worked for National Education Television, in advertising and, for the last ten years, in publishing in New York, London and Connecticut. She currently lives in Noroton, Connecticut, with her husband. She still knows how to thread a 16-mm projector and has seen Zulu (1964) 23 times.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 192 pp., index – Dimensions 31 x 23 cm (12,2 x 9,1 inch) – Weight 1.260 g (44,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Hamlyn Publishing Group, Twickenham, Middlesex, 1986 – ISBN 0-600-50261-9

Bette Davis: A Biography (Barbara Leaming)

leaming-barbara-bette-davisBette Davis was one of the greatest acting talents the screen has ever known, yet no previous book has gone beyond the glittering Davis legend to explore the real woman. In the first major biography of Davis since her death, Barbara Leaming tells the full, extraordinary story, with objectivity and passion.

Bette Davis has always aroused controversy: her famous legal battle with Warner Bros., her four husbands, the shocking book written by her daughter B.D. Hyman. Yet she has always been seen as the heroine – until now. In this revelatory book, Barbara Leaming gives us a bracing cautionary tale of the dark side of power in Hollywood, and how a woman who amassed more power than any Hollywood actress before or since used that power to destroy others, her own family, and – in the end – herself. It is a story of abandonment, alcoholism, domestic violence, obsessive-compulsive behavior, religious fanaticism, and insanity.

Barbara Leaming has drawn on hundreds of hours of conversation with Davis’s friends, lovers, professional associates, and family members. In addition, she has combed through thousands of documents, including Davis’s personal diaries, scrapbooks, unpublished letters, and copiously annotated scripts. The result is a compelling portrait that redefines one of Hollywood’s most misunderstood legends.

BARBARA LEAMING is the author of Orson Welles: A Biography and If This Was
Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth
. She lives in Connecticut.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 397 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 752 g (26,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 1992 – ISBN 0-671-70955-0

Bette Davis: An Intimate Memoir (Roy Moseley)

Moseley, Roy - Bette Davis, An Intimate MemoirBette Davis has always been the subject of controversy. From her tumultuous relationships with her co-stars and her family to the dramas of her public persona, she captured the imagination and the adoration of fans around the world.

Roy Moseley was first star-struck by Bette Davis when, as an adolescent he watched her on the big silver screen. Years later, in a remarkable series of coincidences, he met his idol and went on to form a deep friendship with her that could have led him to the altar as her fifth husband.

Here he writes of the glamorous, fiery Bette Davis as she has never been revealed – up close, in shockingly intimate detail – as he records their fifteen years together. That tour takes them from London to New York to Ms. Davis’ house in Westport, Connecticut, to the boulevards of Hollywood.

Their relationship, which survived the tempest that followed Bette Davis wherever she went, is captured fully in this touching, warm, and at times funny memoir that gives unique insight into what life day-by-day was like with a living legend. Here, revealed for the first time, is the truth behind the stories told by Bette Davis, her daughter B.D. and other close friends, as well as Bette Davis’ opinions of her fellow stars and the world she knew so well.

This memoir, originally published in England just before Miss Davis’ death in August 1989, contains an afterword written especially for the American edition recounting Miss Davis’ reaction to the truth of her life and her long-time companion recorded it.

ROY MOSELEY is an internationally known theatrical agent and author of show-business biographies, including those of Rex Harrison and Roger Moore, and (co-authored with Charles Higham) Merle Oberon and Cary Grant. He makes his home both in the United Kingdom and in Los Angeles.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 192 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 526 g (18,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Donald I. Fine, Inc., New York, New York, 1990 – ISBN 1-55611-218-1

Bette Davis Speaks (Boze Hadleigh)

Hadleigh, Boze - Bette Davis SpeaksBette Davis’s career boasted both quality and quantity. She was a box-office superstar and consummate actress. And since her death, het cult has grown with a new generation of fans fascinated by the strong female behind the iconoclastic performer whose Hollywood career spanned the early 1930s and the late eighties.

Bette Davis Speaks is the first interview book with the late legend. Unlike the spate of prior biographies, in Bette Davis Speaks the leading lady and woman-ahead-of-her-time speaks for herself in more than a dozen interviews conducted by journalist and author Boze Hadleigh from the mid-1970s on.

Davis candidly discusses her “lonely life” with four husbands and several beaux, her costars and rivals, and other leading ladies. She dishes on friends and associates and shares her regrets over failed relationships, flop movies, the “hell” of growing old.

Davis was looked on by some as a demanding woman and hard to deal with, but the work was always the thing for her, the movie. With her acid tongue and wit, she did not mind ruffling feathers if it meant a better film. Ultimately, putting her craft above all else is what made her such a compelling actress.

Bette Davis Speaks also features mini-interviews with people in Davis’s life, which shed greater perspective on its starry subject. Among them are Bette’s fourth husband, Gary Merrill; her pal Joan Blondell; her female costar Agnes Moorehead; her male costar Peter Lawford; her Baby Jane director Robert Aldrich.

BOZE HADLEIGH’s eight previous books include two interview collections, Hollywood Lesbians and the gay-themed Conversations With My Elders. Also the best-selling Hollywood, Babble On. He divides his time between Beverly Hills and Sydney, Australia.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 256 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 536 g (18,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Barricade Books, New York, New York, 1996 – ISBN 1-56980-066-9

Bette, Rita, and the Rest of My Life: An Autobiography (Gary Merrill)

merrill-gary-bette-rita-and-the-rest-of-my-lifeFor ten years he was turbulently married to one American legend, Bette Davis. For the next four he was the lover of another, Rita Hayworth. Handsome, kind, funny, and casual, actor Gary Merrill has a reputation as a hard-drinking, boisterous Hollywood bad boy. No doubt he is eccentric: a very masculine man who wears a skirt as he plays golf with some of the world’s most famous actors, politicians, and socialites.

He is also a distinguished actor of stage, screen, TV, and radio – from the movie masterpieces All About Eve and Twelve O’Clock High to his present career, in his seventies, as one of the most sought-after voices for television advertising. But Gary Merrill also has a side that few of his fans know about: a passionate commitment to social justice that saw him marching with Martin Luther King at Selma, protesting the war in Vietnam, and being a witness for peace in Nicaragua.

And this is the man who, twenty-five years after his marriage to Bette Davis ended, ran ads in The New York Times and other newspapers urging people not to buy the book  attacking Bette which was written by her ungrateful daughter B.D.

As Bette Davis writes: “Gary had enormous gifts.” One is a gift for telling stories. He has assembled many of them here with the help of his old friends, writers John and Jean Cole. Besides the revelations about Bette and Rita, there are stories of Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, and a cast of superstars from the thirties through the eighties. Gary Merrill, most of all, is an original. His vivid personality has sometimes made his life more difficult; his individualism has also been his salvation. He has been true to himself.

Bette and B.D. and others have written their books. Now Gary, with his typical honesty, sets the record straight.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 272 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 696 g (24,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Lance Taplay, Augusta, Maine, 1988 – ISBN 0-912769-13-0

Betty Garrett and Other Songs: A Life on Stage and Screen (Betty Garrett, with Ron Rapoport)

Autographed copy For Leo, with love and admiration, Betty Garrett, April 2004

Garrett, Betty - Betty Garrett and Other SongsDuring her sixty years in show business, Betty Garrett has sung with Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman, danced with Gene Kelly and Martha Graham, acted with Orson Welles and Jack Lemmon, and traded one-liners with Carroll O’Connor and Penny Marshall. But none of her plays, movies, or television roles can match the drama of her life. Betty Garrett and Other Songs is the story of a woman who became one of Broadway’s biggest stars, made several classic MGM musicals, married a handsome movie star, had two children, and could scarcely believe her happiness and good fortune. Then one day the House Un-American Activities Committee came to call.

In this hilarious, moving, bawdy, and ultimately triumphant memoir, Betty Garrett tells how she and her husband, Larry Parks, rebuilt their lives and careers after falling victim to the Hollywood blacklist and how, after Parks’ tragic death at the age of sixty, she went on to achieve some of her greatest personal and professional satisfaction. Betty Garrett’s experiences with many of the finest actors, writers, composers, and directors of this century – and with movie moguls like Louis B. Mayer and Harry Cohn – provide a compelling inside look at a Broadway and a Hollywood that no longer exist. Hers is a story of a great American life.

“Betty Garrett is not a survivor,” a critic once noted, “she is as prevailer.”

BETTY GARRETT starred on Broadway in Call Me Mister and in such classic movie musicals as On the Town and My Sister Eileen. She also played Irene Lorenzo in the television series All in the Family and Edna Babish-DeFazio in the television hit Laverne and Shirley. RON RAPOPORT is a writer, an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, and a sports commentator on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 306 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 705 g (24,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Madison Books, New York, New York, 1998 – ISBN 1-56833-098-7

Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges (James Curtis)

Curtis, James - Between Flops“Preston Sturges is the foremost filmmaker ever developed by the American film industry / art... Between Flops recounts with compassion and wit the story of Preston’s wild, shoot-the-rapids life… James Curtis’s book is a lamentably overdue and richly merited tribute to Preston Sturges, Master.” – Garson Kanin

In the decade of the 1940’s, a remarkable string of vibrant and original films captivated America. Many were commercial as well as critical successes. All bore the distinctive imprint of their maker, a man as colorful as his most memorable characters.

Preston Sturges set a new standard for creativity in Hollywood. He not only wrote such films as The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels, The Palm Beach Story, and The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, he also directed them, at the rate of two a year. He opened the door for an entire generation of writers-turned-directors and made some of the most popular comedies of the sound era. At his peak, he earned the third-highest salary in the country. He was an inventor, songwriter, actor, playwright, restaurateur, industrialist, and winner of an Academy Award. He even owned a production company, with his temperamental equal Howard Hughes.

Yet, barely ten years after it began, it was over. Alienated by his reckless zeal
for perfection, the studios turned away from him. Unable to work, Sturges took his young family to Europe, where he struggled desperately in growing obscurity for a chance to work the old magic just one more time.

Drawn from interviews, letters, and other primary source materials, this is the first full-length biography of a legendary American filmmaker, a man who made and lost two fortunes and whose genius shown brightly, as he put it, “between flops.”

JAMES CURTIS, born in Los Angeles, works in the areas of instructional design and technical and promotional writing. He is the author of a book on director James Whale. Mr. Curtis is married and lives in Placentia, California.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 339 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (9,5 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 845 g (29,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, New York, 1982 – ISBN 0-15-111932-5

Beverly Hills: An Illustrated History Featuring Interviews With Celebrity Residents (Genevieve Davis)

Davis, Genevieve - Beverly HillsFrom an agricultural beginning to “hometown to the stars,” Beverly Hills has thrilled and delighted the rest of the country as the most celebrated west coast enclave of the rich and famous. Originally settled by magnates and businesspeople such as oilmen Kirk B. Johnson and Max Whittier, in 1920 the character of Beverly Hills was changed forever. That was the year that Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford took up residence at Pickfair, starting a trend that continues today, making Beverly Hills one of the nation’s best-known communities. Simultaneously, Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive began to compete with and surpass other shopping districts for the title of the most fashionable retail center in metropolitan Los Angeles. Likewise, the city’s downtown has become an important center for professional and business offices as well.

This fascinating story of Beverly Hills is written by Genevieve Davis, author of three historical romance novels. The magic and sparkle of Beverly Hills’ past is made to come alive as never before. In addition, this handsome volume is enhanced by more than 250 photographs, many never before published.

The vibrant historical narrative and the unique illustrations are only part of the Beverly Hills story. Beverly Hills’ colorful past, as well as the city’s dynamic present, is brought to life through an exciting series of interviews with many of Beverly Hills’ resident luminaries. Charlton Heston, Glenn Ford, Ann Miller, and Irving Stone are but a few of the personalities represented in this section, titled “That Fabled Place.” The interviews are conducted by Kathleen MacKay, former People magazine staffer.

There is an additional special section, “Partners in Progress,” that highlights the diverse businesses and organizations that provide the economic life of Beverly Hills. This chapter is researched and written by Robert Kelly, local writer and business historian.

Beverly Hills: An Illustrated History is a unique look, from the inside as well as the outside, at one of the west coast’s most famous communities. This interesting and informative book is sure to be a treasured volume in personal libraries everywhere for years to come.

GENEVIEVE DAVIS is the author of three historical romances: A Passion in the Blood (Simon and Schuster), Children of Passion (Pinnacle), and Fancy (Jove). In a review of her first book, the Los Angeles Times observed, “Historical novelists should have a special kind of empathy, almost a form of ESP, to bring alive, in their own time, historical figures as convincing characters. Genevieve Davis possesses this trait, applies it persuasively…” Ms. Davis brings an extra measure of enthusiasm to the writing of this comprehensive and authoritative chronicle of Beverly Hills, combining her passion for history and for this magical city. She lives a “rural” life on three acres in Beverly Hills, where she grows her own vegetables, dabbles in medieval cookery, and occasionally sallies forth to Rodeo Drive. Ms. Davis is married and has two daughters. Business historian ROBERT J. KELLY is co-founder, vice-president, and treasurer of Kelly, Peck Associates, Inc., a Southern California communications firm that publishes a local financial / business newspaper. A veteran writer, Kelly has ghost-written several articles on corporate financial planning techniques that have appeared in national and regional journals such as Pacific Banker, the ABA Banking Journal, and The Journal of Commercial Bank Lending. He was also Business Historian for Windsor Publications’ Pasadena: Crown of the Valley and Burbank: An Illustrated History.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 206 pp., index – Dimensions 31 x 23 cm (12,2 x 9,1 inch) – Weight 1.215 g (42,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Windsor Publications, Inc., Northridge, California, 1988 – ISBN 0-89781-238-7

Beverly Hills 1930-2005 (Marc Wanamaker)

wanamaker-marc-beverly-hills-1930-2005Nowhere on Earth are sequels and the success that fosters them more apparent than in Hollywood’s bejeweled bedroom, Beverly Hills. This continuation of the history begun in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America: Early Beverly Hills presents a compendium of vintage photographs depicting America’s one community that’s most synonymous with wealth. However, the Great Depression hit here, too, and the book depicts that as well as the subsequent recovery and boom years, homes of the stars, influence of the close proximity to Hollywood, and the chic shops and restaurants that keep the tourists coming. From the Brown Derby to the Beverly Theatre, from the Harold Lloyd Estate to Jack L. Warner’s digs, from the Beverly Hills Hotel’s changes to those that created a new Beverly Hills Civic Center, these are the Beverly Hills facts that have been the bases for all of those Hollywood fictions.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

MARC WANAMAKER owns Bison Archives, one of Southern California’s largest repositories of historic photographs, from which he selected these rare images. A consultant on more than 100 documentaries and the author of Arcadia Publishing’s Early Beverly Hills, Hollywood: Past and Present, and other books, Wanamaker is a founding board member of the Beverly Hills Historical Society.

