Painting With Elke Sommer (Elke Sommer)

sommer-elke-painting-with-elke-sommer“One could take for granted that Elke Sommer would be beautiful and charming on television. But that she would also be able to communicate her creative ideas and painting method well might not be quite so evident.

If I had that notion, it was quickly dispelled when I met Elke Sommer and had the privilege of working with her during production of the thirteen programs that make up the public television series Painting With Elke Sommer, on which this book is based. Not only did her canvases explode with colorful dancing gypsies, leaping cats, vibrant flowers, and appealing country folk, she literally captivated her audience into wanting to try painting for themselves. How did she do it? I believe the answer lies in her own personal attitude toward painting. Elke paints for the same reason she wants you to paint. ‘Painting makes me happy – and it will make you happy, too, I promise you.’ As she affirms, ‘It’s the one thing that I can do by myself – where it’s all from my own mind, my soul, my imagination.’

As I watched her paint, I realized that it is this joy in painting that she communicates to her audience. And the enthusiasm is indeed contagious. The fun starts with the subject matter itself – warm, loving characters who would be a pleasure to know. Elke’s paintings always tell a story, and as you begin sketching, you’ll see that she also likes to add a touch of whimsy. Where else can you find a polka-dot Easter egg or a pig that looks suspiciously like a dog? During production, I found myself sharing her enjoyment each step of the way – from delight at the sight of pure brilliant color oozing out of a paint tube, to excitement as she smeared a black watercolor wash on each seemingly finished painting and then, like a great detective, triumphantly wiped it away to reveal her unique method of shadowing.

Each half-hour (the shows were produced “live on tape”) seemed to fly by. And like any special visit, I was always left at the end with the feeling of not wanting my friend to leave. The great value of this book is that it allows you, the painter, to take as much time as you want with Elke’s step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions, to have fun with her techniques, enjoy the reproductions – and to end up with your own successful paintings.

‘You’d be surprised at what you can pull out of your head!’ Elke admonishes all of us in one of her television programs. After you’ve accomplished your first ‘Elke’ painting, I think you’ll agree.” – From The Preface by Joan Owens.

Softcover – 96 pp. – Dimensions 28 x 21 cm (11 x 8,3 inch) – Weight 329 g (11,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, New York, 1984 – ISBN 0-8230-3884-X

Pandora’s Box (Lulu) (G.W. Pabst; introduction ‘Pabst and Lulu’ by Louise Brooks)

pabst-g-w-pandoras-box-lulu-screenplayThis volume contains G.W. Pabst’s original shooting script for Pandora’s Box which was loaned to us by Rudolph Joseph of the Munich Film Archive. As a rule a script does not correspond exactly to the final version of the film but in the case of Pandora’s Box there were only minor changes. When checking the translation of the German script with the film, we have followed the original style, forgoing actual camera directions, because in a silent film so much technical descriptive matter would have become tedious. Square brackets and footnotes denote the parts of the script that did not appear in the print of the film available for viewing. There is, however, a strong possibility that these scenes were in the original version of the film. Most of the stills are production stills and therefore do not correspond exactly to the text.

Our thanks are due to Mr. Rudolph Joseph who supplied the script and made his archive collection of stills available to us; to Mr. Harold Nebenzal of Nero Film for permission to publish the script and stills; to Colin Ford of the National Film Archive for loaning a print of the film.

‘Pabst and Lulu’ by Louise Brooks is reproduced by kind permission of Miss Brooks and Sight and Sound, where it first appeared in the summer of 1965. Extracts from ‘Pabst and the Miracle of Louise Brooks’ by Lotte H. Eisner are taken from her book The Haunted Screen Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt, and appear with kind permission of Secker & Warburg.

Softcover – 136 pp. – Dimensions 20,5 x 14 cm (8,1 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 218 g (7,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Lorrimer Publishing, Ltd., London, 1971 – SBN 900855 48 7

Pappy: The Life of John Ford (Dan Ford)

ford-dan-pappy-the-life-of-john-fordIn Pappy, John Ford’s grandson Dan Ford presents the life story of the great director that, despite their blood tie, is the most complete and honest portrait to date. The first (and, so far, the only) person to be granted complete access to the John Ford papers, Dan Ford has created an objective, warts-and-all portrait of his grandfather that shows his human frailties as well as his unsurpassed professionalism.

Born Sean Q’Feeney in 1895, John Ford rose from obscure beginnings as the son of an Irish-born bootlegger-saloonkeeper to become one of the greatest film directors Hollywood has ever known. Starting his career at the height of the silent film era, he went on to make some eighty feature films, many of which are regarded as classics of the cinema art: The Informer (Victor McLaglen’s finest film), The Grapes of Wrath (which established Henry Fonda as a major star), Mary of Scotland (with Katharine Hepburn), Stagecoach (John Wayne’s first major success), Young Mr. Lincoln (Fonda), Drums Along the Mohawk, How Green Was My Valley, They Were Expendable, My Darling Clementine, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache, Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, Mr. Roberts, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cheyenne Autumn, How the West Was Won, and many more.

Hard-driving, hard-drinking, profane, crusty, but above all brilliant, John Ford gave John Wayne his start in films, made him and Henry Fonda major stars, and got countIess actors and actresses (Harry Carey, Victor McLaglen, Will Rogers, Maureen O’Hara, Ward Bond, among many others) to give better than they knew they had, doing it through psychological manipulation or, more often than not, downright abuse. Yet almost everyone who worked with Ford came to love him, and his military escapades, drinking bouts, feuds, and romances are the stuff of Hollywood legend.

Pappy: The Life of John Ford is likely to be the Ford biography for some time to come, bringing to life a remarkable man, and painting a vivid, panoramic picture of Hollywood – and America – from the silent era to the recent past.

DAN FORD, grandson of John Ford, is stage manager of The Tonight Show and an independent producer whose credits include The American Westerns of John Ford. He lives and works in Hollywood.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 324 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 678 g (23,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1979 – ISBN 0-13-648493-X

The Parade’s Gone By… (Kevin Brownlow)

brownlow-kevin-the-prades-gone-byKevin Brownlow’s book about the silent cinema is already something of a legend, the one book that is more than mere nostalgia, more even than an act of homage to the richest era in cinema’s history. The Parade’s Gone By… is the enthralling tale of how the early film studios were formed, told through the personal stories of the survivors of a truly fabulous age – actors, directors, producers, cameramen, stuntmen, designers, musicians and scriptwriters.

Contents: The Primitive Years; Early Days at Vitagraph; The Experimenters; Early Hollywood; From Birth of a Nation to Intolerance; Directors; D.W. Griffith; Allan Dwan; Henry King; Mary Pickford; Clarence Brown; The Lost Work of Edward Sloman; William A. Wellman; Cecil B. DeMille; Josef von Sternberg; The Cameraman; Charles Rosher; Art Direction; Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood; The Golden Path, or, The Curse of Melodrama; Scenario; Editing, The Hidden Power; Two Unique Processes, Tintling and Titling; Margaret Booth; William Hornbeck; Stunt Men of Silent Pictures; You Can’t Make a Picture Without ‘Em; It Was a Tough Life; The Silents Were Never Silent; Acting; The Stars; Geraldine Farrar; Gloria Swanson; Betty Blythe; The Heroic Fiasco Ben-Hur; Producers; Louis B. Mayer and Irving G. Thalberg; David O. Selznick; We’re Not Laughing Like We Used To; Reginald Denny; Harold Lloyd; Buster Keaton; Charlie Chaplin; The Silent Film in Europe; Abel Gance; The Talking Picture.

Softcover – 594 pp., index – Dimensions 25 x 17,5 cm (9,8 x 6,9 inch) – Weight 1.205 g (42,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Columbus Books, Ltd., London, 1968 – ISBN 0-86287-876-4

The Paramount Pretties (James Robert Parish)

scannen0429In the heyday of Hollywood, every major studio had its own personality – a personality defined by its films and its stars.

Thus Paramount Pictures was thought to be the haven of sophistication, style and subtlety, its actresses the epitome of wit, intelligence and beauty.

In this magnificently illustrated salute to Paramount, movie historian James Robert Parish has selected 16 of the most striking and renowned of Paramount’s actresses to illustrate the studio’s personality.

The result is the Paramount Pretties, at once a fascinating display of 50 years of filmmaking – ranging from Male and Female (1919) to Sweet Charity (1968) – and an eye-opening mirror of the changing tastes of the American filmgoer… and filmmaker.

Here are the queens of the Paramount lot, each ruling in turn as the American scene shifts from Prohibition, Depression, New Deal and World War II to the Cold War, Korea and the Sixties – each actress reflecting the dreams and the character of the era… as seen by Paramount. Over 350 photographs salt-and-pepper the complete filmographies and up-to-date biographies of these 16 ladies of the silver screen: Gloria Swanson, grand sophisticate with a flair for comedy; Clara Bow, the Jazz Baby; Claudette Colbert, tongue-in-cheek vivacity; Carole Lombard, striking good looks and high spirits; Marlene Dietrich, Das Ewig-weibliche… the eternal feminine; Miriam Hopkins, cheeky chic; Sylvia Sidney, polished and dynamic; Mae West, the first liberated woman; Dorothy Lamour, manicured exotism; Paulette Goddard, saucy sparkle; Veronica Lake, provocative lynx; Diana Lynn, the girl next door; Betty Hutton, Rosie the Riveter – on the town; Joan Caulfied, charming refinement; Lizabeth Scott, vibrant toughness; Shirley MacLaine, piquant individualist.

Bonus: An appendix summarizing the contributions of Paramount’s moviemaking geniuses, including Cecil B. DeMille, Buddy De Sylva, Jesse L. Lasky, Ernst Lubitsch, B.P. Schulberg, Hal Wallis and Adolph Zukor.

JAMES ROBERT PARISH is a New York freelance film publicist. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is a member of the New York Bar. Mr. Parish is the author of The Fox Girls and The Slapstick Queens and is co-author of The Cinema of Edward G. Robinson. He is also a frequent contributor to cinema journals.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 585 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 17 cm (9,5 x 6,7 inch) – Weight 1.070 g (37,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Castle Books, 1972 ISBN 0-87000-180-9

The Paramount Story: The Complete History of the Studio and Its 2,805 Films (John Douglas Eames)

Eames, John Douglas - The Paramount Story‘If it’s a Paramount picture, it’s the best show in town.’ That became the most famous advertising slogan in the film world, and a statement which proved true remarkably often, considering the abundance of Paramount’s output of nearly 3,000 features. Always at or near the very top among the major film companies, this one had a fascinating history peopled by unusually colorful personalities, both before and behind the cameras. They and their films are now observed through the fact-finding, myth-piercing eye of John Douglas Eames, who originated this series of Hollywood studio histories with The MGM Story. His lifelong admiration and contagious enthusiasm for his new subject do not deter him from calling, when necessary, a flop a flop; or from pointing a finger of fun at movie-makers’ more bizarre extravaganzas.

The endless parade of Paramount hits, ranging from the first full-length film made in Hollywood – The Squaw Man in 1913 – and the first Academy Award winner – Wings in 1928 – to the blockbusters of the eighties, and the blazing galaxy of Paramount stars, from Mary Pickford to Meryl Streep, Rudolph Valentino to Eddie Murphy, are fully documented in this indispensable book. Its lavish illustrations, in themselves a collection of collector’s items, are an irresistible added attraction.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 368 pp., index – Dimensions 32,5 x 24 cm (12,8 x 9,5 inch) – Weight 2.140 g (75,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, New York, 1985 – ISBN 0-517-55348-1

Past Imperfect (Joan Collins)

collins-joan-past-imperfectJoan Collins was called the ‘Coffee-bar Jezebel,’ the ‘pounting panther and ‘Britain’s answer to Ava Gardner.’ Her film career has taken her to glamorous locations all over the world and right to the heart of the Hollywood scene.

Now the screen idol who has thrilled millions of cinema goers confesses, “I’ve never been able to figure out what love means.” She tells how her beauty and sense of humor took her through countless adventures – romantic, hilarious and disastrous – with some of the world’s most desirable men.

Nicky Hilton, Sydney Chaplin, Warren Beatty, Ryan O’Neal, Terence Stamp – they are all here, in the most entertaining show biz memoirs of them all.

Softcover – 301 pp. – Dimensions 18 x 11 cm (7,1 x 4,3 inch) – Weight 192 g (6,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Coronet Books, London, 1979 – ISBN 0 340 23828 3

Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life (Stephen Michael Shearer)

Shearer, Stephen Michael - Patricia Neal An Unquiet LifeThe internationally acclaimed actress Patricia Neal has been a star on stage, film, and television for nearly sixty years. On Broadway she appeared in such lauded productions as Lillian Hellman’s Another Part of the Forest, for which she won the very first Tony Award, and The Miracle Worker. In Hollywood she starred opposite the likes of Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, and Tyrone Power in some thirty films. Neal anchored such classic pictures as The Day the Earth Stood Still, A Face in the Crowd, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Alma Brown in Hud, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1963.

But there has been much, much more to Neal’s life. She was born Patsy Louise Neal on January 20, 1926, in Packard, Kentucky, though she spent most of her childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. Neal quickly gained attention for her acting abilities in high school, community, and college performances. Her early stage successes were overshadowed by the unexpected death of her father in 1944. Soon after she left New York for Hollywood in 1947, Neal became romantically involved with Gary Cooper, her married co-star in The Fountainhead, an attachment which brought them both a great deal of notoriety in the press and a great deal of heartache in their personal lives.

In 1953, Neal married famed children’s author Roald Dahl, a match that would bring her five children and thirty years of dramatic ups and downs. In 1961, their son, Theo, was seriously injured in an automobile accident and required multiple neurosurgeries and years of rehabilitation; the following year their daughter, Olivia, died of measles. At the pinnacle of her screen career, Patricia Neal suffered a series of strokes which left her in a coma for twenty-one days. Variety even ran a headline erroneously stating that she had died. At the time, Neal was pregnant with her and Dahl’s fifth child, Lucy, who was born healthy a few months later. After a difficult recovery, Neal returned to film acting, earning a second Academy Award nomination for The Subject Was Roses. She appeared in a number of television movie roles in the 1970s and 1980s and won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Dramatic TV Movie in 1971 for her role in The Homecoming.

Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life is the first critical biography detailing the actress’s impressive film career and remarkable personal life. Author Stephen Michael Shearer has conducted numerous interviews with Neal, her professional colleagues, and her intimate friends and was given access to the actress’s personal papers. The result is an honest and comprehensive portrait of an accomplished woman who has lived her life with determination and bravado.

STEPHEN MICHAEL SHEARER has worked as a professional actor and has written for The Film Collectors Registry.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 441 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (9,5 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 914 g (32,2 oz) – PUBLISHER The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 2006 – ISBN 978-0-8131-2391-2

Paulette: The Adventurous Life of Paulette Goddard (Joe Morella, Edward Z. Epstein)

Morella, Joe - Paulette the Adventurous Life of Paulette GoddardPaulette Goddard is a living legend. At her peak of popularity she was considered one of the sexiest, most glamorous, and most personable movie stars of Hollywood’s silver screen. She was known for her marriages to three remarkable men: Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and author Erich Maria Remarque. But few know what an exciting and adventurous life she truly led.

From her humble beginnings, Paulette was determined to earn stardom. It was not long before she reached her goal, starring in films with such actors as Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, and James Stewart. For many months she was the top candidate of studio executives to play the part of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, a role that was eventually bestowed on Vivien Leigh. Paulette was also a sophisticated patron of the arts, with such distinguished friends as John Steinbeck and Aldous Huxley. Through her wit, charm, and intelligence, she always attracted genius.

Paulette’s many admirers included Clark Gable and the tragic musical great George Gershwin. Most favored her with gifts and magnificent jewelry. Before long she had accumulated a fortune in precious gems, because, as she put it, “I never give anything back.” The star also collected great works of art, and often posed for the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Always in the public eye, her controversial lifestyle prompted the F.B.I. to investigate her, even as she dined at Hyde Park with President Franklin D. Roosevelt!

In this revealing and insightful resource, Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein detail the life and the loves of this fascinating woman. They recount her Oscar nomination for So Proudly We Hail, and her participation in the first transcontinental flight, piloted by none other than Howard Hughes. Here is also the answer to the mystery of the Chaplin-Goddard relationship (were they married or weren’t they?); the complete account of her feud with famed movie director Cecil B. DeMille; and the scandalous under-the-table incident at Ciro’s.

The story of Paulette Goddard’s life is more captivating and provocative than fiction. Oscar Levant accurately described her as “the most attractive and desirable woman in the world.” The rare combination of brains, beauty, glamour, and success made Paulette Goddard a one-in-a-billion star.

JOE MORELLA and EDWARD Z. EPSTEIN have co-authored a number of successful books, including Jane Wyman: A Biography, Rita: The Life of Rita Hayworth, and Lana: The Public and Private Lives of Miss Turner.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 240 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (9,5 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 549 g (19,4 oz) – PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York, 1985 – ISBN 0-312-59829-7

Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark (Brian Kellow)

kellow-brian-pauline-kael-a-life-in-the-darkIn her nearly quarter-century tenure (1968-1991) reviewing films at The New Yorker, Pauline Kael became the most widely read, the most influential, the most powerful, and, often enough, the most provocative critic in America. Her success was, in part, a matter of timing, for she was fortunate to have come of age during a great, fertile period of filmmaking. But it was her passionate engagement with the work of a new generation of artists – and her ability to share her enthusiasm with a fresh, vernacular, and confrontational style – that changed the face of film criticism.

On the tenth anniversary of her death comes the first full-scale biography of the critic, Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark. Brian Kellow has interviewed family members, friends, colleagues, and adversaries and written a richly detailed portrait of this remarkable, often relentlessly driven woman, from her youth in rural California to her early struggles to establish her writing career to her peak years at The New Yorker, where she often found herself at odds with its legendary editor, William Shawn, who considered her brashness an almost perverse affront. It was there that Kael became the arbiter of taste for a devoted readership of movie lovers and a career maker – or breaker – for directors, actors, and critics working in one of the most astonishing bursts of creativity in film history.

Kellow examines the controversy Kael generated by overstepping what many considered the boundaries of critical propriety. He follows her successes as well as her battles, her fights with fellow critics, and her abortive attempt to launch a career as a Hollywood producer in 1979. The book includes a large supporting cast of filmmakers with whom Kael interacted including Jean Renoir, Robert Altman, Warren Beatty, Paul Schrader, and James Toback.

For anyone who loves film or is concerned about the role of criticism in the arts, Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark is a revelatory biography of one of the most influential women of the past half century.

BRIAN KELLOW the author of Ethel Merman: A Life and The Bennetts: An Acting Family, and co-author of Can’t Help Singing: The Life of Eileen Farrell. He is the features editor of Opera News and is a popular host at many New York City musical events. He has written for Travel & Leisure, Opera, and several other magazines.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 417 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 689 g (24,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Viking, New York, New York, 2011 – ISBN 978-0-670-02312-7

Paul Muni: His Life and His Films (Michael B. Druxman)

Druxman, Michael B - Paul Muni His Life and His FilmsAlthough his entire motion picture career consisted of only twenty-three films, Paul Muni must be ranked as one of the finest actors in the history of Hollywood. Certainly he was the most rescpected actor of his day.

Few people can forget a Muni performance. Scarface, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Bordertown, Black Fury, The Story of Louis Pasteur, The Good Earth, The Life of Emile Zola, Juarez, and The Last Angry Man are all cinema classics that remain vivid in the memories of most viewers.

A product of the Yiddish Art Theatre, Muni was a very private man, and even his friends were not really close to him. Directors often found him difficult, in that he insisted on developing his own characterizations without their help. Once he was satisfied with what he had come up with, nobody could get him to alter any aspect of his performance. On one picture, he objected to the way the director had planned an entrance for him. Filming was halted and the set was rebuilt to accomodate Muni’s conception of the scene.

Michael B. Druxman’s Paul Muni: His Life and His Films offers much more than the standard books on film personalities. Mr. Druxman has sought out people who knew and worked with the actor in a successful effort to learn what the man behind the makeup was all about. Aside from spending several hours with Muni’s only living brother, Mr. Druxman held interviews with such show business notables as Anne Baxter, George Raft, Cornel Wilde, Karl Malden, Luther Adler, Billy Dee Williams, director Mervyn LeRoy, and producer Henry Blanke, as well as the man who brought Muni into the English-speaking theater, producer Albert Lewis. Each of them supplies a link that helps the reader understand a most complex personality.

For the reader interested in hard facts, this volume gives a complete listing of cast, cedits, critics’ reviews, and production notes of all of Muni’s films. In addition, his work in the theater and on television is covered in detail. Special attention is given to the actor’s unique approach to his craft.

This book contains over 150 photographs from Muni’s various motion picture and stage appearances – plus rare personal photos of Muni in private life.

Paul Muni: His Life and His Films, a carefully researched and fascinating study, provides fresh insight into the screen’s greatest character actor.

MICHAEL B. DRUXMAN was born in Seattle, Washington, and graduated from the University of Washington with a major in sociology. His avid interest in motion pictures and the theater stems from early childhood. As he grew older, he became active in Seattle’s community theater movement, and eventually formed his own group, Actors’ Theatre. Moving to Los Angeles in 1963, Mr. Druxman produced and directed a film, Genisis. He is married and father of a son, David. He resides in Agoura, California.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 229 pp. – Dimensions 26 x 17 cm (10,2 x 6,7 inch) – Weight 635 g (22,4 oz) – PUBLISHER A. S. Barnes & Co., Inc., New York, New York, 1974 – ISBN 0-498-01413-4

Paul Verhoeven (Rob van Scheers)

van-scheers-rob-paul-verhoevenPaul Verhoeven is one of the most controversial directors in contemporary cinema. Born in the Netherlands on the eve of World War II, Paul Verhoeven’s childhood was marked by the trauma of his country’s occupation by the Nazis. After studying mathematics, he yielded to his true calling – the cinema. Since then his artistic output has cut through contemporary culture like a razor blade, producing such films as The Fourth Man, Robocop, Basic Instinct and Starship Troopers – works dealing with the struggle for survival in a hostile world, the drive for sex, man’s inclination for evil, the quest for redemption and man’s inability to find true happiness.

Those shedding light on Verhoeven’s life and work include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Douglas, Peter Weller, and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas.

ROB VAN SCHEERS works as a journalist for Elsevier, the news magazine of the Elsevier / Reed Group, and for several leading Dutch newspapers.

Softcover – 300 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15 cm (9,3 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 433 g (15,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Faber and Faber, Ltd., London, 1997 – ISBN 0-571-17479-5

Peekaboo: The Story of Veronica Lake (Jeff Lenburg)

Lenberg, Jeff - PeekabooVeronica Lake, heartthrob of millions during Hollywood’s heyday as the girl with the peekaboo hairdo – dead of alcoholism, a destitute waitress, at fifty-one. Here is the complete story of her life and times.

When she was spotted by an MGM talent scout at age fifteen, her parents packed up the Chrysler Airflow and headed for Hollywood. The next four years saw her become Life‘s top Female Box Office Attraction of 1942, hailed as a gifted comedienne in Sullivan’s Travels, and paired with Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire as Hollywood’s newest romantic team. (At 5’1″, she was one of the few leading ladies shorter than he.)

Lake was less than willing to trade stardom for domesticity, and separating career and family was to pose a problem all her life. When her public and private exploits began to tarnish her already temperamental studio image – Paramount wanted a glamor girl, not a troubled housewife – her contract was cancelled. It was the beginning of a downward spiral of alcoholism and mental illness from which four marriages, three children, and a powerful mother were unable to save her. But Lake never abandoned her conviction to lead life as she saw fit: with great courage and a certain grace.

Fully authorized by Lake’s mother, who was interviewed at length along with thirty other friends and associates, Peekaboo also also features many personal photographs culled from family collections. Interviewed about her biography, Lake told a reporter, “If I had written everything I now about this town, there’d be a rash of divorces and at least a hundred people would die of apoplexy.” Peekaboo tells the rest of the story.

The author of three books on cartoons and one about The Three Stooges, JEFF LENBURG has also written biographies of Steve Martin, Dustin Hoffman, and Dudley Moore. He lives in Orange, California.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 253 pp. – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 451 g (15,9 oz) – PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York, 1971 – ISBN 0-312-59995-1

Penny Marshall: An Unauthorized Biography of the Director and Comedienne (Lawrence Crown)

Crown, Lawrence - Penny MarshallHow did Penny Marshall, the actress with the nasal bray, become Penny Marshall, the force behind the camera? As the director of such commercial hits as Big and Awakenings, she is definitely in a league of her own. Penny Marshall: An Unauthorized Biography, which contains a complete filmography of her work as an actress, producer, and director, is the first book to take an in-depth look at this talent whose personal life is as intriguing as her diverse career.

Whether you believe it was her genius or nepotism that brought Penny to the Hollywood forefront, you cannot deny her incredible contributions to and impact on the industry. While working on Laverne & Shirley she was one of the highest-paid stars on television – male or female. As a feature-film director she was the first woman to direct $ 100 million-grossing films – Big and A League of Their Own. She’s had yet another career as a spokesperson (for Kmart) and has involved herself in social and political activities while maintaining a very visible social life with some of Hollywood’s biggest high rollers. She has broken down barriers, defied critics, and become wildly successful in the process.

Author LAWRENCE CROWN, an industry veteran and Hollywood insider, reveals the real person behind the persona. He thoughtfully explores Penny’s early days in the Bronx, including her battles with her mother; the role her older brother, prolific television and film director Garry Marshall, played in her career; her days in television – the Laverne & Shirley phenomenon; the challenges of being a female director in a male-dominated Hollywood; the pressures of her marriage to and eventual divorce from director/actor Rob Reiner; her working relationship with such actors as Madonna, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and Cindy Williams; the importance of her circle of friends, which includes talk-show maven Rosie O’Donnell and screenwriter / actress Carrie Fisher; and what to expect from Penny in the future.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 255 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 529 g (18,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, California, 1999 – ISBN 1-58063-074-X

People Profiles: Meg Ryan (Danelle Morton)

morton-danelle-meg-ryan“Usually,” says one of Meg Ryan’s high school classmates, “when a beautiful smart person arrives you want to hate her.” But Ryan “had a charisma thing. Everyone wanted to be her friend.” In the latest of People’s new series of monthly biographies, People Profiles: Meg Ryan, meet the Connecticut homecoming queen whose home life was no fairy tale, but who found stardom and a hard-won happiness.

Learn about why her mother left the family when Meg was just a teenager; her brave battle to help future husband Dennis Quaid kick drugs; why she didn’t invite her own parents to her Valentine’s Day wedding; how she juggles motherhood and her amazing movie career.

DANELLE MORTON was associate chief of People’s Los Angeles bureau and has collaborated on two books: Managing Martians by Donna Shirley, and Codes of Love by Mark Bryan. She lives in Los Angeles.

Softcover – 132 pp. – Dimensions 18,5 x 13 cm (7,3 x 5,1 inch) – Weight 165 g (5,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Time, Inc.

People Will Talk (John Kobal)

Kobal, John - People Will Talk hcThese 41 interviews are like no other ever published. They are the work of a leading film archivist whose many books on the subject have received the highest praise from critics, film historians, and film insiders and whose passion since childhood for the movies has led him to the people who direct them, design them, edit them, and – most of all – star in them.

John Kobal’s abiding interest in everything about the making of a movie marks his interviews with directors, designers, choreographers, photographers, and others, among them: Lewis Milestone, George Hurrell, Jean Louis, Howard Hawks, Vincent Sherman, and Hermes Pan.

His instinctive understanding of the art of the movies inspired him to interview the greats of the silents before they were “rediscovered”: Gloria Swanson, Dorothy Gish, Evelyn Brent, Dagmar Godowksy, Arletty, and Louise Brooks among them.

His fascination with the enduring power of the true star moved him to interview Joan Crawford, Ann Sheridan, Mae West, and Tallulah Bankhead, at a time when they had fallen from glory and were, for the first time, willing to talk openly about their great days.

His knowledge of their careers and special qualities impressed people who had previously refused to be interviewed by anyone: Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, and, most recently, Joel McCrea and Kim Stanley.

Kobal’s ability to energize and draw out everyone he interviews is, above all, what makes this book a particular fascination to read – men and women speaking openly about their work, their feelings, their memories, their lives. Among them:

Joan Crawford on her own acting method:

I have been hurt, desperately, but you use that hurt and hold it inside… and make it work for you, for scenes. You don’t have time to cry out then. You just have to push it all back in and bottle it up. And then let it go when you need it. But it takes its toll on your tummy. Believe me. It churns and churns, and you think: I just can’t hold it in another minute. But you just let it go easily, in scenes. It also teaches you a great deal about discipline.

Joel McCrea on the early, early days of movie making:

I saw Rudolph Valentino for the first time when he was making Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Rex Ingram was directing him and Alice Terry [Mrs. Ingram], and I rode my bicycle out to see them… I was only a kid, maybe twelve. And later, when I was fourteen, I bought a horse… first one I ever owned… bought it from George Beldam, the guy who became Rex Bell and married Clara Bow. We had gone to high school together… And from then on, I would ride to these locations on horseback… And I used to watch… looking, listening… never really believing that I could do it, but always thinking that if I was at the right place at the right time, it could happen. But if it didn’t, life would go on, I’d still fall in love, I’d still ride a horse, I’d still see the blue sky.

Katharine Hepburn on the hazards of movie making:

On the screen, when anybody’s acting, they’re looking out towards the camera, presumably out towards the great somewhere, and people have no hesitation, when they come on a set, standing there in front, so that the actor, instead of looking inward into his or her own imagination, is confronted with this cold eye. I remember on The Philadelphia Story when James Stewart was doing the scene… “You’ve got hearth-fires banked down in you, Tracy, hearth-fires and holocausts.” And George Cukor said to him, “Now Jimmy, just do that scene in a romantic way. But don’t do it as if you were about to run away to the circus.”… And just before he did it, Noël Coward stepped onto the set and Jimmy nearly died… Noel in one second could see what was going on, and immediately stepped up to Jimmy and told him how devastating he was. And George said, “Roll ’em,” and took advantage of a moment of flattery and Jimmy got a wonderful take.

Barbara Stanwyck on almost starring in The Fountainhead:

I had read the book by Ayn Rand when it first came out; and I talked to Miss Rand about it, how she wrote it, really, for Garbo. That was her ideal, and that was the actress she wanted. And who can blame her? But Miss Garbo was unavailable, and I said I would just love to do it… Well, Warner Brothers bought it… they assigned King Vidor.

Now, originally it was supposed to be Humphrey Bogart and myself… But when they assigned King Vidor to do it, naturally his idea of casting was completely different. So it wound up with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal… Mr. Vidor just didn’t think that I was sexy enough to play the part. And he certainly is entitled to his opinion.

Kim Stanley on manners in the movies:

The only movie role I ever wanted really badly was the girl in From Here to Eternity… Fred Zinnemann had his hands tied by Harry Cohn on that one. It was before Zinnemann was Zinnemann. Montgomery Clift and I worked on a scene, even… I went with Mr. Zinnemann and he introduced me to Mr. Cohn. And staring right at me, not looking at Mr. Zinnemann, he said, “Why are you bringing me this girlie? She’s not even pretty.” Looking straight into my eyes. I wasn’t ready for that! I mean, I knew I wasn’t pretty, but I wasn’t ready for that kind of artillery at that close range!

These few brief excerpts provide only the merest inkling of a book that is rich, knowing, unfettered – alive with the personalities and idiosyncrasies of its many voices. An enthralling and unique oral history of Hollywood in its prime.

[Interviews with Gloria Swanson, Colleen Moore, Dorothy Gish, Olga Baclanova, Dagmar Godowsky, Louise Brooks, Evelyn Brent, Camilla Horn, Anna Sten, Lewis Milestone, Mae West, Anita Loos, Joan Blondell, Melba Marshall, Lois Lindsay, Madison Lacy, Eleanor Powell, Arletty, George Hurrell, Joan Crawford, Joel McCrea, Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, Bob Coburn, Miriam Hopkins, Laszlo Willinger, Loretta Young, Ann Sheridan, Joan Fontaine, Jean Louis, Ingrid Bergman, Howard Hawks, Barbara Stanwyck, John Engstead, Ida Lupino, Vincent Sherman, June Duprez, Jack Cole, Henry Hathaway, Hermes Pan, Arthur Freed, Tallulah Bankhead, Kim Stanley]

Hardcover, dust jacket – 728 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 1.280 g (45,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1985 – ISBN 0-394-53660-6

People Will Talk: Personal Conversations With the Legends of Hollywood (John Kobal)

kobal-john-people-will-talkLeading film historian John Kobal talks at length to twenty-two of Hollywood’s pioneering spirits – actors, directors, photographers, writers and others who became part of the Hollywood legend during the 20s, 30s and 40s.

He approached the greats of the silent era, such as Gloria Swanson and Louise Brooks, before they had been ‘rediscovered’; he persuaded stars of the talkies, such as Joan Crawford and Mae West, to talk openly about their golden years. His unrivalled knowledge of the industry won the confidence of other greats such as Ingrid Bergman, Joel McCrea and Howard Hawks whose careers spanned more than fifty years of filmmaking. Social snobbery, sex appeal, the power of the gossip columnist, tyrannical directors, small-town obscurity and big-screen stardom – People Will Talk ranges across all these and more.

JOHN KOBAL’s special talent for drawing out everyone he interviews, makes this book a compulsive read.

[Interviews with Gloria Swanson, Colleen Moore, Dorothy Gish, Olga Baclanova, Dagmar Godowsky, Louise Brooks, Evelyn Brent, Camilla Horn, Anna Sten, Lewis Milestone, Mae West, Anita Loos, Joan Blondell, Melba Marshall, Lois Lindsay, Madison Lacy, Eleanor Powell, Arletty, George Hurrell, Joan Crawford, Joel McCrea, Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, Bob Coburn, Miriam Hopkins, Laszlo Willinger, Loretta Young, Ann Sheridan, Joan Fontaine, Jean Louis, Ingrid Bergman, Howard Hawks, Barbara Stanwyck, John Engstead, Ida Lupino, Vincent Sherman, June Duprez, Jack Cole, Henry Hathaway, Hermes Pan, Arthur Freed, Tallulah Bankhead, Kim Stanley]

Softcover – 398 pp. – Dimensions 21,5 x 13,5 cm (8,5 x 5,3 inch) – Weight 426 g (15 oz) – PUBLISHER Aurum Press, Ltd., London, 1986 – ISBN 1-85410-172-2

The Peter Lawford Story: Life With the Kennedys, Monroe and the Rat Pack (Patricia Seaton Lawford, with Ted Schwarz)

lawford-patricia-seaton-the-peter-lawford-storyPeter Lawford led an extraordinary life. His story, as told by the woman who knew him best, is the always candid, sometimes shocking unveiling of many of the most intriguing show business personalities and significant political events of our time.

Peter Lawford was born into controversy. His mother became pregnant by her lover. When her husband discovered the betrayal, he committed suicide in her presence. Peter’s young years as the child of an aristocratic British family were ones of privilege and prerogative, including being seduced by his nanny. These early experiences would foreshadow an adult life in which he would be linked with the alleged murder of Marilyn Monroe and sexual scandal in the Kennedy White House.

Being in the right spot at the perfect time, plus natural good looks, would bring him a career in the movies. His life before Hollywood ricocheted from happiness to trauma, pleasure to pain. By the time of his arrival at MGM, he already had a reputation as a beach bum and sexual athlete. But throughout his time in the film capital, he would be involved with moguls like Louis B. Mayer, starlets like Nancy Davis (now Mrs. Ronald Reagan), stars like Lana Turner and legends like Elizabeth Taylor. He became even more famous as “John F. Kennedy’s brother-in-law” and as “a founding member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack.” For much of his life, he seemed to be charmed. Not only had he grabbed the brass ring, but the ring turned out to be made of gold.

Then came tragedy. His marriage to Pat Kennedy fell apart. His closest friend was assassinated in Dallas. He and Sinatra had a nasty falling out. And he had to live with the knowledge that he could have saved Marilyn Monroe’s life. What followed was self-doubt, an increasing dependence on drugs and alcohol, three more marriages and, finally, great financial debt and deep emotional pain.

Before he died in 1984, Peter Lawford began to gather his diaries and letters. He planned to write his autobiography and was making extensive notes, recording incidents, anecdotes and conversations. He also talked at great length about what he knew and remembered with his last wife, Patricia Seaton Lawford. That material, coupled with extensive interviews, has been the primary source for this book.

The years since Peter Lawford’s death have been filled with rumor and gossip about the last days of Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy / Sinatra tie to the Mob. Peter Lawford was a central witness to these and other mysteries. He wrote down and told his wife what actually happened and what was said. His story will surprise some and infuriate others, but it may be as close to the truth as we are ever likely to get.

PATRICIA SEATON LAWFORD was Peter Lawford’s last wife and lived with him for eleven years until his death in 1984. TED SCHWARZ is the author of over sixty books. He is best known for his best-seller The Hillside Strangler and DeLorean, which he co-authored with John DeLorean.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 271 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 601 g (21,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., New York, New York, 1988 – ISBN 0-88184-434-9

Peter O’Toole (Michael Freedland)

freedland-michael-peter-o-toolePeople have said that Peter O’Toole is probably the greatest actor since Olivier; the crown prince of the theater who renounced his claim to the throne after playing Lawrence of Arabia; a brilliant Shakespearian actor whose Hamlet was the greatest of the century but who is now haunted by the ghost of Macbeth.

Best-selling biographer Michael Freedland traces the story of the toolmaker’s son from Connemara, County Galway, whose father taught him how to escape from a racecourse with the loot when the wrong horse ran past the post. The young O’Toole was a newspaper copy boy and National Service sailor before his burning ambition to act won him a scholarship to RADA and led to a brilliant career with triumphs such as Becket and Lawrence of Arabia.

And yet, O’Toole’s name seems to tie more frequently associated with tales of drunken brawls and roustabout behaviour. Here is the man whom Katharine Hepburn playfully punched and who returned the compliment by filling her car with empty beer cans and spirit bottles. One director said of O’Toole that he needed to surround himself constantly with psychopaths.

This fascinating biography gets right to the heart of the man with the steely blue eyes. It describes the pain when his actress wife Sian Phillips divorced him; the women in his life – none of whom has ever captured his wild spirit; and the loyal and loving son who brought his dying mother by ambulance to see the first performance of Macbeth – the production which caused the biggest fight over a Shakespeare play since the days of the bard himself.

Peter O’Toole is unique. In this first-ever biography a true picture emerges of one of today’s greatest actors.

MICHAEL FREEDLAND has written many biographies of international entertainment personalities including such well-known names as Al Jolson, Irving Berlin, James Cagney, Fred Astaire, Sophie Tucker, Errol Flynn and Gregory Peck. As a journalist he writes regularly for a variety of newspapers and magazines both in England and abroad. He is married and lives in Elstree, Hertfordshire.

Softcover – 237 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15 cm (9,3 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 437 g (15,4 oz) – PUBLISHER W.H. Allen & Co., Ltd., London, 1984 – ISBN 0-86379-016-X

Photoplay Film Annual 1975 (edited by Ken Ferguson)

Photoplay Film Annual 1975Contents: Clint Eastwood, man of action. The music men of the movies. Richard Burton and Sophia Loren in The Voyage. It’s make-up time. The Island at the Top of the World. A guy named Robert Redford. Al Pacino: The runaway to fame. How the stars play the fame game. Love on the movie sets. Screen ’74. Who’s the director quiz. Bruce Lee and the chop, kick and kill merchants. Sexy six. Moore, Bond and Roger. Barbra Streisand. Movie quiz. Lucille Ball in Mame. Julie Andrews. Working with Animals. The Little Prince. Big screen sctors – Small screen stars. Edith Head: Confessions of a top costume designer.

Edited by KEN FERGUSON and the staff of Photoplay Film Monthly.

Hardcover – 77 pp. – Dimensions 28 x 19,5 cm (11 x 7,7 inch) – Weight 396 g (14,0 oz) – PUBLISHER Argus Press, Ltd., London, 1976 – SBN 90144 604 1

Photoplay Film Annual 1977 (edited by Ken Ferguson)

Photoplay Film Year Book 1977Contents: Robert Shaw: man of action. Science-fiction movies: Is this what the future holds? Robert Redford’s retreat. The big star Westerns roll again. What do you know about Oscar? Tatum O’Neal: how does she rate with the best of the superkid stars? Telly Salavas loves ya baby! Movies through the decades: the twenties, the thirties, the forties, the fifties, teh sixties, the seventies. Reflected images. The movie file of James Caan. Liza Minnelli and a movie dream come true. Shout at the Devil. A Hitchcock movie quiz. Pop into movies. Charles Bronson: From coal dust to gold dust. Marathon Man. The comeback of King Kong. The movie faces of terror. Al Pacino. Superstar birthdays.

Edited by KEN FERGUSON and the staff of Photoplay Film Monthly.

Hardcover – 71 pp. – Dimensions 28 x 19,5 cm (11 x 7,7 inch) – Weight 409 g (14,4 oz) – PUBLISHER The Illustrated Publications Co., Ltd., London, 1978 – SNB 90144 614 9

Photoplay Film Annual 1979 (edited by Ken Ferguson)

Photoplay Film Year Book 1979Contents: Tatum O’Neal grows up on a horse. How much can your nerves stand? Englishmen – Irishmen and Scotsmen – out west… Changing images. The Charles Bronson movies. The fun and boredom of locations. John Travolta, star of the year. How well do you know the movie music men? Going going gone: A look at the special effects experts. Screen robots. Wild West Jane Fonda. The screen magic of Richard Williams. It was Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, now it’s Peter Falk and Louise Fletcher in The Cheap Detective. Movies ’78: Scenes from some of the productions and releases of 1978. Old movies never die! The stars at home. Marlon Brando and the superstars of Superman. Monster Maker. Irwin Allen: King of the disaster epics. Mickey Mouse’s 50th anniversary. Savid Soul: Soul searching.

Edited by KEN FERGUSON and the staff of Photoplay Film Monthly.

Hardcover – 69 pp. – Dimensions 28 x 19,5 cm (11 x 7,7 inch) – Weight 402 g (14,2 oz) – PUBLISHER The Illustrated Publications Co., Ltd., London, 1980 – SBN 90144 6231 1

Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood (Eileen Whitfield)

whitfield-eileen-pickfordMary Pickford enchanted moviegoers in the silent film era with her comic portrayals of fiery guttersnipes and her poignant appearances as sad-eyed waifs, in the process becoming the first great movie star. But as a founder of United Artists – and as a major film executive – she proved to be far more than just “America’s sweetheart.”

In Pickford, Eileen Whitfield re-creates Pickford’s life in vivid detail from her poverty-stricken childhood in turn-of-the-century Toronto to her work with D.W. Griffith and her unprecedented fame in silent features; from her reign as mistress of Pickfair, the Beverly Hills estate where she and her swashbuckling husband, Douglas Fairbanks, entertained in the 1920s, to her painful demise in 1979. Providing both on incisive portrait of silent-era Hollywood and an empathetic depiction of the era’s premier actress, Whitfield casts a new light on one of the most important – but least understood – artists in the history of American film.

Softcover – 441 pp., index – Dimensions 21 x 14 cm (8,3 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 494 g (17,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Faber and Faber, Inc., New York, New York, 1997 – ISBN 0-571-1998-0-1

A Pictorial History of Crime Films (Ian Cameron)

Cameron, Ian - A Pictorial History of Crime FilmsIn this survey of crime films, the author explains their particular significance and relates them to the public consciousness of crimes at the time they were made. He draws parallels between the real-life racketeers of the Prohibition and the gangsters played in the films. He discusses such things as the role of the cop and the private eye; the innocent caught up in the web of the Syndicate; the tough detective and the sophisticated Thin Man; Hitchcock’s technique of suspense; the increasing use of overt violence.

The sinister faces and styles, both past and present are here: Edward G. Robinson’s nasal sneer, Humphrey Bogart’s sibilant menace, Richard Widmark’s snicker, James Cagney’s punchy cockiness, Robert Mitchum’s droopy-eyed brooding – all in a  setting of molls, limousines, razors, machine guns, shadowy bosses upstairs and unfortunate men who knew too much. Approximately 350 photographs capture the essence of one of the cinema’s most evocative genres.

IAN CAMERON has achieved a world-wide reputation as a film critic. He is the editor of Movie Magazine and has written numerous books and articles on the cinema. His many publications include a book on Antonioni (with Robert Wood) and The Heavies and Broads with his wife.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 221 pp., index – Dimensions 30,5 x 22,5 cm (12 x 8,9 inch) – Weight 1.045 g (36,9 oz) – PUBLISHER The Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., London, 1975 – ISBN 0 600 37022 4

A Pictorial History of Horror Movies (Denis Gifford)

Gifford, Dennis - A Pictorial History of Horror MoviesRead all about it – cats, bats, phantoms, apemen and green rubber monsters, all from the lost world and dark houses of the Golden Age of Horrorwood! Watch the Mummy rise bandaged from its tomb, see Frankenstein’s creation reach out to grasp the sun, listen to the howl of the werewolves when the iron tongue of midnight has struck twelve!

From Méliès’ magic to the hauntings of Hammer, Denis Gifford will take you, ‘Raven’-loving reader, racing along in his ghost-ridden rattle-trap, a hair-raising journey down the highway of horror. No stones are left unturned and the long lost rise up to snarl and smirk beneath the dusty beam of the projector. The cinema’s sorcerers stand before you, splendidly summoned by an artful pen: Lugosi, curiously cadenced, blood on his lips; Max Schreck, shadowy, dissolving at dawn; the silken-voiced and unseen Rains; Veidt, lady-snatching on the rooftops; Price, waxing strong in his museum; Laughton, bowed beneath his hump; beasts, brutes and mutants; zombies, devil bats and masked beings; claymen and vampires; dinosaurs from a distant era, things from outer space and horrors from the deep – all clamour for attention. Jekyll becomes Hyde, Kong becomes King, Lon Chaney becomes everybody and Karloff remains stupendously himself, bestriding the age in his eighteen-pound boots.

It is a book to be read, studied, treasured, looked at and, above all, enjoyed, and if you have to put it down, be careful not to step on it – it may be Lon Chaney!

DENIS GIFFORD, by day a benign, bespectacled Dr. Jekyll who draws comics for kiddies, is by night a Mr. Hyde of the horror movie, creeping into his crypt of sinister souvenirs to carefully catalogue the monsters from the mummies, the warlocks from the werewolves, the amazing colossal men from the incredible shrinking men, in his crack-brained crusade to create order and see history in the seventy-seven-year saga of cinematic nightmare. Since bitten by the horror bug in a flea-pit visit to The Invisible Man at the impressionable age of six, Denis Gifford has lovingly hoarded the ephemera of the horror film – cuttings and handouts, scraps and stills, pressbooks and posters – from which trove of terror he has woven this history. Does the horror film have an adverse effect upon the human psyche? Denis Gifford leaves this portentous question unanswered, except through this book itself. But answer may be found lurking in the author’s artistic works: Our Ernie’s encounter with the Ghost Riders in the Sky (Knockout Comic 1949); Steadfast McStaunch and his magical meeting with Wicked Witch Hazel (Knockout 1950); Jimmy Joy the TV Boy’s battle with Boris Snarloff and Count Spatula (Chips 1953); Marvelman’s defeat of the Hunchback of Notta Darn (Marvelman 1955); Frankenstein’s frequent ‘guest star’ appearances in Telestrip (Evening News 1956); and Pigbin McPaunch’s miraculous metamorphosis into The Orrible Oink (Marvel 1972). So far, Denis Gifford’s nostalgic radio series, ‘Sounds Familiar,’ has shown little traces of horror in its hundred-odd shows, but viewers of its visual version, ‘Looks Familiar,’ were haunted by the shade of Tod Slaughter.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 216 pp., index – Dimensions 30,5 x 22,5 cm (12 x 8,9 inch) – Weight 1.020 g (36,0 oz) – PUBLISHER The Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., London, 1973 – ISBN 0 600 36926 9

A Pictorial History of Sex in the Movies (Jeremy Pascall, Clyde Jeavons)

Jeavons, Clyde - A Pictorial History of Sex in the MoviesMovies have come a long way since the sturdy Fatima gyrated before the cameras in 1896. Censorship has had larger crises too. But mostly it’s been the same old story – studios pushing new permutations on the sex = good box-office equation, religious lobbies manning the barricades of public decency, and – every now and then – the giant gear-shift in popular consciousness that makes possible adult treatments of adult themes. The whole crazy circus is here – the sex symbols, the censorial inanities, the public double-think. The history of sex in the movies will certainly make you laugh – it may also make you angry. Read it and see! 322 illustrations, 16 of which are in full color.

JEREMY PASCALL, journalist, editor, broadcaster and author, has specialized in chronicling the popular arts. He has edited exhaustive histories of rock music and the movies as well as contributing to magazines around the world. He lives noisily with a wife, two cats and the memory of a goldfish called Thunder, and lists his hobby as revealing unusual facts about bizarre mammals at cocktail parties. CLYDE JEAVONS, the straight man, worked briefly in the theater and spent six years in journalism before joining Britain’s National Film Archive as head of its Film and TV Acquisitions Department. He is a critic and broadcaster, contributing regularly to the Monthly Film Bulletin and spasmodically to Sight and Sound, Films Illustrated and various other publications. This is his third book: he was co-author, with Michael Parkinson, of A Pictorial History of Westerns, and A Pictorial History of War Films came out in 1974. He lives in London, and has a daughter, Madeleine Louise, and a cat called Homer.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 217 pp., index – Dimensions 30,5 x 22,5 cm (12 x 8,9 inch) – Weight 1.020 g (36,0 oz) – PUBLISHER The Hamlyn Group Publishing, Ltd., London, 1975 – ISBN 0 600 37058 5

A Pictorial History of the Western Film (William K. Everson)

Everson, William K - A Pictorial History of the Western Film“As these introductionary notes are written, the Western is well over seventy years old. During that considerable span it has undergone continual changes of emphasis to appeal to a juvenile audience in one era, an adult one in another. It has had to adjust to technological changes within the film and reshape itself to fight of the inflation of rising production costs. It has seen itself apparantly bite the dust on the theater screen only to be reincarnated on television.” – From The Introduction.

Contents: An introduction to seventy years of Westerns – The beginnings, and Bronco Billy – Pioneers of an art: D.W. Griffith and Thomas H. Ince – William S. Hart – John Ford: A half century of horse operas – The pre-1920s and Tom Mix – The first epics – Stars of the twenties – The coming of sound – The “B” boom – The thirties – The forties: A peak of popularity – The fifties: and racial changes – The sixties: Westerns, Westerns everywhere but… – Index.

Softcover – 246 pp., index – Dimensions 27,5 x 21,5 cm (10,8 x 8,5 inch) – Weight 839 g (29,6 oz) – PUBLISHER The Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1969 – ISBN 0-80650257-6

A Pictorial History of War Films (Clyde Jeavons)

Jeavons, Clive - A Pictorial History of War FilmsWar has been a favorite theme of filmmakers from the earliest days of commercial cinema, and in this splendidly illustrated history Clyde Jeavons provides a masterly guide to seventy-five years of war film production. Avoiding the pitfalls of political moralizing and jingoism, he writes simply and concisely about hundreds of war movies made by the film industries of many nations, including the USA, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan. He is concerned in the main with commercial films about twentieth-century war – a large enough source of material, for war has been a constant and violent part of our century’s history – but he also looks at films inspired by the Russian Revolutions, at important documentaries and television series, and at such historical films as The Red Badge of Courage and Henry V, which have important comments to make about war.

Most of these films have distinct themes: patriotic, morale-boosting, heroic, or – for the majority of the really great war films – anti-war. Together, they sum up the cinema’s image of war: the heroism of individual men and women contrasted with the futile waste of war, the glory of battles won set against grim battlefields of mud, dirt, barbed wire and death.

CLYDE JEAVONS is the first writer to undertake a really comprehensive history of the war film. His book is a vivid summary of the important milestones in the development of a genre as exciting and popular with film-goers as the Western or crime movie. It will find a place on the bookshelves of the serious film buff and of the average cinema-goer. Clyde Jeavons, born in Surrey, England, in 1939, worked briefly in the theater and spent six years in journalism before joining Britain’s National Film Archive as head of its Film and TV Acquisitions Department. He is a critic and occasional broadcaster, contributing regularly to the Monthly Film Bulletin and spasmodically to Sight and Sound, Films Illustrated, and various other publications. This is his second book (he was co-author, with Michael Parkinson, of A Pictorial History of Westerns) and a third is planned. He lives in London, and has a daughter Madeleine Louise.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 253 pp., index – Dimensions 30,5 x 22,5 cm (12 x 8,9 inch) – Weight 1.315 g (46,4 oz) – PUBLISHER The Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., London, 1974 – ISBN 0 600 37013 5

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood (Mark Harris)

Harris, Mark - Pictures at a RevolutionAn epic account of how the revolution hit Hollywood, told through the stories of five films nominated for the 1967 Academy Awards.

The year is 1963. The studios are churning out westerns, war movies, prudish sex comedies, and overblown historical epics, but audiences whose interests have been piqued by an influx of innovative films from abroad are hungering for something more, something new. At Esquire, two young writers hatch a plan to create a movie treatment that they hope will attract the director François Truffaut: the story of the gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Mike Nichols, an improvisatory comedian turned theater director, gets his hands on an obscure first novel called The Graduate and wonders if he’s ready to make the jump to Hollywood. Warren Beatty, only twenty-six years old and struggling through a series of flops after the success of Splendor in the Grass, decides to take his career into his own hands, but can’t seem to settle on his next move. Dustin Hoffman, sleeping on friends’ floors and scrounging for temp work in New York, struggles just to get an off-Broadway audition. Sidney Poitier, after two dozen movies, still yearns for something that seems completely unattainable: a good role. And 20th Century-Fox, on the brink of financial catastrophe, puts all its hopes in a genre – the family musical – that will revitalize the company, and then nearly destroy it again.

Pictures at a Revolution tracks five movies – the milestones Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate, the popular hits Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, and the big-budget disaster Doctor Dolittle – on their five-year journey to Oscar night in the spring of 1968. It follows their fortunes through the last days of the studio system and the first sparks of a cultural upheaval that would launch maverick new stars and directors, topple more than one industry titan from his pedestal, and redefine what American movies could be. In 1967, moviegoers witnessed the arrival of taboo-shattering sex and violence on screen, the debuts of Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway, the return of Katharine Hepburn and the poignant farewell of Spencer Tracy, the audacious risks taken by Warren Beatty, Arthur Penn, Mike Nichols, and Norman Jewison, and Hollywood’s agonized attempt to grapple with an incendiary moment in American race relations, with results that would change Sidney Poitier’s career forever.

By tracing the gambles, the stumbles, the clashes, and the creative partnerships that produced these five films, Mark Harris captures both the twilight of old Hollywood and the dawn of a new golden age in studio filmmaking. Based on unprecedented access to the actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, and executives whose movies defined the era, as well as a wealth of previously unexplored archival material. Pictures at a Revolution is an utterly original, revealing, and entertaining history of a true cultural watershed.

For fifteen years, MARK HARRRIS worked as a writer and editor covering movies, television, and books for Entertainment Weekly, where he now writes the back page column “Final Cut.” He has written about pop culture for several other magazines as well. A graduate of Yale University, he lives in New York City with his husband, Tony Kushner.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 396 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 669 g (23,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1979 ISBN 978-1959420-152-3

Picture Shows: Peter Bogdanovich on the Movies (Peter Bogdanovich; introduction by Harold Hayes)

bogdanovich-peter-picture-shows-bogdanovich-on-the-moviesBogdanovich has been described as Hollywood’s ‘most faithful child’ and Picture Shows is not only that rare thing – a personal view of the cinema by a popular and talented director – but also one of the most amusing books ever written about Hollywood. Bogdanovich has the knack of capturing the way people speak, and behave, on paper, and in these pages the reader will find a wealth of reminiscences about the people he met in Hollywood from the day he first stood outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre up to and including the making of the films which have made him famous, such as Targets, The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love.

Peter Bogdanovich vividly and wittily recalls his encounters with some of the greatest directors of our time – among them John Ford, Orson Welles, Frank Capra, William Wyler, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Leo McCarey – as well as affectionate appraisals of Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch. And there are some extremely revealing and often hilarious episodes featuring immortals such as Cary Grant (‘indestructible’), John Wayne (‘Keep those comin’), James Stewart (‘Never been much of a talker’), Marlene Dietrich, James Cagney, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Hitchcock (‘Ingrid, it’s only a movie’) and Bogart (‘He could stop you with a look or a line’).

Perhaps the most provocative and stimulating part of the book is Peter Bogdanovich’s discussion of his favorite movies (he is reputed to have seen five or six thousand) complete with justification of his choice, and his views about B-films, sex and violence on the screen and trends and fashions in filmmaking; and most entertaining his scores of incidents and anecdotes, ranging from Adolph Zukor’s hundredth birthday party to the day President Nixon invited Hollywood to the Western White House.

PETER BOGDANOVICH was born in New York City of a Serbian father and an Austrian mother. From the age of twelve he kept a card index on every film he had seen and from that time on his first love was the movies. After school he did a spell in the theater, at first as an actor. Then, at the age of nineteen, he made his off-Broadway debut as a director with his production of The Big Knife. From his teens onwards Bogdanovich has written cinema articles, monographs and reviews. In 1964 he moved from New York to Hollywood and two years later Roger Corman gave him the job of second unit director on The Wild Angels and in 1968 entrusted to him the scripting, production and direction of Targets (Bogdanovich also appeared in the film himself), starring Boris Karloff. Targets was followed by a feature-length documentary Directed by John Ford and then by The Last Picture Show, released in 1971, which was hailed as ‘the most impressive work by a young American director since Citizen Kane.’ This was followed by What’s Up Doc? with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, Paper Moon, Daisy Miller and the Cole Porter musical, At Long Last Love. Mr. Bogdanovich has written several books on the cinema, including studies of Fritz Lang, John Ford, Allan Dwan, Hitchcock, Hawks and Orson Welles.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 271 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 545 g (19,2 oz) – PUBLISHER George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London, 1975 – ISBN 0 04 791033  X

Pictures Will Talk: The Life and Films of Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Kenneth L. Geist; introduction by Richard Burton)

Autographed copy Enjoy, Kenneth Geist

Geist, Kenneth L - Pictures Will TalkJoseph L. Mankiewicz is best known as the screenwriter-director of All About Eve, the award-winning film that displays his talents for bitch-wit dialogue and canny direction. But in a career that has spanned nearly half a century, Mankiewicz’s name as screenwriter, producer, and director has appeared on over sixty films, including such classics as The Philadelphia Story, A Letter to Three Wives, and Five Fingers. In Pictures Will Talk, Kenneth L. Geist provides the first full-length, behind-the-scenes study of Mankiewicz and his films, illuminating the very private life of a covert Casanova and capturing the glittering wit of a distinctive American filmmaker.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz first worked for Paramount, where his brother Herman was already a legend and where he collaborated on the wacky W.C. Fields comedy Million Dollar Legs. When Mankiewicz moved to MGM he was made a producer, and his output there ranged from Fury, Fritz Lang’s first American film, to A Christmas Carol to Woman of the Year, the first picture to team Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

It was at Twentieth Century Fox, however, that Mankiewicz reached the peak of his fame, and in successive years he won dual Academy Awards for A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve, an achievement as yet unequaled by any other writer-director. Mankiewicz’s films also include his and Marlon Brando’s first and last attempts at both Shakespeare (Julius Caesar) and musical comedy (Guys and Dolls); Suddenly, Last Summer, with Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor; and Cleopatra, the most expensive and notorious film ever made, which severely damaged Mankiewicz’s reputation. Although his status was restored in 1972 when he directed Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier in Sleuth, he has yet to make another film.

Until now, Mankiewicz’s fame as a raconteur of “Hollywood graffiti,” mostly ribald, and as the lover of such stars as Joan Crawford, Judy Garland and Linda Darnell was known only to inner circles. In Pictures Will Talk, Kenneth L. Geist provides a wider public with a revealing portrait of this complex, gifted man and offers a wealth of movie lore and gossip.

KENNETH L. GEIST has written criticism for Show, Film Comment, and the Village Voice and has profiled many film people for Andy Warhol’s Inter/View. He has worked extensively in the theater and television, and he produced and directed the widely distributed documentary film Coming Out.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 443 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 16 cm (9,3 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 863 g (30,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, New York, 1978 – ISBN 0-6847-15500-1

Pieces of My Heart: A Life (Robert Wagner, with Scott Eyman)

Autographed copy Robert Wagner

Wagner, Robert - Pieces of My Heart A LifeHe grew up in Bel Air next door to a golf course that changed his life. As a young boy, he saw a foursome playing one morning featuring none other than Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, Randolph Scott, and Cary Grant. Seeing these giants of the silver screen awed him and fueled his dreams of becoming a movie star. Battling a revolving door of boarding schools and a father who wanted him to forget Hollywood and join the family business, sixteen-year-old Wagner started like any naïve kid would – walking along Sunset Boulevard, hoping that a producer or director would notice him.

Under the mentorship of stars like Spencer Tracy, he would become a salaried actor in Hollywood’s studio system among other hot actors of the moment such as his friends Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis. Working with studio mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, Wagner began to appear in a number of films alongside the most beautiful starlets – but his first love was Barbara Stanwyck, an actress twice his age. As his career blossomed, and after he separated from Stanwyck, he met the woman who would change his life forever, Natalie Wood. They fell instantly and deeply in love and stayed together until the stress of their careers – hers marching upward, his inexplicably deflating – drove them to divorce.

Trying to forget the pain, he made more movies and spent his time in Europe with the likes of Steve McQueen, Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Liz Taylor, and Joan Collins. He would meet and marry the beautiful former model and actress Marion Marshall. Together they had a daughter and made their way back to America, where he found himself at the beginning of a new era in Hollywood – the blossoming of television. Lew Wasserman and later Aaron Spelling would work with Wagner as he produced and starred in some of the most successful programs in history.

Despite his newfound success, his marriage to Marion fell apart. He looked no further than Natalie Wood, for whom he still pined. To the world’s surprise, they fell in love all over again, this time more deeply and with maturity. As she settled into a domestic life, raising their own daughter, Courtney, as well as their children from previous marriages, Wagner became the sole provider, reaping the riches of television success. Their life together was cut tragically short, though, when Wood died after falling from their yacht.

For the first time, Wagner writes about that tremendously painful time. After a serious bout with depression, he finally resurfaced and eventually married Jill St. John, who helped keep his family and his fractured heart together. With color photographs and never-before-told stories, this is a quintessentially American story of one of the great sons of Hollywood.

ROBERT J. WAGNER has been active in Hollywood for more than five decades and has starred in such films as A Kiss Before Dying, The Longest Day, The Pink Panther, and, most recently, the Austin Powers movies. On television, Wagner also starred in three long-running series, It Takes a Thief (with Fred Astaire), Switch (with Eddie Albert and Sharon Gless), and Hart to Hart (with Stefanie Powers). He is currently featured on Two and a Half Men. Wagner is married to actress Jill St. John and lives in Los Angeles. SCOTT EYMAN is the books editor of the Palm Beach Post and the author of nine books about the movies. The Wall Street Journal called his most recent biography, Lion of Hollywood: The Life of Louis B. Mayer, “one of the five best books ever written about Hollywood.” He and his wife live in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 326 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 600 g (21,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Harper Entertainment, New York, New York, 2008 – ISBN 978-0-06-137331-2

Pink Palace Revisited: Behind Closed Doors at the Beverly Hills Hotel (Sandra Lee Stuart, John Prince)

stuart-sandra-lee-the-pink-palace-revisitedOnce upon a time there was a land where fairy tales and bedtime stories were big business. It was a land inhabited by kings and queens, princes and princesses, and agents taking fifteen percent. The land was called Hollywood.