Softcover – 126 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 16 cm (9,3 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 326 g (11,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco, California, 2006 – ISBN 0-7385-4659-3

Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro (André Soares)

soares-andre-beyond-paradise-the-life-of-ramon-novarroRamon Novarro was for years one of the top actors in Hollywood – the first Latin American performer to become a Hollywood superstar. Born Ramón Samaniego to a prominent Mexican family, Novarro arrived in Hollywood in 1916 as a refugee from the civil wars that rocked Mexico in the early twentieth century. By the mid-1920s, he had become one of MGM’s most important leading men, going on to star in a series of new-classic films, including The Student Prince, Mata Hari, and the original version of Ben-Hur. He shared the screen with the era’s most important leading ladies, such as Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, and Norma Shearer, and became Rudolph Valentino’s main rival in the “Latin Lover” category. But despite his considerable professional accomplishments, Novarro’s most enduring claim to fame is his tragic death – his bloodied corpse was found in his house on Halloween 1968 in what has become one of the most infamous scandals in the vast lore of Hollywood.

Novarro was a lifelong bachelor who had carefully cultivated his image as a man deeply devoted to his family and to his religious convictions. His murder shattered that image as news reports revealed to the general public that the dashing screen hero had not only been homosexual, but had been killed by two young male hustlers. Since then, his death has achieved near mythic proportions. Increasingly outlandish stories have become accepted as truth, obscuring Novarro’s notable professional legacy.

Beyond Paradise presents for the first time a full picture of the man who made motion picture history – from his amazing rise to stardom to the destructive conflicts faced by this traditional Catholic Mexican man who was also a gay film star. Compellingly told and impressively researched – including original interviews with Novarro’s surviving friends, family, co-workers, and the two men convicted of his murder – Beyond Paradise provides unique insights into the ground-breaking life and career of one of the most important early Hollywood stars – a man whose myth continues to fascinate today.

ANDRÉ SOARES was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and currently operates a translation business, working for numerous major American corporations. He is the author of several screenplays and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 400 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 777 g (27,4 oz) – PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York, 2002 – ISBN 0-312-28231-1

Big Screen, Little Screen (Rex Reed)

reed-rex-big-screen-little-screenRex Reed, one of the wittiest and most important writers on the entertainment scene today, is distinguished as a critic who is greatly concerned with the quality of visual mass media, as a dynamic adversary of pretentiousness, vulgarity, and mindlessness in the cinema, and as an interviewer / actor who is familiar with the motion picture industry from the inside. His humor is wickedly hilarious, his sarcasm rapier-sharp, his social commentary relevant and often devastating – whether he is discussing the merits of a motion picture, reporting on the hectic, zany events at Cannes, searingly criticizing underground and pornographic movies, or giving a wildly funny tongue-in-cheek rundown of television’s Saturday morning cartoons.

Collectively, these articles provide fresh insights into the workings of the “fabulous” film industry and a lively overview of the entertainment scene in general over the past two years. Big Screen, Little Screen should be read by all movie and TV enthusiasts – and by anyone concerned with the medium – and the future – of motion pictures and television.

Big Screen, Little Screen: a highly readable collection of reviews and articles (originally written for Women’s Wear Daily, Holiday; and The New York Times, from 1968 to the present) on a great variety of subjects.

Rex Reed speaks out on the Big Screen:
On Barbra Streisand: No more cracks about Barbra Streisand’s nose. After Funny Girl, they’ll be as obsolete as Harold Teen comics… In the most remarkable screen debut I will probably ever see in my lifetime, the toadstool from Erasmus High School has been turned into a truffle.
On movies: Hollywood is currently being buried with a spectacular kind of death rattle, made by men who are running scared… I don’t often stand on soap boxes, but after observing at close range a three-ring circus like Myra Breckinridge, I am convinced that if American films are to have any future at all, they must be made on relatively little money…
On Truffaut’s The Wild Child: The Miracle Worker with escargot on its breath…
On The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: Maggie Smith has the face and the voice of a thousand-page novel… She is the actress of the year, the freshest, most creative force to happen to movies in a very long time.
On Andy Warhol: … it has recently been brought to my shocked attention that there are enough fools Out There still willing to pay three bucks and sometimes more to see his peep shows… The only shocking thing about these stag movies is that… Andy and his Super-jerks haven’t been turned in to the Better Business Bureau.

Rex Reed speaks out on the Little Screen:
On commercials: I wonder what Dick Cavett’s early-morning consumers thought when, after interviewing Christine Jorgensen, he broke for a Niagara Starch commercial called “The First Drag Race for Women”?
On Saturday morning cartoons: In last Saturday’s lineup I counted 37 brain concussions, 25 felonies, 40 criminal assaults, and 20 brutal murders. Fine heritage of stalwart virility we’re teaching to the people in whom we’re placing the future hopes of our country, right, all you guys at the networks?
On the youth market: Television’s stubborn insistence on outdating itself has never seemed more flagrant than in the new Saturday morning Archie Andrews kiddie show on CBS… The only thing wrong with this show is it comes about fifteen years too late. It’s probably a lot healthier for kids than all the vampires and lesbian warriors from outer space on the other Saturday morning kiddie shows, but just as unreal. This gang is as antiquated as Fritzi Ritz in wedgies.
On Angela Lansbury: Though her appearances are rare, Angela Lansbury blossoms on the television screen like a bright yellow chrysanthemum in a season of drought.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 433 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 835 g (29,5 oz) – PUBLISHER The Macmillan Company, New York, New York, 1968

Billy Bitzer: His Story – The Autobiography of D. W. Griffith’s Master Cameraman (Billy Bitzer; introduction by Beaumont Newhall)

bitzer-billy-his-storyJohann Gottlob Wilhelm Bitzer – Billy Bitzer to the film world – was one of the first and greatest men to stand behind a movie camera. The early Biograph films, one of the high marks in the history of photography, were his work. Bitzer, who was at Biograph before D.W. Griffith, taught the novice director and learned from him; together they made an unbeatable team. With Griffith, Bitzer went on to the superb, Brady-like Civil War camera work of The Birth of a Nation, the spectacular photography of Intolerance, and later triumphs.

Despite his German name, Billy Bitzer was as American as apple pie. A native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, he was first a silversmith and then an employee of the Magic Introduction Company, a novelty firm, which soon got involved in the infant movie business through William Kennedy Dickson, an associate of Edison’s. This group founded The Biograph Company, and Bitzer aided them in the construction of one of the first film cameras, weighing almost a ton. Bitzer not only mastered the rudiments of photography, but soon became a veteran photographer of hundreds of films. It was the combination of Griffith’s imagination and Bitzer’s technical knowledge that provided the basis for the early grammar of film.

In the 1930’s Bitzer joined the staff of the Film Library of the Museum of Modern Art, and died in California in April 1944. His autobiography, which has never before been published, is presented as he wrote it, vivid and straightforward in expression, expert in the knowledge and lore of a craft in which he was a pioneer, and a pleasure to read. Beaumont Newhall, curator emeritus of photography at Eastman House in Rochester, has written an introduction. The appendix contains the first complete Bitzer filmography. Billy Bitzer: His Story is an authentic document and a basic source book in the history of American films.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 266 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 16 cm (9,3 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 603 g (21,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Farrar, Straus and Giraux, New York, New York, 1973 – ISBN 0-374-11294-0

Billy Wilder in Hollywood (Maurice Zolotow)

zolotov-maurice-billy-wilder-in-hollywoodBilly Wilder is, to his biographer Maurice Zolotow, one of the most sophisticated and sharp-witted men about Hollywood, an exuberant creative spirit, a volatile, outspoken and rebellious character. He is also one of filmland’s most successful citizens – a winner of six Oscars, an extremely talented producer, director and writer.

His story takes us behind the scenes of his films, into the social life of Hollywood and inside the power struggles of the studios. It tells of his dynamite-laden experiences with Marilyn Monroe, his weird encounters with Erich von Stroheim and Otto Preminger, his rapid-fire game of on-set badinage with Walter Matthau, his creative build-up of Jack Lemmon, and contains stories of the many stars and personalities whose lives have intersected his.

This is a fast and funny book because Billy Wilder’s that way: fast, furious, devastatingly amusing, with a wit that transforms mundaneity into sheer hilarity. His co-operation with Maurice Zolotow has insured that the essence of his personality comes through to make this book great reading, great entertainment.

MAURICE ZOLOTOW has been called ‘the Boswell of Broadway and Hollywood’, and has specialised in portraits of men and women of the American theater, films and television. He is the author of eight previous books which include Marilyn Monroe (translated into nine languages and considered a masterpiece of film biography) and Shooting Star, a biography of John Wayne.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 364 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 15 cm (8,5 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 674 g (23,8 oz) – PUBLISHER W.H. Allen & Co., Ltd., London, 1977 – ISBN 0 491 02291 3

Billy Wilder: Interviews (edited by Robert Horton)

horton-robert-billy-wilder-intervies“When somebody turns to his neighbor and says, ‘My, that was beautifully directed,’ we have proof that it was not.”

Always daring Hollywood censors’ limits on content, Billy Wilder directed greats such as Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Ginger Rogers, Marlene Dietrich, Kirk Douglas, Audrey Hepburn, and Gary Cooper. Billy Wilder: Interviews follows the filmmaking career of one of Hollywood’s most honored and successful writer-directors and spans over fifty years.

Wilder, born in 1906, fled from Nazi Germany and established himself in America. In collected interviews this book traces his progress from his Oscar-winning heyday of the 1940s to the 1990s, in which he is still witty, caustic, and defiant.

He tells the stories behind his brilliant direction of such classics as Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959), and The Apartment (1960), among others.

A dazzling raconteur, Wilder spins marvelous anecdotes on the subject of show business, Wilder also delivers penetrating and instructive observations on his craft. On screen, his special blend of cynicism and romanticism was always expressed in a style that avoided showiness.

ROBERT HORTON is the film critic for The Herald in Everett, Washington. His work has been published in Film Comment, New York Newsday, American Film, and the Seattle Weekly.

Softcover – 200 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 15 cm (9 x 6 inch) – Weight 378 g (13,3 oz) – PUBLISHER University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, 2001 – ISBN 1-57806-444-9

The Biograph Girl: A Novel of Hollywood Then and Now (William J. Mann)

Mann, William J - The Biograph GirlGrab your seat for a wild rollercoaster ride through the 20th century, led by a sassy, chain-smoking 107-year-old actress named Florence Lawrence. From her vaudeville childhood as “Baby Flo, The Child Wonder Whistler” to the snowy Bronx backlot where she shot her first motion picture, the lovely Florence Lawrence commanded – and demanded – attention. By 1910, she was the legendary, enegmatic Biograph Girl, hounded by shrieking fans and blinding flashbulbs – the world’s very first movie star.

Yet, inevitably, the rabid interest in her faded – far too soon for a girl whose true identity had been lost amidst the glamorous trappings of Hollywood’s golden dawn. Reduced to MGM walk-on roles, a bedraggled, forgotten Florence Lawrence finally ended her life in 1938 with a lethal ingestion of ant paste… or did she?

Sixty years later, the fiercely competitive Sheehan twin brothers, Richard and Ben, discover a fiesty, mysterious old lady named Flo Bridgewood telling tales of the McKinley assassination and the sinking of the Titanic. The twins share little more in common than identical features and a burning ambition to succeed. Muscular golden boy Richard is a gay journalist with too many credit cards and an unproduced screenplay in his drawer. Rebellious Ben is a notorious womanizer and independent filmmaker whose one success a decade ago was supposed to be his ticket to fame. Neither suspects that a chance meeting is about to launch them into a mystery-shrouded journey that spans not just an entire century, but one woman’s remarkable life – and supposed death.

But what of the girl they buried in 1938, whom the Beverly Hills Hospital identified as Florence Lawrence? What was Flo’s connection to her death? The questions begin to mount. How – and why – did Flo stage her own death sixty years before? What other secrets does The Biograph Girl hold – and will her current turn in the spotlight end with the same kind of tragedy as the last?

Like Christopher Bram’s Father of Frankenstein, The Biograph Girl takes a little-known but significent historical character and brings her back to full-fleshed life. With a supporting cast of characters that include D.W. Griffith, Clark Gable, Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo, John Waters, Rosie D’Donnell and Oprah Winfrey, The Biograph Girl is truly a chronicle of the 20th century – a sweeping epic packed with history, wisdom, humor, passion, and the golden age of movies.

WILLIAM J. MANN is the author of the best-selling novel The Men from the Boys, as well as the Lambda Literary Award-winning Wisecracker. Presently at work on a study of the Hollywood studio era, he lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 457 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 16 cm (9,3 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 805 g (28,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Kensington Books, New York, New York, 2000 – ISBN 1-57566-559-X

The Birth of a Nation Story (Roy E. Aitken, as told to Al P. Nelson)

scannen0187“The Birth of a Nation motion picture, produced in 1915 and directed by the talented David Wark Griffith, was the first twelve reel motion picture ever made. This Civil War and Reconstruction period film with its stirring battle scenes and portrayal of the confused, tragic postwar years, has been viewed by more than 100,000,000 Americans. The picture has been acclaimed for its stirring, panoramic sweep, its artistry and the introduction of many new movie techniques.

Some persons and groups bemoan the continued exhibition of the picture due to the racial problems in the story, which is adapted from Thomas Dixon’s novel, The Clansman. The co-authors of the Birth of a Nation story, especially Roy E. Aitken, who owns controlling interest in the Birth of a Nation film, have clung tenaciously to the facts in relating the dramatic events surrounding the producing of this American epic, and its exhibition over a period of almost fifty years.

The record reveals that many minority groups have persistently and vigorously boycotted the showing of this motion picture, claiming that it creates racial problems. Perhaps it is the misfortune of the Negro race that certain members of it are shown to disadvantage in the Birth of a Nation film. History has shown that the minority of the liberated Negroes who were involved politically in the turbulent Reconstruction period were usually spurred to action and dominated by unscrupulous white carpetbaggers.

The white man, the red man, the yellow man, and the brown man have no monopoly on cruelty, hate, greed, rape or any other human failing. This has often been demonstrated in newspaper and magazine articles, in plays, short stories and novels. When the factual or fictional spotlight turns upon the Negro, as it does in some measure in the Birth of a Nation movie, he has no choice but to bear the scrutiny and the ignominy of it. In company with his white, red, yellow and brown brothers, he can only hang his head in shame. From such universal shame, perhaps Man will identify and study his family racial problem and begin to try to solve it.

This is said to be the age of inquiry and scientific approach. We ask readers of this book to regard this reportorial account of the Birth of a Nation story as an account of the impact of a great motion picture upon three generations of Americans. If the Birth of a Nation movie has a little dust on its garments and mud on its feet, these have inevitably been gathered by following realistic characters who almost always have feet of clay.

That the Birth of a Nation evidences much historical accuracy, and also dramatic truth, is attested by the many requests that come annually from colleges, universities, museums, private art and film groups, and others, to show the picture. Recently, parts of this historic film were shown on the British Broadcasting System and on the National Broadcasting System.

In a lengthy opinion on the Birth of a Nation in 1915, the National Board of Censorship said, in part, “If the picture tends to aggravate serious social questions and should therefore be wholly forbidden, that is a matter for the action of those who act on similar tendencies when they are expressed in books, newspapers or on the stage. On what basis of reasoning should a film play be repressed whose subject matter has already been allowed the freest circulation both in a novel and in a play?” – The Foreword

“My brother Harry Aiten and I were viewing television in our family home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, one warm spring evening in April 1954, when the telephone rang. Harry answered as I turned down the television sound. “Hollywood calling,” said the operator in a carefully measured tone. “I have a call for Harry Aitken. Is he there?” “This is he,” Harry said quietly, and waited. An assured, confident voice boomed over the wires. “Hello, Mr. Aitken. Are you the Aitken who owns controlling interest in the Birth of a Nation movie?”