Although Hollywood was where these fabled people worked, it wasn’t where they played. Instead they all went to a beautiful pink palace on acres and acres of lush land. Here they were pampered and coddled with extravagant suites and bungalows, a swimming pool always heated to between 70 and 72 degrees, tennis courts equipped with champion pros, and perfectly mixed large drinks. This heavenly place for casual conversation, lurid lovemaking, and million-dollar wheeling and dealing was called the Beverly Hills Hotel.

In an up-to-the-minute look at what has happened to the Beverly Hills Hotel in recent times, Sandra Lee Stuart and John Prince give you an insider’s peek behind the scenes of one of the most famous hotels in the world. Virtually every star and wannabe has scooped avocado dip in the legendary Polo Lounge. Paramount Pictures was sold over drinks to Gulf & Western at its tables. Clark Gable was talked into acting in The Misfits by Arthur Miller over a tropical cocktail. The hotel’s owners have included actresses Irene Dunne and Loretta Young, as well as Hernando Courtright, Ivan Boesky, and Marvin Davis. Today this Taj Mahal of hotels is the toy of the Sultan of Brunei who has closed it to completely refurbish it.

The Pink Palace Revisited is a romp-of-a-read about the happenings that made the Beverly Hills Hotel one of the spots to be seen or, as the circumstances may dictate, not to be seen.

SANDRA LEE STUART has been a book editor and a newspaper reporter. She is author of several books including the recent novel, Grand Cru. She co-authored the three million copy best-seller, The Last Chance Diet. JOHN PRINCE has been a frequent guest at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and through the years, has learned all those things about the workings of the hotel that the hotel didn’t want people to learn.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 186 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 431 g (15,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Barricade Books, Inc., Fort Lee, New Jersey, 1993 – ISBN 0-942637-84-4

Platinum Girl: The Life and Legends of Jean Harlow (Eve Golden)

golden-eve-platinum-girlIn 1930, after the public had seen Jean Harlow in Howard Hughes’s World War I air ace epic, Hell’s Angels, the nation’s beauty parlors were jammed with women demanding to be transformed into “platinum blondes.” The phrase was invented by a studio press agent, and the look was the work of Hollywood’s newest, most explosive bombshell.

Her birth and upbringing were prosaic enough. Born into the pleasant middle-class world of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1911, Harlow (née Harlean Carpenter) was the daughter of a solid, if dull, dentist, whose wife had unfulfilled aspirations to a career in films. The family was hardly prepared for what came next. Jean became a bride at sixteen, was separated at eighteen, a film goddess at twenty, a wife again at twenty-one, and a widow within a few months of the wedding. Her husband, top MGM executive Paul Bern, committed suicide (it was widely and mistakenly believed) out of despair over impotence.

Bern’s suicide threatened to plunge Jean Harlow into a scandal that might have ended her career. But, driven by her irresistible sparkle, glamour, and sensuality, the young star’s fortunes continued to skyrocket in unforgettable films like Red Dust, Dinner at Eight, Bombshell, Reckless, China Seas, and Libeled Lady as she appeared with the likes of Clark Gable, John and Lionel Barrymore, Mary Astor, Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, Rosalind Russell, Spencer Tracy, and William Powell.

She married a third time in 1933, was divorced a year later, only to become engaged to her sometime costar William Powell. Noting that the extremely well-paid Blonde Bombshell was perpetually on the ragged edge of bankruptcy, Powell hired a private detective to investigate Harlow’s stepfather, Marino Bello, who – it turned out – had long been defrauding her. Despite this and the on-again, off-again engagement to Powell, Harlow seemed unstoppable. Then, in the midst of filming Saratoga in 1937, the twenty-six-year-old Platinum Girl succumbed to kidney failure.

In this, the first biography of Harlow since Irving Shulman’s sensationalistic and often inaccurate 1964 book, Eve Golden explores the woman behind the legends and the scandals. The world evoked here is at once glamorous, nostalgic, poignant, and tragic. Yet, in its way, the brief life of Jean Harlow is a story of success, of a triumphal struggle with Hollywood and the consequences of rapid fame. Golden’s deeply researched narrative is lavishly illustrated with rare film stills, posters, and exclusive photographs from family archives. Harlow emerges not as an oversexed mannequin, but as a vulnerable, hard-working, and tremendously likable woman who molded herself into a remarkable actress. This is an important book about one of Hollywood’s most extraordinary personalities.

EVE GOLDEN was born and raised on Philadelphia’s Main Line. She now works as a journalist in New York City. Platinum Girl is the product of a lifelong fascination with film and a decade of research on Harlow.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 248 pp., index – Dimensions 26 x 18,5 cm (10,2 x 7,3 inch) – Weight 1.175 g (41,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Abeville Press, Inc., New York, New York, 1991 – ISBN 1-55859-214-8

Played Out: The Jean Seberg Story (David Richards)

richards-david-played-out-the-jean-seberg-storyPlayed Out is a superbly told story of a Cinderella who didn’t fit the shoe, in a kingdom ruled by suspect princes. Played Out is played out against a backdrop of one of America’s unhappier landscapes. Richards tells the tragedy of Jean Seberg’s life and death with sympathy and understanding and it is written in the grand style of a genuine American tragedy.” – Vincent Price

Jean Seberg was forty when a policeman in the 16th arrondissement in Paris discovered her disintegrating body under a crumpled blanket in the back seat of a white Renault. A bottle of mineral water and an empty tube of barbiturates lay at her side. She had been dead for ten days – the police verdict: suicide.

How could this have happened? Jean Seberg’s life seemed to be patterned on the standard dream of every small-town American girl. The daughter of a Marshalltown, Iowa, pharmacist, she starred in her high school plays, did well at her studies, was popular with her friends. At seventeen, extraordinarily fresh of face and ideals, she was selected out of 18,000 candidates to star in Otto Preminger’s movie St. Joan. Not since David O. Selznick went looking for an actress to play Scarlett O’Hara had a talent search stirred up so much world-wide publicity.

What happened to the all-American girl is not just a Cinderella story turned macabre and ugly. In many ways, the story of Seberg’s growing up is the story of America growing up. She came from the nation’s heartland and seemingly epitomized its health and optimism. Drawn into the civil rights struggle during the 1960s, she was exploited for her well-meaning beliefs as she herself used the cause for her own psychological needs. She was eventually persecuted by the FBI, but that story too turns out to be a lot more complicated than either the headlines or the outraged response to them would lead one to believe.

David Richards, the author of this fascinating book, has uncovered the most extraordinary information about Seberg’s relations with the Black Panthers, with the FBI, with her own child, and with such personalities as Preminger; her second husband, Romain Gary (who subsequently also committed suicide); and various well-known film stars and directors in this country and abroad. Mr. Richards has unraveled the complicated stories of the births of Seberg’s two children, and particularly of the premature birth and death of Nina, the child whom the FBI publicized as “of a Black Panther.”

Seberg’s career is also explored. She once said that she had been burned twice as Joan of Arc – the first time at the stake, the second time by the critics. Her movie debut was, in fact, a fiasco; yet Vincent Canby, in the New York Times, recently called her “one of the most enigmatic and appealing movie stars of the 1960s.” Her work in films like Breathless, Lilith and Paint Your Wagon showed that under the right circumstances, she could be an accomplished actress. Her work in Gary’s films showed something else – how she could be exploited, both emotionally and artistically, by her own now perverted innocence.

In the end, Seberg was a victim of the dreams of her generation. She drank too much, took drugs, seemed to have a talent for becoming involved in complex and destructive love relationships. Her story is compelling and, in this book, sensitively and beautifully told.

DAVID RICHARDS is the drama critic of the Washington Star. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from college and did post-graduate work at the Sorbonne. A well-known reviewer, French-speaking, with excellent credentials, he is eminently suited to write this book.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 285 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 648 g (22,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Random House, New York, New York, 1981 – ISBN 0-394-51132-8

The Play Goes On: A Memoir (Neil Simon)

Autographed copy To Burt + Sunny, Great daughter! Neil Simon

Simon, Neil - The Play Goes OnJust as Neil Simon’s plays do not fit easily into the space of one act, his memoirs too demand a continuation, a second act, which this book provides. In his critically acclaimed Rewrites, Simon wrote about his beginnings – growing up with longing. the early years of working in television, his first real love, his first play, his first success, his first brush with failure, and, most moving of all, his first great loss.

The same willingness to open his heart to the reader is here in The Play Goes On as he continues the story, beginning where the earlier book left off, with the days immediately following the death of his beloved wife, Joan.

From that moment of almost unbearable sadness, Simon moved quickly to work on another play, clearly an effort to keep himself busy and his mind off his loss. The work was therapeutic indeed, although perhaps more significant was the young actress who had a role in his play. Her name was Marsha Mason, and almost immediately a bond developed between her and Simon. That bond became a relationship and the relationship became a marriage. In Neil Simon’s life, this was clearly the beginning of Act Two.

There was a change of scenery shortly after this new start. When Mason’s career required that she be in Hollywood, Simon and his two daughters from his first marriage moved there as well, and although there are few playwrights more closely identified with New York City than Neil Simon, he soon found himself at home in California – or at least as much as he would ever be in a place with neither winters nor subways. Over the next several years, there were the perhaps inevitable shifts of life – the marriage to Marsha Mason foundered, followed by a period of questioning, followed by a chance department store encounter with a young actress who eventually became the next Mrs. Neil Simon.

But that was real life, and while reality has a way of showing up just when one least wants to deal with it, Simon managed to keep it at bay for a great part of the time, immersing himself almost completely in his work – the creation of his plays and films. As it is with most artists, of course, the escape from reality is mostly imaginary, for Simon’s personal life has always been the source of much of his best work, and the period covered in The Play Goes On is rich with examples of art imitating life. In fact, Simon’s most acclaimed plays – one of which won him not only Broadway’s Tony Award but the Pulitzer Prize as well – were written during this time and were a look backward at his younger life. Just as he created the play Chapter Two out of his earlier experience of loss and remarriage, so out of his childhood and his years in the army and his early days as a writer he created the wonderful Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, and Lost in Yonkers – an extraordinary body of work.

In the creative process, life and art become inseparable, the artist struggling to live a “real life,” yet constantly holding up a mirror for all the world to see. In The Play Goes On, in many ways a deeper and more personal book than his earlier memoir, Neil Simon has polished that mirror and deepened the reflection. The result is a stunningly revealing look at an artist in crisis but still able and willing to laugh at every misstep he takes, at once autobiography and – what else? – brilliant drama.

NEIL SIMON splits his time between New York and Los Angeles. He is currently at work on – what else? – a new play.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 348 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 649 g (22,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 1999 – ISBN 0-684-84691-8

Playing the Field: My Story (Mamie Van Doren, with Art Aveilhe)

van-doren-mamie-playing-the-field“To give you a real sense of what it was like for a blonde bombshell in the golden days of Hollywood, I must take you back to Hollywood. I must take you back to the glittering city where I lived and worked and played. The place where I discovered something much more fun than just playing the game – playing the field.”

Mamie Van Doren has been described as a sex symbol, a glamor girl and a sex goddess. Along with Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, the voluptuous platinum blonde dominated the Hollywood headlines in the 1950s and 1960s by living a fast and flamboyant life both on and off screen. But unlike her friends Marilyn and Jayne, Mamie refused to be swallowed up by Hollywood’s often ruthless movie-making machine, and in Playing the Field has emerged a survivor, the last of a glamorous, never-to-be-forgotten era.

In an utterly frank, candid memoir of Hollywood life, Mamie reveals what it was like to balance the demands of being a sex symbol on the screen and a caring mother and wife at home; her stormy affairs with leading men and international celebrities, affairs that inevitably spilled across the pages of the national gossip columns and newspapers; and her attempt to find meaning and purpose in her life and career, especially as the era of the blonde bombshell began to fade and so many of those around her – James Dean, Monroe and Mansfield – died violent deaths.

In a book filled with anecdotes about the stars she worked and played with, Mamie recounts her early love affair with a tight-fisted Jack Dempsey and her passionate romances with Steve McQueen, quarterback Joe Namath, actor Burt Reynolds and band-leader Ray Anthony, who later became her husband. One of the most desirable women of her time, she was pursued by Cary Grant and Warren Beatty, wined and dined by Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson, and made love to by Rock Hudson and Bo Belinsky. Mamie was a woman ahead of her times, a free spirit who abhorred the double standard of the 1950s and demanded the freedom to enjoy life to the fullest. Yet she frequently turned down love affairs that might have furthered her career in favor of following the dictates of her heart.

Often irreverent, frequently funny and sad, but always entertaining, Playing the Field is an irresistible, no-holds-barred account of a dynamic woman who has proven herself far more than just a celluloid sex symbol.

Co-author ART AVEILHE is a freelance writer, and the author of several fiction and non-fiction books.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 280 pp. – Dimensions 22,5 x 14,5 cm (8,9 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 530 g (18,7 oz) – PUBLISHER G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, New York, 1987 – ISBN 09399-13240-6

Play It Again, Sam: Retakes on Remakes (edited by Andrew Horton, Stuart Y. McDougal; afterword by Leo Braudy)

horton-andrew-play-it-again-sam-retakes-on-remakesPlay It Again, Sam: Retakes on Remakes explores a topic that until now has received almost no critical attention in film and cultural studies: the cinematic remake. Drawing on a variety of Hollywood and non-Hollywood examples, this impressive group of contributors considers a wide range of movie originals and their remakes from numerous perspectives, including the Hollywood films The Jazz Singer, Cape Fear, and Robin Hood, foreign films, among them Breathless; and Three Men and a Baby, that Hollywood has reworked for American audiences; and foreign films based on American works, such as Yugoslav director Emir Kusturica’s Time of the Gypsies, which is a makeover of Coppola’s Godfather films. This is even the case of Alfred Hitchcock remaking himself The Man Who Knew Too Much. As these essays demonstrate, films not only remake other films, but are also themselves remade by other media, including radio and television.

The editors and contributors draw on a variety of film and cultural theories, and consider gender, genre, and psychological issues to open the topic of the remake as both a special artistic form of repetition with a difference and as a commercial product aimed at profits in the marketplace. The remake flourishes at the crossroads of the old and the new, the known and the unknown. As cinema enters its second century and more remakes are appearing than ever before, Play It Again, Sam takes the reader on an eye-opening tour of this hitherto unexplored territory.

ANDREW HORTON is Professor of Film and Literature at the Loyola University of New Orleans and Director of the Aegean Institute. STUART Y. McDOUGAL is the Director of the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.

Softcover – 358 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 15 cm (9,1 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 579 g (20,4 oz) – PUBLISHER University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1998 – ISBN 0-520-20593-6

Please Don’t Shoot My Dog: The Autobiography of Jackie Cooper (Jackie Cooper, with Dick Kleiner)

cooper-jackie-please-dont-eat-the-dogJackie Cooper spares no one, not even himself, in this astonishingly outspoken account of his multifaceted career. As a child actor and later as a teenager he was exploited and manipulated by everyone he knew. By the age of twenty he had survived Hollywood’s most demanding pressures. He had known Hollywood’s worst deceits and experienced its greatest temptations without ever having been allowed to make a decision concerning his own life.

His eventual successes as an entertainer during World War II, as an actor on Broadway, and later as a TV director, producer, and studio executive are evidence of his extraordinary resiliency – a quality not shared by many of Hollywood’s child stars. As active now as he was fifty years ago, he has had major roles in dozens of TV films. He was the director of fifteen of the first thirty M*A*S*H episodes, and he has since specialized in directing movies for television.

More than many celebrity autobiographies, this is the story of an education, of a continuing process of maturing. Perhaps uniquely, the book itself is a step in that process. It is a sometimes ferocious self-evaluation, a painful coming to terms with a life rich in experience and filled with conflict and contradiction. From Cooper’s early doomed search for his real father, and then for an adult mentor he could trust, to his nearly tragic extramarital adventure at the age of fifty-seven, the book documents a relentless self-examination.

But there is high comedy here as well, and a wealth of inside information on Hollywood in its heyday. There are candid sketches of many of the most beloved figures in American entertainment history – Bing Crosby, Wallace Beery, Judy Garland, Harpo Marx, and Alan Alda among many others. Some of the revelations are disturbing; together they compose an eye-opening and richly detailed portrait of the entertainment industry in almost all its aspects.

Funny, angry, inspiring, and appalling by turns, Please Don’t Shoot My Dog is as varied as the life of the man who is its subject. Though he has made many enemies in his long and stormy career, what sets these memoirs apart is his recognition that there is truly one man to blame for most of his troubles – Jackie Cooper.

DICK KLEINER, a Senior Editor of Newspaper Enterprise Association, has  written a dozen books, hundreds of magazine articles, and has interviewed more than five thousand top entertainment figures over the years.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 351 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16,5 cm (95 x 6,5 inch) – Weight 730 g (25,7 oz) – PUBLISHER William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, New York, 1981 – ISBN 0-688-03659-7

Portrait of Jennifer: A Biography of Jennifer Jones (Edward Z. Epstein)

epstein-edward-z-portrait-of-jennie-jennifer-jonesHere is the first ever biography of Jennifer Jones, one of Hollywood’s true screen legends, a beautiful, complex woman who was never secure with stardom but was driven to pursue it by her much older mentor / lover / husband, David O. Selznick. This never-before-told story of her life is a modern version of the Pygmalion-Galatea myth… with a shattering denouement.

Jennifer Jones lived bathed in Hollywood’s brightest lights – and it nearly destroyed her. Her life is an enthralling Hollywood story – of a love darkened by tragedy, a romance corrupted by power, and a beautiful young actress seduced by ambition. It is a story that could have been conceived by Harold Robbins or Jackie Collins – only every word of it is true. The real-life characters in this tale are Jones herself, who won the Academy Award for her first major movie, The Song of Bernadette (and received four subsequent Oscar nominations); David O. Selznick, the fabled producer of Gone With the Wind, who fell in love with Jones, put her under contract, and spent the rest of his life reshaping her persona and career in an effort to make her an even bigger star (Jennifer’s directors included John Huston, William Wyler, Ernst Lubitsch, King Vidor, Vincente Minnelli, and Michael Powell); Robert Walker, Jones’s first husband, himself a successful actor, who felt betrayed by his wife and who – bitter, broken, and an alcoholic – died under mysterious circumstances in 1951 (some claim it was murder); and Norton Simon, her last husband, a billionaire businessman / art collector, who introduced Jennifer to a world of culture and high society. After Selznick’s death and her marriage to Simon (the couple shared an intense interest in psychoanalysis), Jones, after three decades, finally gave up her screen career (Simon later optioned Terms of Endearment as a potential comeback vehicle for her). Jennifer’s tumultuous personal life was to suffer a near-fatal blow when one of her three adult children committed suicide.

Edward Z. Epstein, who has written popular biographies of Mia Farrow, Lana Turner, and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, among others, captures the poignancy of a star who has lived – and survived – Hollywood’s darkest version of the American Dream.

EDWARD Z. EPSTEIN, a graduate of New York University, has published sixteen books to date. He’s written a play, soon to be produced, based on the life of Ava Gardner. A former senior publicist for MCA / Universal, the author is a native New Yorker.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 645 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 779 g (27,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 1995 – ISBN 0-671-74056-3

A Portrait of Joan: The Autobiography of Joan Crawford (Joan Crawford, with Jane Kesner Ardmore)

Crawford, Joan - A Portrait of JoanOn New Years Day in 1929, a lonely, frightened girl boarded a train for Hollywood. She clutched a telegram in one hand and a small suitcase in the other. The telegram read – LUCILLE LESUEUR YOU HAVE BEEN PLACED UNDER CONTRACT MGM STUDIOS STOP SIX MONTHS OPTION STOP…

The same girl is now a highly respected businesswoman on the board of the Pepsi-Cola Corporation, and a famous Hollywood star. Her name is Joan Crawford. What were the ingredients of this success story?

Lucille LeSueur spent many hard years educating herself, earning her way as a dish-washer, floor-scrubber, waitress, and department store clerk. Menial jobs hardly prepared her for the role she was later to play, but they did teach her how to work hard.

And through hard work and persistence, Lucille – soon renamed Joan Crawford – became an established Hollywood star. Not satisfied with being a glamour queen, Joan wanted to prove her ability as a dramatic actress, and at a point when her career was in jeopardy, she risked everything to achieve this ambition. Her stirring portrayal of the title role in Mildred Pierce won the critics’ approval, and the highest single honor a motion picture performer can achieve – the coveted Oscar award.

The story might very well end there. But Miss Crawford has gone on to make her mark in the business worId, as well. In 1955 she married Alfred Steele, President of the Pepsi-Cola Corporation, and because of her astute business sense, added greatly to his success. After her husband’s tragic death in 1959 she was asked to take a place on the board of the Pepsi-Cola Corporation… not a sentimental gesture, but a tribute to Joan’s skill and acumen.

A Portrait of Joan is the warm, sincere account of an underprivileged Kansas City girl who, through hard work and determination, rose to become an honored actress of great magnitude and a respected figure in American industry. It is full of glamorous moments, heart-warming episodes, and exciting personalities.

JANE KESNER ARDMORE, who worked with Miss Crawford in preparing this autobiography, is a successful author in her own right. She has written two novels, Women, Inc. and Julie, and collaborated with Eddie Cantor on Take My Life.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 239 pp. – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 441 g (15,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1962

Pourquoi? (Brigitte Bardot)

Bardot, Brigitte - PourquoiPourquoi ai-je décidé, en 1973, sans appel, de quitter mon statut unique de “star internationale” à l’âge de 38 ans?

Pourquoi ai-je ainsi renoncé, du jour au lendemain, à toutes les sommes fabuleuses que l’on me proposait encore pour montrer mes fesses ou juste le bout de mon nez à l’écran?

Pourquoi me suis-je séparée, dépouillée de mes biens les plus précieux en les vendant aux enchères en 1987, au profit de ma Fondation, y compris ma célèbre maison “La Madrague”?

Pourquoi, alors que je représentais un “phénomène” qui fut analysé par Simone de Beauvoir, François Nourissler, Sagan, Cocteau, Duras et tant d’autres…, ai-je préféré, en pleine gloire, me mettre totalement au service de la protection animale?

Pourquoi depuis 33 ans, le seul but de ma vie est devenu l’obsession quotidienne d’apporter une évolution dans la désastreuse condition des animaux?

Pourquoi suis-je systématiquement traînée devant les tribunaux français lorsque je me révolte contre les terribles sacrifices de moutons lors de l’Aïd-el-Kébir?

Pourquoi suis-je boycottée par la presse française à chaque fois que je dénonce un problème grave alors qu’à l’étranger, je suis reconnue, encouragée, célébrée et récompensée pour mon action en faveur des animaux?

Pourquoi, depuis 20 ans cette année, ma Fondation est-elle la seule fierté de ma vie?

Tant de questions parmi d’autres encore, qui trouvent leurs réponses dans tous ces états d’âme que je décris au fil des pages, presque au jour le jour, avec la seule vérité de mon cœur. Ce sont plus de vingt années de combats, de détresse, d’espoirs, d’appels à l’aide. Ces hymnes à la vie et au respect sont autant de preuves irréfutables de mon indéfectible amour pour “Eux”!

Softcover – 299 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 14,5 cm (9,5 x 5,7) – Weight 505 g (17,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Éditions du Rocher, Monaco, 2006 – ISBN 2 268 05914 6 / 716 865 1

Preminger: An Autobiography (Otto Preminger)

Preminger, Otto - Preminger, An AutobiographyWith the same candor that has characterized his life, Otto Preminger – actor, director, producer, and now writer – exposes himself (in writing) as well as an impressive line-up of show business folk in this engrossing memoir.

As one of Hollywood’s pre-eminent directors with thirty-six films and thirty-two stage productions to his credit, Preminger reveals the funny, outrageous, and often exasperating moments of his career, and his association with the eccentric, the gracious, the wealthy, the egomaniacal – “the stars.”

Beginning his career as an apprentice of Max Reinhardt, Preminger became an instant success as an actor and then as a director. Hollywood called and he went there in 1935. His outspoken manner clashed with the autocratic studio moguls. He was forced to return to New York and find work directing plays on Broadway. He rebounded in 1944 to begin his stormy and remarkably creative period in Hollywood with Laura, his first all-out hit, starring Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, and Dana Andrews.

Preminger gives an inside glimpse at shooting such films as Daisy Kenyon with Joan Crawford (whom he considers a remarkable, independent, and generous woman); River of No Return, starring Marilyn Monroe; the all-black production of Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess, both accused of being racist; The Man With the Golden Arm, with Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak; plus such legendary films as Anatomy of a Murder (James Stewart, Lee Remick, and George C. Scott), Exodus (Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint), Advise and Consent (Henry Fonda and Charles Laughton), The Cardinal (Tom Tryon, Romy Schneider), Hurry Sundown (Jane Fonda, Michael Caine, Diahann Carroll and Faye Dunaway), and In Harm’s Way (John Wayne).

Making no bones about naming enemies or exalting his friends, Preminger elaborates on the black-listing during the fifties and includes his own critique of the critics. Preminger gives us a little more insight into his friend Tallulah Bankhead and her affinity for shocking behavior (with a few choice examples), as well as his opinion of Howard Hughes (a fascinating man, but not all that eccentric). He sets the record straight on a number of his love affairs and marriages, and divulges the story of his relationship with Gypsy Rose Lee and their child, who after Gypsy’s death emerged as Erik Preminger.

Leaving few stones unturned, this unique “Otto-biography” zooms in on Hollywood through the eyes of one of its most active and highly creative personalities… Preminger!

Hardcover, dust jacket – 208 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14 cm (8,5 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 395 g (13,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1977 – ISBN 0-385-03480-6

Preston Sturges on Preston Sturges (adapted and edited by Sandy Sturges)

Sturges, Preston - Preston Sturges on Preston SturgesPreston Sturges was the great director of Hollywood screwball comedies of the thirties and forties. Films like Sullivan’s Travels, The Lady Eve and Hail, The Conquering Hero have become classics of writing and directing.

Drawing on her husband’s journals, Sandy Sturges has woven a captivating narrative that possesses the same wry, penetrating wit that has made his films sparkle and last through the years.

Sturges’ life was every bit as antic and unconventional as his movies: from growing up in Europe with a mother whose best friend was Isadora Duncan to making his way among the beau monde of New York. This is also the story, told vividly and honestly, of Sturges’ singular resistance to the Hollywood studio system that sought to pigeonhole his talent. Here was a man of creative genius and personal demons; a man of towering originality and unshakeable individuality.

In this entertaining, highly readable memoir, Preston Sturges’ own words paint a portrait as classic as his movies.

SANDY STURGES lives in Los Angeles and is at work on another book.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 352 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 680 g (24,0 oz) – PUBLISHER Faber and Faber, London, 1990 – ISBN 0 571 16425 0

Pretty Poison: The Tuesday Weld Story (Floyd Conner)

scannen0176Throughout a prolific forty year Hollywood career, she never stopped turning heads. Directors and leading men took notice of her as a highly skilled and versatile actress; gossip columnists and celebrity watchers feasted on her often wild, sometimes beatnik and always non-conformist personality. And then there were the boys.

Pretty Poison is the unauthorized biography of Tuesday Weld, a most unconventional actress. Detailing her professional life on screen and the many loves of her personal life, Pretty Poison covers all facets of an actress who throughout her career has been compared to Elizabeth Taylor and Jayne Mansfield, and was once touted as the next Marilyn Monroe.

Although she had modeled and worked as an actress in a few rock and roll teen exploitation films, it was in the role of Thalia Menninger on the short lived but popular television show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis that the public was formally introduced to Tuesday Weld. She was 16 years old. Almost overnight, she became a teen sensation, the heartthrob of millions of teenage boys across America.

To date, Tuesday Weld has starred or been featured in more than thirty films. She is well respected in the business and has worked with leading men such as Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Elvis Presley, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Steve McQueen. She has been directed by some of the most acclaimed in Hollywood including Blake Edwards and John Frankenheimer.

Tuesday Weld’s life off-screen has been as electric and exciting as her career. From her teen years when she garnered a Lolita reputation for dating men sometimes more than twice her age, she has often found herself in high profile relationships. She was Elvis Presley’s girlfriend when he was at the peak of his career, and was later romantically involved with Gary Lockwood, John Drew Barrymore and Al Pacino. Pretty Poison also details her marriages to Dudley Moore and violinist Pinchas Zukerman.

Complete with a filmography, Pretty Poison will delight fans of Tuesday Weld, including any former adolescent boy who ever had a crush on Thalia Menninger. Those with an interest in celebrity biographies and Hollywood lives will also find Pretty Poison a fascinating account of a woman who has often been as exciting in her personal life as she has been on screen.

FLOYD CONNER has had a lifelong obsession with the “Golden Age of Hollywood” and its glamorous stars. He is the author of seven previous books including the biography Lupe Velez and Her Lovers.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 256 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 530 g (18,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Barricade Books, New York, New York, 1995 – ISBN 1-56980-015-4

Princess Grace: A Biography (Gwen Robyns)

robyns-gwen-princess-graceIt was one of the most romantic stories the world had witnessed: celluloid princess becomes real reigning princess in the palace at Monaco. But Grace Kelly’s life has been much more than simply a romantic fairy tale. In this first full-length biography of one of the most fascinating and beloved women of our time, a sensitive and insightful picture of Grace Kelly comes to life.

During her childhood in Philadelphia, the shy little girl with knobby knees created the now famous image of Grace Kelly through imagination and determination. And using this image she accomplished every woman’s private fantasy. During her brief but sparkling Hollywood career she worked with such stars as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, and fascinated each in some way. She was the all-time favorite of super-star director Alfred Hitchcock. Director John Foreman, who has known Grace Kelly since her early acting days, says, “There is a mystique that surrounds Grace and has from the beginning. It is the act she put together for survival… It must have been a concept in her head. Only Grace could have created Grace Kelly. No one else did. No manager, no agent, no producer, not even her family. She can make Grace Kelly do Grace Kelly things that nobody else can do. She is unique.”

In her royal role she has proven herself to be a visionary and businesslike leader. She has worked ceaselessly for the Red Cross, the aged, children, and mothers. And as a devoted mother herself, her strong beliefs concerning her family’s health, moral and religious  guidance, and freedom to develop individually are detailed and inspiring.

In this definitive biography Gwen Robyns has illuminated the life of Grace Kelly – the royal princess, classic beauty, and most respected woman – but she also sheds light on the very private Grace, an enchanting, loyal, fun-loving creature who, until now, only those very close to her have known.

After twenty years as a leading Fleet Street journalist, GWEN ROBYNS turned to writing biographies. In her work she has met many of the world’s most fascinating women, and she ranks Princess Grace of Monaco as one of the most intriguing – a mixture of fire and ice. Ms. Robyns lives in a sixteenth-century farmhouse in Oxfordshire, England, with her husband, Paul von Stemann, and bloodhound, Lucifer.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 285 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 597 g (21,1 oz) – PUBLISHER David McKay Co., Inc., New York, New York, 1976 – ISBN 0-679-50612-8

Princess Merle: The Romantic Life of Merle Oberon (Charles Higham, Roy Moseley)

higham-charles-princess-merleCharles Higham follows his great successes of Bette: The Life of Bette Davis and the best-selling Kate: The Life of Katharine Hepburn with this, his most remarkable book to date, co-authored with Roy Moseley, a British journalist and author.

Millions of people fell in love with the peerless beauty of Merle Oberon when she lit up the screen with Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights. But they knew nothing about her background, believing the studio’s story that she was a Tasmanian aristocrat. Through careful research and scores of interviews, Higham and Moseley have discovered that Merle was born in India – of half Indian blood – and that she spent her entire life successfully covering up the fact.

What a life it was! A real-life fairy tale spanning the world, from India, Australia, England, France and Italy to the United States and Mexico. Merle had passionate affairs with Leslie Howard, David Niven, Robert Ryan and Count Giorgio Cini – the supremely handsome Italian aristocrat whose plane burst into flames when he turned to wave to her. She was married to the amazing Sir Alexander Korda, the noted film director (of The Thief of Bagdad, among others) who starred her in many of his movies; to the wealthy Mexican industrialist Bruno Pagliai; and to Robert Wolders, a man twenty-five years younger than she. Her life was plagued by nightmarish complexion and heart problems, psychic and spiritual premonitions, a fiery temper, a consuming drive for sexual fulfillment and an intense rivalry with Marlene Dietrich, and blessed by friendships with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and Jr., Mary Pickford, designer Luis Estevez, Norma Shearer, Laurence Olivier, Noël Coward, Cole Porter, Greer Garson, Ronald and Nancy Reagan (who calls Merle “a very special person”), Betsy Bloomingdale, Frank Sinatra and even, later in life, as she lived in the most opulent luxury in the Mexican palace that had been created to her specifications, with Prince Philip and Prince Charles.