“I am.” Harry was not overly excited. We often received phone calls from people connected with theaters, universities, museums, and film societies wanting to show this famous Civil War period movie. For such is the interest in this, the most controversial motion picture of all time, which we, Harry and I, initially financed in 1913-14 and have been distributing ever since. A picture which Variety Magazine reported two hundred movie critics voted the greatest motion picture produced during the first fifty years of the industry.

“I’m Phil Ryan,” the HolIywood caller said. “I represent a group of bankers and movie executives who are interested in remaking the Birth of a Nation as an entirely new picture.” Harry was taken aback and did not answer for a moment. This was the kind of production offer we had been working and hoping for ever since sound had been put on the old silent movie, back in the 1930s. “Hello-Hello-” came back Ryan. “Did you hear me, Aitken?”

“I heard you,” Harry finally replied. “You wanted to know if we’d deal on our rights to the Birth, Yes, we would. But we’d want a sizable sum – perhaps three-quarters of a million dollars. It’s a great picture. Still playing after forty years in this country and in Europe. No one knows which Civil War picture grossed more – the Birth or Gone With the Wind. They’re both top-notchers.” “I know that,” said Ryan, “but the Birth would have to be remade carefully and at a great cost to become a big box-office attraction again. When can we get together in Milwaukee to talk about a deal? My backers want action.”

Harry and Ryan talked for several more minutes. They finally agreed for Harry and me to confer with Ryan two days later at the Plankinton Hotel in Milwaukee. I saw that Harry’s hands were trembling as he put the receiver back on the cradle, and I’ll confess that my heart was pounding, too. Was this the big deal we had looked for through the lean income years since 1930?

The Birth’s lush earnings had lasted from 1915 through 1926 – an estimated gross of $ 60,000,000 paid by more than 100,000,000 movie patrons anxious to see the popular picture that had revolutionized the making of movies. All this despite bitter censorship battles, vigorous minority groups’ opposition, picketing, and even political interference.  Controversial? Yes, even today. No other motion picture has won more lavish praise, or been more bitterly condemned. And this is the exciting photoplay to which Harry and I have played nursemaid and guardian for almost fifty years. Harry died in 1956. Today I am the sole guardian of the great picture, which, despite its stepped-up film speed in the sound version, still creates tremendous excitement wherever it is exhibited.

Controversial, too, was the ownership of the picture when it was first produced in 1914. D.W. Griffith, although he was our director and his salary was paid by our Majestic Film Company, let it be known, intentionally or unintentionally, that he owned the picture. He did not, and he later had to backtrack on his claim. The truth is that the Birth of a Nation should be credited to a triumvirate. Thomas Dixon, the author and a Baptist preacher, wrote the books, The Leopard’s Spots and The Clansman, on which the photoplay was based. David Wark Griffith directed the picture masterfully. And my brother Harry and I raised the initial $ 59,000 to finance the picture and have always held controlling interest in Epoch Producing Corporation, the company which owns the copyright.

Griffith’s name is plastered all over the prints of the film and was featured in newspaper and magazine advertisements. He is entitled to that glory, perhaps, because he reached artistic heights in that movie which brought the motion picture to maturity. But Griffith, although he had many opportunities to do so, never gave author Dixon much credit or recognition, nor did he credit Harry and me for our herculean efforts in obtaining the original financing to put the Birth into production.

Why he did not, we never knew. But Thomas Dixon smarted under the slight for many years and frequently told Harry and me so. We felt as Dixon did that the great Griffith could have been a bit more gracious to his associates – to put it mildly.” – From chapter 1, ‘An Offer Is Made.’

Hardcover – 96 pp. – Dimensions 28,5 x 22 cm (11,2 x 8,7 inch) – Weight 567 g (20 oz) – PUBLISHER William W. Denlinger, Middleburg, Virginia, 1965

Birth of the Motion Pictures (Emmanuelle Toulet)

toulet-emanuelle-birth-of-the-motion-pictureOne evening in December 1895, a crowd of Parisians gathered to see the world change: it was the first public presentation of a device called the cinématographe.

Unimpressed, the audience watched as the image of a street was projected onto a screen.

But when a horse suddenly came into view, pulling a cart, they were stunned. They knew they had seen the future. The motion picture had been born.

EMMANUELLE TOULET is a curator in the Department of Entertainment Arts at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, where she is in charge of the film collection. She has published several articles, principally on the history of French silent films and on safeguarding our cinematographic heritage.

Softcover – 175 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 12 cm (6,9 x 4,7 inch) – Weight 258 g (9,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York, New York, 1995 – ISBN 0-8109-2874-4

Blackface to Blacklist: Al Jolson, Larry Parks and “The Jolson Story” (Doug McClelland)

McLelland, Doug - Blackface to BlacklistThe Jolson Story, a landmark Hollywood musical biography, brought has-been blackface singer Al Jolson one of show business’ great comebacks, made a star of Larry Parks, the young “B” movie actor who played him, and spawned a sequel. For the first time, McClelland tells the story of how these films were made. Subsequently, in the anti-Communist climate of 1951 America, Larry Parks’s career was destroyed when he admitted he had been a Communist. The story of Parks’s downfall is a major section of the book, as is the graphic portrayal of that dark period in American history. With biographical profiles of all significant contributors to the Jolson sagas and many rare photos.

Hardcover – 284 pp. – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 491 g (17,3 oz) – PUBLISHER The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Metuchen, New Jersey, 1987 – ISBN 1 86105 947 7

Blacklisted: The Film Lover’s Guide to the Hollywood Blacklist (Paul Buhle, Dave Wagner)

Buhle, Paul - Blacklisted, The Film Lover's Guide to the Hollywood BlacklistIn Blacklisted, Buhle and Wagner have put together the definitive guide to the films, directors, stars, writers, designers, producers and anyone else who was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the notorious Hollywood blacklist era.

With over 2000 entries, including such films as Roman Holiday and Bridge on the River Kwai, Blacklisted is the ultimate film lover’s guide to Hollywood’s darkest days.

PAUL BUHLE founded the Oral History of the American Left archive at New York University. DAVE WAGNER has co-authored a number of books with Paul Buhle, including the recent Radical Hollywood and Hide in Plain Sight (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

Softcover – 255 pp. – Dimensions 23 x 19 cm (9,1 x 7,5 inch) – Weight 599 g (21,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Palgrave Macmillan, New York, New York, 2003 – ISBN 1-4039-6145-X

Blind In One Ear (Patrick Macnee, with Marie Cameron)

Autographed copy Patrick Macnee

MacNee, Patrick - Blind in One EarWith mischievous and irreverent humor, Patrick Macnee, star of the 1960s TV series The Avengers, shows that life is stranger than fiction. His wealth of adventurous anecdotes includes heroic deeds, like his rescue of eight chimps from the burning home of a Hollywood animal trainer, and some not so heroic, like his eighteen-vodka airplane ride with Richard Burton.

But his best stories are about the characters from his childhood in a lunatic, upper-class household. At an early age, his eccentric and beautiful mother took him to live with her lesbian lover, “Uncle Evelyn,” whose neighboring mansion housed quite a harem. Despite her dislike of little boys, Evelyn paid for Patrick’s education until he was expelled from Eton for his activities as a bookie and seller of pornography. His father, an alcoholic racehorse trainer, provided for Patrick by giving him the inside tips for his book.

Needless to say, the rest of his life was not dull, perfect training for the imperturbable John Steed! Macnee takes us from his not-so-humble beginnings to his well-known role in The Avengers, which is now being made into a major motion picture with Mel Gibson.

PATRICK MACNEE has worked in theater throughout the world since 1939, interrupted only by service in the Royal Navy in the Second World War. He appeared, notably, on Broadway in the award-winning play Sleuth. His movie career includes The Elusive Pimpernel, A Christmas Carol, The Sea Wolves, and A View to a Kill. Macnee has just completed So Long My Prince for director Andrew McLaglen. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife, Baba.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 298 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 535 g (18,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Mercury House, Incorporated, San Francisco, California, 1989 – ISBN 0-916515-58-3

Bob Hope: Portrait of a Superstar (Charles Thompson)

thompson-charles-bob-hope-portrait-of-a-superstarBob Hope on Hollywood: “It is the only industry in the world where people refuse to get out of their swimming pools until conditions improve.” On women: “I never give them a second thought – my first thought covers everything.” On golfing with Gerald Ford: “He draws a big crowd – you know how people gather at the scene of an accident.”

Charles Thompson explores the life behind the wisecracks of the man who came from the London suburbs of Eltham to become the world’s most endearing and enduring superstar.

CHARLES THOMPSON was born in London in 1945. He has worked in public relations and in journalism, and as a radio and television producer with the BBC and Thames Television. He has known Bob Hope for more than ten years and has handled Hope’s media and press affairs in Britain, as well as producing radio and television programmes about him. Charles Thompson is also the author of The Complete Crosby.

Softcover – 250 pp., index – Dimensions 18 x 10,5 cm (7,1 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 158 g (5,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Fontana / Collins, England, 1981 – ISBN 0-00-636431-4

Bob Rafelson: Hollywood Maverick (Jay Boyer)

Boyer, Jan - Bob RafelsonThrough the years Bob Rafelson has resisted the designation of auteur, arguing that the films he makes reflect his desire to go where his interests lead him. Although he does not bring to his work the single, overwhelming presence of an auteur, his films – Head (1968), Five Easy Pieces (1970), The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), Stay Hungry (1976), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Black Widow (1985), Mountains of the Moon (1990), and Man Trouble (1992) – reveal a consistency of concerns and methods. The recognition of identity – the yearning to locate ourselves in time and space – is paramount in a Rafelson film, which invariably imposes the question, “How do we become who we are?” Another consistency in Rafelson films is the means by which the question is resolved: confrontation. “Confrontation is what defines a person,” Rafelson has said. “If you’re not able to do that, then you’re unable to be tender. With confrontation you are constantly discovering who you are. I’d hate to think I knew who I was and was content to be that. There’s always another aspect of yourself to discover. It’s not religious, really. Although I am, I hesitate to say, spiritual. Just say I’m questing.”

In this in-depth analysis of Bob Rafelson’s eight films, Jay Boyer discusses the ideas and technique of this maverick director, whose Five Easy Pieces has long been cited by cultural historians as encapsulating the conflicted, cynical mood of the Vietnam-era generation. Boyer takes a particularly close look at the search for identity that seems to consume most of Rafelson’s characters, from the members of the media-created musical group the Monkees in Rafelson’s first film, Head, to the British explorer Sir Richard Burton in Mountains of the Moon, which Rafelson considers his best film. Boyer offers provocative discussions of The King of Marvin Gardens, which has been hailed for the extraordinary performances Rafelson was able to elicit from his actors, and The Postman Always Rings Twice, the casting and making of which became something of a Hollywood cause célèbre. Boyer also examines the long artistic relationship the director has had with actor Jack Nicholson, who served as the inspiration for several Rafelson characters (most notably Bobby Dupea in Five Easy Pieces), and with various cinematographers, including Laszlo Kovacs.

JAY BOYER teaches courses in American film and literature at Arizona State University.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 143 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 348 g (12,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Twayne Publishers, New York, New York, 1996 – ISBN 0-8057-4612-9

Bogart: A Life in Hollywood (Jeffrey Meyers)

meyers-jeffrey-bogart“When a man’s partner’s killed, he’s supposed to do something about it.” “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine!” “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” The voice is unmistakable. Humphrey Bogart, the most popular American actor of the twentieth century, appealed equally to men and women. Jeffrey Meyers has written the most complete, the most discerning, and the most authoritative life. His powerful research has tracked down all sorts of material previously unknown.

Humphrey Bogart was the scion of a rich and socially prominent New York family. His father was a surgeon who in later years declined into drug addiction; his mother, a successful portrait painter who used her obedient son as a model. Humphrey was a poor student and welcomed the interruption to his education of World War I. He played dozens of roles in Broadway plays in the 1920s, mostly in short runs, until he created Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest, which typecast him in Warner Brothers gangster films for a decade. He broke through to stardom after he teamed up with John Huston in The Maltese Falcon, and took his place in the Hollywood firmament with the legendary acting ensemble of Casablanca. He survived three tempestuous and childless marriages (his third wife, Mayo Methot, whom he nicknamed “Sluggy,” went so far as to stab him), but at the height of his career he found happiness, and children, with the youthful Lauren Bacall.

Jeffrey Meyers, the distinguished literary biographer, enlarges the scope of his  biographical gift by concentrating on an actor. He cuts through Hollywood hype and gossip to get at the human and artistic qualities that made Bogart great. The biographer of Hemingway sees in Bogart many of the characteristics shared by the supreme novelist and treats Bogart as a professional actor, conveying his ways of working, his dedication and concentration on the set, his love of privacy, his caustic wit and plain life as well as his stoical and tragic way of dying.

JEFFREY MEYERS has written lives of Katherine Mansfield, Wyndham Lewis,
Ernest Hemingway, Robert Lowell and his circle, D. H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson, and Robert Frost. He lives in Berkeley, California, and is now writing a life of Gary Cooper.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 369 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 724 g (25,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, 1997 – ISBN 0-395-77399-7

Bogart & Bacall (Joe Hyams)

hyams-joe-bogart-bacall“Later Bogie would say that it was Betty’s height that first impressed him, that and the way she moved with catlike grace. After being married to her for eleven years he would remark that of all the women he knew she had the most class. ‘A lot of broads in this town, but I married a lady with class,’ he would say of her admiringly in that distinctive voice of his that mated with hers so perfectly.

Even today, seeing her from a distance on a city street striding easily, with head thrown back, you would know why she interested him from the day they met, when she was only nineteen and he was forty-four. She was no ordinary girl then, just as today she is an extraordinary woman. Many things would change in the nearly two decades since his death, but even today, when she is fifty, seen close-up and without make-up, her face has not lost its distinctive line, but it is her eyes that rivet you. Feline, clear, gray, unwavering, penetrating, studying and sometimes mocking, making no attempt to hide the fact that they are evaluating, judging and assessing you. And if you are found wanting or ordinary or dull they will shut you off.

But the most formidable thing about her today is her presence. She is never just anyplace, she dominates her surroundings, be they a party or a stage. She had immediate impact in the first film she made with Bogie, but success and maturity have added the element of charisma. After Bogart’s death in 1957 she would go through tortured times trying to find her place in life, seeking a replacement for the irreplaceable man who molded, shaped and made her into the woman she is today. Much of him rubbed off on her: the loyalty to old friends, the belief in morality and goodness, the dedication to being professional.

But not all that rubbed off is pleasant in a woman. The hard-boiled, sardonic attitude that was part of his character and hers, when she was young, is not always charming in an older woman. But it is as much a part of her as it was a part of him because they were, in the final analysis, mirror images of each other.

This book is not about Betty today, however. It is about the Lauren Bacall of thirty years ago, when she first went to Hollywood as an unknown, a teenager, and fell in love with Humphrey Bogart, the most popular film star of his time. Mostly it is about the two people whose romance and marriage captured the imagination of people the world over and has endured beyond his death to become a legend in our time.” – The Prologue.