With ambition, beauty and spiritual fortitude, Merle Oberon set her goal in life – to rise to the pinnacle of world society – and she achieved it brilliantly. Princess Merle is superlatively entertaining and will surely be one of the most talked about books of the year.

CHARLES HIGHAM, recipient of the French literary award Prix des Créateurs, is the author of best-selling biographies of Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn and Bette Davis. He now lives in Los Angeles. ROY MOSELEY is a journalist and author who lives in London.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 317 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 624 g (22 oz) – PUBLISHER Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, New York, 1983 – ISBN 0-698-11231-8

The Prince, The Showgirl and Me: Six Months on the Set with Marilyn and Olivier (Colin Clark)

clark-colin-the-prince-the-showgirl-and-meLeaving college in the 1950s, Colin Clark got a job as a gofer on the London set of a new motion picture called The Prince and the Showgirl. It was no ordinary production: uniting Britain’s premier classical actor, Sir Laurence Olivier (also the director), with Hollywood’s ultimate sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe, it should have been a box-office smash. But even before cameras rolled, things started going wrong – and twenty-three-year-old Clark, tiptoeing among clashing egos, saw it all.

Every night, after twelve hours on the set, he went home and recorded the day’s events in his diary, recalling scuffles, arguments – as well as his own intrigues of the heart – in a daily fly-on-the-wall chronicle. Olivier was bent on acquiring a new and exciting image; Marilyn desperately wanted to be regarded as a serious actress. Neither star understood the other, and the dream cast soon became a nightmare. Marilyn, on her honeymoon with playwright Arthur Miller, was constantly hounded by the fawning of her acting coach, Paula Strasberg. Olivier, exasperated by her inability to remember lines or even show up on time, ended up giving perhaps the worst performance of his career. From his lowly but privileged position, Colin Clark saw it all first-hand.

Written with a youthful and dazzling freshness, full of humor, anecdote, and acute observation, The Prince, The Showgirl and Me is that rare book that will bring the world of moviemaking – and two of Hollywood’s brightest stars – back to life for any reader.

COLIN CLARK is the son of Kenneth Clark, who created the groundbreaking Civilisation series for PBS. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Colin became Laurence Olivier’s personal assistant after his time on The Prince and the Showgirl; he then went on to work in television in Britain and the United States, helping to establish New York’s Channel 13. He has produced and directed over a hundred documentary films. He lives with his wife and son in London.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 219 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 403 g (14,2 oz) – PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York, 1995 – ISBN 0-312-14395-8

Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford (Scott Eyman)

Eyman, Scott - Print the Legend“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” This line from director John Ford’s film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but serves as an epigraph for the life of the legendary filmmaker.

Through a career that spanned decades and included dozens of films – among them such American masterpieces as The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, The Quiet Man, Stagecoach, and How Green Was My Valley – John Ford managed to leave as his legacy a body of work that few filmmakers will ever equal. Yet as bold as the stamp of his personality was on each film, there was at the same time a marked reticence when it came to revealing anything personal. Basically shy, and intensely private, he was known to enjoy making stories up for himself, some of them based loosely on fact but many of them pure fabrications. Ford preferred instead to let his film speak for him and the message was always masculine, determined, romantic, yes, but never soft – and always, always totally “American.” If there were other aspects to his personality, moods and subtleties that weren’t reflected on the screen, then no one really needed to know.

Indeed, what mattered to Ford was always what was up there on the screen. And if it varied from reality, what did it matter? When you are creating legend, fact becomes a secondary matter.

Now, in this definitive look at the life and career of one of America’s true cinematic giants, noted biographer and critic Scott Eyman, working with the full participation of the Ford estate, has managed to document and delineate both aspects of John Ford’s life – the human and the legend.

Going well beyond the legend, Eyman has explored the many influences that were brought to play on this remarkable and complex man, and the result is a rich and involving story of a great film director and the world in which he lived, as well as the world of Hollywood legend that he helped to shape. Drawing on more than a hundred interviews and research on three continents, Scott Eyman explains how a saloonkeeper’s son from maine helped to shape America’s vision of itself, and how a man with only a high school education came to create a monumental body of work, including films that earned him six Academy Awards, more tha any filmmaker before or since. He also reveals the truth of John Ford’s turbulent relationships with Katharine Hepburn, recounts his stand of freedom of speech during the McCarthy witch-hunt – including a confrontation with archconservative Cecil B. DeMille – and discusses his disfiguring alcoholism as well as the heroism he displayed during World War II.

Brilliant, stubborn, witty, rebellious, irascible, and contradictory, John Ford remains one of the enduring giants in what is arguably America’s greatest contribution to art – the Hollywood movie. In Print the Legend, Scott Eyman las managed at last to separate fact from legend in writing about this remarkable man, producing what will remain the definitive biography of this film giant.

SCOTT EYMAN is the Books Editor of the Palm Beach Post. His previous books, including Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise and The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930, have been honored with film retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the National Film Theatre in London, and the Moscow Film Museum. He lives with his wife in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 656 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 1.055 g (37,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 1999 – ISBN 0-684-81161-8

A Private View (Irene Mayer Selznick)

Autographed copy For Marjorie, My life is now in your hands in more ways than one. With admiration, Irene Selznick. June 1987

Mayer Selznick, Irene - A Private View“I had dreams of glory. Mind you, not everyone girl’s dream, but mine. Back there in Brookline, Massachusetts, I could see no reason why with luck and perseverance I could not become a Girl Scout captain.”

So begins the life story of someone whose personal circumstances – an whose integrity, intelligence and strength – guaranteed her a a front-row seat at the spectacle of Hollywood when movies were really movies, and of Broadway when plays were really plays. In fact, this girl of modest dreams was to become a truely remarkable woman.

Irene Mayer spent the first ten years of her childhood in Massachusetts while her father, Louis B., rose from theater manager to movie distributor. Then came Hollywood, and a girlhood populated by popular names – Cecil B. DeMille, Charlie Chaplin (with whom her father held an all-too-public scuffling match), William Hearst and his Marion (Irene was his committee-of-one which he built in a semi-place on the beach), Garbo (Irene was with her father in Berlin on the fateful day when he met and determined the future of the young Swedish girl and her director: “I’ll take them both,’ said Louis B.), and, of course, Irving G. Thalberg, brought into the Mayer household as a near-son, but, because of his dangerous heart condition, definitely off-limits to Irene and her sister, Edith.

But life at the Mayers’ was not lived in the typical Hollywood style. They believed in family and in privacy: in strict hours, tiny allowances, no boys, no going away to college, no socializing with actors, and, of course, in the tradition that a nice Jewish girl does not marry before her older sister – a tradition that contributed to the high drama (and comedy) of Irene’s engagement and marriage to David O. Selznick, son of Mayer’s one-time employee and long-time antagonist.

Then came life with the wildly energized, ambitious, idealistic David as he struck out on his own, returned, under protest, to MGM (the son-in-law also rises), and created, over the course of his career, his reputation as one of the greatest makers of Hollywood movies: the original A Star Is Born, Dinner at Eight, David Copperfield, Rebecca, and of course Gone With the Wind, after which he and Irene – and the American movies – were never the same. Finally – with the help of psychoanalysis, and spurred on by David’s increasing gambling, use of pills, and insistence on making deals instead of pictures – Irene left both him and Hollywood, setting out for the East, and, at last, for work of her own.

In New York, fueled by her determination and particular abilities, she quickly gained success as a Broadway producer. Entrusted with Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire as her second production, she shepherded it to fame, and followed it up with John van Druten’s Bell, Book and Candle, Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden, and others, until she decided – abruptly – that the theater was no longer her theater and, as usual, quit while she was ahead.

Now, after a lifetime of accomplishment and event, Irene Selznick has turned herself in a compelling writer. Her own story is like no other, and she tells it superbly. She paints a Mayer and a Selznick very different from the portraits we have seen in previous books (written with either too much or too little awe and admiration), and her private view also takes in her friends and colleagues of the past fifty years – Jock Whitney and Bill Paley, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, The Luces and the Goldwyns, Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando, Rex Harrison and Howard Hughes – all illuminated by her loving yet unflinchingly perceptive vision.

IRENE MAYER SELZNICK has spent her life keeping her eyes open and her mouth tightly shut. In A Private View she finally speaks out, writing with wit, with a native narrative instinct, and, most important, with total candor about being her father’s daughter, her husband’s wife, and, finally, herself.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 384 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 796 g (28,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1983. ISBN 0-394-40192-1

A Private View (Irene Mayer Selznick)

Mayer Selznick, Irene - A Private View“I had dreams of glory. Mind you, not everyone girl’s dream, but mine. Back there in Brookline, Massachusetts, I could see no reason why with luck and perseverance I could not become a Girl Scout captain.”

So begins the life story of someone whose personal circumstances – an whose integrity, intelligence and strength – guaranteed her a a front-row seat at the spectacle of Hollywood when movies were really movies, and of Broadway when plays were really plays. In fact, this girl of modest dreams was to become a truely remarkable woman.

Irene Mayer spent the first ten years of her childhood in Massachusetts while her father, Louis B., rose from theater manager to movie distributor. Then came Hollywood, and a girlhood populated by popular names – Cecil B. DeMille, Charlie Chaplin (with whom her father held an all-too-public scuffling match), William Hearst and his Marion (Irene was his committee-of-one which he built in a semi-place on the beach), Garbo (Irene was with her father in Berlin on the fateful day when he met and determined the future of the young Swedish girl and her director: “I’ll take them both,’ said Louis B.), and, of course, Irving G. Thalberg, brought into the Mayer household as a near-son, but, because of his dangerous heart condition, definitely off-limits to Irene and her sister, Edith.

But life at the Mayers’ was not lived in the typical Hollywood style. They believed in family and in privacy: in strict hours, tiny allowances, no boys, no going away to college, no socializing with actors, and, of course, in the tradition that a nice Jewish girl does not marry before her older sister – a tradition that contributed to the high drama (and comedy) of Irene’s engagement and marriage to David O. Selznick, son of Mayer’s one-time employee and long-time antagonist.

Then came life with the wildly energized, ambitious, idealistic David as he struck out on his own, returned, under protest, to MGM (the son-in-law also rises), and created, over the course of his career, his reputation as one of the greatest makers of Hollywood movies: the original A Star Is Born, Dinner at Eight, David Copperfield, Rebecca, and of course Gone With the Wind, after which he and Irene – and the American movies – were never the same. Finally – with the help of psychoanalysis, and spurred on by David’s increasing gambling, use of pills, and insistence on making deals instead of pictures – Irene left both him and Hollywood, setting out for the East, and, at last, for work of her own.

In New York, fueled by her determination and particular abilities, she quickly gained success as a Broadway producer. Entrusted with Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire as her second production, she shepherded it to fame, and followed it up with John van Druten’s Bell, Book and Candle, Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden, and others, until she decided – abruptly – that the theater was no longer her theater and, as usual, quit while she was ahead.

Now, after a lifetime of accomplishment and event, Irene Selznick has turned herself in a compelling writer. Her own story is like no other, and she tells it superbly. She paints a Mayer and a Selznick very different from the portraits we have seen in previous books (written with either too much or too little awe and admiration), and her private view also takes in her friends and colleagues of the past fifty years – Jock Whitney and Bill Paley, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, The Luces and the Goldwyns, Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando, Rex Harrison and Howard Hughes – all illuminated by her loving yet unflinchingly perceptive vision.

IRENE MAYER SELZNICK has spent her life keeping her eyes open and her mouth tightly shut. In A Private View she finally speaks out, writing with wit, with a native narrative instinct, and, most important, with total candor about being her father’s daughter, her husband’s wife, and, finally, herself.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 384 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 796 g (28,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1983. ISBN 0-394-40192-1

Prochainement dans cette salle: Chronique de l’affiche du cinéma (Rik Sallaerts, Robbe de Hert)

de-hert-robbe-prochainement-dans-cette-salle“A sept ans (en 1949), j’étais déjà contaminé par le virus du cinéma. Les affiches de cinéma multicolores dans les vitrines et les grands ‘calicots’ inaccessibles au-dessus de l’entrée des cinémas me faisaient mourir d’envie. Mais il n’était pas facile de s’approprier des ‘affichettes’ et puisque supplier ne servait à rien, j’ai souvent pris mes jambes à mon cou… La plupart du temps je me contentais de ‘reliques’ de second choix: les images, les photos, les articles et les petites annonces dans des journaux ou revues, mais surtout les ‘clichés,’ c’est-à-dire les affiches miniatures en une ou deux couleurs qu’on trouvait dans les programmes.

Comme enfant de Marx et de Coca-Cola, je tiens tout autant à la publicité faite autour du cinéma (jusqu’aux trombes de lettres basculantes des bandes de lancement) qu’aux films. Un film ne se met à vivre vraiment que lorsque l’annonce de son lancement paraît dans les journaux entre les faits divers et les nouvelles du jour. Et l’affiche n’est complète que si elle porte, au-dessus ou en dessous, peu importe, le nom ronflant du cinéma – Eldorado, Variétés, Astoria, Majestic – et le jour et l’heure des séances ainsi que le complément éventuel.

Moi-même je me suis promené en home – sandwich à travers la ville, expérience plutot pénible, surtout quand je rencontrais les filles à qui j’avais raconté beaucoup trop tot et beaucoup trop souvent que je voulais devenir acteur ou metteur en scène. C’est à cette époque (1962) que je fus confronté pour la première fois aux imprimés publicitaires, communiqués de presse, bandes sonores et autres gadgets qui accompagnent la sortie d’un film.

Mais le meilleur endroit pour découvrir ce qu’est réellement le matériel publicitaire, c’est Cannes, l’Eldorado européen de la propagande cinématographique. Pendant le festival annuel, la ville est submergée de publicité, mème les murs des toilettes en sont couverts. Dans tout ce ramdam démesuré, on a parfois la chance de trouver des échoppes qui proposent des souvenirs de cinéma, et en particulier ‘nos’ affiches belges. Je ne vous parlerai pas des prix pratiqués à Cannes: sachez seulement que cela vaut certainement la peine de mettre sur pied un circuit de contrefaçons et de (ré-)impressions pirates.

Quand Rik Stallaerts et moi avons décidé de faire ce livre, nous n’étions pas peu fiers de notre collection de ‘placards de cinema’ belges, mais au fur et à mesure que nous avons eu accès aux collections de véritables collectionneurs, nous nous sommes rendu compte qu’elle était en fait très modeste. La plupart des affiches reproduites dans cet ouvrage proviennent d’archives ou de collections privées. Sans l’admiration et l’engouement des collectionneurs, cet art de la rue se serait perdu à tout jamais. Ce livre n’est pas destiné aux collectionneurs en particulier. Il s’adresse à tous ceux qui, comme les auteurs, sont d’avis que l’affichette belge est l’objet le plus intéressant et le plus séduisant de l’univers cinématographique.” – From Avant-propos by Robbe de Herdt.

Hardcover – 223 pp., index – Dimensions 29 x 21 cm (11,4 x 8,3 inch) – Weight 1.595 g (56,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Ludion / Éditions du Perron, Bruxelles, Belgium, 1995 – ISBN 90-5544-062-0

Producer (David L. Wolper, with David Fisher)

Autographed copy To Leo, David L. Wolper

Wolper, David L - Producer“It was David who first led me to understand the meaning of the word producer… He had a vision, he organized, he was there from conception to delivery, every time. It was his clairvoyance, his engagement, his encouragement, that made a Wolper production a joy to work on… I marvel at the variety of enterprises that have borne the David L. Wolper name, undertakings of quality, prestige, compassion, and distinction.” – Mike Wallace

From one of the most successful and influential producers in the entertainment industry – responsible for classics such as Roots, The Thorn Birds, L.A. Confidential, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – comes a fascinating memoir of life at the very hub of Hollywood.

David L. Wolper and television were both born in 1928, and their futures would be forever linked, as Wolper grew up to become one of the most significant television producers. His entrepreneurial talents were obvious from the start, when he sold homegrown radishes to his mother for a penny each and delivered sealed envelopes for the wiseguys who hung around New York’s Copacabana nightclub.

Part salesman, part visionary, Wolper began his television career in 1949 by peddling films to the newly created TV stations across the country. He left the distribution business in 1958 when he produced his first award-winning television documentary, Race for Space, about the competing U.S. and Russian space programs. From that point on, Wolper’s career skyrocketed. His company, Wolper Productions, has created thousands of hours of diverse programming, including the two highest-rated miniseries of all time, Roots and The Thorn Birds; such landmark spectacles as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics; hit comedies like Welcome Back, Kotter; the classic movies L.A. Confidential and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; film biographies of John Lennon and Elvis Presley; and acclaimed documentaries with Jacques Cousteau and the National Geographic Society.

Despite Wolper’s staggering success and his countless Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes, he remains street-smart, wry, and surprisingly down-to-earth. Told in a conversational, comfortable voice, Producer is filled with funny and surprising anecdotes about such varied personalities as Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace and John Travolta, the Kennedys and Richard Nixon, and legends Orson Welles and Federico Fellini.

By combining flexibility, resourcefulness, and determination, Wolper produced some of the landmark documentaries, films, miniseries, and entertainment events of the twentieth century. Producer is the engaging and inspiring memoir of a true pioneer.

DAVID L. WOLPER has worked in the television and film worlds for more than fifty years. He lives in Beverly Hills, California. DAVID FISHER has co-authored more than forty books, including such major memoirs as Gracie, A Love Story, by George Burns, and Been There, Done That by Eddie Fisher. He lives in Riverdale, New York.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 368 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 698 g (24,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Scribner, New York, New York, 2003 – ISBN 0-7432-3687-4

Profiles (Kenneth Tynan; selected and edited by Kathleen Tynan and Ernie Eban; preface by Simon Callew)

Tynan, Kenneth - Profiles‘Ken revered larger-than-life men and women of exceptional talent, craftmanship and wit,” writes Kathleen Tynan in her introduction. ‘If to those qualities was added the spice of a dangerous or eccentric temperament, he would rejoice.’

This volume is the first comprehensive collection of Tynan’s profiles. More than a third of the pieces have never appeared in book for before.

From his first tributes to Alexander Woollcott and Orson Welles, written for the school magazine in 1943, to his assessments of Ralph Richardson, Tom Stoppard and Louise Brooks for the New Yorker in the late seventies, Tynan wrote dazzlingly about those who gave, in his own phrase, ‘high-definition performances.’

Selected and edited by his biographer, Kathleen Tynan, with Ernie Eban, this collection brings together fifty of the profiles. It includes actors such as Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud: the directors George Cukor, Peter Brook and Joan Littlewood; writers such as Bertold Brecht, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams; comedians, critics, university friends and a legendary bullfighter.

Kenneth Tynan is considered one of the finest theater critics of this century. Between 1951 and 1963 he wrote drama criticism for the Spectator, Evening Standard, Observer and New Yorker. At the creation of the National Theatre, in the early 1960s, he became Literary Manager for Laurence Olivier, and his influence helped to mark Olivier’s reign as a classic era in British theater. All ten of his books are out of print. This is the first of four volumes intended to reintroduce his work.

Kenneth Tynan was born in 1927, and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. His chief reputation is as a drama critic, but he was also a theatrical producer (of shows ranging from Oh! Calcutta! to Soldiers) and, from 1963, Literary Manager – later Consultant – to the National Theatre in London. His books include He That Plays the King, Persona Grata, Alec Guinness, Bull Fever, Curtains, Tynan Right and Left, A View of the English Stage 1944-63, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping and Show People. Published scripts include The Quest for Corbett and Oh! Calcutta! Kenneth Tynan died in July 1980.

KATHLEEN TYNAN is a novelist, journalist and screenwriter. She is the author of The Summer Aeroplane, Agatha and The Life of Kenneth Tynan. She was married to Kenneth Tynan in 1967. She lives in London with her two children, Roxana and Matthew. ERNIE EBAN is a former investigative journalist for World in Action, a feature writer on The Village Voice, video critic of The Listener and consultant to The Open University on computer-based training. He is presently producing digital sounds documentaries on various subjects.

[Profiles on Alexander Woollcott, Orson Welles, W.C. Fields, James Cagney, Charles Laughton, Noel Coward, Alec Guinness, Katharine Hepburn, John Gielgud, Graham Greene, Peter Brook, Greta Garbo, Judy Holliday, Tennessee Williams, Beatrice Lillie, Arthur Miller, Bertolt Brecht, George Cukor, Lenny Bruce, Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich, Ralph Richardson, Mel Brooks, Louise Brooks]

Hardcover, dust jacket – 449 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 669 g (23,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Nick Hern Books / Walker Books Limited, London, 1989 – ISBN 1-85459-030-8

A Proper Job: The Autobiography of an Actor’s Actor (Brian Aherne)

Aherne, Brian - A Proper JobBrian Aherne’s autobiography is one written from the heart by an actor’s actor and a natural storyteller. A Proper Job is the story of a man who, against all his convictions, found his real life’s work on the stage and screen and so fulfilled his youthful dream “to know great men and beautiful women, to experience a great passion, to appreciate great art, and to walk on top of the world and see it all.”

When Brian Aherne was cast as Katharine Cornell’s leading man in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, his fame was assured, and it continued on to his starring role as Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady. But first there were many roles on the stage and in silent pictures in London. Then a tour of Australia as a leading player in a talented company managed and directed by the peppery Dion Boucicault. And finally Hollywood in the great era of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, and, over the years, more than thirty films with such stars as Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and Rosalind Russell.

The author fills his story with delightful anecdotes about the famous people he has known and with perspicacious comments about the always-changing worlds of theater and the movies, radio and television. He writes movingly of the great and tragic love of his life and of the friends who stood by him in adversity. He draws lively portraits of his family; of Louise, his theatrical mother; of William, his lonely, silent father. And he describes with enthusiasm his cross-country solo flights in the early days of aviation and his years of farming in the California desert.

Brian Aherne’s account of his successful and marvelously varied life has the vitality, homur and polish that mark the man. Surely it is one of the most literate, intelligent and charming books ever written about the stage and screen of a distinguished actor.

Brian Aherne and his wife divide their time between California, New York and Switzerland, where they live in a beautiful old château overlooking Lake Geneva. Much of this book was written there, interrupted occasionally by the descent of old friends and such amusing neighbors as Charlie and Oona Chaplin.

In this book’s Epilogie, Mr. Aherne writes: “I have never adverstised in trade papers, as many actors do, but if I did, I suppose it would have read: ‘(William) Brian de Lacy Aherne, professionally known as Brian Aherne, having signally failed to find a proper job in life, is still available to show business. Not arrogat or difficult anymore. Has wardrobe. Will travel.’”

Hardcover, dust jacket – 335 pp. – Dimensions 22 x 14,5 cm (8,7 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 713 g (25,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 1969

P.S. I Love You: Peter Sellers 1925-1980 (Michael Sellers, with Sarah and Victoria Sellers)

sellers-michael-ps-i-love-youPeter Sellers was one of the great comic geniuses of our time, one of the original Goons who together have had a decisive influence on British comedy since the war. There is usually a price to be paid for genius. And in Peter Sellers’ case it was paid, in part at least, by his family.

In this extraordinary book Michael Sellers, Peter’s only son, tells the story of his father’s life in a way that no-one else could tell it. Drawing on the experiences of his family, especially of his sister Sarah and his half-sister Victoria, he tells the story of the Peter Sellers that he knew. The result is a book of quite exceptional human interest. Sellers was unpredictable and quixotic in the extreme. As his moods changed from day to day, his family had to cope with the consequences; and the restless nature of his personality meant that his children in particular lived in a state of continual upheaval, moving from school to school, from home to home.

Peter Sellers was married four times – to Michael and Sarah’s mother, actress Anne Hayes, in the first place and subsequently to Britt Ekland, to Miranda Quarry and finally to Lynne Frederick. As Michael tells the story of each marriage a pattern emerges: Peter Sellers was always searching for something in marriage which he never found. Equally unfulfilling were his encounters with the several other women who appeared in his life – Sophia Loren, Liza Minnelli and Tessa Dahl among others.

Two things in particular emerge from this book: in spite of the turbulence of their relationship Michael loved his father to the end. Indeed, at the end of the book, as his father’s heart condition worsened, Michael describes how he grew closer to his father and was with him on the day he died. Secondly, in the last analysis Peter Sellers’ life was a tragic and sad one. Behind the mask of the comic who entertained and was loved by millions there was a lonely figure who ended his days disappointed and frustrated. This was the price he himself had to pay for his genius.

MICHAEL SELLERS is the only son of Peter Sellers. He and his sister Sarah were born of their father’s first marriage to the actress Anne Hayes. His half-sister, Victoria, is the only child of Peter Sellers’ second marriage, to Britt Ekland. Michael Sellers was born on 2nd April 1954 in London. Educated at numerous establishments he now lives in north London.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 238 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 545 g (19,2 oz) – PUBLISHER William Collins Sons & Co., Ltd., London, 1981 – ISBN 0-00-216649-6

Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller (Janet Leigh, with Christopher Nickens)

leigh-janet-psycho-behind-the-scenes-of-the-classic-thrillerOn the long-awaited day when Janet Leigh met Alfred Hitchcock at his home in Beverly Hills to discuss the filming of Psycho, he said to her: “I hired you because you are a talented actress. You are free to do whatever you wish with the role of Marion. I won’t interfere unless you are having trouble and require my guidance. Or if you are taking too big a slice of my pie [overacting] or if you are not taking enough of a slice of my pie. But there is a rule on the set – my camera is absolute. I tell the story through that lens, so I need you to move when my camera moves, stop when my camera stops. I’m confident you’ll be able to justify the motion. Should you have difficulty, however, I will be happy to work with you. But I will not change the timing of my camera.”

What followed, of course, was one of the extraordinary events in filmmaking history, a movie that astounded audiences around the world and continues to be – thirty-five years later – one of the most popular films of all time. The innovative cinematography, the unsettling musical score, and the most famous twenty-five seconds in motion picture history – the stabbing scene in the shower at the Bates Motel – have established Psycho as an enduring classic that forever links Oscar-nominated Janet Leigh to her role as Marion Crane and Anthony Perkins to his as Norman Bates.

JANET LEIGH is known around the world for her performances in such films as Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Bye Bye Birdie, Touch of Evil, and Little Women. She lives in Beverly Hills. CHRISTOPHER NICKENS is the author of biographies of Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Marlon Brando, and Natalie Wood. He lives in Los Angeles.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 197 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 457 g (16,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Pavilion Books Limited, London, 1995 – ISBN 1-85793-743-0

The Public Is Never Wrong: My Fifty Years in Motion Pictures (Adolph Zukor, with Dale Kramer)

zukor-adolph-the-public-is-never-wrongIn the entire history of films, from the days of the penny arcades and nickelodeons to the 3-D epics of tomorrow, the name of Adolph Zukor stands with the highest, as pioneer, mentor of many famous stars, and head of many years of the great Paramount Studios. In fact, Adolph Zukor’s career sums up so well all that is most characteristic and admirable in this peculiarly American field that Variety has tabbed him ‘Mr. Motion Pictures.’

Born in a little Hungarian village of Ricse 80 years ago, young Adolph came to America when he was 15, and with such men as Marcus Loew, Jesse L. Lasky, and Samuel Goldwyn was instrumental in putting the infant industry on a firm business basis. Forty years ago he originated the feature-length movie with his ‘Famous Players in Famous Plays.’

The first of the great theatrical stars who deigned to grace the then despised screen was Sarah Bernhardt. Her historic Queen Elizabeth was made in France, and Mr. Zukor helped finance it and distributed it in America at a time when the industry still believed that audiences would not sit through more than one or two reels.

Then with the aid of Daniel Frohman he brought to the screen such stage stars as Minnie Maddern Fiske, Lillie Langtry, John Barrymore, James K. Hackett, and many others. He personally thrashed out with them the exasperating problem of transferring their art to a new medium.

Soon he realized that the public wanted to choose its own movie idols. He launched Mary Pickford as a star and with the sensitive skill of a master impresario guided her to the heights as America’s Sweetheart. Other celebrated stars whom Adolph Zukor recalls in his warm and human memoirs include Marguerite Clark, William S. Hart, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Pola Negri, Rudolph Valentino, Norma Talmadge, Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow, Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and scores of others.

Adolph Zukor always stayed in the background. But he knew intimately the stars he made – and knew more about them than they might have dreamed. All his knowledge is here in this outstanding autobiography.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 310 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 582 g (20,5 oz) – PUBLISHER G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, New York, 1953

Pure Goldie: The Life and Career of Goldie Hawn (Marc Shapiro)

Shapiro, Marc - Pure Goldie“The reality is that I’ve never been taken seriously,” Hawn conceded. “Even after the success of Private Benjamin, I was taken seriously in a business sense but, even at that point, everyone still wanted to see me in a certain way. What I’ve learned is that people need to see in me what they want to see. So I finally realized that being taken seriously is only a small part of it and that making people laugh and be happy can be serious in a whole different way.” – From Pure Goldie.

Goldie Hawn has proved to be a classic Hollywood success story. In over three decades in show business, the farmer Laugh-In go-go girl has survived typecasting, an up-and-down career, and a turbulent personal life to finally emerge as one of the most influential and powerful actor-producer-directors in Hollywood. She is also a first-class mom with two sons and a beautiful blond daughter who appears to be following in Goldie’s footsteps.

But it has not been a smooth ride to the top. Goldie started out as an awkward schoolgirl in Maryland who had an ambition other than “to marry a dentist, run a dance school, and have lots of children.” She soon was drawn to seek a less secure but more exciting show business career that began in the wilds of New York City, where she danced in cages in go-go clubs while men exposed themselves in front of her. From there she moved to Hollywood and soon got a role in a short-lived sitcom before getting her big break on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

Pure Goldie chronicles Hawn’s troubled adolescence, her days of struggling in sleazy bars and clubs, her meteoric rise from obscurity to Academy Award-winner, her two failed marriages, her conflict between career and family, her role in the almost-fatal car accident of co-star and friend Eileen Brennan, and her fairy-tale romance with Kurt Russell. It also goes behind the scenes on her many films, including Cactus Flower, The Sugarland Express, Private Benjamin, and Everybody Says I Love you. Her charming (and career-boosting) role in The First Wives’ Club was one that Goldie had, at first, tried to get out of doing, but she ended up enjoying the set’s “pajama party” atmosphere with co-stars Bette Midler and Diane Keaton.

In her first marriage, to Gus Trikonis, Goldie espoused “open marriage.” During her second marriage, to entertainer Bill Hudson. Goldie was reportedly seeing someone else – French actor and playboy Yves Renier. And once she started living with Kurt Russell, the public heard Hudson complain about how difficult his ex-wife made it for him to see his own children. On the other hand, Goldie has occasionally taken time off from stardom to focus on family and spiritual renewal. And always more than just a “blond bubblehead,” she has committed herself to film projects she feels make important social statements.

Presenting many different public personas. the real Goldie has mystified everyone. Now, through the comments of Hawn herself and those who have played central roles in the drama that is her life, it is possible to get a full picture of what makes this golden girl tick.

When asked, upon turning fifty, whether she wished she could play the ingenue one more time, Goldie responded, “Are you nuts? I love this stage of my life. Fifty is just a number for me. Turning fifty was just amazing.” Still beautiful, still charming, and ever active in film, whether in front of or behind the camera, Goldie is a role model for her generation as well as for younger women aspiring to match her success, likability, and grace.

MARC SHAPIRO is a veteran entertainment journalist who has written biographies on Gillian Anderson, Lucy Lawless. and the rock group the Eagles. He lives in Pasadena, California.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 210 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 16 cm (9,3 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 502 g (17,7 oz) – PUBLISHER Carol Publishing Group, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1998 – ISBN 1-55972-467-6

The Quality of Mercy: An Autobiography (Mercedes McCambridge)

McCambridge, Mercedes - The Quality of MercyThis is not a typical Hollywood memoir. It is a book of remarkable language and depth of perception, written by a born story-teller who happens to have a distinguished career in the movies, theater, and radio.

The enchanting three-dimensional heroes and villains who have peopled Mercedes McCambridge’s life seem ready to step off the page: Adlai Stevenson, about whom she said, “There are two kinds of people in this world – Adlai Stevenson and everyone else!” and the great Orson Welles, who said about her that she was “the world’s greatest living radio actress.” Here is the tale of Mercy’s fixing up Rita Hayworth with a French waiter, passed off as a gentleman farmer… a moving tribute to the late James Dean: “A gifted, blazing cornet who left the world as suddenly as he came”… recollections of the advice from Billy Rose (“Never go anywhere unless someone else pays for it”) or from Marlene Dietrich, who dressed Mercy on the night of the Oscars while clucking, “Darlinck, you don’t haff to look azz bad azz you do!”

A mischievous Mercy announces, “I have always had a lot more trouble with my truths than with my deceits… I’m very good at it (lying)… I lied to the Pope!” Or, insulted by the cattle-call audition for All the King’s Men: “I retorted, mincingly, ‘No, Sir, I am not Miss McComber (which can be said mincingly to some effect, so I said it again), I am not Miss McComber, and I want to tell you that if you were planning to film The Last Supper with the original cast, I wouldn’t be interested…”

Then there’s the Mercy who speaks straight to your soul, words you’ll never forget. Of a miserably guilty period in her Catholic girlhood: “At night I would close the covers around me like a big round loaf of bread with me in the middle of it. l’d try to whisper my sins to God! It made me very, very unhappy.”

For a time, Mercy lived in a dream. Sundays in Bel Air with her elegant husband she had “music, mums, Adonis, Pacific Ocean, escargots, martinis, good  wine, The New York Times, and the top of the world for my oyster.” Soon she was living the nightmare of alcoholism: “The last thing in the world I wanted to do was drink the wine vinegar. I tried.” It was 6:00 A.M., and she was immediately, violently ill. “I shouted, ‘Oh, God, God, is this really me?’ And of course, it was. It was me.”

The Quality of Mercy takes you on a great seesaw of human experience: a Catholic girlhood, early stardom, motherhood, politics, alcoholism and recovery, romance, and Hollywood. Freewheeling, always wise and honest, often astonishingly beautiful, Mercy’s story is the stuff of superb autobiography.

MERCEDES McCAMBRIDGE won the Academy Award for All the King’s Men and has been nominated twice more. Today she remains immersed in theater, films, and television. Among her films have been Giant, Suddenly Last Summer, A Touch of Evil, A Farewell to Arms, and the demon’s voice in The Exorcist. She is the president of the Livengrin Foundation, an alcoholic rehabilitation facility.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 245 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (9,5 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 619 g (21,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Times Books, New York, New York, 1981 – ISBN 0-8129-0945-3

Que ça reste entre nous (Francis Veber)

scannen0188“Je suis né à Neuilly, d’un père juif et d’une mère arménienne. Deux génocides, deux Murs des lamentations dans le sang, tout pour faire un comique.”

Dès la première phrase de ces Mémoires, le ton est donné. C’est celui d’un homme qui, pour reprendre I’expression de son ami Depardieu, “porte lourd,” et qui a la politesse d’en parler avec légèreté.

Héritier d’une lignée d’écrivains, dont l’un des plus célèbres fut son grand-oncle Tristan Bernard, Francis Veber passa son enfance entre son père, homme de lettres lui aussi, brisé par la guerre, et une mère qui pondait à la chaîne des romans à l’eau de rose pour nourrir à grand-peine toute la famille. Leur échec professionnel n’était pas encourageant pour Francis qui rêvait d’écrire, d’autant qu’ils lui répétaient sans arrêt que c’était le pire métier du monde. Il les écouta et tenta pendant des années d’échapper à son destin.

Il fit quatre ans de médecine, deux ans de licence de sciences et trois ans de journalisme, autant de disciplines qu’il traversera avec la même distraction, la même maladresse que Pierre Richard dans les scénarios qu’il allait plus tard écrire pour lui. Et quand, àprès de trente ans, viré de son journal, il se retrouva à la rue, il se lança enfin dans ce pour quoi il était fait: raconter des histoires.

Ces mémoires ne sont pas seulement des anecdotes de cinéma ou de théâtre. Ni des portraits des “monstres sacrés” qu’il a rencontrés, Lino Ventura, Jacques Brel, Gérard Depardieu, Pierre Richard, Dany Boon… Ils nous parlent d’un homme qui, dans sa vie personnelle comme dans sa vie professionnelle, a fait un long parcours du combattant pour nous offrir cette denrée si mystérieuse et si fragile: le rire.

Dramaturge, dialoguiste, scénariste (entre autres du Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire, de L’Emmerdeur, de La Cage aux folles…), FRANCIS VEBER est passé à la réalisation avec Le Jouet (1976). Après le succès de La Chèvre (1981), il réalise notamment Les Compères, Les Fugitifs, Le Placard et le cultissime Dîner de cons. Il prépare en ce moment une cinquième pièce de théâtre, intitulée provisoirement Cher Trésor.

Softcover – 324 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 15 cm (9,5 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 554 g (19,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Éditions Robert Laffont, S.A., Paris, 2010 – ISBN 978-2-221-11444-5

Quinlan’s Illustrated Directory of Film Character Actors (David Quinlan)

quinlan-david-quinlans-illustrated-drectory-of-film-character-actorsNow expanded and updated to include more than eleven hundred entries, Quinlan’s Character Actors remains the number one information source on those film faces that everyone knows… but can’t quite put a name to. Not just the good, the bad and the ugly, but the fat, the foolish, the thin, the gloomy, the cheerful and the pompous as well.

Here are the actors and actresses who walked into a film, stole a scene and walked out again: R.G. Armstrong, Elisha Cook, Jack Elam, Elsa Lanchester, John Lithgow, Hattie McDaniel and Thelma Ritter from Hollywood, Dora Bryan, Joyce Grenfell, Sam Kydd and John le Mesurier from the British studios, Klaus Kinski and Michel Lonsdale from the continent. Other character actors – Martin Balsam, Pete Postlethwaite or Harry Dean Stanton for example – have established themselves in roles almost as demanding as the stars they threaten to upstage.

Many of the performers featured come from cinema’s golden age, but contemporary players such as Brenda Fricker, J.T. Walsh and Dianne Wiest are featured as well – though in the modern film world, it’s sometimes hard to tell the character actors from the leading players. If the name and face aren’t here, chances are they can be found in the essential companion volume, Quinlan’s Illustrated Directory of Film Stars.

DAVID QUINLAN is the author of five standard reference works on cinema history. Meticulous in his research, Quinlan combines a unique depth of film scholarship with a love of the medium and a highly readable style. His intimate knowledge of the stars, many of whom he has interviewed, adds immeasurably to the flavour and authenticity of his books. A film journalist for over 25 years, David Quinlan has contributed to publications such as Films Illustrated, Photoplay, Films and Filming and Film Review. Since 1972 he has been film writer for TV Times Magazine.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 384 pp. – Dimensions 25,5 x 18 cm (10 x 7,1 inch) – Weight 1.215 g (42,9 oz) – PUBLISHER B.T. Batsford, Ltd., London, 1995 – ISBN 0-7134-7040-2

Quinlan’s Illustrated Directory of Film Stars (David Quinlan)

quinlan-david-quinlans-illustrated-directory-of-film-starsNow established as the essential filmgoer’s companion, this thoroughly revised and updated edition of Quinlan’s Illustrated Directory of Film Stars brings together the complete career histories of over 1,700 of the world’s greatest stars. From Abbott and Costello to Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the best-known figures from Britain, Hollywood and the continent are joined by the current biggest, brightest and most interesting stars of the cinema.

Some 70 new names and numerous illustrations have been added since the second edition and existing entries have been updated for today’s newly-expanding cinema audiences: for each and every star there is a concise biography and complete filmography of all film, TV and guest appearances – triumphs and disasters included – down to voice-over narrations, films directed and Oscar and Academy Award nominations. Each entry is accompanied by a portrait of the star concerned.

With a wealth of research and writing experience on the cinema, David Quinlan has provided the most comprehensive up-to-date reference book on the stars available. An unrivalled source of dates, facts and titles, Quinlan’s Illustrated Directory of Film Stars is at once authoritative research and absorbing browsing material for all film enthusiasts.

DAVID QUINLAN has been a film journalist for over 25 years and is the author of four reference books on the cinema, all of which have become standard works. He was born in London at a time when cinemas still bare such grandiose names as Plaz, Ritz, Rivoli, Queen’s Hall, Rex, Splendid and Savoy and a week’s judicious film shopping could produce four or five juicy double-bills. He has contributed to publications such as Films Illustrated, Photoplay, Films and Filming and Film Review. Since 1972 he has been film writer for TV Times Magazine.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 495 pp. – Dimensions 25,5 x 18 cm (10 x 7,1 inch) – Weight 1.560 g (55 oz) – PUBLISHER B.T. Batsford, Ltd., London, 1991 – ISBN 0-7134-6324-4

A Quite Remarkable Father: A Biography of Leslie Howard By His Daughter (Leslie Ruth Howard)

howard-leslie-ruth-a-quite-remarkable-fatherIt is sixteen years since Leslie Howard’s tragic death, and in that time his name has become a legend. This biography, written by his daughter, whose relationship with her father was very close, brings the personality of Leslie Howard vividly back to life. It tells the story not merely of a stage and screen idol, gifted with unusual charm and good looks, but of an actor of consummate talent and skill. He is presented as a complete person: a man with foibles and some failings, but one who always inspired deep affection, and who was, above all, devoted to his family and rooted in his home life.

Besides describing in delightful detail the daily life of the Howards, either at their house, Stowe Maries, in Surrey, or in America, with their horses and dogs and their ordinary family activities, the book recounts, with no less care, the progress of Leslie Howard’s career. We see him first as an unhappy clerk in a bank, delightedly escaping to fight in the 1914 War, meeting his wife, Ruth, and marrying in such a rush before embarkation that he forgot to buy a ring. Then, after the war, came his rapid progress – very much to his own surprise – from being a young playwright and producer of local dramatics, to being a highly praised male lead, and finally one of the finest actors in England and America, the most admired star on either side of the Atlantic.

All his well-remembered parts are discussed in this book, and the reader is given not the conventional box-office and press-report descriptions but the real details of success or disappointment, as they were known to the actors and producers themselves; they are all here, Outward Bound, The Green Hat, Her Cardboard Lover, Escape, Berkeley Square, By Candle-Light, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Petrified Forest, Hamlet, Pygmalion, Gone With the Wind, and many others.

The story of Leslie Howard’s career is not only dazzling in itself, it is a very large part of the stage and screen history of the twenties and thirties. Perhaps the biggest part that he played, throughout those twenty wonderful years, was in enhancing the reputation of English and American films.

LESLIE RUTH HOWARD was born in 1924, and now lives in Toronto, Canada. She was married at 17 years of age to Robert Dale-Harris, a chartered accountant, and they now have three children. She has been President and Chairman of various Women’s Committees, concerning such varied activities as Opera and Penal Reform. This is Mrs Dale-Harris’s first full-length book; her many interests include riding, painting and sketching.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 280 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 523 g (18,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Longmans, Green & Co, Ltd., London, 1960

Radical Hollywood: The Untold Story Behind America’s Favorite Movies (Paul Buhle, Dave Wagner)

buhle-paul-radical-hollywoodIn Radical Hollywood, the first comprehensive book about the Hollywood Left, Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner describe the vibrant community in Hollywood that helped create the classics of American film, from the dawn of sound films to the early 1950s. The authors trace the political and personal lives of the screenwriters, actors, directors, and producers on the Left, along with the often decisive impact of their work upon American film’s Golden Age. Full of rich anecdotes, biographical detail, and explorations of movies well-known, unjustly forgotten, and delightfully bizarre, this is a highly readable affectionate history that invites a new appreciation of our most distinctly American cultural creations.

Featuring an insert of rare film stills, Radical Hollywood relates the story-behind-the-story of such famous films as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, and Woman of the Year, alongside such campy items as The Adventures of Captain Marvel, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, and Kiss the Blood Off My Hands. Genres like crime and women’s films, family cinema, war, animation and, above all, film noir are reconsidered here, with fresh evidence drawn from interviews and recent archival breakthroughs. Throughout, the authors tell the story of film finding its place in our culture as not just entertainment but a serious medium capable of conveying deep thrusts to a mass audience: morality, justice, and – significant for left-wing contributors – injustice. A long-awaited rediscovery of an overlooked intellectual-artistic milieu. Radical Hollywood will interest all film-lovers and devotees of political culture.

PAUL BUHLE is a lecturer in the American civilization department at Brown University. He co-authored Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist and A Very Dangerous Citizen. He is the founder of the Oral History of the American Left archive at New York University and co-editor of The Encyclopedia of the American Left. He writes for the Nation, the Guardian, and the Times Higher Education Supplement, among others. DAVE WAGNER, a journalist and critic who lives in Tempe, Arizona, is co-author of A Very Dangerous Citizen. He has written for the film journals Cineaste and Filmhäftet (Sweden) and contributed to Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist. He was a city editor and editorial page editor at several papers in the Midwest before serving as political editor at the Arizona Republic from 1993 until 2000.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 460 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 852 g (30,1 oz) – PUBLISHER The New Press, New York, New York, 2002 – ISBN 1-56584-718-0

Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten (Bernard F. Dick)

dick-richard-f-radical-innocenceOn October 30, 1947, the House Committee on Un-American Activities concluded the first round of hearings on the alleged Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry. Hollywood was ordered to “clean its own house,” and ten witnesses who had refused to answer questions about their membership in the Screen Writers Guild and the Communist Party were recommended for, and eventually received, contempt citations.

By 1950 the Hollywood Ten, as they quickly became known, were serving prison sentences ranging from six months to a year. Since that time the group, which included writers, directors, and a producer, have been either dismissed as industry hacks or eulogized as Cold War martyrs, but never have they been discussed in terms of their profession.

Radical Innocence is the first attempt to focus attention where it belongs – not on the politics of the Ten but on their work: their short stories, novels, plays, criticism, poems, memoirs, and, of course, films. Drawing on myriad sources, including archival materials, unpublished manuscripts, black-market scripts, screenplay drafts, letters, and personal interviews, Bernard F. Dick describes the Ten’s survival tactics during the blacklisting and analyzes the contribution of these ten individuals not only to film but also to the arts.

Although basically a work of criticism, Radical Innocence captures the personality of each of the Ten – the arrogant Herbert J. Biberman, the witty Ring Lardner, Jr., the patriarchal Samuel Ornitz, the compassionate Adrian Scott, the feisty Dalton Trumbo. Dick’s latest book will interest anyone concerned with the plight of the artist struggling against the odds.

BERNARD F. DICK is professor of English and comparative literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the author of several film studies, including The Star-Spangled Screen: The American World War II Film.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 460 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 852 g (30,1 oz) – PUBLISHER The New Press, New York, New York, 2002 – ISBN 0-8131-1660-0

The Ragman’s Son: An Autobiography (Kirk Douglas)

Douglas, Kirk - The Ragman's SonMost autobiographies by movie stars are ghostwritten and bland. This one is neither. In his powerful, angry and passionate book, Kirk Douglas tells the story of his life, in his own words, holding back nothing.

Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, the son of an illiterate immigrant Russian-Jewish ragman, in Amsterdam, New York, Kirk Douglas paints a searing and unforgettable picture of an almost Dickensian childhood of brutal poverty – the background that has dominated his life as an actor, father and man, fueling the great creative anger that has added such depth to his performances.

With profound and moving insight, he shows how the determination to overcome that childhood and succeed on his own terms led him to take on roles that most stars of his magnitude would never have risked – Van Gogh, in Lust for Life; Spartacus the slave; the courageous, conscience-stricken Colonel Dax, in Paths of Glory; the agonized boxer Midge, in Champion, to name only a few – and to fight the studios and the Hollywood establishment for the right to control and produce his own movies, long before it was common practice for stars to do so.

Seldom has anybody written so poignantly about the hopes and the disappointments of an acting career – or about what it’s like to support yourself by waiting on tables, working in a steel mill, selling haberdashery, as Kirk Douglas did, in order to survive…

Kirk Douglas describes with unflinching honesty his long, hard struggle to become an actor: his training, his fledgling years on Broadway (interrupted by war service), the sudden break that brought him to Hollywood in 1945 for the screen test that would change his life.

He recreates, with wonderful anecdotes and stories, more than forty years of Hollywood (from the glitz of stardom to the breaking of the blacklist), describing, in fascinating insider’s detail, the making of his most memorable pictures – as well as his epic fights with studio bosses like Jack L. Warner and Harry Cohn, and with such directors as Stanley Kubrick.

Above all, he tells with astonishing frankness – and often with great tenderness – of the women in his life, including Joan Crawford (“All by herself she was equivalent to six sisters and my mother”), Rita Hayworth (who complained to him, “Men go to bed with Gilda, but they wake up with me”), Gene Tierney (“She left the window to her bedroom open, and I would climb in”), Marlene Dietrich (“She seemed to love you more if you were not well; when you became strong and healthy, she loved you less”), and his tragicomic romance with Pier Angeli… He writes with deep love of his long and happy marriage to his wife Anne, and of his children, as well as the friendships of a lifetime.

With a cast of characters that reads like a Who’s Who of the theater and movie business (including Dalton Trumbo, Billy Wilder, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Laurence Olivier…), The Ragman’s Son is that rare autobiography which reads like a novel, yet radiates truth.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 510 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 1.005 g (35,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Simon and Schuster, New York, New York, 1988 – ISBN 0-671-63717-7

The Ragman’s Son: An Autobiography (Kirk Douglas)

scannen0334Kirk Douglas’s skilful and passionate autobiography charts the rise of the son of an illiterate Russian-Jewish ragman who became a Hollywood legend. He tells of a childhood of brutal poverty, and the father whose silent, brooding presence had a profound effect on his future. It reveals too the determination that led him to take on astonishingly diverse roles that few stars would have risked – Spartacus the slave, the mad painter Van Gogh and the conscience-stricken colonel in Paths Of Glory. With unflinching humor and frankness he reveals the inside story of more than forty years of stardom, alongside Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Laurence OIivier – and his relationships with movie goddesses like Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich. Rich in unforgettable anecdotes that capture the true spirit of the golden years of Hollywood and Broadway, this is an autobiography that reads like a novel, narrated by the unmistakable voice of a true superstar.

Most autobiographies by movie stars are ghost-written and bland. This one is neither. In his powerful. angry and passionate book, Kirk Douglas tells the story of his life in his own words, holding back nothing. Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, the son of an illiterate immigrant Russian-Jewish ragman, in Amsterdam, New York, Douglas paints a searing and unforgettable picture of an almost Dickensian childhood of brutal poverty – the background that has dominated his life as an actor, father and man, fuelling the great creative anger that has added such depth in his performances.

With profound and moving insight, he shows how the determination to overcome that childhood and succeed on his own terms led him to take on roles that most stars of his magnitude would never have risked, and to light the studios and the Hollywood establishment for the right to control and produce his own movies, long before it was common practice for stars to do so. Kirk Douglas describes his long, hard struggle to become an actor, his training, his fledgling years on Broadway (interrupted by war service), the sudden break that brought him to Hollywood in 1945 for the screen test that would change his life.

He re-creates with wonderful anecdotes and stories more than forty years of Hollywood from the glitz of stardom to the breaking of the blacklist, describing, in fascinating insider’s detail, the making of his memorable pictures – as well as his epic fights with studio bosses like Jack L. Warner and Harry Cohn, and with such directors as Stanley Kubrick.

Softcover – 510 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 10,5 cm (6,9 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 307 g (10,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Pan Books, London, 1988 – ISBN 0-330-31039-9

Rainbow: The Stormy Life of Judy Garland (Christopher Finch)

finch-christopher-rainbow-the-stormy-life-of-judy-garlandJudy Garland was perhaps the greatest entertainer of her generation. Her extraordinary talents made her much more than just another Hollywood star, but beyond that she turned her whole life into a performance – a fantastic charade far more spectacular than any of her screen roles, With the help of eager MGM publicists, she invented a past for herself that had only the loosest of connections with reality. Then she did her damndest to live up to it.

Christopher Finch has probed beneath the surface of the self-generated myths and discovered a story even more remarkable than the legend. Besides interviewing many of those closest to Judy – her only surviving sister, family friends, dozens of Hollywood personalities – he has dug into the archives of the small towns where Judy grew up and uncovered many facts, never previously published, which throw a new light on her development and her often misrepresented early career as Baby Frances Gumm.

Finch sets the record straight about Judy’s much maligned mother and explores her relationship with her bisexual father. He details how Judy came to audition for Louis B. Mayer, who sometimes referred to her as “my little hunchback.” He tells how she was chosen to play the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and how – when her career seemed on the point of collapse – she made comeback after comeback.

His compelling text is enhanced by a collection of rare photographs that includes never-before-published candid shots of Judy by veteran Hollywood photographer Bob Willoughby, as well as snapshots of the Gumm family that have been hidden for almost fifty years. Will Hopkins, the designer, has blended these pictures into the single most exciting display of Judy Garland graphics ever assembled.

This is the story of a woman who lived, literally, on her wits. Known as the funniest woman in show business, Judy often had nothing but her sense of humor to stave off disappointment and despair. Drugs, insomnia, weight problems and suicide attempts took their toll, but  somehow she found the strength to rise above all this, again and again. This book is a record of that struggle and a testimony to her great gifts and the triumph of her spirit.

British by birth, CHRISTOPHER FINCH has been resident in the United States since 1968. Before turning his attention to Hollywood with the best-selling The Art of Walt Disney (Abrams, 1973), he had written extensively on art and popular culture and was, for a time, a curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. This is his fifth book. He has contributed articles to many publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has also written for television. WILL HOPKINS is an editorial-design consultant in New York and a former art director of Look magazine. He recently designed the Masters of Contemporary Photography series (Crowell, 1974). He has been a lecturer at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, where he co-chairs the annual Minnesota Symposium on Visual Communication.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 255 pp., index – Dimensions 27,5 x 24 cm (10,8 x 9,5 inch) – Weight 1.205 g (42,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, New York, New York, 1975 – ISBN 0-448-11731-2

Raising Caine: The Authorized Biography of Michael Caine (William Hall)

hall-william-raising-caine“To most people I was an overnight discovery. They all forgot what an awful long dark night it was.” – Michael Caine.

He was born Maurice Micklewhite, a cockney lad with blond curls, piercing blue eyes and a determination to beat the system. He was going to be an actor.

He lived on hope and hell-raising, boozing with Peter O’Toole and Albert Finney, sharing a flat, cash and birds with Terence Stamp. He made regular appearances on the cutting-room floor, played innumerable walk-on parts, until Zulu.

After that, Mr. Sex-in-Specs was box-office. Forty films later the millionaire connoisseur and gourmet is still the cheeky cockney who knows the power of his “ooded cobra” look, his superbly timed flat delivery and his gritty realism.

Softcover – 344 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 11 cm (6,9 x 4,3 inch) – Weight 222 g (7,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Arrow Books, Ltd., London, 1982 – ISBN 0-09-929200-9

Ramon Novarro: A Biography of the Silent Film Idol, 1899-1968; With a Filmography (Allen R. Ellenberger; foreword by Kevin Brownlow)

ellenberger-allan-r-ramon-novarro“When Rudolph Valentino left Metro, his mentor, director Rex Ingram, told the front office that he would replace him with a new actor whom he would also raise to stardom. And, against the odds, he did so. Ramon Samaniegos may not have aroused the intense passion incited by Valentino, but as Ramon Novarro he ran him very close. As Allan Ellenberger points out, he had played an extra role in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921). Many myths have grown up about their friendship and it is reassuring to have such an authoritative account as this. When I was researching the silent era in Hollywood in the 1960s, I made several attempts to meet Ramon Novarro – either he was away, or I was double booked. We did exchange a few letters, and a friend, Philip Jenkinson, succeeded in filming an interview with him for the BBC. During my stay in Hollywood, I got to know Alice Terry, Rex Ingram’s widow and a close friend of Novarro’s. I was impressed by the fact that she regarded him as the best actor of all in the silent era. When you think of the competition, that is a memorable statement. If only more of his work had survived! Novarro had a remarkable career – his experiences on Ben-Hur alone would provide a novel – and he deserves this sympathetic and well-researched biography.

The year 1999 is Novarro’s centenary. He is being properly celebrated on one side of the Atlantic, at any rate. Ernst Lubitsch’s film The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) is being presented with full orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London; Britain’s National Film Theater is also mounting a retrospective. This book should arouse an even greater fascination in the United States.” – The Foreword by Kevin Brownlow.

Ramon Novarro was Ben-Hur to moviegoers long before Charlton Heston. The 1926 film made Novarro – known as “Ravishing Ramon” – one of Hollywood’s most beloved silent film idols. His bright and varied career, spanning silents, talkies, the concert stage, theater, and television, came to a dark conclusion with his murder in 1968.

This comprehensive work details both the private and public aspects of Novarro’s life to return him to his rightful place in film history. Includes a complete filmography and numerous photos.

ALLEN R. ELLENBERGER is the author of numerous books about the cinema. He has written for such publications as Classic Images and Films of the Golden Age. He lives in Hollywood, California.

Hardcover – 260 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15 cm (9,3 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 555 g (19,6 oz) – PUBLISHER McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1999 – ISBN 0-7864-0099-4

Raquel Welch: Sex Symbol to Superstar (Peter Haining)

haining-peter-raquel-welch‘Raquel is raw, unconquerable, antediluvian woman. She dwells on the dark side of every man’s Mittyesque moon.’ – Time

Raquel Welch has been called the most beautiful woman in the world and the Sex Symbol of the seventies who took over where Marilyn Monroe tragically left off. Born in Chicago in 1940, Raquel grew from being an awkward and not very pretty schoolgirl, into a beauty contest-winning teenager, a fashion model, and then the star of a string of sexploitation movies such as One Million Years B.C., The Oldest Profession, and 100 Rifles.

As her staggering beauty made her world famous – not to mention the subject of thousands of pin-ups and a record eighty magazine covers in one year – Raquel tried to prove herself an actress as well by appearing in pictures such as The Magic Christian, the controversial Myra Breckenridge and the enormously popular The Three Musketeers. For a girl tagged with the label Sex Symbol, it has not been easy for Raquel to prove that she is anything other than ‘a dumb broad.’ But by her persistence and the gradual recognition among critics that she can act, she has at last made the breakthrough – in particular with her triumphant appearance on Broadway in 1983 in the hit musical Woman of the Year (in which she took over the lead role from Lauren Bacall), and the news that she is to play opposite Dudley Moore in Milos Forman’s screen version of Shaffer’s award-winning play Amadeus.

This is the first book to tell the story of her life. Complete with a full and irresistible selection of photographs, it will fascinate everyone who has ever been intrigued by the phenomenon that is Raquel Welch.

PETER HAINING is a former journalist and publishing executive with over fifty books to his credit. His work has appeared in a dozen languages and has covered such diverse subjects as the supernatural, ancient mysteries, penny-dreadfuls, ballooning and bullfighting. He has published two works on Sherlock Holmes, including the highly praised Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which collected together a number of lost tales of the Great Detective. His most recent works are The Legend of Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot and the best-selling Doctor Who: A Celebration, all published by W.H. Allen.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 224 pp., index – Dimensions 25 x 19,5 cm (9,8 x 7,7 inch) – Weight 836 g (29,5 oz) – PUBLISHER W.H. Allen & Co., Ltd., London, 1984 – ISBN 0 491 03252 8

Rare Birds: An American Family (Dan Bessie)

Autographed copy Dan Bessie

Bessie, Dan - Rare BirdsWhat does a writer do when he’s got a family that includes a blacklisted member of the Hollywood Ten, the brains behind Tony the Tiger and the Marlboro Man, a trio of gay puppeteers, the world’s leading birdwatcher, sixties hippies, a Dutch stowaway who served in an all-black regiment during the American Civil War, a mother of unusual compassion and understanding, and a convicted murderer? He tells their stories and secrets, illuminating 150 years of American life along the way.

Dan Bessie begins the journey through his family history with his great-grandfather in the cargo hold of a ship bound for New York on the storm-tossed Atlantic. What follows are stories of his grandfather’s various entrepreneurial schemes (including a folding butter box business), a grandmother who was voted “New York’s Prettiest Shop Girl” (and who resisted the recruitment efforts of various city madams), and his uncle Harry’s Turnabout Theater in Los Angeles (a renowned puppet theater drawing patrons as diverse as Shirley Temple, Ray Bradbury, and Albert Einstein).

Through inherited journals and literary effects, Bessie comes to a new understanding of his father, Alvah. An actor and writer, he fought in the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. When he returned to the States, he headed to the Warner back lots to begin a screenwriting career. But as congress began investigating radicals in the film industry, Alvah was blacklisted for his Communist sympathies and was soon sent to jail as one of the Hollywood Ten.

His grandmother’s cousin, Sidney Lenz, wrote Lenz on Bridge, a classic guide to the game of contract bridge. Bessie describes what was billed as the Bridge Battle of the Century, a 1931 match between Lenz and an upstart opponent that was covered by journalists from all over the world. Bessie’s brother-in-law Wes Wilson designed rock and roll posters for the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco during the 1960s, living a counterculture existence vastly different from the bridge-mad Depression Era.

Cousin Michael Bessie established his niche in publishing, co-founding the Atheneum Press and shaping books by people such as Anwar Sadat, Edward Albee, and Aldous Huxley. With an equally impressive career, Uncle Leo built the country’s fifth largest advertising agency. Working 364 days a year, he had a passion for putting words and images together. A passion of a different sort led cousin Phoebe Snetsinger to travel all over the globe; during her lifetime she sighted 8,400 different birds – nearly 85 percent of the species known to exist.

Rare Birds celebrates the colorful diversity of a remarkable and accomplished family. While their choices and professions run the gamut of the American experience in the twentieth century, the history of the nation can be traced in their lives as Bessie’s passionate birds of a feather gather to sing their unique song across decades and generations.

DAN BESSIE has been a film writer, director, producer, and animator since apprenticing on Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM in 1956.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 287 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 648 g (22,9 oz) – PUBLISHER The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 2001 – ISBN 0-8131-2179-5

Rasputin in Hollywood (Sir David Napley)

napley-sir-david-rasputin-in-hollywoodRasputin’s bloody murder in 1916 was the starting point for one of the strangest of courtroom dramas. Rasputin’s influence on Tsar Nicholas II through the Tsarina Alexandra made him powerful enemies at court. His assassination, clumsily contrived but brutally effective, was the subject almost two decades later of a Hollywood epic starring the Barrymore family called Rasputin the Mad Monk.

Amongst those involved in the murder was Prince Youssoupoff. His wife, Princess Irina Alexandrovna, a niece of the murdered Tsar, accused MGM of libel and the ensuing battle made legal history. Among the many points debated were whether a woman could be defamed for being depicted as a rape victim and did the new ‘talkies’ risk slander or libel? In the courtroom itself the great Sir Patrick Hastings, at the height of his power, acted for the Youssoupoffs while Sir William Jowitt represented MGM.

Sir David Napley, himself a distinguished lawyer, vividly describes not only this cause célèbre which made headlines in 1934 and still intrigues and fascinates today, but the background, both in Russia as the murder was contrived and in Hollywood as the film was produced.