“If you want anything, just whistle,” Lauren Bacall said that to Humphrey Bogart on the set of To Have and Have Not. The phrase was to echo across America as a love affair was begun on-screen and off. The 44-year-old movie tough guy and the 19-year-old model from New York turned make-believe into reality with a successful marriage that lasted ‘until death did them part.’

JOE HYAMS, who knew both Bogie and Betty intimately, tells their story. He goes ‘behind the glamor of the legends,’ says the San Diego Union, and ‘seems to get inside the two stars.’

Softcover – 245 pp., index – Dimensions 18 x 10,5 cm (7,1 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 165 g (5,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Warner Books, Inc., New York, New York, 1975

Bogart: In Search of My Father (Steven Bogart; foreword by Lauren Bacall)

Bogart, Steven - Bogart, In Search of My FatherBogart in Search of My Father is an intimate biography of the world’s biggest movie star, written by his son.

Humphrey Bogart is one the world’s most enduring stars. When he died in 1957, he left behind a treasure trove of unforgettable movies such as The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The African Queen, a famous widow, Lauren Bacall, a daughter Leslie and a son, Stephen.

Stephen, who was only ten years old, felt overwhelmed by his father’s legend, a father he never had time to know. For many years he tried to ignore the relationship and forge his own identity, until, now a father himself, he decided to confront his past – to explore his memories of the man Humphrey Bogart was and to search for the deeper legacy he left his son.

In doing so, he was helped by friends of his father, like Katharine Hepburn, Peter Ustinov and Sybil Burton, and the children of people who knew him, such as Angelica Huston and Liza Minnelli. He also talked to Hollywood old-timers – agents, camera men, writers. With candour, wisdom and insight, Stephen explores his father’s story and reveals a stratling new portrait of the human side of Humphrey Bogart.

STEPHEN BOGART is a television producer for Court TV. He also writes crime novels, the first of which, Play It Again, is published by Pan. He is married and has three children.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 286 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 603 g (21,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1995 – ISBN 0 283 06255 X

Bogey: The Films of Humphrey Bogart (Clifford McCarty)

mccarty-clifford-the-films-of-humphrey-bogart“He was featured in a long series of crime pictures, prompting one reviewer to write that ‘guns and Bogart go together like July and Jap beetles.’ Occasionally, as in Stand-In and Dark Victory, he was given a chance to act without a gun up his sleeve, but usually he was cast as the heavy, by picture’s end dead or in prison. During his years in gangster parts he fought continually with Jack L. Warner for better roles, not unaware that most of those assigned him were beneath his ability.

‘I’m known as the guy who always squawks about roles, but never refuses to play one,’ he once said. ‘I’ve never forgotten a piece of advice Holbrook Blinn gave me when I was a young squirt and asked him how I could get a reputation as an actor. He said, ‘Just keep working.’ The idea is that if you’re always busy, sometime somebody is going to get the idea that you must be good.’ He even culled a certain amount of enjoyment from his type casting: ‘When the heavy, full of crime and bitterness, grabs his wounds and talks about death and taxes in a husky voice, the audience is his and his alone.’

Bogart’s career reached a turning-point with High Sierra. He was still a gangster, but this time a sympathetic one, and the public demanded to see more of the dynamic man who was a real actor. With his next picture, The Wagons Roll at Night, Bogart received top billing, and thereafter never got anything less. In 1941 he brought private-eye Sam Spade brilliantly to life in the ‘sleeper’ of the year – The Maltese Falcon. Perfectly cast, with John Huston’s taut script and direction, it remains to this day the finest mystery film ever made. One more picture like the Falcon was all Bogart needed.

What he got was Casablanca. Warners’ masterly production, the work of Bogart and the stunning cast, and the incredible timeliness of the picture made it one of the biggest money-makers in the company’s history. With Casablanca, Bogart reached a level of popularity that he maintained for seven years: from 1943 to 1949 he ranked among the top ten money-making stars. In 1945 he married his leading lady in To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall, after a well-publicized courtship. Their second film together, The Big Sleep, was advertised as ‘the picture they were born for.’ Bogart was now at the peak of his popularity and was the highest-paid actor in the world. In 1947 he formed his own company, Santana Pictures, and made four films as his own employee. In 1948 he starred in John Huston’s memorable allegory of greed, riches and disaster, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He received high praise from the critics for his performance as the paranoid prospector, but the public resented his change of character. He returned to the familiar Bogart role in Key Largo, one of his most successful films. It may even be said to be the last of the ‘Bogart pictures’ in the sense that the character he played fell into the mold established by Casablanca.’ – From The Introduction.

Softcover – 201 pp. – Dimensions 27,5 x 21 cm (10,8 x 8,3 inch) – Weight 652 g (23 oz) – PUBLISHER The Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1973 – SBN 8065-0001-8

Bogie: The Authorised Biography of Humphrey Bogart (Joe Hyams; introduction by Lauren Bacall)

hyams-joe-bogie“Bogie used to say rather wistfully that as a kid he always felt a bit cheated that because he was born on Christmas Day he never had a birthday. And now he has one every day.

There is not a good friend or acquaintance of Humphrey Bogart’s whose life was not better for having known him and whose life is now less good because he’s not around. There are few people in one’s life that leave much of a mark – a lasting one. Bogie surely did and, remarkably, Bogie does. No one who knew him, even a little, could forget him – neither could those who never knew him at all. And no one would ever want to. One had to recognize his respect for human dignity – the balloons he pricked were always overblown. He was able to cope with the world he lived in, no matter what it was, because of his purity of thought. He is the only man I have ever known who truly and completely belonged to himself. That was one of his major attractions for other men, I think. In the motion picture business – the goldfish bowl as he called it, in which he lived with all the temptations and attractions of easy, high living; the acceptance of glamor as reality; shading of the truth – he had absolute clarity of purpose. His friends, the most talented and intelligent of them, were in awe of his concepts. ‘How did he do it all and how did he do it without being a bore, without sacrificing his wit, humor, his magic as a man?’ He did it because his convictions about life, work, and people were so strong they were unshakable. Nothing – no one – could make him lower his standards, lessen his character.” – From The Introduction by Lauren Bacall.

Off-screen as tough a guy as on, always larger than life, Bogie was Hollywood’s sweet-water dose of late-night rum, who at the darkest hour would intoxicate an entire culture and by a generation’s dreams earn himself immortality. He married four times: most violently to Mayo Methot, who tried to carve him up with a kitchen knife; most happily to Lauren Bacall, 25 years his junior. This is his story, the real legend of Bogie.

Softcover – 189 pp. – Dimensions 17,5 x 10,5 cm (6,9 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 167 g (5,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Mayflower Books, Ltd., Frogmore, 1966

Boris Karloff: A Bio-Bibliography (Beverley Bare Buehrer)

Buehrer, Beverley Bare - Boris Karloff a bio-bibliographyThis reference work on British-born screen actor Boris Karloff (1887-1969, born William Henry Pratt) presents a comprehensive record of the life and career of this famous performer.

The volume begins with a biography, which succinctly presents the facts of Karloff’s life. A chronology of his significant achievements follows. The remaining chapters overview Karloff’s broad career.

Chapters document and comment upon his film, stage, radio, and television performances. A discography is included as well. The book concludes with an annotated bibliography of books and articles about Boris Karloff, along with a comprehensive index.

Hardcover – 283 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 659 g (23,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1993 – ISBN 0-313-27715-X

Boris Karloff: A Gentleman’s Life (Scott Allen Nollen; with the participation of and foreword by Sara Jane Karloff)

nollen-scott-allen-boris-karloff-a-gentlemans-life“When Scott Allen Nollen first approached me about doing another Karloff book, I must admit that my first reaction was ‘Why another? So many have been done.’ And I knew my father’s reaction would have been ‘What’s the big fuss? Local boy makes good. So what?’

Since his death in 1969, wonderful books about my father have been written. Some cover just his career, while others blend the man and his work. That, of course, is the case with my godmother Cynthia Lindsay’s warm and loving family-authorized Dear Boris.

However, after reading Nollen’s book Boris Karloff: A Gentleman’s Life, I realized just how beautifully he has captured the essence of my father. Nollen’s lifelong study of Boris Karloff, his extensive research, combined with his use of heretofore unseen photographs and untold family anecdotes, has made this book the ultimate Boris Karloff biography. I was particularly delighted to see that my mother, Dorothy Stine Karloff, is given her place alongside my father during the very important years of 1930-46. And what glorious years those were.

Boris Karloff was revered by his fellow actors, who referred to him as ‘the consummate professional,’ ‘the actor’s actor.’ Nollen’s book Boris Karloff: A Gentleman ‘s Life reminds those of us who knew and loved Boris Karloff just how lucky we were to have had him touch our lives. Thank you, Daddy. Thank you, Scott Allen Nollen.” – From The Foreword by Sara Jane Karloff.

Softcover – 355 pp., index – Dimensions 25 x 17,5 cm (9,8 x 6,9 inch) – Weight 627 g (22,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Midnight Marquee Press, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1999 – ISBN 1-887664-23-8

Boris Karloff: The Man Remembered (Gordon B. Shriver)

shriver-gordon-b-boris-karloff-the-man-rememberedSince his death in 1969, Boris Karloff remains one of Hollywood’s most famous figures. He is still revered for his talent, his many qualities that earned him admiration and respect, and, of course, his landmark role as the Monster in the 1931 movie classic Frankenstein.

This biography, the result of many years of interviews and extensive research, examines Karloff the person, as well as the actor. His work (which lasted more than half a century) in films, radio, television, and the theater is covered in detail, highlighted with accounts by many who knew him and worked with him. Among the contributors are Robert Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich, Ray Bradbury, Julie Harris, Tony Randall, Ronald Reagan, Eli Wallach, and Jonathan Winters. With the support of the Karloff family, Gordon Shriver pays tribute to this much-loved performer who will never be forgotten.

A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, GORDON SHRIVER’s interest in Boris Karloff has spanned more than thirty years. At San Francisco State University, he received a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting, and went on to work in radio news. He has written for Cult Movies and Famous Monsters of Filmland. He lives in Norcross, Georgia.

Softcover – 208 pp. – Dimensions 22,5 x 15 cm (8,9 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 298 g (10,5 oz) – PUBLISHER PublishAmerica, Baltimore, Maryland, 2004 – ISBN 1-4137-1049-2

Born to Lose: The Gangster Film in America (Eugene Roscow)

Roscow, Eugene - Born to Lose, the Ganster Film in AmericaA lavishly illustrated, definitive study of American gangster movies, this intriguing history shows how the genre developed out of American culture and reflected it. Film, history, and nostalgia buffs will welcome its recreation of an era – the names, the faces, the headlines, the glamour, the lawless excitement – that have made crime pay, and pay handsomely, at the box office. The author believes that gangster pictures are more than simple, action-packed dramas about violent criminals driven by dreams of success. The recurring characters, stories, themes, motifs, and iconography, he says, are actually a self-image of American capitalist and urban society. Indeed, the rise and development of gangster films parallels that of organized crime in America.

Rosow’s behind-the-camera saga begins in the early 1900s with the amazing nickelodeon. He talks about the early gangland films (The Musketeers of Pig Alley in 1912, The Gangster and the Girl in 1914) and the true emergence of the gangster movie with Underworld in the roaring ’20s. Gangsters became associated with money, sex, booze, gambling, style, and the high living that made cities such sinful and attractive places in the popular imagination. Then came the ’30s and Depression when people flocked to movies of the underworld to watch cocky, confident, assured people forcing the breaks to come their way.

Although much of the book concentrates on the Prohibition Era and the Depression and the classic gangster films that emerged in those periods – Little Caesar, Public Enemy, Scarface, and others – Rosow also deals with organized crime, with its Mafia aspects, big business techniques, and its strong links with government, especially during the Nixon Administration.

Parading through this full-blooded and often bloody history are celebrated names: the legendary stars (Joan Blondell, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, etc.); the powerful banks who invested in and then dominated Hollywood; real-life gangsters (Lansky, Siegal, Capone); movie moguls, some of whom had started out as gangsters themselves. It’s a rousing tale of business espionage, legal muscle, strong-arm thugs, gang raids; of film stolen, pirated, and smuggled with all the ingenuity of today’s drug runners.

An important feature of the book is the “filmography”: brief descriptions, plots, and credits for nearly 80 significant gangster films from Little Caesar to the two Godfather films. The author’s brilliant selection of illustrations (378 in all) add enormously to the authenticity and reference value of this highly entertaining book. EUGENE ROSCOW is a filmmaker-historian and free-lance writer.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 422 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 19 cm (9,5 x 7,5 inch) – Weight 1.015 g (35,8 oz) – PUBLISHER The Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 1978 – ISBN 0-19-502382-X

Brando: A Life in Our Times (Richard Schickel)

schickel-richard-brando-a-life-in-our-timesBrando brooding. It was a sight never before seen in the movies. In films like A Streetcar Named Desire, The Wild One, On The Waterfront he redefined the nature of screen heroism, redefined the standards of screen acting and helped the entire post-war generation to define itself. In the process he became something more than a star; he became a cultural icon, one of those rare figures whose public life permanently invades, and in some measure shapes, our private reveries.

A distinguished critic recalling. Richard Schickel is a member of that generation that came of age as Marlon Brando entered his first claims on the world’s attention. In this book he recreates the excitement, the danger, the controversy of the years when Marlon Brando challenged, and upended, everyone’s ideals of heroic performance and everyone’s ideas of how a movie star’s life should be lived. More than that, the author recreates the era in which Brando came of age: Hollywood in crisis, America addled by anxious prosperity and Cold War conformities, and an alien culture – youth – forming within the larger one.

A life that is more than a ‘life.’ Marlon Brando was the product of an archetypal American adolescence – at once rebellious and dutiful. In his young manhood he knew fame and achievement as everyone dreams of it – vast, sudden, overwhelming. In maturity he alternately despised and embraced his own gifts and the gifts the world insisted on pressing upon him. In age, his life has been touched by tragedy. In tracing this life, as notable for its enigmas and its refusals as it is for its ambiguous triumphs, Richard Schickel has provided the first serious, deeply considered analysis of all of Marlon Brando’s movies, offering fresh and often surprising judgements on his work and the conditions under which it was performed.

Writing in a unique tone – at once intimate and ironic – drawing on his remarkable sense of film and social history, the author places the films firmly within the context of their times. More importantly, he also places the troubled, troubling life of his subject in the context of our lives, showing how Brando has reflected and refracted the hopes of his own theatrical generation, influenced the aspirations of those who have followed him, helped determine the relationship of celebrities to their own fame and, above all, defined his public’s relationship with the movies, with stardom and with the life of the times they have shared with Marlon Brando.

The text is illustrated with 90 quintessential black and white images of Brando.