SIR DAVID NAPLEY, one of Britain’s best known solicitors, is a past President of the Law Society and has been in the legal profession for more than fifty years. He appears regularly on television and radio programmes connected with the law, and is the author of numerous books including The Technique of Persuasion and his autobiography entitled Not Without Prejudice. His Murder at the Villa Madeira and The Camden Town Murder were published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the series entitled Great Murder Trials of the Twentieth Century.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 212 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 513 g (18,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1989 – ISBN 0-297-81038-3

Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey & the Last Great Showbiz Party (Shawn Levy)

levy-shawn-rat-pack-confidentialJanuary 1960. Las Vegas is at its smooth, cool peak. The Strip is a jet-age theme park, and the greatest singer in the history of American popular music summons a group of friends there to make a movie. One is an insouciant singer of Italian songs, ex-partner to the most popular film comedian of the day. One is a short, black, Jewish, one-eyed, singing, dancing wonder. One is an upper-crust British pretty boy turned degenerate B-movie star actor, brother-in-law to an ascendant politician. And one is a stiff-shouldered comic with the quintessential Borscht Belt emcee’s knack for needling one-liners. The architectonically sleek marquee of the Sands Hotel announces their presence simply by listing their names: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop. Around them an entire cast gathers: actors, comics, singers, songwriters, gangsters, politicians, and women, as well as thousands of starstruck everyday folks who fork over pocketfuls of money for the privilege of basking in their presence. They call themselves The Clan. But to an awed world, they are known as The Rat Pack.

They had it all. Fame. Gorgeous women. A fabulous playground of a city and all the money in the world. The backing of fearsome crime lords and the blessing of the President of the United States. But the dark side – over the thin line between pleasure and debauchery, between swinging self-confidence and brutal arrogance – took its toll. In four years, their great ride was over, and showbiz was never the same.

Acclaimed Jerry Lewis biographer Shawn Levy has written a dazzling portrait of a time when neon brightness cast sordid shadows. It was Frank’s World, and we just lived in it.

SHAWN LEVY is the author of King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, Movieline, Film Comment, and Pulse! A former senior editor of American Film, he is a film critic for the Oregonian. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 344 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 661 g (23,3 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday, New York, New York, 1998 – ISBN 0-385-48751-7

Read My Lips: Stories of a Hollywood Life (Sally Kellerman)

Autographed copy Sally Kellerman

Kellerman, Sally - Read My LipsThe iconic “Hot Lips Houlihan” in Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H chronicles growing up in – and alongside – Hollywood, from the reign of Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen to the celebrity culture of today.

Sally Kellerman earned an Academy Award nomination for her brilliant turn in M*A*S*H. The nearly six-feet tall, sultry-voiced blonde has always defied typecasting, becoming an indelible presence on-screen and working with stars as diverse as Alan Arkin, Laurence Olivier, Bud Cort, Tony Curtis, John Gielgud, Elliott Gould, Sissy Spacek, and Rodney Dangerfield. She is as at home onstage as she is in front of the camera, and tours nationally as a lauded cabaret singer.

Reads My Lips traces Kellerman’s career – launched in Jeff Corey’s famous acting class, where she trained with an array of stars-in-the-making including friend Jack Nicholson  – as well as her colorful life. A native Angeleno, she came of age in small-town Hollywood, waitressing at a coffee shop that was a hangout for Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty. In the early ’60s, Hollywood was a tiny town, full of chance encounters. While she watered her lawn one morning in her bathrobe, her new neighbor Ringo Starr stopped by in his convertible, inviting her to visit; through her friend actress Jennifer Jones, she met Henry Kissinger. She was a lifelong friend and casting favorite of legendary director Robert Altman. Through the years there were career highs and lows, along with drugs, affairs, diets, star-studded group therapy, marriages, unexpected motherhood, and rebirth as a recording artist.

Kellerman’s rise to fame parallels Hollywood’s own growth from a neighborhood ringed by orange groves and dotted with landmarks like space-age Googie’s restaurant and the hat-shaped Brown Derby, to the glittering, if more homogenized, industry boomtown it is today. Inspiring, poignant, and often hilarious, Sally Kellerman’s story is a pean to the power of reinvention.

SALLY KELLERMAN has been working in the film and television industry for more than fifty years, and continues to reinvent herself. She is married to film producer Jonathan Krane (Primary Colors, Look Who’s Talking, Catch Me If You Can), with whom she adopted their children, Claire and twins Jack and Hanna.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 258 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 489 g (17,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Weinstein Books, New York, New York, 2013 – ISBN 978-60286-167-1

Rebels on the Backlot: Six Maverick Directors and How They Conquered the Hollywood Studio System (Sharon Waxman)

waxman-susan-rebels-on-the-backlotThe 1990s saw a shock wave of dynamic new directing talent that took the Hollywood studio system by storm. At the forefront of that movement were six innovative and daring directors whose films pushed the boundaries of moviemaking and announced to the world that something exciting was happening in Hollywood, even as much of the industry was mired in mediocrity. Sharon Waxman of the New York Times spent the decade covering these young filmmakers, and now in Rebels on the Backlot she tells this fascinating story by weaving together the lives and careers of: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell and Spike Jonze.

With their movies, these directors let the movie-making establishment know that there was a new vanguard ready to take over from the previous generation, and that they were ready to shatter the accepted constraints of filmmaking to do it. Their films toyed with form and narrative, shocked with their explicit sex and violence, and dizzied audiences with surreal themes and images. In making their films, the rebel directors fought their way through a studio system that by the 1990s had become part of America’s larger corporate culture, conglomerates brutally focused on the bottom line and not inclined to take artistic risks.

Waxman, who conducted more than one hundred interviews with actors, producers, executives, and the six directors themselves, has written a provocative and insightful behind-the-scenes account, a glimpse at the clash between the studio culture and the rebel spirit of artists working within it.

SHARON WAXMAN is a Hollywood correspondent for the New York Times, and previously was a correspondent for the Washington Post covering the entertainment industry. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her family.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 386 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 729 g (25,7 oz) – PUBLISHER HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York, 2005 – ISBN 0-06-054017-6

Rebels: The Rebel Hero in Films (Joe Morella, Edward Z. Epstein; introduction by Judith Crist)

Morella, Joe - Rebels“What can be said about a social order that no longer accepts good and evil as absolutes? If it is difficult to distinguish between good and evil, what is the future of the hero in literature and films?

In films it has been relatively easy, until now, to identify the hero. The cinema thus far has produced three basic types of hero: traditional hero, rebel hero and the anti-hero (or non-hero).

It was not until the appearance of John Garfield on the screen in 1938 that the “rebel hero” came into being, although such stars as James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Muni, and even Clark Gable exhibited some qualities of the “rebel” in certain films in the early thirties.” – From The Foreword.

Softcover – 210 pp. – Dimensions 28 x 21,5 cm (11 x 8,5 inch) – Weight 646 g (22,8 oz) – PUBLISHER The Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1971 – ISBN 0-8065-0360-2

The Red and the Blacklist: The Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate (Norma Barzman)

barzman-norma-the-red-and-the-blacklistWhen Norma Levor first hit Hollywood, she was a vivacious twenty-one-year-old, fresh out of Harvard and her first marriage, clad in her perky pink cashmere top. Within an hour of being unleashed on Hollywood society, she was squabbling with a left-wing screenwriter Ben Barzman who claimed technology had made American cinema “way too tough for women.” Angry, Norma plunged a lemon meringue into his face. Three months later they were married by a defrocked Rabbi.

So begins Norma Barzman’s extraordinary memoir, The Red and the Blacklist, which fizzes with the wit and energy found in the classic Hollywood comedies of the forties. But it is also laced with the fear and claustrophobia found in the forties film noirs, as Norma and Ben are driven from Hollywood – during the post-war McCarthyite witch-hunt – into an emotionally thirty-year exile in France.

While studded with celebrity, adventure, gossip, and sex, The Red and the Blacklist is also a unique record of the political tempest of the time, marked by the author’s dazzling power of reflection and insight, and animated by a larger than life cast of supporting characters including Pablo Picasso, Harold Robbins, Sophia Loren, Charlton Heston, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Losey, John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Groucho Marx, and – in a delightful cameo – a very young Marilyn Monroe.

NORMA BARZMAN is a screenwriter and novelist who lives in Beverly Hills. She was a reporter for the Los Angeles Examiner in the forties and a columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and a feature writer for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate in the eighties. She wrote the screenplay for Never Say Goodbye, Luxury Girls (of which the Writers Guild of America has recently restored her credit), and is battling for credit on the classic film The Locket. She lectures frequently on the blacklist era and is the co-author (with Ben Barzman) of the novel Rich Dreams. She attended Radcliffe College and is the mother of seven children. She is currently finishing a novel called Cremona, a mystery suspense about violin making and creativity, fantasy and reality, women and romantic love.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 464 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 818 g (28,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Thunder’s Mouth Press / Nation Books, New York, New York, 2003 – ISBN 1-56025-466-1

Red Scare: Memories of the American Inquisition (Griffin Fariello)

fariello-griffin-red-scareFor many, the anti-Communist hysteria that began in the 1940s has been lost in the dustbin of history – an era remembered, if at all, by fading photographs of Joe McCarthy, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and J. Edgar Hoover. Red Scare is a remarkable document of an era that altered forever the American political landscape, a time when one’s beliefs and associations could lead to financial ruin and a prison cell.

Red Scare is a riveting portrayal of grim repression and stubborn resistance, narrated by veterans from both sides of the Inquisition. Here are bloody Peekskill, the infamous blacklists of Hollywood, and the tyranny of government investigators. Red Scare reveals how the hunt for the “disloyal” penetrated every rank of American life from professors and scientists to school teachers and union members and throughout all levels of government.

Arthur Miller, Ring Lardner, Jr., Kay Boyle, and Pete Seeger join more than sixty others to reveal the terrible price extracted by the Cold War at home, ordinary men and women who braved ruination for their faith in America’s ideals. Here too are the stories of the hounds who hunted them – the FBI agent, the paid informer, the security man – and of the children caught in the ideological cross-fire. Together they create a tapestry of historic importance, capturing firsthand the sorrow, the rage, and the heroism of one of America’s darkest hours.

GRIFFIN FARIELLO is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former instructor at the University of Iowa and Stanford University. He lives in San Francisco.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 575 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 944 g (33,3 oz) – PUBLISHER W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York, 1995 – ISBN 0-393-03732-0

Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance With the Left (Ronald Radosh, Allis Radosh)

radosh-ronald-red-star-over-hollywoodUntil now, Hollywood’s political history has been dominated by a steady stream of films and memoirs decrying the “nightmare” of the Red Scare. But in Red Star Over Hollywood, Ronald and Allis Radosh tell for the first time the “backstory” behind the myth.

The authors show how the Soviet Com-intern decided to make the film capital a prime target in the late 1920s. They follow the lives of Budd Schulberg, Ring Lardner, Jr., Maurice Rapf and other young radicals who journeyed to the USSR in the early 1930s, underwent a political conversion experience there, and came back to Hollywood as apostles preaching a Soviet gospel. They take us inside the cells and discussion groups that Communist Party members formed, the guilds and unions they tried to take over, and the studios they aimed to influence.

The Radoshes not only prove that the members of the Hollywood Party were loyal first and foremost to Joseph Stalin, but demonstrate that in fact many of the screenwriters who later became part of the Hollywood Ten succeeded in using film as a propaganda medium in behalf of the Russian cause. One of their most significant accomplishments was the wartime blockbuster Mission to Moscow, whose inside story the authors document in fascinating detail.

The Radoshes are at their best when writing about the blacklist era. They take us inside the strategy sessions of the Hollywood Communists as they are prepared to testify in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, revealing that while others were lionizing them as blameless victims of American nationalism and paranoia, the Hollywood Reds themselves were beset by doubts and disagreements about their disloyalty to America and their treatment by the Communist Party. Creating memorable portraits of Dalton Trumbo, Elia Kazan and John Garfield, the authors also trace the afterlives of those touched by the HUAC and the blacklist, and document their continuing argument with America and each other through the next half-century.

Red Star Over Hollywood is an epic work about one of the most discussed but least understood episodes in our political life. Getting behind the denial and apologetics, the Radoshes tell a story whose long half-life has not ended. The men and women who agitated for Communism decades ago created a living legacy used by Jane Fonda and others who revived the Hollywood Left in the 1960s, and by figures such as Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn in the equally turbulent filmland politics of today.

RONALD RADOSH, adjunct Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, was the first writer to establish the guilt of Julius Rosenberg, in his best-selling book The Rosenberg File. He is also the author of Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left. ALLIS RADOSH is the author of Persia Campbell: Portrait of a Consumer Activist.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 309 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 16 cm (9,3 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 638 g (22,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Encounter Books, San Francisco, California, 2005 – ISBN 1-893554-96-1

Reed All About Me (Oliver Reed)

reed-oliver-reed-all-about-meOut of step, out of time, Oliver Reed rollicks the word’s headlines as a hellraising chauvinist who doesn’t give a damn. ‘Thank God,’ said an awed Russell Harty on TV, ‘there are people like you through whom we can live vicariously.’ Now, in Reed All About Me, the man who does it his way tells it his way in a delightfully funny autobiography that is happily free of the usual show business genuflexions. From the marvellous opening line – ‘My father found me through a ration book’ – every page is a surprising revelation. His granny May gave his grandfather, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, six love children – including Sir Carol Reed – and gave Oliver a direct bastard descendance from Peter the Great. But he ignored family influence, ran away from home, and made it to the top as an international film star with successes such as Women in Love and The Devils.

Oliver Reed bows to no man, only to the ladies. And he writes about them with devastating charm: ‘I never cease to be fascinated by naked women or by a new kiss, a new romance or a new flirtation,’ he says. ‘But I don’t have many women as platonic friends. I prefer my relationships to be far more direct than that.’ Read about how Oliver clashed with Bette Davis; the night Shelley Winters poured a bottle of whisky over his head on a TV show; the antics which resulted in him being barred from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Hollywood; and how he took away Lee Marvin’s drinking cloak. What more can we ask of a true man other than true grit and a delicious sense of the absurd.

Softcover – 253 pp., index – Dimensions 17,5 x 10,5 cm (6,9 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 169 g (6 oz) – PUBLISHER Coronet Books, London, 1979 – ISBN 0 340 26014 9

Reel Women: Pioneers of the Cinema, 1896 to the Present (Ally Acker; foreword by Judith Christ; afterword by Mark Wanamaker)

Acker, Ally - Reel WomenWe know about D.W. Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein, Alfred Hitchcock, François Truffaut, and Martin Scorsese. But what about Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Germaine Dulac, Ida Lupino, and Margarethe von Trotta? These women have played an equally vital and innovative part in the cinema and yet their story has remained untold – until now.

The first director to tell a story on the screen was a woman. The highest paid director in the days of silent films was a woman. Even Helen Keiler produced and starred in her own film in 1919. The first film editor to receive solo screen credit was a woman. The pioneer of social consciousness in film was a woman.

The Past: More women worked in creative and influential positions before 1920 than at any other time in motion picture history. Reel Women resurrects their tales and places them firmly back into pioneering film history.

The Present: A new wave of women pioneers is making an impact and a name for themselves in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Sherry Lansing, Lee Grant, Elaine May, Susan Seidelmann Diane Kurys, Euzhan Palcy… and many more. Reel Women features candid conversations with these and other women pioneers in film today.

Reel Women: Pioneers of the Cinema, 1896 to the Present is an unconventional and unforgettable look at the women directors, producers, editors, writers, technicians, and stunt women who have helped shape the history of movies but whose contributions have been too long ignored. The text is illustrated with more than 100 photographs, many of them never made public until now.

American filmmaker and writer ALLY ACKER has worked in the roles of director, producer, and writer in film, radio and television. Independently, she has directed, produced and written several film shorts and was the first recipient of the Los Angeles Women in Film / Annenberg Scholarship for excellence in screenwriting in 1986. Ally Acker also writes and lectures on women in film and is currently working on a four-part educational series based on Reel Women.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 374 pp., index – Dimensions 26 x 19 cm (10,2 x 7,5 inch) – Weight 896 g (31,6 oz) – PUBLISHER B. T. Batsford, Ltd., London, 1991 – ISBN 0 7134 6960 9

Refugees from Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years (Jean Rouverol)

Autographed copy Jean Rouverol

Rouverol, Jean - Refugees from HollywoodIt is the early spring of 1951 in Hollywood. Jean Rouverol and her husband, Hugo Butler, are juggling the demands of raising four young children and furthering their careers as screenwriters. They are at work on a ‘little domestic comedy’ for Columbia Studios to star Robert Cummings and Barbara Hale, a forgettable piece intended to offer a bit of escapist romance and humour to a country in the grip of the Cold War and the Korean Conflict. But thanks to their well-known 1940s leftist affiliations, Rouverol and Butler cannot fly under the radar of those larger events. To avoid prison sentences like those imposed in 1950 on their friends among the Hollywood Ten, they flee to Mexico rather than accept a subpoena from the House of Representatives Un-American Affairs Committee.

After taking refuge in Mexico City, Rouverol slowly re-creates new routines of family and professional life while her husband re-establishes himself as a screenwriter and director, most notably in collaboration on films with Luis Buñuel (in exile from Franco’s Spain). Rouverol offers a compelling and candid eyewitness account that takes us into her life and thoughts during her dozen years of exile: simultaneously coping with the needs of four – then five, then six – growing and inquisitive children and keeping a watchful eye out for signs that the political winds in Mexico might shift against them as they did for a few others deported on often arbitrary charges.

Thanks to the fellowship of friends such as the Dalton Trumbos, and by means of pseudonymous writing, the Butler family survived. But living in exile takes its toll in ways large and small, and perhaps the greatest strain is on her husband, whose health is compromised and who eventually dies in 1968 at age fifty-three.

JEAN ROUVEROL first worked in Hollywood in the late 1930s as an actress at Universal, RKO and Paramount studios. She performed on radio throughout the 1940s and has written for movies and television, as well as having published books and magazine stories and taught writing.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 277 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 16 cm (9,1 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 567 g (20 oz) – PUBLISHER University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2000 – ISBN 0-8263-2266-2

Refugees from Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years (Jean Rouverol)

Autographed copy To Eric, who was a wonderful MC – Best, from a fellow-writer Jean Rouverol

Rouverol, Jean - Refugees from HollywoodIt is the early spring of 1951 in Hollywood. Jean Rouverol and her husband, Hugo Butler, are juggling the demands of raising four young children and furthering their careers as screenwriters. They are at work on a ‘little domestic comedy’ for Columbia Studios to star Robert Cummings and Barbara Hale, a forgettable piece intended to offer a bit of escapist romance and humour to a country in the grip of the Cold War and the Korean Conflict. But thanks to their well-known 1940s leftist affiliations, Rouverol and Butler cannot fly under the radar of those larger events. To avoid prison sentences like those imposed in 1950 on their friends among the Hollywood Ten, they flee to Mexico rather than accept a subpoena from the House of Representatives Un-American Affairs Committee.

After taking refuge in Mexico City, Rouverol slowly re-creates new routines of family and professional life while her husband re-establishes himself as a screenwriter and director, most notably in collaboration on films with Luis Buñuel (in exile from Franco’s Spain). Rouverol offers a compelling and candid eyewitness account that takes us into her life and thoughts during her dozen years of exile: simultaneously coping with the needs of four – then five, then six – growing and inquisitive children and keeping a watchful eye out for signs that the political winds in Mexico might shift against them as they did for a few others deported on often arbitrary charges.

Thanks to the fellowship of friends such as the Dalton Trumbos, and by means of pseudonymous writing, the Butler family survived. But living in exile takes its toll in ways large and small, and perhaps the greatest strain is on her husband, whose health is compromised and who eventually dies in 1968 at age fifty-three.

JEAN ROUVEROL first worked in Hollywood in the late 1930s as an actress at Universal, RKO and Paramount studios. She performed on radio throughout the 1940s and has written for movies and television, as well as having published books and magazine stories and taught writing.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 277 pp., index – Dimensions 23 x 16 cm (9,1 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 567 g (20 oz) – PUBLISHER University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2000 – ISBN 0-8263-2266-2

Remembering Charlie: A Pictorial Biography (Jerry Epstein)

Epstein, Jerry - Remembering Charlie 2Remember Charlie? – The milk-white skin, the trademark mini-mustache, the walk so like that of a penguin in a terrible hurry? From His Prehistoric Past to Modern Times, from The Tramp to The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin kept America rolling in the aisles as the preeminent silent film comedian in the burgeoning movie industry of the early 1900s.

Now Jerry Epstein takes us on a fascinating trip back to the golden age of the silver screen, in a retrospective personal album of the most famous member of the Keystone Kops troupe. With over 300 photographs collected from family albums and archives, Remembering Charlie is an intimate look at Chaplin, by a man who was his friend and colleague for over thirty years.

Few were close to the semireclusive star. Few knew the details behind the FBI’s and Un-American Activities Committee’s harassing of him, and how it affected him. Few had the glimpses Epstein did of the actor in repose – his fears, his enthusiasm, his hopes. Remembering Charlie both delves into Chaplin’s more private world and gives precise descriptions of his painstakingly created comic sequences, including the famous music hall routine with Buster Keaton in Limelight, one of the films on which Chaplin and Epstein collaborated.

Remembering Charlie is truly a celebration of one of the grand comedic talents of all time. Every turn of the page brings back another fond memory – and an almost audible piano crescendo as the “tramp” teeters across the screen.

JERRY EPSTEIN is a theater director, film producer, and screenwriter who worked with Chaplin on his last three films – Limelight, A King in New York, and A Countess from Hong Kong. Mr. Epstein lives in London.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 227 pp., index – Dimensions 27 x 26 cm (10,6 x 10,2 inch) – Weight 1.250 g (44,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday, New York, New York, 1989 – ISBN 0-385-26282-5

Remembering Walt: Favorite Memories of Walt Disney (Amy Booth Green, Howard E. Green; foreword by Ray Bradbury)

Green, Howard E - Remembering Walt DisneyMention the name Walt Disney and one can’t help but conjure images of brilliant animation and magnificent theme parks. But a uniquely creative and charismatic man also springs to mind – a man who in his amazingly productive lifetime was many things to many people.

In Remembering Walt, Amy and Howard Green have captured the essence of Walt Disney through the voices of the many lives he touched. Whether as a family member, friend, colleague, employer, or public figure, Walt was there for everyone. Walt’s contemporaries pay tribute to a visionary, a perfectionist, a story teller, a genius – the man they called boss, dad, husband, brother, artist, and friend.

From actor Julie Andrews’ account of her first visit with Walt to Disneyland, to Diane Disney Miller’s recollection of her father’s sense of paternalism and compassion, Walt is revealed as the archetypal father figure. Some of the world’s most respected animators, including Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, cite their empassioned conversations with Walt to illustrate his creative genius. Actors including Dick Van Dyke, Shirley Temple Black, and Kurt Russell discuss their admiration and affection for Walt, who was for them a constant pillar of support.

The common thread in each of these uniquely individual stories is that Walt Disney, the man, is illuminated as never before by the people who matter most – the people who knew him best – his own family and his closest friends and admirers.

AMY BOOTH GREEN, a freelance writer, has contributed to such publications as Disney Magazine, The Disney Channel magazine, and Los Angeles magazine. HOWARD E. GREEN has been a key player on Disney’s motion picture publicity and marketing team for the past twenty-three years and currently serves as vice president of studio communications. Amy and Howard live in Los Angeles, California, with their beloved Beagle, Veronica.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 211 pp. – Dimensions 28 x 22 cm (11 x 8,7 inch) – Weight 1.110 g (39,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Hyperion, New York, New York, 1999 – ISBN 0-7868-6348-X

Republic Studios: Between Poverty and the Majors (Richard Maurice Hurst)

hurst-richard-maurice-republic-studios-between-poverty-row-and-the-majors“Almost everyone acknowledges the effects of movies on culture but their specific role in American popular culture varies depending upon the source cited. Writings about film fall into two broad categories – fan and academic. The fan publications are usually unabashedly nostalgic and attempt to revive the pleasures that movies brought to audiences in their youth. Examples would include Alan Barbour’s The Thrill of It All, dealing with B Westerns, and Jack Mathis’ Valley of the Cliffhangers, dealing with Republic sound serials. Academically, the cinema can be viewed historically, anthropologically, psychologically, cinematically, or sociologically.

All approaches tend to find a significance in the movies which Hollywood rarely acknowledges. Historically, the importance of film in any given era has usually been recognized but has not often been analyzed since the historian frequently views film as an undeveloped art form whose role in culture is difficult to categorize. Some of the inherent dilemmas caused by this cautious approach are covered in Paul Smith’s The Historian and Film. The anthropological school is perhaps best represented by Hortense Powdermaker and tends to view film’s effect on modern culture as a mass produced technical development filling much the same role as folklore and ancient religions did in past cultures.

From the psychological viewpoint, movies are viewed as unconsciously reinforcing basic cultural patterns and, at the same time, influencing and directing these patterns through the emphases of successful films which affect audience behavior. The main thrust of this approach is perhaps best represented by Martha Wolfenstein and Nathan Leites in their Movies: A Psychological Study.

The cinematic approach has gained popularity in the last decade and says essentially that movies are a major force in history and should be studied both as a mirror to the period and as a factor in the overall history of a given time. This approach views film as an art but acknowledges its roots in economics. One of the more successful studies of this type is Garth Jowett’s Film: The Democratic Art, which is similar to works of an historical nature except that the author is devoted to the study of the cinema and emphasizes film as a major force in modern history rather than treating film as only one incidental factor in the larger pattern of historical development.

Finally, movies can be viewed academically from the sociological approach and, in this case, are usually studied in relationship to what the filmmaker was trying to impress upon his audience through the film. Of course, all films carry some message in the mere act of telling a story but the message film as sociologists think of it is the subject of David Manning White’s and Richard Averson’s The Celluloid Weapon: Social Comment in the American Film.

All of these approaches have two things in common. First, they concentrate on the A film, the major production, and not the much more numerous and far more widely seen B film, that shorter economically produced type of unpretentious entertainment made from 1935 to the mid 1950s to fill the double bill and to enable the small neighborhood theaters to stay open seven days a week and provide an hour or two of diversion for the general moviegoing public. Secondly, these studies normally accept the basic premise that movies influenced their audiences and through them the general culture but they rarely attempt to draw insights from this concept. They do not usually study a genre or a studio in detail and then draw conclusions as to what the effects might be. The failure to take this last step is because sometimes it is felt that the conclusions are obvious and, even more important, because there is no sure way to measure these effects.

This study of the influence and significance of the major B studio, Republic Pictures, on the American scene utilizes aspects from all these schools of thought but probably falls closest to the cinematic historian’s approach. By studying certain genres produced by a studio which specialized in the B format, key messages of these films will become apparent and their relationship to and effect upon the American scene will be documented. It will be shown that the studio was not interested in art but in economics, that in order to be profitable the movies had to entertain, and that in entertaining they also influenced and reflected the American culture as they saw it. The results, while unintended, were nonetheless important. Although there is still no way to measure these effects, the following chapters attempt to show that the B film generally and the output of Republic Pictures specially did have a significance to the study of American history from the mid 1940s to the mid 1950s.

To some moviegoers, the collective B film provided a barometer by which they, the individual members of the audience, succeeded or failed far more than the major pictures with a more obvious attempt to moralize – such as King Vidor’s Our Daily Bread (1934) or Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Republic was a major producer of quantity and quality B films. Perhaps the studio’s quality made a difference in the success of the unintended lessons in their B films. But whether Republic was in a category with other B producers such as Monogram and Producers Releasing Corporation, or whether they were in a class by themselves, their pictures did influence their audience and perhaps to a greater degree of significance than the A picture which is so often discussed in this context. This influence may not have been as immediate or impressive as that of a blockbuster production but it was perhaps of greater depth, longer duration, and thus more substantive as a whole.

To substantiate this hypothesis, the first chapter is devoted to an overview of the history and economic structure of Republic for these unfamiliar with the subject. A more detailed survey of film scholarship as it pertains to Republic follows, while the third chapter develops the importance of various B genres as represented by this studio. The following chapters are devoted to a discussion of significant Republic serials, three representative Republic B Western series, three comedy series from the studio, and finally a brief coverage of non-series B movies from Republic. The last chapter summarizes the messages in the studio’s films, their possible relationship to the appropriate eras in American history, and the studio’s contributions to the movie industry.

Many Republic files proved to be unavailable though other sources were extensively utilized. Loans from collectors of pressbooks and other studio public relations materials were helpful. Some primary Republic sources existed in the New York Public Library, the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, the University of California at Los Angeles Library, and the library at the University of Wyoming. Over two dozen interviews with Republic personnel and authorities conducted by the author proved invaluable. Also film viewings, taped film soundtracks, and scripts contributed to an understanding of the Republic product. Monographs, newspapers, and other published sources were of course consulted. Finally, fan publications, while not analytical, contained extremely valuable material such as interviews and filmographies.

Acknowledgments are in order but it is hard to know where to begin. Historians and popular culture scholars Professors Milton Plesur, MeI Tucker and Michael Frisch of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Frank Hoffmann of the State University College at Buffalo, were very helpful and provided perspective and objectivity. Republic personnel both in front of and behind the camera contributed much as will be seen. Fans and film scholars such as Don Miller, Francis Nevins, and Jack Mathis offered valuable suggestions and materials. The National Museum Act provided a grant which greatly eased the various research trips and purchase of materials. Finally, and most important, there were my wife Jolene and children Ruthann and Michael, who gave support throughout the whole process. All of these people and many others unmentioned have assisted me in trying to show that the Republic B film has an important place in the understanding of American history and culture. Where I have succeeded, they share in the contribution. Where I have fallen short, I of course accept responsibility.” – The Preface by Richard M. Hurst.

Hardcover – 262 pp., index – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 461 g (16,3 oz) – PUBLISHER The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Metuchen, New Jersey, 1979 – ISBN 0-8108-1254-1

Repulsion: The Life and Times of Roman Polanski (Thomas Kiernan)

kiernan-thomas-repulson-the-life-and-times-of-roman-polanskiKnife in the Water, Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, Macbeth, Chinatown, Tess. The man who made them is a genius. But his life reads like one of his own films: violent, steeped in sex, drugs and tragedy.

The nightmare childhood on the run from the Nazis. His excess-ridden, bizarre Beverly Hills lifestyle. The fated marriage to lovely Sharon Tate and her hideous death in the hands of Charles Manson’s evil cult. The headline scandal when he was charged with drugging and raping a thirteen-year-old girl. His flight to France the day before he was due to be sentenced.

The theories of demonic possession and his fatal attraction to evil and tragedy. The no-holds-barred biography of a man who excites and intrigues millions, yet dare not set foot in most of the very countries where his films are set.

Softcover – 288 pp. – Dimensions17,5 x 10,5 cm (6,9 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 185 g (6,5 oz) – PUBLISHER New English Library, Sevenoaks, Kent, 1980 – ISBN 0-450-05264-8

La revue du cinéma: Image et son – La saison cinématographique 80 (Hubert Desrues, Jacques Zimmer)

la-revue-du-cinema-image-et-sonHistoire, Mozart, Avare – Les affaires sont les affaires – Le peuple le plus spirituel de la terre – Si les ricains n’étaient pas là – A la recherche des cinémas perdus – La dynamique de la terreur – Le cinéma quand même.

De plus en plus de films… pour de moins en moins de spectateurs: passé quelques années d’une accalmie toute relative, 1980 voit resurgir le couple infernal qui asphyxie le cinéma. Alors que le premier semestre de cette année enregistre un tassement de la fréquentation (- 4 %), la présente Saison cinématographique vous propose plus de six cents titres de longs métrages effectivement exploités entre juin 1979 et juin 1980. Paradis pour cinéphiles? Ce serait oublier qu’au sein de cette énorme manne, les oeuvres les moins conformes, donc les plus excitantes, sont laminées entre quelques prodigieux succès commerciaux et d’innombrables produits de grande série; les uns ajoutés aux autres représentant la quasi-totalité d’un public potentiel non extensible. Du moins dans un système très clairement établi où il n’est pas étonnant de constater que huit des douze films les plus chers de l’année se classent aisément parmi les douze meilleures recettes. L’argent va à l’argent et le vedettariat de choc se confirme comme donnée essentielle d’un cinéma qui vise conjointement à divertir et rassurer. Les récupérations culturelles et politiques jouent leur partition dans un concert cynique qui voit cohabiter Le guignolo, I… comme Icare, L’avare et Le toubib. Une aussi admirable planification du spectateur n’enregistre que de rarissimes échecs (I love you je t’aime, La chaussée des géants…). – From the Introduction.