RICHARD SCHICKEL combines three careers – as a film critic, as an author and as a writer-producer of television specials. He began writing film reviews for Life in 1965, and switched to Time in 1972 where he continues to contribute a weekly review. He has written many books, the majority of which deal with films and filmmaking. They include The Disney Version, the definitive study of the life, times and art of Walt Disney, and The Men Who Made the Movies, interviews with distinguished American movie directors as well as monographs on Cary Grant and James Cagney. His masterly biography of D.W. Griffith received the British Film Institute Book Award. Richard Schickel has also made a number of documentary films about the movies and these include three films about the making of George Lucas’ Star Wars saga as well as portraits of James Cagney and Gary Cooper. His articles, numbering in the hundreds, have appeared in most of America’s leading magazines.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 218 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 583 g (20,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Pavilion Books, Ltd., London, 1991 – ISBN 1-85145-047-5

Brando: A Life in Our Times (Richard Schickel)

schickel-richard-brando-a-life-in-our-timesBrando brooding. It was a sight never before seen in the movies. In films like A Streetcar Named Desire, The Wild One, On The Waterfront he redefined the nature of screen heroism, redefined the standards of screen acting and helped the entire post-war generation to define itself. In the process he became something more than a star; he became a cultural icon, one of those rare figures whose public life permanently invades, and in some measure shapes, our private reveries.

A distinguished critic recalling. Richard Schickel is a member of that generation that came of age as Marlon Brando entered his first claims on the world’s attention. In this book he recreates the excitement, the danger, the controversy of the years when Marlon Brando challenged, and upended, everyone’s ideals of heroic performance and everyone’s ideas of how a movie star’s life should be lived. More than that, the author recreates the era in which Brando came of age: Hollywood in crisis, America addled by anxious prosperity and Cold War conformities, and an alien culture – youth – forming within the larger one.

A life that is more than a ‘life.’ Marlon Brando was the product of an archetypal American adolescence – at once rebellious and dutiful. In his young manhood he knew fame and achievement as everyone dreams of it – vast, sudden, overwhelming. In maturity he alternately despised and embraced his own gifts and the gifts the world insisted on pressing upon him. In age, his life has been touched by tragedy. In tracing this life, as notable for its enigmas and its refusals as it is for its ambiguous triumphs, Richard Schickel has provided the first serious, deeply considered analysis of all of Marlon Brando’s movies, offering fresh and often surprising judgements on his work and the conditions under which it was performed.

Writing in a unique tone – at once intimate and ironic – drawing on his remarkable sense of film and social history, the author places the films firmly within the context of their times. More importantly, he also places the troubled, troubling life of his subject in the context of our lives, showing how Brando has reflected and refracted the hopes of his own theatrical generation, influenced the aspirations of those who have followed him, helped determine the relationship of celebrities to their own fame and, above all, defined his public’s relationship with the movies, with stardom and with the life of the times they have shared with Marlon Brando.

RICHARD SCHICKEL combines three careers – as a film critic, as an author and as a writer-producer of television specials. He began writing film reviews for Life in 1965, and switched to Time in 1972 where he continues to contribute a weekly review. He has written many books, the majority of which deal with films and filmmaking. They include The Disney Version, the definitive study of the life, times and art of Walt Disney, and The Men Who Made the Movies, interviews with distinguished American movie directors as well as monographs on Cary Grant and James Cagney. His masterly biography of D.W. Griffith received the British Film Institute Book Award. Richard Schickel has also made a number of documentary films about the movies and these include three films about the making of George Lucas’ Star Wars saga as well as portraits of James Cagney and Gary Cooper. His articles, numbering in the hundreds, have appeared in most of America’s leading magazines.

Softcover – 221 pp., index – Dimensions 20 x 12 cm (7,9 x 4,7 inch) – Weight 354 g (12,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Pavilion Books, Ltd., London, 1991 – ISBN 1-85793-275-7

Brando for Breakfast (Anna Kashfi, with E.P. Stein)

Brando, Anna Kashfi - Brando for BreakfastMarlon Brando and Anna Kashfi’s life together was doomed. His kinky sexuality, his contempt for his life as an actor, the torment of a mind muddled with immature philosophical speculations, his wild and funny-sad eccentricity were too much for Anna Kashfi and their marriage. But during the years of their long courtship, Marlon Brando poured out his feelings; acted out his neuroses; flaunted his sexual compulsions; talked of the universe, of brothels, of acting technique and actors, of his overreaching ambitions.

In this highly intelligent and gracefully written book you will be able to see how the roles Brando created intertwined with the man he was: the slob of A Streetcar Named Desire; the existential hell-raiser of The Wild One; the sexual oddball of Last Tango in Paris; the idealist manqué of On the Waterfront; the outlaw tyrant of The Godfather.

ANNA KASHFI and E.P. STEIN have written much more than a Hollywood memoir. There is compassion in Brando for Breakfast, and there is anger. Anna Kashfi shows the ability to admire Brando’s greatness even as she rails against his imperfections. She also shows an understanding of her own failures, which drove her, almost fatally, to seek solace in drink, drugs, and madness.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 273 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 626 g (22,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, New York, 1979 – ISBN 0-517-536862

Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me (Marlon Brando, with Robert Lindsey)

brando-marlon-brandoThis is Marlon Brando’s own story, and his reason for telling it is best revealed in his own words: “I have always considered my life a private affair and the business of no one beyond my family and those I love. Except for moral and political issues that aroused in me a desire to speak out, I have done my utmost throughout my life, for the sake of my children and myself, to remain silent… But now, in my seventieth year, I have decided to tell the story of my life as best as I can, so that my children can separate the truth from the myths that others have created about me, as myths are created about everyone swept up in the turbulent and distorting maelstrom of celebrity in our culture.”

To date there have been over a dozen books written about Marlon Brando, and almost half of them have been inaccurate, based on hearsay, sensationalist or prurient in tone. Now, at last, fifty years after his first appearance on stage in New York City, the actor has told his life story, with the help of Robert Lindsey. The result is an extraordinary book, at once funny, moving, absorbing, ribald, angry, self-deprecating and completely frank account of the career, both on-screen and off, of the greatest actor of our time. Anyone who has enjoyed a Brando film, will relish this book.

Co-author ROBERT LINDSEY, Chief West Coast correspondent for The New York Times, is the author of The Falcon and the Snowman, A Gathering of Saints and other books, and also collaborated with Ronald Reagan on his autobiography, An American Life.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 468 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 992 g (35,0 oz) – PUBLISHER Random House, New York, New York, 1994 – ISBN 09679-41013-9

Brass Diva: The Life and Legends of Ethel Merman (Caryl Flinn)

Flinn, Caryl - Brass DivaBroadway star Ethel Merman’s voice was a mesmerizing force and her vitality was legendary, yet the popular perception of La Merm as the irrepressible wonder falls far short of all that she was and all that she meant to Americans over so many decades. This marvelously detailed biography is the first to tell the full story of how the stenographer from Queens, New York, became the queen of the Broadway musical in its golden age. Mining official and unofficial sources, including her personal scrapbooks and, for the first time, interviews with Merman’s son, Caryl Flinn unearths new details of Merman’s life and finds that behind the high-octane personality was a remarkably pragmatic woman who never lost sight of her roots.

Brass Diva takes us from Merman’s working-class beginnings through the extraordinary career that was launched in 1930 when, playing a secondary role in a Gershwin Brothers’ show, she became an overnight sensation singing “I Got Rhythm.” From there, we follow Merman’s hits on Broadway, her uneven successes in Hollywood, and her afterlife as a beloved camp icon. In this definitive work on the phenomenon that was Ethel Merman, Publishers Weekly says, “Flinn masterfully analyzes Merman’s work on stage, screen and TV with a sophisticated eye for detail that will delight theater buffs.”

CARYL FLINN lives and works in Tuscon, where she is Professor of Women’s Studies and Media Arts at the University of Arizona. She is the author of The New German Cinema: Music, History, and the Matter of Style (UC Press) and Stains of Utopia: Gender, Nostalgia, and Hollywood Film Music, as well as co-editor, with James Buhler and David Neumeyer, of Music and Cinema.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 542 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 937 g (33,1 oz) – PUBLISHER University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2007 – ISBN 978-0520-22942-6

Brigitte Bardot (beschreven door Françoise Sagan; gefotografeerd door Ghislain Dussart)

Bardot, BrigitteDeze beelden, door Françoise Sagan op haar eigen scherpzinnige wijze van een boeiend en analytisch commentaar voorzien, weerspiegelen tien jaar van het leven van Brigitte Bardot, als vrouw en als actrice.

Een zeer hechte en broederlijke vriendschap met La Bardot heeft Ghislain Bussart in staat gesteld deze oogst van grappige, ontroerende, verrassende, maar bovenal schitterende foto’s voor u te vergaren. Zij doen de mythe Bardot vervagen om in ruil hiervoor de buitengewone schoonheid te tonen van een vrouw die zichzelf omschrijft als wispelturig maar niet onberekenbaar, arrogant maar o zo verlegen, vrolijk maar een beetje te gevoelig, weemoedig maar met gevoel voor humor.

Brigitte Bardot werd op 28 september 1934 te Parijs geboren. Op achttienjarige leeftijd had zij reeds carrière gemaakt als fotomodel. Het was Marc Allégret die haar in de filmwereld introduceerde (Futures vedettes, 1954) en in contact bracht met zijn assistent, de voormalige Paris-Match-journalist Roger Vadim. Onder regie van Vadim maakte Brigitte Bardot haar eerste grote film (Ét Dieu créa la femme, 1956) die haar ster tot ongekende hoogten deed rijzen. Vele beroemde films volgden, zoals La vérité, Vie privée, Le mépris, Boulevard du Rhum, Viva Maria en Les pétroleuses. De laatste jaren doet Brigitte Bardot het met filmen wat kalmer aan en houdt zij zich hoofdzakelijk bezig met maatschappelijke activiteiten van uiteenlopende aard.

FRANCOISE SAGAN werd op 21 juni 1935 te Carjac als Françoise Quoirez geboren. Ook zij begon haar carrière op achttienjarige leeftijd. Haar romandebuut Bonjour Tristesse was meteen een wereldsucces. Hoofdthema in het boek en ook in de latere romans en toneelstukken is de levenswijze van een nieuwe generatie jonge mensen, wier bestaan zich afspeelt binnen de kleine wereld van de decadente bourgeoisie, waar liefde het voornaamste tijdverdrijf vormt, een wereld die zij op zeer lucide manier beschrijft. Françoise Sagan heeft naast een aantal toneelstukken onder meer op haar naam staan Un certain sourire, Aimez-vous Brahms?, La chamade, Un peu de soleil dans  l’eau froide, Des bleus à l’âne, Un profil perdu en Réponses. Binnenkort zal zij haar debuut als filmregisseuse maken.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 122 pp. – Dimensions 33,5 x 24,5 cm (13,2 x 9,7 inch) – Weight 1.150g (40,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Elsevier, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)   / Brussels (Belgium), 1974 – ISBN 90 10 01538 1

Brigitte Bardot (Sam Lévin)

Lévin, Sam - Brigitte Bardot

Hardcover – 106 pp., index – Dimensions 25 x 22 cm (9,8 x 8,7 inch) – Weight 674 g (23,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Éditions PC, Paris, 2001 – ISBN 2-912683-01-7

Brigitte Bardot: Le mythe éternel (Dominique Choulant)

Choulant, Dominique - Brigitte Bardot le mythe éternel“Je n’arrive pas toujours à imaginer que je suis Bardot. Je me force même à ne pas y penser. Parce que, tu sais, être Bardot, c’est une foutue responsabilité. (…) Parfois, j’ai des moments de révolte et je me dis que je suis Brigitte, une femme comme les autres. Et ce n’est pas vrai. (…) Je ne peux rien faire comme les autres femmes, moi: entrer dans un tabac pour acheter des cigarettes, me promener dans la rue, aller au cinéma… Tout ça, c’est exclu. Alors, tu penses bien que face à un homme, le problème est gratiné. Parce que, si j’arrive parfois à oublier que je suis Bardot, lui il ne l’oublie jamais!”

Icône incontestée du 7e art, idéal féminin, sex-symbol international, mais aussi fervente ambassadrice de la cause animale, Brigitte Bardot n’a jamais fait de compromis. Les actes ont toujours suivi les paroles. Au début de sa carrière au cinéma, elle annonçait déjà qu’elle arrêterait dès qu’elle n’éprouverait plus le plaisir de jouer, et effectivement elle le fit.

Brigitte Bardot, le mythe éternel reprend les événements les plus marquants de la vie de la star, les moments de bonheur intense et de gloire comme ceux d’extrême vulnérabilité et de tristesse, tout en laissant une large place à la voix de BB. En effet, celle-ci déroule, tout au long du récit, sa pensée, ses ressentis, les hommes qu’elle a aimés, les films qui l’ont rendue célèbre, les rencontres avec les plus grands, ainsi que les lieux fameux, Saint-Tropez et La Madrague, qui ont jalonné son parcours exceptionnel.

Mais cet ouvrage est bien plus que cela encore. Bienavant le drame de la mort de Lady Di, il pointe du doight les débuts d’une certaine presse, dite “à scandale”, et le rôle grandissant des paparazzi, représentants des dérives d’une société sand frontieère morale.

DOMINIQUE CHOULANT, né en 1963, résidant à Toulouse, est un cinéphile passionné depuis de son plus jeune âge. Il a déjà publié deux autres biographies: de Martine Carol (en 1997) et de Marilyn Monroe (en 2006), ainsi qu’un roman d’amour, Même si… (en 2004).

Softcover – 295 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 15 cm (9,5 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 456 g (16,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Autres Temps Éditions, Paris, 2009 – ISBN 978-2-84521-373-9

Brigitte Bardot: Plein de Vue (Marie-Dominique Lelièvre)

Leliièvre, Marie-Dominique - Brigitte Bardot plein la vueElle était la plus belle. Elle a éclipsé toutes les autres. Vadim lui a offert la célébrité, Godard un chef-d’œuvre, Gunter Sachs sa fortune, Kate Moss et Beauvoir leur admiration. Son énergie fracassante, sa franchise et ses amours tissent sa légende.

Elle est avant tout une petite fille mal aimée qui ne tenait pas spécialement à faire du cinéma. Une jeune bourgeoise devenue une star à son corps défendant. A mi-parcours, elle a sabordé sa carrière pour se mettre au service des animaux. Il y a un mystère Bardot.

La plus célèbre des Françaises reste une inconnue. S’appuyant sur des témoignages inédits, l’enquête de Marie-Dominique Lelièvre en dresse un portrait neuf.

Softcover – 345 pp. – Dimensions 22 x 14,5 cm (8,7 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 396 g (14 oz) – PUBLISHER Flammarion, Paris, 2012 – ISBN 978-2-0812-4624-9

Brigitte Bardot: Un hommage photographique (Suzanne Lander; préface de Henry-Jean Servat)

Lander, Suzanne - Brigitte Bardot, un hommage photographiqueBelle et rebelle… Brigitte Bardot en trois cents citations et autant de photos.

Belle, insolente, libre, Brigitte Bardot a toujours été insaisissable. Trois cents photos et autant de citations de proches ou d’elle-même témoignent ici du parcours exceptionnel de la femme et de l’actrice. Roger Vadim, Serge Gainsbourg, Michèle Morgan, Paco Rabanne, Pierre Arditi et bien d’autres encore disent toute l’admiration qu’ils portent à celle qu’ils ont bien connue et qui a profondément marqué son temps.

Retour en images et en mots sur une légende du cinéma.

Hardcover – 541 pp., index – Dimensions 13,5 x 18 cm (5,3 x 7,1 cm) – Weight 1.085  g (38,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Éditions Hors Collection, Paris, 2011 – ISBN 978-2-258-08956-3

Brigitte Bardot: Vies privées (entretien avec Henry-Jean Servat)

Bardot, Brigitte - Vies PrivéesBrigitte Bardot a accepté pour la première fois de nous parler à cœur ouvert de sa vie. Un récit intime et très personnel qui dessine un visage méconnu de la star qui se révèle comme une femme blessée, attachante et généreuse. Une femme fidèle à elle-même, bien loin des polémiques médiatiques et des engagements politiques qu’on lui a récemment attribués. Dans ce livre, elle exprime ses fêlures, ses peines et ses combats alors que son image aura été sa pire ennemie.

Brigitte Bardot revient avec nostalgie sur son enfance bourgeoise et préservée, sur ses amours nombreuses, mais toujours sincères (de Vadim à Bernard d’Ormale, en passant par Trintignant, Charrier, Sacha Distel…), ainsi que sur sa carrière au cinéma, qu’elle considère avoir arrêté juste à temps pour sauver sa peau, contrairement à son amie Romy Schneider et à Marilyn Monroe…

HENRY-JEAN SERVAT, l’ami et le confident, a tissé au fil des années des liens privilégiés avec Brigitte Bardot et nos offre cette interview exclusive et intime.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 138 pp. – Dimensions 25,5 x 25,5 cm (10 x 10 inch) – Weight 998 g (35,20 oz) – PUBLISHER Éditions Albin Michel, Paris, 2006 – ISBN 2-226-15205-9

Brigitte Bardot: Vue par Léonard de Raemy (avec la collaboration de François Bagnaud)

de Raemy, Leoanrd - Brigitte BardotBrigitte Bardot, en légendant plus de 110 photos, pour la plupart inédites ou rarement vues, a souhaité rendre hommage à son ami Léonard de Raemy qui, durant plus de 25 années de collaboration, a su la photographier avec talent et respect lors de tournages des films, de présentations de mode et de reportages plus intimes.

Son fils, Marc de Raemy a voulu témoigner de l’admiration qu’l porte à son père, en sélectionnant parmi des milliers de photographes, celles concernant Brigitte Bardot, star internationalle et sex-symbol des années 60. François Bagnaud les a commentées avec passion et admiration.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 139 pp. – Dimensions 29,5 x 29,5 cm (11,6 x 11,6 inch) – Weight 1.230 g (43,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Éditions Didier Carpentier, Paris, 2011

Brigitte Helm: Der Vamp der deutschen Films (Daniel Semler)

scannen0284Sie hieß eigentlich Brigitte Eva Gisela Schittenhelm und wollte Astronomin werden. Aber ihre verwitwete Mutter sieht in ihr schon früh einen Filmstar und schafft es, Thea von Harbou und Fritz Lang für Brigitte zu interessieren. Da ist sie eine knapp siebzehnjährige Internatsschülerin. Sie macht Probeaufnahmen für das Ufa-Großprojekt METROPOLIS, bekommt die weibliche Doppelrolle der Maria, bewältigt die Drehzeit von 17 Monaten offenbar ohne Schaden und wird 1927 aus dem Stand heraus ein deutscher Weltstar.

Sie kriegt von der Ufa einen Zehnjahresvertrag, dreht mit Karl Grune (Am Rande der Welt, 1927), Georg Wilhelm Pabst (Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney, 1927), Henrik Galeen (Alraune, 1928). Ihr Image wird der deutsche Vamp mit der statuenhaften Schönheit. Weil sie mit diesem Klischee unzufrieden ist, prozessiert sie (vergeblich) gegen die Ufa, um andere Rollenangebote zu bekommen. Sie schafft den Übergang zum Tonfilm (Die Singende Stadt, 1930), spielt noch einmal die Alraune (unter Richard Oswald, 1930), dreht in England (The Blue Danube, 1932), verkörpert in Karl Hartls Die Gräfin von Monte Christo (1932) eine Filmkomparsin, die zuerst zur Hochstaplerin und dann zum Star wird. Ihr letzter Film hat den Titel Ein Idealer Gatte (1935). Dann zieht sie sich vom Film zurück und heiratet einen reichen Unternehmer.

So erzählt, ist das die Geschichte einer kurzen, heftigen Karriere mit einem zweifelhaften Happyend. Aber der Brigitte Helm-Mythos gibt mehr her. Er handelt von einer Branche, die sich damals radikal verändert, von einem Land, das in den Abgrund einer rassistischen Diktatur gerät, von Frauenbildern, die zu verkörpern einer Schauspielerin Lust und Frust bereiten kann, von Regisseuren, Produzenten, Kameraleuten, Schauspielpartnern, von denen sie gehasst oder geliebt wird, die ihr aber nicht nahe kommen können.

Das ist eine Menge Stoff für einen Biografen, und Daniel Semler hat sich tief in die Archive vergraben. Weil er dort viele Fundstücke gemacht hat, versteckt er sich über weite Strecken hinter all den wunderbaren Texten und Zitaten, die er entdeckt hat. Insofern ist dieses Buch vor allem eine Dokumentation jener spannenden zehn Jahre zwischen 1925 und 1935, in denen Brigitte Helm Objekt der publizistischen Begierde war und sich viele an ihr abgearbeitet haben: Arnheim, Eisner und Kracauer, aber auch die Filmkritiker und Gesellschaftsreporter, deren Namen heute keiner mehr kennt. Schön und zugleich schrecklich sind die Geschichten ihrer Leidenschaft für schnelle Autos, die mit zwei schweren von ihr verschuldeten Verkehrsunfällen endete.

Es gibt keine Autobiografie von Brigitte Helm, sie hatte keine Fernsehauftritte, ging in keine Talkshow, gab keine Interviews. Sie starb am 11. Juni 1996. Ihr Rückzug aus der Öffentlichkeit besitzt eine Garbo-Dimension. Und wenn man die vielen Szenenfotos, die faksimilierten Zeitschriftenartikel und die Illustriertenporträts dieses Buches betrachtet, wundert man sich, dass es nicht schon früher erschienen ist. Denn es erzählt uns von deutscher Filmgeschichte, deutscher Zeitgeschichte, deutscher Kulturgeschichte und deutscher Frauengeschichte. Aber so ein Buch braucht seine Zeit.

In die Gestaltung und den Druck dieses Bandes hat der Verleger viel Mühe investiert. Am Ende weiß man, dass dies auch ein Fanbuch ist, das nur einer wie Michael Farin zustande bringen kann. Und man verzeiht ihm wieder einmal, dass er so lange gebraucht hat, ein Versprechen einzulösen.

Softcover – 336 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 17 cm (9,5 x 6,7 inch) – Weight 692 g (24,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday, New York, New York, 1999 – ISBN 978-3-93-6298-56-7

Bring On the Empty Horses (David Niven)

niven-david-bring-on-the-empty-horsesHere is Niven at his best. He and Errol Flynn were filming The Charge of the Light Brigade for a director, Michael Curtiz, ‘whose Hungarian-orientated English was a joy to us all.’ High on the rostrum he decided the moment had come to order the arrival on the scene of a hundred riderless chargers. “Okay,” he yelled into a megaphone, “Bring on the empty horses!” ‘

Bring on the Empty Horses is the second part of David Niven’s internationally best-selling autobiography, following the superbly entertaining The Moon’s a Balloon. Both books were highly acclaimed by the critics and remain as wonderful reminders of a much-loved actor who epitomised, for many, the essential British gent, even when surrounded by the stars of Hollywood.

DAVID NIVEN was an English actor and novelist. He wrote four books. The first, Round the Rugged Rocks, was a novel which appeared in 1951 and was forgotten almost at once. In 1971, he published his autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon, which was well-received, selling over five million copies. He followed this with Bring On the Empty Horses in 1975, a collection of highly entertaining reminiscences from Hollywood’s “Golden Age” in the 1940s. It now appears that Niven recounted many incidents from a first person perspective which actually happened to other people, and which he borrowed and embroidered. In 1981, Niven published a second and much more successful novel, Go Slowly, Come Back Quickly, which was set during and after World War II, and drew on his experiences during the war and in Hollywood. He was working on a third novel when his health failed in 1983.

Softcover – 352 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 11 cm (6,9 x 4,3 inch) – Weight 215 g (7,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Hodder and Sougton, Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent, 1975 – ISBN 0 340 20915 1

British Film Actors’ Credits, 1895-1987 (Scott Palmer)

palmer-scott-british-film-actors-credits-1895-1987“In writing this book I have attempted to list virtually every British actor or actress who could be considered to have worked in films, with complete filmographies through December 1987. My primary rule was to include performers who made at least three films; however there are forty or so that I have listed who appear in two films. These exceptions were made because the person either was in an important film or played a key role; I also believe that some of these people appeared in other films I could not trace. I am aware that to list every actor and every film is not possible, nevertheless this is what I have attempted to do.

There are nearly 5,000 performers listed here, along with a quarter of a million film titles. The entire range of films is covered from 1895. The book is divided into two parts: the sound era, which has most of the entries, and the silent era, with about 700 names. Actors listed in this second section made no appearances after 1928. Actors whose careers spanned both talking films (which began in Britain in 1929) and silents are listed in the larger first section.

Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Australian, Canadian, South African, and other British Commonwealth performers are included; British-born actors whose films were made outside the United Kingdom (as in Hollywood) are also, as well as those born in foreign countries who filmed in Britain. Birth and death dates are given when they could be traced. Because there are so many small-part players listed, there are a number whose vital dates could not be found. A brief character description is followed by the list of films, in chronological order. I have tried to give the year the film was completed and also the original title; I beg the reader’s indulgence if any errors have occurred. A great number of television films have been included; they are not specifically indicated, however. In a number of cases, television films have turned up in the cinema when crossing the Atlantic. I have also given the year of each actor’s first stage appearance if I could find it, as the great majority of these people began their careers on the stage. There are also a few special features in this book including a section on those people bestowed titles, a list of those players who have 100 or more films to their credit, and a section on awards (British and American Academy).” – From The Preface.

Hardcover – 917 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 1.395 g (49,2 oz) – PUBLISHER St. James Press, London, 1988 – ISBN 1-558-62166-0

British Film Institute: Film and Television Handbook 1992

british-film-institute-film-and-television-handbook-1992“As we move towards the establishment of the single European market after 1992, the BFI is determined to ensure that Britain’s audiovisual industries are fully informed of all the new opportunities that will be on offer. In order to unravel some of the accompanying complexities, this latest edition of the BFI’s Handbook contains for the first time a comprehensive overview of European film and television, together with a useful reference section listing the relevant organisations active in Europe.

However, despite the imminent single European market, many in this country who seek funding for their work within the moving image culture face increasingly difficult times and the BFI is committed to helping them in every possible way. The Downing Street seminar in June 1990, described in the Handbook’s wide-ranging review of the year, is just one of the high profile initiatives designed to help remedy this situation. On a smaller scale, we hope that the section on funding (another new feature of the Handbook) will clarify some possible routes through this difficult terrain.

Other innovations in this publication include a look back at the year in radio, a
medium which, of course, bears directly on the BFI’s broadcasting interests. We have also addressed the issue of access to the cinema for people with disabilities, in line with our commitment to equal opportunities for all. In addition to these invaluable new features, the 1992 BFI Handbook also contains all the usual comprehensive reference sections which those who use it regularly have come to depend upon over the years and which also accurately reflect the scope of the BFI’s activities and concerns.” – The Foreword by BFI’s Chairman Sir Richard Attenborough.

Softcover – 332 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 17 cm (9,5 x 6,7 inch) – Weight 552 g (19,5 oz) – PUBLISHER British Film Institute, London, 1991 – ISBN 0-85170-317-8

A British Picture: An Autobiography (Ken Russell; foreword by Melvyn Bragg)

Russell, Ken - A British PictureThe autobiography of Britain’s most controversial film director, the maker of Women in Love, The Devils, The Music Lovers, Tommy and The Rainbow, is as unconventional and brilliant as his best films. Moving with astonishing assurance through time and space, Russell recreates his life in a series of interconnected episodes – his thirties childhood in Southampton, his first sexual experience watching Disney’s Pinocchio, his schooldays at the Nautical College, Pangbourne and early careers in the Merchant Marines and the Royal Air Force, dancing days at the Sheperd’s Bush Ballet Club and of course his career as a film-maker beginning with an extraordinary interview with Huw Wheldon, for a job on Monitor. Full of marvellously funny anecdotes and fascinating insights, this is a remarkable autobiography.

‘I owe my autobiography to all who denigrate me or don’t understand me. Maybe they’ll understand me even less. But I think it’ll contain some sort of truth about me that isn’t contained in crude assessments. It’s about somebody who doesn’t, on the face of it, seem too political, too committed, or press his working class background. I can’t be fitted in any of those pigeonholes. My autobiography’s a dismissal of all that crap. It’s a picture if imagery and bizarre happening and fun and contradiction and crazy dialogue. It’s a montage, it’s an event, but it’s not conventional.’ – Ken Russell

Softcover – 310 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 510 g (18 oz) – PUBLISHER Southbank Publishing, London, 1989 – ISBN 978-1-904915-32-4

Broadway Anecdotes (Peter Hay)

hay-peter-broadway-anecdotesIn this marvelously entertaining collection of stories, Peter Hay takes us along that sparkling thoroughfare known as the Great White Way. Called the Street of the Midnight Sun by “Diamond Jim” Brady and immortalized by Walter Winchell and Damon Runyon as the Hardened Artery or Main Stem –  Broadway is the embodiment of the history of live entertainment in America, and Peter Hay has captured it in all its dazzling diversity.

Everything that Broadway is known for is here: the “legitimate” theater, its stars and famous shows, the musicals, producers, hangouts, nightclubs, columnists, agents, vaudeville and burlesque, off-Broadway and the road. From the first time Americans took to the stage in the colonies in the 1660s to the tragic decline of the acting career of Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes), and from the trouble with nude dancing in Oh Calcutta! to the dry wit of Tallulah Bankhead’s comment to Tennessee Williams on the film version of Orpheus Descending (“Darling, they’ve absolutely ruined your perfectly dreadful play”), Broadway Anecdotes throws a unique, theatrical spotlight on American history. We learn how Marilyn Monroe managed to remain anonymous on New York City streets simply by changing her walk, how Mae West whiled away her time in jail on an obscenity conviction, and that even the incomparable Katharine Hepburn suffered setbacks early in her career. (Dorothy Parker wrote of one of her performances: “Miss Hepburn played the gamut from A to B.”)

A delightful collection of verbal snapshots of this vibrant world, Broadway Anecdotes is packed with the legends and lore, the humor and philosophy of a place where understudies still stand by with dreams of overnight stardom, shows still close before they open, and people keep singing in the rain. Anyone who has ever been touched by the magic of Broadway will treasure it.