Softcover – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 587 g (20,7 oz)

Rex Ingram: Master of the Silent Cinema (Rex O’Leary)

oleary-liam-rex-ingram-master-of-the-silent-cinemaThis book represents ten years of research in Europe and America and is the first full-length biography of one of HoIlywood’s most interesting and colorful directors – the creator of great films like The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Conquering Power, Scaramouche and Mare Nostrum.

Rex Ingram was born in Dublin in 1893, the son of a Protestant clergyman later to be university lecturer and author. In 1911, after an undistinguished schooling, Ingram left his father’s country vicarage for the United States. For a time he studied sculpture at Yale, where he made many friends and gained a reputation as a personality. In 1913 he took a job at the Edison Film Studios in New York and soon became engrossed in the world of filmmaking. He turned his hand to acting, scriptwriting and production chores and eventually in 1916, at the early age of twenty-three, he directed his first film for the Universal Film Company. In 1920 he moved to the Metro company with whom he spent the greatest part of his creative life.

As a director Ingram was the third man in a triumvirate that included D.W. Griffith and Erich von Stroheim, both of whom were his friends and admirers of his work. His influence on von Stroheim was considerable. Ingram was the great pictorialist and romantic of the cinema of the twenties. Besides being the director of great films, he was the discoverer of stars like Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro and Alice Terry. He founded the Rex Ingram studio at Nice (now the Victorine) and was decorated by the French Government and the Bey of Tunis. His friends included great writers, artists and statesmen. He was himself a sculptor and artist.

The book follows the career of this remarkable Irishman from his formative years in Dublin through his apprenticeship to the film world in New York, his long and fruitful, if sometimes acrimonious, years in Hollywood, his periods in Nice, North Africa and elsewhere. It includes a filmography and list of sources.

There are 120 illustrations drawn from the author’s unique collection and they include rare stills of all the twenty-seven films, Ingram’s drawings and sculpture as well as his studios, friends and associates, including von Stroheim, Victor Sjöström, Griffith, Henri Matisse, George Bernard Shaw and many stars of the twenties. The writings and interviews of Ingram are drawn upon to express his ideas on life and art and contemporary opinion on him is anthologised. His place in film history is assessed in the light of the growing interest in his films which are being rediscovered and shown in cinematheques and film centers all over the world.

David Robinson on Liam O’Leary – Liam O’Leary, who died in a Dublin hospital on December 14th, 1992 at 82, was single-minded – and often single-handed – in his mission to establish the place of Ireland’s cinema heritage in the whole national culture. He lived long enough to see his efforts recognised, when in August 1992 he laid the foundation stone for an Irish Film Archive. Since long before that though he was revered by younger moviemanes as the saint of Irish cinema. He was born in Youghal, Co. Cork on 25 September 1910. Coincidentally that same summer the American Kalem Company arrived in Dublin to make the first Irish story film, A Lad from Old Ireland. (After subsequent visits, and films like The Colleen Bawn, they were to be known as The O’Kalems.)

Liam’s youth was steeped in Gaelic culture. His father Denis Leary, a poet and musician, came from Gaelic-speaking West Cork; his sister, who survives him, is a talented performer on the Irish harp; and for much of his career Liam used the Gaelic form of his name, O Laoghaire. After St Peter’s College, Wexford and University College Dublin, he was forced into the unfortunate necessity of earning his living, and from 1933 to 1943 worked as clerk in the Department of Industry and Commerce. His imagination though was already elsewhere. Badly stage-struck, in 1934 he founded Ireland’s first theater workshop, The Dublin Little Theatre. He went on to direct and act in a number of independent productions including King Lear and The Father, in both of which he played the leading roles. For radio he directed his own Gaelic translation of Hamlet.

In 1943 he was finally able to escape from the civil service, to produce and direct Gaelic plays at the Abbey Theatre, where he formed a long-lasting friendship with the theater’s directors, Michael McLiammoir and Hilton Edwards. He had discovered the cinema in the days before sound films; and to the end his special passion was the silent cinema, with its larger-than-life passions and people. In 1936 he was a co-founder of the Irish Film Society, in the context of which he established a film school. He remained director-secretary of the Society until 1944, when he launched himself as a freelance film professional. He acted in two British productions, Stranger at My Door (1946) and Men Against the Sun (1952), shot in Kenya.

In 1948 he turned director, but the forthright social criticism of his documentaries Our Country and Portrait of Dublin (1952) offended touchy official sensibilities. When Portrait of Dublin was banned by the censors, O’Leary moved to London to take up a post as acquisitions officer of the National Film Archive. Here too he was not without frustrations, as he found himself in frequent conflict wit the founder of the Archive, Emest Lindgren. O’Leary, a magpie collector, felt that hundreds of films were being lost as a result of Lindgren’s cautious selectivity about the films the Archive accepted for preservation.

In 1966 he returned to Ireland to work as film acceptance viewer for Radio Telefis Eirann. The job was generally tedious, but meanwhile he began his great work of collecting artefacts and evidence of Ireland’s contribution to film history. Hollywood’s Irishmen included John Ford, Herbert Brenon and Rex Ingram; and O’Leary even acclaimed Chaplin on account of an Irish grandfather. In 1976 he was able to present an impressive exhibition “Cinema Ireland” at Trinity College; and from this the Liam O’Leary Film Archives were officially launched, though it was years before the Arts Council provided a small grant to help finance them. Eventually the National Library of Ireland gave storage space, and the collection will presumably form the nucleus of Ireland’s new National Film Archive.

One of O’Leary’s special heroes was Rex Ingram, the Irish-born director of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He maintained a long correspondence with Ingram’s widow and star, the beautiful Alice Terry, until her death; and in 1980 published Ingram’s biography. He had already planned an exhibition at the National Library of Ireland as part of the celebrations of Ingram’s centenary in January 1993. Alice Terry was only one of the veteran film artists with whom O’Leary maintained voluminous correspondence. He had an inexhaustible capacity for collecting friends; and his special quality was his way of seizing upon and marvelling at every talent and quality in the most unlikely of them. He sent out regular newsletters which chronicled these friendships in often bewildering detail. The friendship was handsomely returned; and Liam had good fortune in finding companions who would patiently try to focus his attention on those tedious practicalities of life which were so much less interesting than his world of film. Driving obsessions was not the least charm of this quintessential Irishman, with his bright-eyed, elfin face, chuckling humor and compelling conversational flow which at peaks of excitement would explode in machine gun bursts of “Oh-oh-oh-oh!”.

His enthusiasm never failed him. In October, very weak and fully aware that he was dying, he made his way to the festival of silent cinema in Pordenone. Discussing plans for Pordenone’s 1993 Ingram celebrations, watching hours and hours of silent film – the enchanted world of his youth – he designed his own joyous and appropriate exit.

Softcover – 224 pp., index – Dimensions 24,5 x 17 cm (9,7 x 6,7 inch) – Weight 688 g (24,3 oz) – PUBLISHER BFI Publishing, London, 1993 – ISBN 0-85170-443-3

Richard Burton (Paul Ferris)

ferris-paul-richard-burton‘He was a film star in the days before film stars ceased to be magical creatures,’ writes Paul Ferris. ‘Studio publicists turned out potted biographies that hinted at his wild, Celtic nature. Newspapers gobbled them up. Burton gave interviews and improved on the facts out of devilment, nostalgia or simply boredom. His past became larger than life. It was hardly surprising, since his present, too, in the years of his rampant relationship with Elizabeth Taylor, came to look like a press agent’s invention. The film industry thrives on exaggeration, and the Welsh are among the least straightforward of people; it is a deadly mixture.’

Born Richard Jenkins in 1925, a coalminer’s son, he was given a new name and a push in the right direction by a fond schoolmaster, Philip Burton; his protégé did better than he could have hoped and worse than he might have feared. His fiery talents made him the most acclaimed actor of his generation before he was thirty, a Celtic Laurence Olivier; while twenty years later he could look back on the world’s most famous marriage, on wealth, notoriety and a second career making films that ranged from brilliant to mediocre to bad beyond belief. Now something of a changed man, he is still only fifty-five. Burton’s story is heroic and flawed in turn but never less than the result of a remarkable nature in action. This biography, meticulously researched by Paul Ferris in Britain and America, will increase respect for Burton’s talents and regret for his lost years.

PAUL FERRIS is the author of the widely acclaimed life of Dylan Thomas published in 1977. His other books include The House of Northcliffe – a biography of the Harmsworth family – and nine novels, among them The Detective and Talk to Me About England. He was born in Swansea and lives in London.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 212 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 540 g (19 oz) – PUBLISHER George Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Ltd., London, 1981 – ISBN 0 297 77966 4

Richard Burton: Biografie gebaseerd op zijn aantekeningen (Melvyn Bragg; originally titled Richard Burton: A Life)

Bragg, Melvyn - Richard BurtonBurton leefde vele levens: zoon van een mijnwerker uit Wales, vertolker van Shakespeare, filmster, drinkebroer, vrouwenversierder, wereldberoemdheid. De echte Burton, achtervolgd door angsten, gekweld door lichamelijke pijn, bezeten van liefde voor Elizabeth Taylor, vertrouwde hij slechts toe aan zijn persoonlijke dagboeken. In deze uitputtende biografie, met uitgebreide uittreksels uit deze dagboeken, onthult Melvyn Bragg de onbekende Burton die hij beschrijft als ‘een veel indrukwekkender, veel groter en in alle opzichten veel fascinerender man dan ik had verwacht.’

In zijn meest intieme gedachten is Burton een man van diep hartstochten, meedogenloze zelfbeschouwing en grote loyaliteit; een man die de lezers voor zich zal innemen.

“A biography of Richard Burton containing his own words, through the co-operation of members of his family who made available to Bragg various diaries and letters. There are also fresh insights from Burton’s peers, to provide a frank and intimate account of his life. The sensational highlights of Burton’s private life are well-known – his marriages to Elizabeth Taylor, abundant drinking and womanizing and jet-setting lifestyle. Less well-known are his own thoughts on acting, alcoholism and his roots in Wales. These are all revealed in extracts from his diaries and letters. The contributions from Sir John Gielgud, Lauren Bacall, Sir Alec Guinness, John Hurt, John Le Carre and many others add an extra dimension to this biography.”

Softcover – 441 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 17 cm (9,5 x 6,7 inch) – Weight 787 g (27,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Het Wereldvenster, Houten, The Netherlands, 1988 – ISBN 90 269 44594

Richard Fleischer (Stéphanie Bourgoin)

bourgoin-stephane-richard-fleischerCe livre est la première étude à paraître dans le monde sur Richard Fleischer, dernier des grands d’Hollywood à toujours être en activité, réalisateur de quarante-sept films entre 1946 et 1985. A I’image de ses confrères Robert Wise ou Henry Hathaway, Richard Fleischer fait partie de ces cinéastes dont le succès des films a rejeté dans l’ombre la personnalité de l’auteur.

Tout au long de sa carrière, Fleischer s’est attaqué avec un égal bonheur à tous les genres cinématographiques, à travers des films dont un grand nombre restent à jamais des classiques: le film noir (L’énigme du Chicago Express, Les inconnus dans la ville, Les flics ne dorment pas la nuit), la science-fiction (20,000 lieues sous les mers, Le voyage fantastique, Soleil vert), le mélodrame (La fille sur la balançoire), le film d’aventures (Les Vikings), l’étude d’un cas criminel célèbre (L’étrangleur de Boston, L’étrangleur de Rillington Place, Le génie du mal), le film de guerre (Le temps de la colère), les superproductions (Tora! Tora! Tora!, Barabbas).

Pour la première fois, Richard Fleischer a accepté de commenter lui-même les films qui émaillent sa carrière.

STÉPHANE BOURGOIN dirige la plus ancienne des librairies de romans policiers de France. Il est l’auteur de plusieurs dizaines d’anthologies de nouvelles policières, fantastiques ou de science-fiction, dont deux remportèrent le trophée 813 du meilleur recueil de l’année au Festival de Reims. Directeur de plusieurs collections, il est l’auteur de Roger Corman (Edilig), Terence Fisher (Edilig) et a cosigné Série B avec Pascal Mérigeau (Edilig).

Softcover – 159 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 15 cm (8,5 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 306 g (10,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Edilig, Paris, 1986 – ISBN 2-85601-168-3

Richard Pryor: This Cat’s Got Nine Lives (Fred Robbins, David Ragan)

robbins-fred-richard-pryorTake One – Richard Pryor is not your average nigg… Hold it! Stop right there. Back up and back off. You’re trespassing on private property. That word, lingering but dying on the vine before he restored it to vigorous life, is his now, stamped with his registered trademark. Only he knows how to hold and handle, defuse and denature, burnish and brandish it. It is still a mean and ugly word in the hands of others, even those who would use it hyperbolically to get a book about him off to an eyebrow-raising start.

Take Two – Richard Pryor is not just your average comic, comedian, joke-teller, funnyman, clown, jester, buffoon, wit, humorist, gagman, classic fool, actor, performer, player, thespian, trouper, movie star, recording artist, pantomimist, harlequin, tragedian, or mummer. Richard Pryor, to thenth degree, is all of these – and a few things more.

Way back in 1977, one of his directors, Paul Schrader, who helmed Blue Collar, paid him what was then the ultimate compliment: “I feel quite strongly that Richard will be the biggest black actor ever.” Strike the word “black.” It no longer applies. An actor who can command a picture fee of three million dollars plus thirty-four percent of the gross receipts of a film is not only past being labeled by color, but is outrunning every other superstar on today’s uncrowded field – Burt Reynolds, Marlon Brando, Goldie Hawn, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Bill Murray or Robert De Niro. Pryor not only outearns any star on the list, he also makes many more films. Witness his 1982 work schedule: his second concert film, Live on the Sunset Strip, The Toy, co-starring Jackie Gleason, Color Man, Superman III, in which he plays the villain, and The Charlie Parker Story.

Perhaps Richard Pryor looms so large because he is perpetually and perennially the reinvented man, who, without leaving his life, or losing any prior hard-won knowledge, seems reincarnated each time one focuses upon him.” – From chapter 1, ‘Man on Fire.’

FRED ROBBINS is host and producer of Assignment Hollywood, the most widely heard celebrity show in the United States, daily on over 300 stations of the Mutual Broadcasting System. His interviews are also published in leading magazines and syndicated worldwide. Millions of radio fans know his famous disc jockey program, Robbins’ Nest, for his highly original style and innovative features. The song Robbins’ Nest became a worldwide jazz standard and the program spawned and polished his acclaimed interviewing technique, and his own company, Robbins’ Nest Productions, Inc. DAVID RAGAN, a Manhattan resident and a native of Jackson, Tennessee, is the former Editorial Director of entertainment periodicals at both Warner Communications and Macfadden Magazines. His celebrity profiles have appeared in scores of national publications. Besides being listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World, he is the author of the encyclopedia on motion picture players Who’s Who in Hollywood: 1900-1976.

Softcover – 159 pp. – Dimensions 22,5 x 15 cm (8,9 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 256 g (9 oz) – PUBLISHER G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, New York, 1982 – ISBN 0-933328-14-1

The Rise and Fall of the Matinée Idol (edited by Anthony Curtis)

Curtis, Anthony - The Rise and fall of the Matinee IdolThey were the years of glamour, gaiety and grace. The years of impossibly handsome men and divinely beautiful women. The years of Ivor Novello, Gertrude Lawrence, Jack Buchanan, Gladys Cooper, Clara Bow and Lionel Barrymore.

Anthony Curtis has edited this lavishly illustrated tribute to those deities of stage and screen who set fire to the passions of the matinée audiences. Cecil Beaton, Sandy Wilson, Michéal Mac Liammóir, Daphne du Maurier and Dilys Powell are just some of a galaxy of contributors as illustrious as the stars they celebrate.

Contents include Lovely Lily Elsie and From Gladys Cooper to Gertrude Lawrence (by Cecil Beaton), Father’s Footsteps (Daphne du Maurier), Edwardian Idols of My Youth (Ivor Brown), The Master: Noel Coward (Sheridan Morley), The Mute Idols (David Robinson), and A Pantheon of Gods (a conversation between George Axelrod and Anthony Curtis).

Softcover – 215 pp., index – Dimensions 24,5 x 17 cm (9,7 x 6,7 inch) – Weight 545 g (19,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Ltd., London, 1974

Rita Hayworth: A Memoir (James Hill)

Hill, James - Rita Hayworth, A MemoirThis is a love story starring Rita Hayworth – not as Salome or Gilda or The Lady from Shanghai, but as herself. And her leading man here is neither Burt Lancaster nor Gene Kelly, but a man who adored her in real life – her last husband, producer James Hill. In this delightful and poignant memoir, Hill relates the day-to-day details of his courtship and marriage to the real woman behind the image of “The Love Goddess,” and unveils an entirely unexpected and enchanting side of her that no one has ever seen until now.

By the time James Hill met Rita Hayworth, she was a world-famous movie queen whose tempestuous off-screen love affairs filled the scandal sheets. (She had been married and divorced twice – once to Orson Welles – and was now carrying on an international romance with Prince Aly Khan.) Yet it never occurred to Hill to be daunted by his competition. And from his first meeting with Miss Hayworth, one of the many imbroglios that both brought them together and kept them apart, he was enthralled.

Hill was captivated by the same qualities that attracted Hayworth’s millions of fans: her beauty, her charm, her glamour. But he also saw in her what no one else did: her unpredictability, her wistful sadness, her vulnerability… and her comic genius, an aspect of her talent which had never been explored, and which he became increasingly obsessed with tapping.

What he did not see, until it was too late, was that Rita Hayworth hated the the film image that had been created for her. She longed to escape the screen – and the tenacious hold of the men who ran her life and career – for another existence in which she could devote herself to her painting and experience the youth she had never enjoyed. Had Hill in fact reneged on his promise to give her that new life – the one thing she wanted most? Had he in fact become the most manipulative of all the men in her life?

In this wonderful and intimate love story, the author pays tribute to a very special chapter in his life, and to a very special woman. Through it, the reader discovers Rita Hayworth not as a pinup girl or a celluloid vamp, but as a warm, sensitive, strong, wickedly humorous and frequently misunderstood woman.

After graduation frrom the University of Washington, JAMES HILL started as a page with NBC in New York, followed by stints in radio, television and MGM Studios, before joining the production company of Harold Hecht and Burt Lancaster, where he produced a number of award-winning films, among them Vera Cruz, Trapeze and The Sweet Smell of Success. Mr. Hill at present makes his home in Westwood.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 238 pp. – Dimensions 22 x 14 cm (8,7 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 448 g (15,8 oz) – PUBLISHER Simon and Schuster, New York, New York, 1983 – ISBN 0-671-43273-7

Rita Hayworth: The Time, The Place and the Woman (John Kobal)

Kobal, John - Rita HayworthTo read about Rita Hayworth is to be dazzled by the grandeur and the folly of Hollywood in the forties. The author writes: “This isn’t just a book about Rita, it’s the story of the only industry in the world that takes a person off the street, and tells her ‘you’re special, you’re a star.’”

But Hayworth is special: she danced with Astaire and Kelly, was directed by Hawks and Cukor, and acted with Tracy, Grant, Crawford, Cagney, Laughton, Cooper, and Wayne. The author, who befriened Hayworth in the early 1970s, describes her as “an unapproachable Garbo: childlike, vulnerable, but still enormously dignified. There is something unmistakingly majestic about that look. She had provocative poise.”

The book is a mosaic of her private and professional life, based on over a hundred hours of interviews with her friends, coworkers, and family. As a “dancing Cansino,” age sixteen, she came to the attention of Winfield Sheehan and in 1935 was launched as a Columbia Studio star.

A hardworking professional, she was the eye of countless storms that fed the gossip columns and became notorious during her stormy marriages, to the young genius Orson Welles and later to a real-life Arabian prince, Aly Khan.

Dubbed the “Love Goddess,” she was the G.I.’s favorite pin-up girl in Gilda, Pal Joey, and The Lady from Shanghai.

JOHN KOBAL has written eight previous books about Hollywood, including biographies of Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe. Born in Canada, he was raised in Europe and lives in London. He loves America and movies, and has devoted himself to the mystery of the cinema. His professional collection of Hollywood film stills is vast and much admired.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 340 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 16,5 cm (9,3 x 6,5 inch) – Weight 751 g (26,5 oz) – PUBLISHER W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, New York, 1977 – ISBN 0-393-07526-5

Rita: The Life of Rita Hayworth (Edward Z. Epstein, Joseph Morella)

epstein-edward-z-rita“Rita Hayworth, the woman who had everything. Beauty. Talent. She had achieved the American dream: fame, wealth. She was the woman whose looks set the standard for her generation. The Sex Symbol for whom the term Love Goddess was coined. And the first Hollywood star to become a real-life princess. She had even been a successful mother, with two beautiful, healthy daughters she had raised single-handedly to become self-sufficient women. But her own life had become one of disappointment. ‘I haven’t had everything from life. I’ve had too much,’ she observed not long ago.” – From The Prologue.

Rita Hayworth was a woman made and broken by Hollywood success. She was rich, famous and beautiful – but rarely happy. Her five husbands included Orson Welles and Prince Aly Khan; David Niven and Errol Flynn were among her many admirers – but she never found the ordinary simple pleasures of family life that she craved. She tarnished her own public image when she turned to drink, and now illness has devastated her life. And yet her charisma can never fade, immortalised in such sensational films as Strawberry Blonde, Gilda and You Were Never Lovelier.

Softcover – 304 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15 cm (9,3 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 516 g (18,2 oz) – PUBLISHER W.H. Allen & Co., Ltd., London, 1983 – ISBN 0-86379-091-7

The RKO Gals (James Robert Parish)

Parish, James Robert - The RKO GalsMovie buff question: what do these 14 actresses have in common: Ann Harding, Constance Bennett, Irene Dunne, Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Anne Shirley, Lucille Ball, Joan Fontaine, Wendy Barrie, Lupe Velez, Maureen O’Hara, Jane Russell, Jane Greer, and Barbara Hale? Answer: they all graced the soundstages of RKO Radio Pictures, giving that Hollywood studio its special aura of celluloid chic.

Focusing in depth on the lives and movies of these 14 RKO Gals, cinema historian James Robert Parish also discusses such epic productions as The Outlaw and Suspicion and the very different styles of such industry titans as Goldwyn, Selznick, Disney and Howard Hughes. Spiced with hundreds of keen-eyed assessments of such movies as How Green Was My Valley, The Fallen Sparrow, The Quiet Man, The Women, Rebecca, The Constant Nymph, Jane Eyre, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Out of the Past, Man of a Thousand Faces, Back Street, Roberta, Show Boat, The Awful Truth, I Remember Mama, The Window, Top Hat, Tender Comrade, and Kitty Foyle … chockful of behind-the-camera wheeling and dealing intrigues, The RKO Gals is a Cracker-Jack box of Hollywood goodies – and, incidently, the finest reference book on RKO films.

Formed by RCA on Joseph Kennedy’s recommendation, RKO thought its sound film patents could monopolize the field (“Radio [RCA] is too big to enter the motion picture field without dominating it”). Things did not quite work out that way. However, thanks in part to the tensely brittle Hepburn with her Main Line drawl and angular beauty, Rogers and Astaire in their cassical musicals, sexy Lupe Velez with her chile-con-carne accent, and bog-on-brogue Maureen O’Hara, RKO was one of the Big Five for over 30 years. This lavishly illustrated study (over 250 photos) reveals 14 beautiful reasons why.

JAMES ROBERT PARISH is a New York freelance writer. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is a member of the New York Bar. Mr. Parish is the author of The Fox Girls and The Paramount Pretties and is co-author of The MGM Stock Company: The Golden Era. He is a frequent contributor to cinema journals.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 896 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 1.275 g (45 oz) – PUBLISHER Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York, 1974 – ISBN 0-87000-246-5

RKO: The Biggest Little Major of Them All (Betty Lasky)

lasky-betty-rkoThe story of RKO – the small studio that produced such film giants as King Kong, Citizen Kane, and the Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers musicals – is now revealed by a woman who grew up among the great stars of Hollywood’s “Golden Years”: Betty Lasky.

Here you’ll find an intriguing tale of executive greed and politics through changing hands, the stock market crash, and the demands of the superstars. This wheeling and dealing produced big money for its financiers, yet, ironically, it seldom tainted the high artistic quality of RKO’s films.

Immerse yourself in the highly controversial saga of the founders, financial manipulators, creative geniuses, and Hollywood users: Joseph P. Kennedy, Howard Hughes, Louis B. Mayer, David O. Selznick, Cecil B. DeMille, Pandro S. Berman, Floyd B. Odlum, David Sarnoff, Gloria Swanson, Orson Welles, Edward F. Albee, Merian C. Cooper, Dore Schary, and, of course, film pioneer Jesse L. Lasky.

Illustrated with nearly 100 behind-the-scenes photos, including some depicting the making of such films as Cimarron, Top Hat, The Magnificent Ambersons, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, RKO: The Biggest Little Major of Them All is sure to engross film buffs, film historians, and business experts alike.

BETTY LASKY is the daughter of Jesse L. Lasky, one of the founders of the movie industry. She grew up in Hollywood and has been closely associated with many of the major people in the industry. She has worked for The Players Showcase magazine as movie editor and writer. The historical accuracy of this book speaks of the three years of painstaking research that went into its writing.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 242 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 16 cm (9,3 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 557 g (19,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1984 – ISBN 0-13-781451-8

Robert Altman: American Innovator (Judith M. Kass)

kass-judith-m-robert-altman-american-innovator“I have nothing to say, nothing to preach. It’s just painting what I see…. To show people something beyond the scope of where they are standing is a fantastic thing.”

If Robert Altman had nothing to say in the cinema, he’d still, presumably, be tattooing ID numbers on dogs’ thighs for a living, or making industrial films in Kansas City. It is impossible not to believe that Altman wants very much for people to understand what he’s doing cinematically; he just wants people to make an investment in his films – to see them emotionally, rather than intellectually. As Altman has said, his perfect film would be one which, after seeing, the audience would be unable to talk about. The mere fact that Altman struggles so hard to make the films he wants to make, that he doesn’t make Charles Bronson epics for the money, is a demonstration of his commitment to his idea of film.

Robert Altman was born February 20, 1925, in Kansas City, Missouri. His father was one of the most successful life insurance salesmen in the world. He was also an inveterate gambler, and his son says: “I learned a lot about losing from him. Losing is an identity; you can be a good loser and a bad winner; none of it – gambling, money, winning or losing has any real value; it’s simply a way of killing time, like crossword puzzles.” – The Introduction (‘Robert Altman and His Films’).

Softcover – 282 pp. – Dimensions 17,5 x 10,5 cm (6,9 x 4,1 inch) – Weight 154 g (5,4 oz) – PUBLISHER Popular Library, New York, New York, 1978 – ISBN 0-445-04262-1

Robert Altman: Jumping off the Cliff (Patrick McGilligan)

mcgilligan-patrick-robert-altman-jumping-off-the-cliffThe most prodigal, prolific, and visionary director to emerge from post-Sixties Hollywood, Robert Altman is a man whose mystique sometimes threatens to overshadow his many critically acclaimed films. Exhaustively researched, Robert Altman intimately details Altman’s early life, his formative World War II experience, his checkered early career, his hedonistic obsessions, the behind-the-scenes dynamics of the group of colleagues who elevated him to auteur status, and a blow-by-blow account of the making of his revolutionary films, including M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs.Miller, Nashville, and many others.

Here is an Altman very unlike the “benevolent monarch” the director likes to call himself: one who can “dream” his films, but cannot write them; a belligerent drinker whose tantrums have affronted colleagues and studio bosses; an insecure may-be-genius, jealous of his collaborators and selfish about credits; a man who, though he could make a show of family, has wreaked havoc on his own; a mercurial personality of equal parts darkness and light. Drawing on comprehensive interviews with intimates and insiders, Patrick McGilligan has written a vivid, fascinating, and richly wrought life story that is also a unique immersion into Hollywood and the creative process of filmmaking.

PATRICK McGILLIGAN’S articles about motion pictures have been published in newspapers and magazines around the globe. He writes regularly for Film Comment. He is the author of the definitive Cagney: Actor as Auteur and editor of the widely praised Backstory: Interviews with Screenwriters of Hollywood‘s Golden Age. He resides in Wisconsin.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 652 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 1.215 g (42,9 oz) – PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York, 1989 – ISBN 09312-02636-6

Robert Altman: The Oral Biography (Mitchell Zuckoff)

Zuckoff, Mitchell - Robert Altman, The Oral BiographyRobert Altman – visionary director, hard-partying hedonist, eccentric family man, Hollywood legend – comes roaring to life in this rollicking cinematic biography, told in a chorus of voices that can only be called Altmanesque.

His outsized life and unique career are revealed as never before: here are the words of his family and friends, and a few enemies, as well as the agents, writers, crew members, producers, and stars who worked with him, including Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty, Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Paul Newman, Julie Christie, Elliott Gould, Martin Scorsese, Robin Williams, Cher, and many others. There is even Altman himself, in the form of his exclusive last interviews.

After an all-American boyhood in Kansas City, a stint flying bombers through enemy fire in World War II, and jobs ranging from dog-tattoo entrepreneur to television director, Robert Altman burst onto the scene in 1970 with the movie M*A*S*H. He revolutionized American filmmaking, and, in a decade, produced masterpieces at an astonishing pace: McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, The Long Goodbye, 3 Women, and, of course, Nashville. Then, after a period of disillusionment with Hollywood – as well as Hollywood’s disillusionment with him – he reinvented himself with a bold new set of masterworks: The Player, Short Cuts, and Gosford Park. Finally, just before the release of the last of his nearly forty movies, A Prairie Home Companion, he received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement from the Academy, which had snubbed him for so many years.

Mitchell Zuckoff – who was working with Altman on his memoirs before he died – weaves Altman’s final interviews, an incredible cast of voices, and contemporary reviews and news accounts into a riveting tale of an extraordinary life. Here are page after page of revelations that force us to reevaluate Altman as a man and an artist, and to view his sprawling narratives with large casts, multiple story lines, and overlapping dialogue as unquestionably the work of a modern genius.

MITCHELL ZUCKOFF is a professor of journalism at Boston University. He is the author of three previous books, most recently Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend. As a reporter with The Boston Globe, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and the recipient of numerous national writing awards.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 396 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 669 g (23,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1979 – ISBN 978-0-307-26768-9

Robert Mitchum (David Downing)

downing-david-robert-mitchumSince making his debut as a bearded villain in the Hop-Along Cassidy series, Robert Mitchum has made nearly one hundred films in five decades of movie-making. Many of them have been forgettable; a score or more have been classics; and Mitchum himself has become a Hollywood legend. No one has belittled his talent more than the man himself, no one has talked movies and movie-stardom with such amusing contempt, yet Mitchum seems destined to outlast all his contemporaries.

He has never been far away from trouble and the headlines. By the time he was twenty-five he had travelled across America as a hobo, served time on a chain-gang, worked for an astrologer, and helped Orson Welles write an oratorio. In 1948, his movie career was nearly cut short when he was set up for a famous drug-bust, and throughout the fifties, fracas followed fracas with amazing regularity.

Mitchum, though, has always been a curious tough-guy, both on and off the screen. This specialist in brawls writes poetry about his children; this movie hero usually turns out to be as fallible and as confused as anyone in the audience. In all his films he just seems more real than anyone else. David Downing explores the development of this enigmatic individual, seeking out the reasons for Mitchum’s enduring appeal to audiences all over the world.

DAVID DOWNING lives in North London. He studied international relations at university and has since written on such diverse subjects as military strategy and rock music. He has written several film biographies – Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda, and for W.H. Allen Robert Redford, Charles Bronson, Jack Nicholson and most recently Marlon Brando.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 216 pp. – Dimensions 25 x 19,5 cm (9,8 x 7,7 inch) – Weight 646 g (22,8 oz) – PUBLISHER W.H. Allen & Co., Inc., London, 1985 – ISBN 0 491 03204 8

Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy (Damien Love)

love-damien-robert-mitchumA Hollywood fixture from the 1940s to the 1990s, Robert Mitchum’s acting, disguised behind a smoke-screen of off-screen antics, was only belatedly recognised. Beneath the standard “Tough Guy” tag existed a chasm, the undercurrent that caused Martin Scorsese to proclaim, “Mitchum is noir” and critic Lester Bangs to cite Mitchum among the seeds of punk.