PETER HAY has taught drama at several universities and is founding artistic director and dramaturge at First Stage, a non-profit theater group in Los Angeles. He is the author of Ordinary Heroes and several anecdote books including Theatrical Anecdotes.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 395 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 772 g (27,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, New York, 1989 – ISBN 0-19-504621-8

Broken Silence: Conversations With 23 Silent Film Stars (Michael G. Ankerich)

ankerich-michael-g-broken-silence“Stirring up and recording memories is what this book is all about. Over a four-year period, I sought out and interviewed twenty-three individuals who worked in silent films. Lina Basquette was the first interview (1987), Dorothy Janis the last (1991). All of the quoted material in each chapter is from these interviews unless there is an indication otherwise. The biographical text I have supplied in addition is partly from these interviews and partly simply factual material from a variety of standard sources.

To understand the silent era better, I approached a group of former film players who enjoyed various levels of success, played a wide range of roles, appeared with some of the era’s leading directors and players, and worked at a variety of studios, on both the East and West coasts. Most importantly, I wanted to talk with those who were enthusiastic about sharing memories of their lives and careers with me. Many of my subjects were at first just names I came across in film encyclopedias or learned about through conversation. Each was an individual with experience before the camera in silent films. Some, like Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Eleanor Boardman, Ethlyne Clair, and Muriel Ostriche, had no real ambition of becoming film stars; others, like Lew Ayres, Dorothy Gulliver, Marion Mack, and George Lewis, had burning motivations and could close their eyes and see their names in lights.

A number of them – Joyce Compton, Frank “Junior” Coghlan, Maxine Elliott Hicks, Baby Marie Osborne, and Lois Moran, for instance – were led into the business by their parents. Several – Gladys Walton, Patsy Ruth Miller and Dorothy Janis, for example – were discovered while visiting Hollywood. Their experiences, their motivations, their circumstances made up a story I wanted to help them tell.

Of the three interview methods I used – in person, phone, and mail – the most effective was the in-person interview where I sat face-to-face in my subject’s home or another meeting place. The conversation flowed better, and the responses were much more spontaneous. The in-person interviews provided the opportunity to record atmosphere, and much was learned from facial expressions and body language.

The mail interviews (where the subject answered questions sent through the mail) allowed careful thought and consideration to the questions under sometimes less strenuous conditions than face-to-face encounters. However, they gave little opportunity to follow up on a question. Additional questions were asked later by phone or during subsequent visits. A filmography – arranged alphabetically by year – follows each chapter.

Why write a book about individuals who worked in films so long ago? That question haunted me in the beginning, but with the passage of time, the answer began to be clear. Writing this book could be viewed as a race against time, a race that was quickly taking the memories away. Even before this manuscript was finished, five of my subjects (Madge Bellamy, Marion Mack, Lois Moran, Muriel Ostriche, and Eddie Quillan) were gone. Considering this book was the first – and in several cases the last – opportunity many of these twenty-three people had to muse in print about their past, think how useful this collection of memories could be in fifty years when a film enthusiast comes across one of these names and wants to know more. The photographs are from my collection except as noted.” – From The Preface.

This is a collection of 23 original interviews with stars of the silent screen, with biographical information and a filmography included for each.

MICHAEL G. ANKERICH is a writer whose work focuses on the silent film era of Hollywood. A former newspaper reporter, he has written extensively for Classic Images, Films of the Golden Age, and Hollywood Studio Magazine, which featured his interview with Butterfly McQueen (Prissy) on the 50th anniversary of the release of Gone With The Wind. He can be reached at his website michaelgankerich.com

[Interviews with Lew Ayres, William Bakewell, Lina Basquette, Madge Bellamy, Eleanor Boardman, Ethlyne Clair, Frank “Junior” Coghlan, Joyce Compton, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Dorothy Gulliver, Maxine Elliott Hicks, Dorothy Janis, George Lewis, Marion Mack, Patsy Ruth Miller, Lois Moran, Baby Marie  Osborne, Muriel Ostriche, Eddie Quillan, Esther Ralston, Dorothy Revier, David Rollins, Gladys Walton]

Hardcover – 319 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 634 g (22,4 oz) – PUBLISHER McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1993 – ISBN 0-89950-835-9

Budd Schulberg: A Bio-Bibliography (Nicholas Beck)

beck-nicholas-budd-schulbergFor more than six decades, Budd Wilson Schulberg has known success in virtually every category of American writing. Raised in the Hollywood of the 1920s as the privileged son of a pioneer studio mogul, Schulberg achieved fame as novelist, short story writer, playwright, Oscar-winning screenwriter, and boxing historian.

Schulberg also became a central figure in the entertainment industry’s political turmoil of the 1940s and 50s, fleeing first from the Communist Party’s attempts to control his writing, then testifying as a co-operating witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and finally emerging as a leader of the nation’s non-Communist Left. Schulberg chronicled these events in the country’s leading newspapers and intellectual journals.

He has also been acquainted with and written about many other American writers and their difficulties in maintaining or recapturing early success: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Nathanael West, William Saroyan, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, John O’Hara, Irwin Shaw and many others. Budd Schulberg: A Bio-Bibliography is the first overview of Schulberg’s career from 1937 to 2000 (his autobiography, Moving Pictures, covers his life only to age seventeen).

NICHOLAS BECK is a retired professor of journalism, which he taught at California State University, Los Angeles. He also worked as a general assignment reporter for United Press International.

Hardcover – 197 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 404 g (14,3 oz) – PUBLISHER The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, 2001 – ISBN 0-8108-4035-9

Bullets over Hollywood: The American Gangster Picture from the Silents to The Sopranos (John McCarty)

scannen0288Back-alley Bogart… Brando the dealmaker… Speakeasies and tommy guns and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre…

Dark, ambiguous, and exciting, the gangster movie has never waned in popularity – and the allure of the gangster as anti-hero remains as powerful as the days of the Prohibition were long. From Scarface to Carlito’s Way, from The Godfather to The Road to Perdition, from Once Upon a Time in America to Chicago, gangland on the screen is as seductive as ever.

In Bullets over Hollywood, film scholar John McCarty traces the history of mob flicks and reveals why the films are so beloved by Americans. As McCarty demonstrates, the themes, characters, landscapes, and stories of the gangster genre have proven resilient enough to be updated, reshaped, and expanded upon to connect even with today’s young audiences. Packed with revelatory behind-the-scenes anecdotes and information about real-life hoods and their cinematic alter egos, illuminating analysis, and a solid historical perspective, Bullets over Hollywood will be the definitive book on the gangster movies for years to come.

JOHN MCCARTY is an adjunct professor of cinema in the Department of Theatre at SUNY, and the author of more than thirty books, including The Fearmakers, The Sleaze Merchants, and The Films of Mel Gibson. He lives in upstate New York.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 323 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 598 g (21,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Da Capo Press, New York, New York, 2004 – ISBN 0-306-81301-7

Burt Lancaster (Robert Windeler)

windeler-robert-burt-lancasterA star since his very first film, The Killers, in 1946, Burt Lancaster at the age of seventy-one and after seventy-one films is still one of Hollywood’s most durable and bankable actors. A self-admitted ‘difficult and exasperating man,’ Lancaster has fought with virtually every director, producer and co-star in his pursuit of an astonishing variety of roles. In the process, he has cared little about the idea of a consistent public image. From his early work in Gunfight at the OK Corral, From Here to Eternity and his Oscar-winning portrayal of Elmer Gantry, to his recent roles in Atlantic City, Local Hero and The Osterman Weekend, Lancaster has consistently cast himself against type.

He has been weak, heroic, romantic, deadbeat, a con man, a courtier, a killer and the killed – whatever seemed right to him at the time. And his leading ladies have ranged from Ava Gardner, Katharine Hepburn and Deborah Kerr, to Claudia Cardinale and Nastassia Kinski.

One director he has worked with, Luchino Visconti (The Leopard), said of Burt that he was ‘very complex, at times autocratic, rude, strong, romantic, understanding, sometimes even stupid, and above all mysterious.’

Here for the first time are all the Burt Lancasters: New York’s East Harlem kid and the cultured art collector, opera buff and cooker of pasta, who has lived in Rome part-time for two decades; the dedicated family man, the staunch, outspoken proponent of liberal political principles; the Depression-era acrobat who swung his way up from three dollars a week to the big-time big-top; and the movie star who started at the top and stayed there.

ROBERT WINDELER is the author of the best-selling Sweetheart: The Story of Mary Pickford and of biographies of Shirley Temple and Julie Andrews, all published by W.H. Allen. His weekly Hollywood column appears in 375 newspapers in North America with a readers hip of 30 million. He lives in California.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 217 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 537 g (18,9 oz) – PUBLISHER W.H. Allen & Co., Ltd., Londen, 1984 – ISBN 0 491 03172 6

Burt Lancaster: An American Life (Kate Buford)

buford-kate-burt-lancaster-an-american-lifeStartlingly handsome, witty, fanatically loyal, charming, scary, and intensely sexual, Burt Lancaster was the quintessential bête du cinéma, one of Hollywood’s great stars. He was, as well, an intensely private man, and he authorized no biographies in his lifetime. Kate Buford is the first writer to win the co-operation of Lancaster’s widow, close friends, and colleagues, and her book is a revelation.

Here is Lancaster the man, from his teenage years, bolting the Depression-era immigrant neighborhood of East Harlem where he grew up for the life of a circus acrobat – then the electric New York theater of the 1930s, then the dying days of vaudeville. We see his production company – Hecht-Hill-Lancaster – become the biggest independent of the 1950s, a bridge between the studio era and modern filmmaking. With the power he derived from it we see him gain a remarkable degree of control, which he used to become the auteur of his own career. His navigation through the anti-Communist witch-hunts made him an example of a star who tweaked the noses of HUAC and survived. His greatest roles – in Sweet Smell of Success, Elmer Gantry, Birdman of Alcatraz, The Swimmer, Atlantic City – kept to the progressive edge that had originated in the tolerant, diverse, reforming principles of his childhood. And in the extraordinary complete roster of his films – From Here to Eternity, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Leopard, 1900, and Field of Dreams, among many others – he proved to be both a master of commercial movies that pleased a worldwide audience and an actor who pushed himself beyond stardom into cinematic art. Kate Buford has written a dynamic biography of a passionate and committed star, the first full-scale study of one of the last great unexamined Hollywood lives.

KATE BUFORD has been a commentator for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition since 1994 and has written for the New York Times and Architectural Digest. She is the author of several articles on the movies for Film Comment, including the first retrospective analysis of Burt Lancaster’s career – the project that launched this biography. She has two children, Lucy and Will, and lives in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 447 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 869 g (30,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Alfred A.Knopf, New York, New York, 2000 – ISBN 0-679-44603-6

Burt Reynolds (Sylvia Safran Resnick)

Resnick, Sylvia Safran - Burt ReynoldsHere, at last, is the authorised biography of one of today’s biggest box office superstars whose boyish charm and daredevil sexiness have won him the adulation of millions. Burt Reynolds turned to a career in acting only after a serious car accident shattered his dreams of professional football fame. Starting as a stuntman, he eventually landed a part in the television series Gunsmoke and has now appeared in over twenty-five films including Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, Starting Over and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

His controversial appearance as a nude centrefold in Cosmopolitan magazine had a strong impact on his career; as did his marriage to Judy Carne of Laugh-In fame, and his affairs with Dinah Shore, Sally Field and Lonnie Anderson. His own views on his work and his relationships are revealed here with amusing candour. What emerges in this lavishly illustrated biography is an intimate, affectionate portrait of an ambitious, hard-working actor and director; a warm-hearted, honest man who has always shown considerable respect for his adoring fans, and who has always been prepared to give them more.

Softcover – 222 pp. – Dimensions 28 x 20,5 cm (11 x 8,1 inch) – Weight 793 g (28 oz) – PUBLISHER W. H. Allen & Co., Ltd., London, 1983 – ISBN 0-86379-000-3

The Busby Berkeley Book (Tony Thomas, Jim Terry, with Busby Berkeley; foreword by Ruby Keeler)

Thomas, Tony - The Busby Berkeley Book“I met Buzz [Busby Berkeley] for the first time when I was brought from New York to Hollywood in 1932 to appear in 42nd Street. Buzz had a reputation as a man who created fantastic musical numbers on Broadway and had already made a few movies. But it was what he did in 42nd Street that made his name. Until then movie musicals had not been particularly impressive. The advent of sound had touched off a deluge of celluloid musicals, but the public quickly tired of seeing photographed singing and dancing. Producer Darryl F. Zanuck had to talk Warner’s into doing 42nd Street; he believed that a lavishly made musical with the best talent and proper presentation would bring the public to the box office in droves. What he needed was a brilliantly imaginative man to create and stage the musical numbers. Busby Berkeley was that man.

It was a fabulous era. Buzz created a wonderful world of his own, full of photographic trickery and hordes of pretty girls performing amazing routines. He was wild and daring and made his own rules, and in doing so he made music. All through the 1930’s he dominated Warners Brothers’ musical world with his fanciful geometric patterns, his bizarre montages of camera angles, his famous overhead shots, his kaleidoscopic effects, his cascades of design – in short, with his highly cinematic imagination.” – From the foreword by Ruby Keeler.

Softcover – 192 pp., index – Dimensions 30 x 22,5 cm (11,8 x 8,9 inch) – Weight 830 g (29,3 oz) – PUBLISHER A & W Visual Library, New York, New York, 1973 – ISBN 0-89104-005-6

Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase (Marion Meade)

Meade, Marion - Buster Keaton Cut to the ChaseJoseph Frank “Buster” Keaton, one of the most distinguished filmmakers in cinematic history, was a brilliant comedian whose films seem untouched by time. A complete artist, Buster Keaton conceived, wrote, directed, acted and even edited most of his ten feature films and nineteen short comedies, which represent some of the finest silent films ever made. With a face of stone that could impart a thousand nuances of hapless despair and a mind that engineered some of the most intricate moments of slapstick comedy ever captured on celluloid, Keaton became an icon of the American cinema.

Marion Meade’s biography goes behind the scenes at the making of Keaton’s masterpice The General, selected by the American Film Institute as one of the five best silent films of all time; details his experiences acting with Charlie Chaplin in the film Limelight; reveals his role in one of Hollywood’s most infamous sex scandals involving Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle.

Meade’s portrait of this brilliant artist also goes beyond the legend to reveal more details about the private Keaton than any previous work: the anguish of child abuse, his lifelong struggle to conceal the lack of his most educational skills, the alcoholism that practically ended his career and life, the women and the marriages.

Buster Keaton is based on four years of research and more than two hundred interviews with people who knew, worked with, and loved him, including Billy Wilder, Leni Riefenstahl, Gene Kelly, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Irene Mayer Selznick, and Bill Cosby, as well as members of Keaton’s family, some of whom had refused to speak to biographers and journalists up until now. The book also has never-before-seen photographs, contributed by Keaton’s estate. No lover of cinema should miss this startling, moving account of a great man and his troubled life.

MARION MEADE is the author of several biographgies, including Dorothy Parker: What Fesh Hell Is This? She studied at Northwestern University and later received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 440 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (9,5 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 839 g (29,6 oz) – PUBLISHER HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York, 1995 – ISBN 0-06-017337-8

Buster Keaton: Der Augen-Blick des Schweigens (Robert Renayoun)

benayoun-robert-buster-keaton“Die Unsterblichkeit Buster Keatons liegt in seinem Blick… Sein tiefdunkles Auge,  bewundernswert starr und noch träumerischer, schwermütiger und unbeweglicher als sein berühmtes Leinwandantlitz, durchdringt uns sagittal aus der Großaufnahme seiner Existenz heraus. Das Gesicht Keatons ist häufig bewegt, Gefühle huschen darüber hinweg, sein Mund ist beweglich, willensstark, von Grübchen umgeben, die bei aller Unterdrückung des Lächelns Andeutungen von Trotz, Ungeduld und selbst manche Nuancen des Vergnügens umschreiben.

Mit seiner Gesichtsstruktur, in der sich Schatten und Licht verfingen, mit tief eingelegten  Flächen und hageren Backenknochen, umhüllt sich Keaton selbst mit jener Düsternis, die van ihm ausgeht, wie dies in ihrer jeweiligen Glanzzeit auch Rudolph Valentino, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Louise Brooks und Jean Shrimpton gelang.

Für die Komik ist Keaton das, was die Garbo für den Liebesfilm war: eine Art Brücke, die in die Unendlichkeit strebt.” – Robert Benayoun

Hardcover, dust jacket – 205 pp. – Dimensions 30,5 x 24 cm (12 x 9,5 inch) – Weight 1.265 g (44,6 oz) – PUBLISHER BAHIA Verlag GmbH, München, Germany, 1983 – ISBN 3-922699-18-9

Buster Keaton: Interviews (edited by Kevin W. Sweeney)

Sweeney, Kevin W - Buster Keaton InterviewsWith his trademark porkpie hat, floppy shoes, and deadpan facial expression, Buster Keaton (1895-1966) is one of the most iconic stars of Hollywood’s silent and early sound eras. His elaborate sets, careful camerawork, and risky pratfalls have been mimicked by film comedians for generations. His short films, including One Week and Cops, and his feature-length comedies, such as Sherlock Jr., Go West, and The General, routinely appear on critics’ lists of the greatest films of all time.

Buster Keaton: Interviews collects interviews from the beginning of his career in the 1920s to the year before his death. The pieces here provide a critical perspective on his acting and cinematic techniques. Although the collection begins in the 1920s, at the height of Keaton’s career, they also give insight on his work in Hollywood and television throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Including pieces by Studs Terkel and Rex Reed, as well as a French interview that has never before appeared in English, the book is a valuable resource on one of cinema’s early geniuses.

KEVIN W. SWEENEY is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tampa.

Softcover – 242 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 15 cm (9 x 6 inch) – Weight 416 g (14,7 oz) – PUBLISHER University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, 2007 – ISBN 978-1-57806-963-7

Buster Keaton Remembered (Eleanor Keaton, with Jeffrey Vance)

keaton-eleanor-vance-jeffrey-buster-keaton-rememberedKnown for his legendary “stone face” and incredible physical gags, Buster Keaton (1895-1966) is one of the greatest artists in film history, a comic genius who conceived, directed and acted in nineteen short films and ten silent features that today remain unsurpassed marvels of comic invention and technical precision.

Yet Keaton saw his role as simply to make people laugh. “No man,” he said, “can be a genius in slap-shoes and a flat hat.” But then, no one could turn out masterpieces such as Our Hospitality (1923), Sherlock, Jr. (1924), The Navigator (1924), The General (1926), and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928).

Buster Keaton Remembered is a unique illustrated survey of Keaton’s life and films, recalled by his wife of twenty-six years, the late Eleanor Keaton, and film historian Jeffrey Vance. Keaton’s career was fascinating and dramatic, spanning the history of twentieth-century American comedy. An intuitive artist who learned his craft in vaudeville, he possessed perfect comic timing and was an inspired inventor of mechanical gags. Locomotives, steamships, prefabricated houses, and other inanimate objects came to life as characters in Keaton’s celluloid world.

Drawing on personal and professional papers, produced and unproduced scripts, studio records, and scrapbooks, as well as Eleanor Keaton’s memories and anecdotes, the book provides a vivid, behind-the-scenes account of Keaton’s movie making – where he found his ideas, how he developed his elaborate stunts, the innovative techniques he and his crew employed. Lively commentaries on each of the films are accompanied by classic stills and never-before-published photographs from the Buster Keaton Collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“Buster Keaton’s comedy endures,” according to Vance, “not just because he had a face that belongs on Mount Rushmore, at once hauntingly immovable and classically American, but because that face was attached to one of the most gifted actors and directors to ever grace the screen.” Today, a new generation is discovering the timeless appeal of Keaton’s hilarious, whirlwind comedy, set against visually stunning backdrops and locations, and masked behind an unflinching, stoic veneer.

ELEANOR KEATON (1918-1998) was born and raised in Hollywood. She worked at virtually every major film studio as a dancer in musicals. In 1938 she met Buster Keaton during a game of bridge; they were married two years later. The couple worked together in theater and on television for the next twenty-five years, until Buster died in 1966. Eleanor Keaton finished working on this book just before her death in October 1998. JEFFREY VANCE is a film archivist and an authority on silent-film comedy. He collaborated on two books on Chaplin: Wife of the Life of the Party with Lita Grey Chaplin and Making Music With Charlie Chaplin with Eric James. Vance has been involved in the restoration of many silent films, including the Buster Keaton films released as The Art of Buster Keaton. He earned an M.A. degree in English literature from Boston University and lives in Los Angeles.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 238 pp., index – Dimensions 31 x 24 cm (12,2 x 9,5 inch) – Weight 1.610 g (56,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York, New York, 2001 – ISBN 0-8109-4227-5

Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat (Edward McPherson)

mcpherson-edward-buster-keaton-tempest-in-a-flat-hatThis fresh biography by an accomplished young writer who spent more than a year and a half repeatedly watching and admiring more than 60 Buster Keaton films traces Keaton’s career from his early days in vaudeville – where, as a rambunctious five-year-old, his father threw him around the stage – to his becoming one of the brightest stars of silent film’s Golden Age.

Taking what he knew from vaudeville – ingenuity, athleticism, audacity, and wit –  Keaton applied his hand to the new medium of film, proving himself a prodigious acrobat and brilliant writer, gagman, director, and actor. Between 1920 and 1929, he rivaled Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, and even Charlie Chaplin as the master of silent comedy by writing, directing, and starring in more than 30 films. This book celebrates Keaton in his prime – as an antic genius, equal parts auteur, innovator, prankster, and dare devil – while also revealing the pressures in his personal and professional life that led to a collapse into drunkenness and despair before his triumphant second act as a television pioneer and Hollywood player in everything from beach movies to Beckett. McPherson describes the life of Keaton – in front of the camera and behind the scenes – with the kind of exuberance and narrative energy displayed by the shrewd, madcap films themselves.

EDWARD McPHERSON is a writer who has contributed to such publications as The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, I.D., and Esopus. He grew up in Texas. He saw his first Buster Keaton film in a class at Williams College, but the obsession didn’t bloom until he moved to New York to work for Talk magazine. Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat is his first book. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 288 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 15,5 cm (9,1 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 549 g (19,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Newmarket Press, New York, New York, 2004 – ISBN 1-55704-665-4

By All Means Keep On Moving (Marilu Henner, with Jim Jerome)

henner-marilu-by-all-means-keep-on-movingFrom her hilarious television debut as Elaine Nardo on the landmark comedy Taxi to her work with Burt Reynolds on the beloved Evening Shade to Malibu, her current talk show, Marilu Henner has become one of America’s favorite – and most outspoken – actresses. Now, Marilu gathers her incredible energy, refreshing wit, and uninhibited style to tell a Hollywood success story as it has never been told before. Whether she’s talking about life on the set or her passionate affairs, recounting hilarity or heartbreak, or chatting about John Travolta, Steve Martin, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, or Richard Gere, the sexy, brash Marilu pulls no punches. With an irrepressible appetite for life and a generous spirit, Marilu brings us her unique tale… and her inspirational prescription for fun and happiness.

As a kid in Chicago, Marilu didn’t want to just be a performer, she yearned for stardom. And her large Catholic Polish-Greek family was just eccentric enough to nurture such crazy dreams – her mother ran a dancing school in the garage and regularly took the nuns bra shopping at Vassarette. From her church singing debut at age three to a part in the original community theater production of Grease, Marilu always knew she preferred cabaret to catechism. But before her first big break, she endured a tragedy that forever changed her life: her father’s death of a heart attack at age fifty-two under shocking circumstances. It began an ebb and flow of sadness and joy in Marilu’s life: not long after the funeral, she was in rehearsals for the national company of Grease, bonding with a kindret spirit who would figure prominently in her life thereafter – the young John Travolta.

Marilu has always indulged her lust for life, whether it meant seizing the moment with Johnny or jetting off to Venice to immortalize a phrase “ring around the collar” in one of the many commercials that paid her early rent. But it was with the career-making role of Elaine Nardo on Taxi that the world first came to love Marilu’s sultry lunacy. So did her co-stars Tony Danza and Judd Hirsch, and Marilu writes candidly about the relationships ignited on the set of Taxi. Along the way, she weathered a tempestuous marriage to actor Frederic Forrest. There would be many more adventures before she found her soulmate.

Still extremely close to all her brothers and sisters, Marilu cherishes her family even more since the early deaths of her parents. Now happily married to director-producer Robert Lieberman, she is the proud and ecstatic mother of baby Nicky (“Pregnancy after forty – what a cliffhanger!”). She has found an internal harmony that has given her a whole new energy. Looking and feeling her all-time best, Marilu lives life with a passion that will strike a chord with every woman – and man – who has ever chased a dream.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 308 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 676 g (23,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Softcover Books / Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 1994 – ISBN 0-671-78446-3

By a Stroke of Luck! An Autobiography (Donald Ogden Stewart)

Stewart, Donald Ogden - By a Stroke of LuckThe active career of Donald Ogden Stewart spans over thirty of the most important years in American cultural history. Boyhood in ‘Middle America’, the cultural flamboyance of Paris in the twenties, the excitement of Hollywood in the thirties, and political activism in the forties – Donald Ogden Stewart calls it all just A Stroke of Luck.

Stewart was born in 1894 in Columbus, Ohio, and attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University. For a few years after his graduation he pursued a business career that was singularly unrewarding, both financially and intellectually. With typical modesty he says that in 1921 he had his first major bit of luck. On the recommendation of F. Scott Fitzgerald he showed a literary parody to Edmund Wilson, then assistant editor of Vanity Fair. Wilson laughed aloud – and the real career of Donald Ogden Stewart was launched.

In his life story he recalls his relationships with the most stimulating people of his time. Account of his friendships with Scott Fitzgeral, Clark Gable, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Edmund Wilson, Charles Chaplin, Robert Benchley and John Dos Passos, among others, provide the reader with a vast array of insights and anecdotes.

The Philadelphia Story and A Woman’s Face are just two of the many movies which film devotees will know and remember well. His political conscience and anti-fascist activities ultimately made him a victim of the notorious witch hunts of the early fifties. He and his wife, Ella Winter, have lived in London since 1952.

This very professional story-teller writes his autobiography with all the wit and verve of his other works. Anyone fascinated with the literary world of the twenties, the Hollywood of the thirties and forties, and the American political shame of the fifties will be enchanted by this warm life story.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 302 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 713 g (25,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Paddington Press, Ltd., New York, New York, 1975 – ISBN 0-8467-0063-8

By Myself (Lauren Bacall)

bacall-lauren-by-myselfNo more intriguing, exciting or lovable figure had ever dazzled Hollywood when Lauren Bacall lifted her eyes towards Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not and said, ‘You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?’ Only one year after the funny, ambitious, stage-struck New York Jewish girl left her life as theater usherette, model, worshipper of Bette Davis and bit-part actress on Broadway, she was being hailed as a glorious combination of all that was best in Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West and Katharine Hepburn. The eighteen-year-old innocent who nervously wondered how a virgin might manage to look sexy, who created ‘the look’ because she couldn’t stop her head from trembling on the first day of shooting except by keeping her chin firmly glued to her chest, had Bogie and the world at her feet.

‘No one has ever written a romance better than we lived it,’ she says of her life with Bogie. It went from furtive, often hilarious rendezvous required to keep the wrath of director Howard Hawks and Bogie’s wife at bay, to their farmhouse wedding which was only officially sealed when Bogie turned to his bride and said, ‘Hello, Baby’; and the birth of their first child, Stephen, whom Bogie almost immediately wanted to put at the helm of his sailboat and take off to Romanoff’s for lunch. It is a love story full of what the author calls ‘every hokey, sentimental, funny, profound feeling there was to have’.

It is little wonder that when Bogie’s long and heart-breaking battle with cancer was finally lost, an unfillable void seemed to open up before the 31-year-old widow. An exciting, if ill-fated and over-publicized affair with the unpredictable Frank Sinatra led merely to emotional disaster. Marriage to Jason Robards was destined never to work – badly timed – too soon – too emotional – impossible. But Lauren Bacall has never been, and will never be, a quitter. It is to the love of an extraordinary mother and family, and to Humphrey Bogart’s uncompromising values which always forced her professional standards higher, that she attributes her determination to rise again in her career. After leaving Hollywood, she was next to conquer the Broadway stage, where she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in Applause.

Close friends like Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Adlai Stevenson and David Niven have given her their unfailing support. And certainly she has given to them – and to countless others all over the world – more humor, sanity, warmth and vitality than can ever be measured. This book is witness to those qualities – as full of love, laughter and honesty as Lauren Bacall herself.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 377 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 813 g (28,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Jonathan Cape, Ltd., London, 1979 – ISBN 0 224 01692 X

By Myself and Then Some (Lauren Bacall)

Autographed copy Lauren Bacall

bacall-lauren-by-myself-and-then-someThe epitome of grace, independence, and wit, Lauren Bacall continues to astound generations with her audacious spirit and on-screen excellence. Together with Humphrey Bogart she produced some of the most electric scenes in movie history, and their romance on and off screen made them Hollywood’s most celebrated couple.

But when Bogart died of cancer in 1957, Bacall and their children had to take everything he had taught them and grow up fast. In a time of postwar communism, Hollywood blacklisting, and revolutionary politics, she mixed with the legends: Ernest Hemingway, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Kennedy, and Gregory Peck. She was engaged to Frank Sinatra and had a turbulent second marriage to Jason Robards. But Bacall never lost sight of the strength that made her a superstar, and she never lost sight of Bogie.

Now, on the silver anniversary of its original publication, Bacall brings her inspiring memoir up to date, chronicling the events of the past twenty-five years, including her recent films and Broadway runs, and her fond memories of many close lifelong friendships. As one of the greatest actresses of all time turns eighty, By Myself and Then Some reveals the legend in her own beautiful frank words – encapsulating a story that even Hollywood would struggle to reproduce.

LAUREN BACALL was spotted by Howard Hawks when she was on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar at eighteen. Her distinctive title – The Look – followed her first film To Have and Have Not with Humphrey Bogart, and together they had one of the greatest love affairs of all time. Bacall went on to make more than fifty films and continues to be a major presence in the industry. She is the recipient of many lifetime achievement awards, two Tony awards, two Golden Globes, and an Oscar nomination. She is the mother of Stephen, Leslie, and Sam, and continues to live in New York City with her beloved papillon, Sophie. “She’s a real Joe. You’ll fall in love with her like everybody else.” – Humphrey Bogart

Hardcover, dust jacket – 506 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 915 g (32,3 oz) – PUBLISHER HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York, 2005 – ISBN 0-06-075535-0