A chain-gang convict by 16, Mitchum hoboed to Hollywood, an outsider who built a career playing outsiders. He brought a new style, and a new agenda. Whether playing haunted heroes or monstrous villains, his characters had always a restive darkness and the calm, amused acceptance they’d never get out of this world alive. Variations on these themes recurred so often he practically defines the “actor as auteur.”

Tracing how Mitchum’s life was reflected in his films and concluding that everything was, “Solid, Dad, Crazy,” Damien Love’s lively account explores the development of Mitchum’s outsider persona, finding a disaffectedness surpassing Bogart’s and a maverick strain to equal Brando’s. Considering over two-dozen key movies – from iconic performances in Out of the Past and The Night of the Hunter to lesser-appreciated films such as Where Danger Lives and Thunder Road – as well as commentary on Mitchum’s notorious marijuana bust and sideline work as a singer – Solid, Dad, Crazy charts a career across 53 years; how Mitchum went from working with Laurel & Hardy and Lillian Gish to Robert De Niro and Jim Jarmusch without, as he put it, changing “anything but my underwear.”

DAMIEN LOVE is a freelance writer and critic. His writing on film, music and photography has appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, Uncut, The Scotsman and The Sunday Herald. He lives in Glasgow.

Softcover – 208 pp., index – Dimensions 25 x 18,5 cm (9,8 x 7,3 inch) – Weight 644 g (22,7 oz) – PUBLISHER B.T. Badsford, London, 2002 – ISBN 0-7134-8707-0

Robert Redford (Robert Downing)

Downing, David - Robert Redford“Charles Robert Redford, Jr. the first and only child of Charles and Martha Redford, was born in Los Angeles on 18 August 1937. It was the tail-end of the Great Depression and Charles Sr., like many others, needed two jobs to make ends meet, delivering milk in the morning and working as an accountant in the afternoon and evening. The family of four – Martha had another son by a previous marriage – lived in Santa Monica, some ten miles due south-west of  Hollywood Boulevard.

As Charles Jr. was learning to walk and talk, war was spreading around the globe, and the economic wheels began to turn at more like their optimum speed. Better times arrived for America, and for the Redfords. Charles Sr. got a good accounting job with Standard Oil of California, and the family was able to move across the Santa Monica Mountains to the better-heeled area of Van Nuys. It was here that Charles Jr. attended high school in the post-war years, displaying a remarkable lack of enthusiasm for formal education. He preferred sealing Hollywood buildings to reading books, and as a result accumulated a long line of bad grades and report cards. Sport was the dominant interest of his peer group, though in the young Redford’s case a stubborn artistic streak had al ready surfaced in a love of sketching.” – From chapter 1.

Softcover – 224 pp., index – Dimensions 28,5 x 21 cm (11,2 x 8,3 inch) – Weight 789 g (27,8 oz) – PUBLISHER W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd, London, 1982 – ISBN 0-86379-055-0

Rock Hudson: His Story (Rock Hudson, with Sara Davidson)

hudson-rock-rock-hudson-his-story“For thirty-six years, he had planned, plotted, and protected his image as the romantic hero, the leading man. For thirty-six years he had lived with the fear of being exposed. There had been years of furtively exchanging phone numbers and sneaking out at three in the morning. Years of taking beautiful women to premieres, then going home to the man he lived with. Years of being careful not to go out in public with ‘too many boys.’ Three years of marriage to a woman he thought he could love, which proved impossible. And finally, after the social changes of the sixties and seventies and after Rock’s position as a star had become secure, there had been a relaxation. The press knew and protected him. The entertainment world knew and didn’t seem to care. Now everyone would know. Rock Hudson would be unmasked.” – From Rock Hudson: His Story.

In the days that followed the announcement from a Paris hospital that Rock Hudson had AIDS, he told Mark Miller, his trusted friend of thirty-five years: “I think it’s time to write ‘the book.'” It was time to do what he had resisted since he’d first become a star: to tell the whole story of his life.

Drawing on interviews with Mr. Hudson, his letters, photographs, documents (including thirty years’ worth of scrapbooks kept by his mother), and unlimited access to his closest circle of friends, Sara Davidson has written the only complete, authorized, and accurate book that tells the intimate story of his life and career.

“On screen, he projected the image of a simple soul, not ambivalent or tortured. He was warm and good and pure. He seemed completely what he was at that moment: completely in love, completely brave, completely repentant. Yet in life, Rock Hudson was anything but simple. He was a master of illusion, devious and secretive. Like the Trickster, he appeared to different people in different guises and he would do everything in his power to keep his masks in place.” – From Rock Hudson: His Story.

Throughout his career, Mr. Hudson kept his private life private. However, when it became known that he had AIDS, his first concern was that the public know the real story of his life. At his request, his closest friends and colleagues – including Doris Day, Juliet Prowse, and Susan Saint James – have co-operated fully with Sara Davidson in producing the definitive portrayal of one of Hollywood’s most enduring stars.

Before his death, Mr. Hudson stipulated that all his earnings from this book go to the Rock Hudson AIDS Research Foundation.

SARA DAVIDSON is the author of Loose Change, the best-selling book about three women growing up in the 1960s. She has also written the novel Friends of the Opposite Sex and a collection of nonfiction pieces, Real Property. Her articles have appeared in Esquire, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Life, The New York Times Magazine, McCall’s and Ms. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Glen Strauss, and their two children.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 311 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (9,5 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 641 g (22,6 oz) – PUBLISHER William Morrow & Company, New York, New York, 1985 – ISBN  0-688-06472-8

Rod Steiger (Tom Hutchinson)

Hutchinson, Tom - Rod SteigerRod Steiger is one of Hollywood’s true survivors, whose career has had its triumphs and reversals, but whose acting is indisputably great. Although his memorable performance in Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker narrowly missed winning him an Oscar, his unforgettable starring role as the redneck police chief in In The Heat of the Night with Sidney Poitier won the Academy Award as best actor.

Steiger has lived a life as full of drama as any he portrayed on screen, but only now has he opened up to reveal how it drove his intense, often overwhelming performances. His father walked out shortly after he was born, and his mother became an alcoholic. At sixteen he escaped from home by enlisting in the Navy and served in the Pacific in World War II. The G.I. Bill paid for his study at the Actor’s Studio, where he learned the dynamic new “Method” acting from Lee Strasberg alongside future co-stars James Dean and Marlon Brando. Steiger’s startling intensity first made its mark on TV in Paddy Chayevsky’s Marty and then on screen in On the Waterfront with Brando. In the seventies, at the top of his success, Hollywood could not give Steiger roles big enough for his talent, and as his career faltered, he sunk into depression for several years. He climbed out of it only through the hard work of acting, pushing his performances even in otherwise forgettable films. Now  seventy-five, Steiger has been in more than ninety films, playing opposite stars from Humphrey Bogart in The Harder They Fall and Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago to Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks! and Melanie Griffith in Crazy in Alabama.

Noted film critic Tom Hutchinson draws on his thirty-year friendship with Steiger to make the actor’s first biography both intimate and   authoritative. Hutchinson’s own wide experience with the film industry adds further depth to Steiger’s confessions and revelations about his tumultuous life and uncompromising acting career.

TOM HUTCHINSON is a film critic whose books include Niven’s Hollywood, Horror and Fantasy in the Cinema, and Marilyn Monroe.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 235 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 584 g (20,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Fromm International, New York, New York, 1998ISBN 0-88064-253-X

Roger Ebert’s Book of Film: From Tolstoy to Tarantino, the Finest Writing From a Century of Film (edited by Roger Ebert)

ebert-roger-roger-eberts-book-of-filmIf going to the movies has been the twentieth century’s most popular source of artistic pleasure, reading about the movies may not be far behind. For this delicious, instructive, and vastly enjoyable anthology Roger Ebert has selected and introduced an international treasury of more than one hundred selections that touch on every aspect of filmmaking and film-going.

Here are the stars (Truman Capote on Marilyn Monroe, Joan Didion on John Wayne, Tom Wolfe on Cary Grant, Lauren Bacall on herself), the directors (John Houseman on Orson Welles, Kenneth Tynan on Mel Brooks, John Huston on himself), the makers and shakers (producer Julia Phillips, mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, stuntman Joe Bonomo), and the critics and theorists (Pauline Kael, Graham Greene, Andrew Sarris, Susan Sontag).

Here as well are the novelists who have indelibly captured the experience of movie-going in our lives (Walker Percy, James Agee, Larry McMurtry) and the culture of the movie business (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Budd Schulberg, Nathanael West). Here is a book to get lost in and return to time and time again – at once a history, an anatomy, and a loving appreciation of the central art form of our time.

ROGER EBERT is co-host of Siskel & Ebert, the top-rated film preview program carried on two hundred television stations nationwide. He has been the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and he is the only film critic to have won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism (1975). He is the author of the best-selling annual volume Roger Ebert’s Video Companion and other titles.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 973 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 15,5 cm (9,5 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 1.180 g (41,6 oz) – PUBLISHER W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York, 1997 – ISBN 0-393-04000-3

Roger Moore (Paul Donovan)

Donovan, Paul - Roger Moore“Roger George Moore did not go from rags to riches, but from bland to grand. Stockwell in south London, certainly the part where he spent his boyhood, is not a stereotyped, abandoned, graffiti-debased inner-city ghetto. It is modest and pleasant and attractive, rather like the man himself.

He was born on 14 October (a birth date possessed also by Lillian Gish and Cliff Richard), 1927 in one of London’s earliest maternity hospitals, the Annie McCall in Jeffreys Road, SW4, a sprawling Victorian building which is now a community health centre.

His parents lived half a mile away on the other side of Stockwell tube station in three rented rooms which formed the first floor of 4 Aldebert Terrace, between the arteries of Lambeth Road and Clapham Road. They were what a market researcher would pigeonhole as lower middle-class. George Alfred Moore was a police constable who worked at Bow Street and before that had been a physical training instructor with the YMCA. His wife Lily had been born in India, daughter of a Regimental Sergeant Major. They were both young when their son was born: he twenty-one, she twenty.

George Moore had made virtually all the furniture in the flat, which consisted of two front rooms overlooking similar mid-Victorian terraced villas, and a back parlour. They had their own bath but shared a toilet with the tenants above. Even in the fifties the rent for this modest accommodation was still only thirteen shillings a week, and it was here that Roger – an only and much-loved child, rather podgy, and certainly with nothing to suggest the international fame and tax exile riches of the future – spent a happy and contented childhood…” – From Chapter 1, ‘Good Physically.’

Softcover – 224 pp., index – Dimensions 28,5 x 21 cm (11,2 x 8,3 inch) – Weight 800 g (28,2 oz) – PUBLISHER W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd., London, 1983 – ISBN 0-86379-005-4

Roman By Polanski (Roman Polanski)

polanski-roman-roman-by-polanski“For as far back as I can remember, the line between fantasy and reality has been hopelessly blurred. I have taken most of a lifetime to grasp that this is the key to my very existence. It has brought me more than my share of heartache and conflict, disasters and disappointments. It has also unlocked doors that would otherwise have remained closed forever.”

With these words, Roman Polanski begins the story of his life. For the first time, the brilliant film director tells his own story, revealing in fascinating detail that only he could ever know, the mosaic of his life.

Among the many doors he unlocks for us are those that lead back to his frightening but not entirely joyless childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland, both inside the ghetto and on the run; to Lodz Film School in the late 1950s, where he worked and played with equal intensity; to Paris and his early struggles to become established as a director; to London and Hollywood in the “swinging” 1960s, when he first won international acclaim. We follow him through his marriages, his friendships with people as diverse as his own wide-raging interests – filmmakers, artists, talented celebrities, bizarre unknowns. With him we experience the full force of the tragedy that struck when his wife Sharon Tate and three friends were murdered by the Manson “family”; his years of disenchantment and self-inquiry; his arrest and imprisonment in California on charges alleging rape of a minor; his personal and professional resurgence in France.

Written with sensitivity and honesty, without a trace of self-pity, but not without regrets, here is a tale in turn as witty and funny as The Vampire Killers, as horrific as Rosemary’s Baby, as suspenseful as Chinatown and as moving as Tess.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 393 pp. – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 778 g (27,4 oz) – PUBLISHER William Heinemann, Ltd., London, 1984 – ISBN 434 59180 7

Roman Candle: The Life of Bobby Darin (David Evanier)

evanier-david-roman-candle-the-life-of-bobby-darinBobby Darin, as a performer, rivaled Frank Sinatra. Energizing the early rock-and-roll scene with his rollicking classic Splis Splash, Bobby then became a top-draw nightclub act. Chronic illness dogged him from childhood, setting the tone of urgency that inspired a career full of dizzying twist and turns: from teen idol to Vegas song-and-dance man, and from hipster to folkie and back.

Based on extensive interviews with those who knew Bobby, Roman Candle tracks his meteoric rise from dire poverty as the grandson of a low-level mobster to his well-earned place in the showbiz pantheon. David Evanier probes the dark side of a celebrate marriage to America’s sweetheart, Sandra Dee, as well as the incredible family secret that affected Bobby to the end. Finally, more than three decades after his death, comes a multilayered portrait of this brash, gifted artist, whose restless voice and spirit seem as alive today as ever.

DAVID EVANIER has written for New York magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Village Voice, among others, and has been senior editor of The Paris Review. He co-authored Joe Pantoliano’s book, Who’s Sorry Now, and his Making the Wiseguys Weep: The Jimmy Roselli Story was a finalist for the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award. He has won the Aga Khan Fiction Prize and received residence fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Wurlitzer Foundation. He lives in Brooklyn.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 251 pp. – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 545 g (19,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 2004 – ISBN 978-1-59486-010-2

Ronald Colman: A Very Private Person (Juliet Benita Colman)

colman-juliet-benita-ronald-colman“Juliet Colman’s warm and wonderful biography of her father will appeal to that enormous public who look to Ronald Colman’s movies in the golden age of the medium as part of entertainment history. He was a star for all aspiring artists to wish upon – that they could emulate his talent and his gentility as a person.” – Vincent Price.

Blessed with the magnificent voice millions of people remember, Ronald Colman was an actor of great talent and charm who became a star of the silent screen and was more successful than any other actor in making the transition to talking pictures – a success that carried over into The Halls of Ivy on both radio and television. Although he lived in America for more than 35 years, he was always the urbane and sympathetic English gentleman who consistently underplayed his roles in such classic films as Raffles, Arrowsmith, Lost Horizon, Random Harvest, and The Late George Apley.

This delightfully nostalgic biography of the famous actor is the work of his only daughter, who was 13 years old when he died. Ten years later she found herself wanting to know all about him, and she corresponded with and interviewed scores of his friends. Among other things she learned what happened that Halloween night in 1914 when he almost lost a leg in World War I, and why his first marriage was a disaster that haunted him for much of his life and explained his pursuit of privacy.

JULIET BENITA COLMAN, the only child of Ronald Colman and Benita Hume Colman, lived in Beverly Hills as a child and later in Santa Barbara. Following her father’s death, she went to Europe with her mother and attended Brillantmont, a boarding school in Switzerland. While her mother was married to George Sanders, she spent the summers at the family house in Kent. After attending private school in Paris and the Sorbonne, she worked for George Sanders on his films. Subsequently she went into the television side of advertising. Now she and her husband, Jim Toland, an American painter, live on Mallorca part of the year and in London the rest of the time. While researching her book, Juliet Colman obtained the help of many people, including Jack Benny, Charles Chaplin, Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy, David Niven, Irene Rich, Shelley Winters, and Loretta Young. Their contributions add to the special charm of this biography.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 294 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14 cm (8,5 x 5,5 inch) – Weight 576 g (20,3 oz) – PUBLISHER William Morrow & Company, Inc., New York, New York, 1975 – ISBN 0-688-00247-9

Rosalind Russell (Nicholas Yanni)

Yanni, Nicholas - Rosalind Russell“‘According to the Constitution, Rosalind Russel cannot run for President until 1956,’ Brooks Atkinson wrote in The New York Times when Wonderful Town opened in 1953. ‘But it would be wise to start preparing for her campaign at once. For she can sing and dance better than any President we have had. She is also better looking and has a more infectious sense of humor.’ Atkinson’s comments oviously still hold true, after more than twenty years.

Betty Grable’s legs, Rita Hayworth’s curves, Veronica Lake’s ‘peek-a-boo’ hairdo. And Rosalind Russell’s tailored clothes and her rapidly flexing index finger. All are famous cinema landmarks of the past, but only Russell’s are not overtly tied up with being a ‘sex symbol.’ Yet her triumphs have been many since she first turned her dancing brown eyes on motion pictures and theater. How has she maintained her popularity over all those years?” – From The Introduction.

From Eileen’s caustic sister Ruth to noble Sister Kenny, from career woman too busy for romance to the immortal Auntie Mame, Rosalind Russell has captivated movie audiences for many years. Nicholas Yanni’s amply illustrated book covers the career of an actress whose warmth, wit, and acting skill have kept her one of the screen’s most delightful – and durable – stars.

The Pyramid Illustrated History of the Movies is a series of volumes that offers a comprehensive overview of – and brings a fresh perspective to – the influential figures, forms, and styles in the development of motion pictures. Each lavishly illustrated volume has been designed to stimulate the interest of the student for whom film is an art, and to stir the memories of the fan for whom “going to the movies” will always be an exhilarating experience.

Softcover – 159 pp., index – Dimensions 19 x 13 cm (7,5 x 5,1 inch) – Weight 167 g (5,9 oz) – PUBLISHER Pyramid Publications, New York, New York, 1975 – ISBN 0-515-03737-0

Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles (David Thomson)

Thomson, David - RosebudDavid Thomson has brought a lifetime’s fascination with Orson Welles and his work to this dazzling biography. Rosebud is written as a story, one that summons up the man and the artist and does justice to the genius and the fraud; the man of the world and the solitary; the spoiled kid and the stage; the infant prodigy; the chronic fabricator of his own legend; the boy who flirted with homosexuals; the ladies’ man; the youth who took Broadway and radio by storm, and rocked the nation in 1938 with an airwaves fantasy of invasion; the begetter of the incomparable Citizen Kane.

And here, also, is the man who famoulsy “failed,” the man who made The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, The Trial and Chimes at Midnight. But to Thomson, those allegedly lesser films are the furnishings of another kind of masterpiece, as large and melancholy as Kane’s Xanadu. Here Welles reveals himself as at once a monster of self-destruction and a triumph of self-invention.

Thomson’s view of Welles’s “fall” is vital to his grasp of a profoudly complex character. We see Welles as a genius haunted by boredom and by the inability to believe in anything, as a victim of indiscipline and the helpless pleasures of talk. He is a man who attracts people, spurns them and then finds them guilty of betrayal. And so people like John Houseman, Herman Mankiewicz and Rita Hayworth, along with so many others, come and go, astonished.

Rosebud traces a career of endless striving and continuous drama. At the same time, it is a book of astute film commentary that helps us appreciate Kane anew as the masterpiece of what is too often a shallow medium. It is written with an insight, a daring and a flair worthy of its remarkable protagonist.

DAVID THOMSON was born in London, and it was there, at age fourteen, that he found himself in an otherwise empty movie theater, wachting Citizen Kane. Forty years later, his book, Rosebud, is the author’s best response to a lifelong awe of Orson Welles. David Thomson is also the author of the acclaimed A Biographical Dictionary of Film, of Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick, and Warren Beatty and Desert Eyes, and of two novels drawn from movies, Suspects and Silver Light. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Lucy, and their two children.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 460 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 854 g (30,1 oz) – PUBLISHER Little, Brown & Company, London, 1996 – ISBN 0 316 88195 3

A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson (Michael Troyan)

troyan-michael-a-rose-for-mrs-miniverIn the darkest days of World War II, English-born Greer Garson became Hollywood’s most inspiring icon of strength and courage. Co-star Christopher Plummer remembered, “Here was a siren who had depth, strength, dignity, and humor, who could inspire great trust, suggest deep intellect and whose misty languorous eyes melted your heart away!”

Garson combined an everywoman quality with grace, charm, and refinement. She won the Academy Award in 1941 for her role in Mrs. Miniver, and for the next decade she reigned as the queen of MGM. She earned a total of seven Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, and fourteen of her films premiered at Radio City Music Hall, playing for a total of eighty-four weeks – a record never equaled by any other actress.

She was a central figure in the golden age of the studios, working with such legendary performers as Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford, Robert Mitchum, Debbie Reynolds, and Walter Pidgeon.

In this first-ever biography of Garson, Michael Troyan sweeps away the many myths that even today veil her life. The true origins of her birth, her fairy-tale discovery in Hollywood, and her career struggles at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are revealed for the first time. Garson’s experiences offer a fascinating glimpse at the studio system in the years when stars were closely linked to a particular studio and moguls such as Louis B. Mayer broke or made careers. With the benefit of exclusive access to studio production files, personal letters and diaries, and the cooperation of the family, Troyan explores the triumphs and tragedies of her personal life, a story more colorful than any role she played on screen.

MICHAEL TROYAN contributed to Disney A-Z and wrote the script for a documentary about Garson that premiered at the 1997 Taos Film Festival. He is the photo services manager for Warner Bros. Domestic Television.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 463 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 1.045 g (36,9 oz) – PUBLISHER The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 1999 – ISBN 0-8131-2094-2

Rosemary DeCamp: Tigers in My Lap (Rosemary DeCamp)

DeCamp, Rosemary - Tigers in My LapRosemary DeCamp writes with wit and charm of her life and work in films and television in her delightful autobiography Rosemary DeCamp: Tigers in My Lap.

“Soon after my first experience in films I became a professional Mother-Weeper – cheerful but ready with tears on cue for my lost son Sabu, lashed and chained to a temple in Jungle Book, and grew dewy-eyed over my handsome son, Ronald Reagan, in This Is the Army. I doubt there was much weeping over son James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy. We were all too busy dancing and dubbing and trying to match Jimmy’s genius. I wept for son Robert Alda, who played Gershwin so well in Rhapsody in Blue, although it was because of our director’s cruelty. Often he put Robert through 30 takes and then yelled, ‘Print One. Hold 29!’

“Dwayne Hickman was my favorite son for five and a half years on The Bob Cummings Show. He gave us few tears, howls and laughter, and minor exasperation.”

“The daughters for whom I sighed and cried professionally were so beautiful and beloved worldwide – Ann Blyth, June Haver, Doris Day, Marlo Thomas, and Shirley Jones.”

Fans of radio, film and television will not be able to put down this engaging work by one of Hollywood’s consummate professionals.

Softcover – [pages not numbered], index – Dimensions 23 x 15 cm (9,1 x 5,9 inch) – Weight 459 g (16,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Midnight Marquee Press, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 2000 – ISBN 978-1-887664-42-4

Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca – Bogart, Bergman & World War II (Aljean Harmetz)

Harmetz, Aljean - Round Up the Usual SuspectsIn late 1941, a play called Everybody Comes to Rick’s made its way from the desk of Warner script reader Stephen Karnot to the office of producer Hal Wallis, who bought it for $ 20,000. Less than three years later, Casablanca earned Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, and it had become a favourite of moviegoers around the world. But, as Aljean Harmetz shows, no one expected Casablanca to be anything more than a standard World War II romantic suspense film – until it was finished. What turned Casablanca into an exceptional film?

In Round Up the Usual Suspects, Aljean Harmetz has written the inside story of the making of Casablanca. Drawing upon years of research and interviews with many of those close to the film, including the late Paul Henreid, Lauren Bacall, and scriptwriters Howard Koch and Julius Epstein; Ingrid Bergman’s acting diaries; and the vast Warner Bros. archive, Harmetz goes behind the scenes to convey the precise realities of working under the studio system during World War II. Full of surprises, the book debunks many cherished myths about the casting, script, story, and legendary stars of the film. Round Up the Usual Suspects brings to life the personalities and politics at the studio: Jack Warner’s rivalry with his top producer Hal Wallis; the off-camera coolness between Bogart and Bergman – she said, “I kissed him but I never knew him”; the casting possibilities, which included George Raft, Hedy Lamarr, Lena Horne, Ann Sheridan and Michèle Morgan; the jealousy of Bogart’s hard-drinking wife Mayo Methot; the tantrums of director Michael Curtiz, who treated Bergman with elaborate European courtesy but lashed out the others; and the friendship between Bogart and Claude Rains.

Aljean Harmetz enriches the book with illuminating insights into the workings of the Hollywood studio system – far from being glamorous, it often seemed like a factory assembly line – and with a penetrating analysis of the effects of World War II on the studio and the government’s use of the movies as a weapon of war. Jack and Harry Warner and those who worked for them sold the war as much as they were selling their pictures, and the actors who played refugees in wartime Morocco were as often as not actual refugees from Hitler’s tyranny. Not only was there the war to consider; there was also the censorship machine, which attempted to play down certain aspects of Casablanca, particularly the potentially dangerous love affair between Bogart’s Rick and Bergman’s Ilsa.

Richly detailed, compelling as a suspense novel, illustrated throughout with rare photographs and documents, Round Up the Usual Suspects is a magnificent examination of the forces and people that came together – either because of or in spite of the studio system – to create a masterpiece. Veteran Casablanca addicts, newcomers to the film, and those who love reading about behind-the-scenes Hollywood will be dazzled by Aljean Harmetz’s fresh insight into the people and period of the quintessential movie-lover’s movie, which has endured for fifty years and shows no sign of stopping.

ALJEAN HARMETZ, author of the acclaimed The Making of the Wizard of Oz, was the Hollywood film correspondent for The New York Times from 1978 to 1990, when she left to write Round Up the Usual Suspects. A Yale University Poynter Fellow, she now writes for the Sunday New York Times Art and Leisure section, and is a contributing editor to Esquire. She lives in Los Angeles.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 402 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 1.205 g (42,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Ltd., London, 1992 – ISBN 0 297 81294 7

The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930s (Elizabeth Kendall)

kendall-elizabeth-the-runaway-brideIt is the moment of truth in Frank Capra’s lt Happened One Night: the high-society bride streaking across the lawn of her father’s estate, away from the altar, away from her vapid high-society groom, toward an idling car in which waits the distinctly non-high-society newspaperman with whom she has discovered the true – passionate, earthy, elated! – meaning of love. It is this joyous, rebellious, runaway bride who heralded the birth of the signal female character of Hollywood’s great romantic comedies: self-assured, stubborn, witty, intelligent, prideful, and, in an unprecedented way, pivotal to the course of the movie’s action and emotion. And it is the runaway bride who serves as the symbolic center of Elizabeth Kendall’s singularly illuminating and entertaining study of the genesis and development of the romantic comedy – and woman’s place within it – in the 1930s.

It Happened One Night, released in 1934, was among the first movies to reflect the brash but still embryonic notions about movie-making that had begun to circulate in Hollywood with the onset of the Depression. By the end of the thirties, Capra and four other young maverick directors – George Stevens, Gregory La Cava, Leo McCarey, and Preston Sturges – had honed and consolidated these notions into a movie genre that, with exceptional grace, wit, and sophistication, responded to the Depression audience’s loss of faith in the things that had always seemed basic to American life. Elizabeth Kendall focuses on the work of these directors, clarifying the ways in which they defined the philosophy and methodology of the romantic comedy and created a screen world in which the protagonists could speak for an audience whose emotions hovered somewhere between desolation and optimism. We see how the directors moved away from the parade of material appetites that had been common fare in the movies of the 1920s, and took up, instead, a comic exploration of the nature of those appetites, their effect on human nature, and their triviality in the face of romantic love – the one thing still achievable in the lives of most Americans. And we see how, within this context – radical for its time – the directors and writers stripped the leading man of his role as the embodiment of the American ideal (the Crash had proven him profoundly fallible), and allowed that pivotal function to devolve onto their favored female stars.

Kendall helps us understand how the particular personalities and talents of this diverse group of actresses – Claudette Colbert, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Jean Arthur, Carole Lombard, Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy, and Barbara Stanwyck – made them especially apt and appealing “runaway brides.” We see their backgrounds, how their careers developed, what first brought them to the attention of these five directors, and how, in collaboration with them, they portrayed “regular human beings” who were feisty, eccentric, determined despite hardship, and, in essential ways, reflections of the actresses’ offscreen selves. An impassioned guide, Kendall takes us through the movies that these collaborations produced – My Man Godfrey, Stage Door, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Awful Truth, The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story among them – to show us the previously unseen kinds of camaraderie and combat the leading ladies engaged in with their leading men (Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Joel McCrea, William Powell, Fred MacMurray, and Henry Fonda, to name just a few), and to make clear how each film showcased the “runaway bride” – in one of her many incarnations – and in doing so, succeeded in shaking up Hollywood’s ideas about sex and gender, and giving the country a new way of looking at itself in the movies that people could respond to with conspiratorial joy.

Written with lively erudition, keen insight, and infectious enthusiasm, The Runaway Bride is a brilliant mix of film and social history – a vivid history – that renews our vision and broadens our understanding of some of the best-loved movies ever made, and the complex and dire circumstances out of which they were born.

ELIZABETH KENDALL is a dance and culture critic and the author of Where She Danced. Currently, she is a professor at Bard College. She lives in New York City.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 285 pp., index – Dimensions 24 x 16 cm (9,5 x 6,3 inch) – Weight 657 g (23,2 oz) – PUBLISHER Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1990 – ISBN 0-394-51187-5

Runaway Romances: Hollywood’s Postwar Tour of Europe (Robert R. Shandley)

shandley-robert-r-runaway-romancesPostwar America imagined itself young and in love in Europe. And Hollywood films of the era reflected this romantic allure. From the naïve Old World princess, Audrey Hepburn, falling in love with Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday to David Lean’s Summertime, featuring Katharine Hepburn’s sexual adventure in Venice, these glossy travelogue romances were shot on location, and established a new model for Hollywood filmmaking.

As Robert Shandley shows in Runaway Romances, these films were not only indicative of the ideology of the American-dominated postwar world order, but they also represented a shift in Hollywood production values. Eager to capture new audiences during a period of economic crisis, Hollywood’s European output utilized a variety of devices including location work and the widescreen process to enhance cinematic experience. The films – To Catch a Thief, Three Coins in the Fountain, and Funny Face among them – enticed viewers to visit faraway places for romantic escapades. Films such as A Foreign Affair and I Was a Male War Bride considered what it means to have American troops living abroad. In the process, these travelogue romances captured American fantasies for a brief, but intense, period that ended as audiences grew tired of Old World splendors, and entered into a new era of sexual awakening.

ROBERT R. SHANDLEY is Associate Professor of Film Studies and German at Texas A&M University. He is the author of Rubble Films: German Cinema in the Shadow of the Third Reich (Temple) and editor of Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen Debate.

Hardcover, dust jacket – 197 pp., index – Dimensions 23,5 x 15,5 cm (9,3 x 6,1 inch) – Weight 468 g (16,5 oz) – PUBLISHER Pemple University Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2009 – ISBN 978-1-59213-945-3

Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians: Biography of an Image (Harlow Robinson)

Robinson, Harlow - Russians in HollywoodThis book is the first look at the colorful yet largely unknown story of Russian émigrés who worked in the American film industry, and the representation of Russians and Soviets in Hollywood movies. Among the artists who gravitated towards Hollywood in the 1920s and ’30s were the legendary directors Lewis Milestone and Rouben Mamoulian, composers Dmitri Tiomkin and Constantin Bakaleinikoff, and actors Alla Nazimova, Akim Tamiroff, and Maria Ouspenskaya. Many had to overcome obstacles of heavy accents, being cut off from their cultural base, being forced to work beneath their talents, and taking roles that promoted ethnic stereotypes. As with most Hollywood stories, there are also great artistic and personal triumphs; many relished the opportunity to pursue their crafts largely free of political entanglements. In addition to the story of Russian émigrés, Robinson also discusses the impact of such Soviet artists as Sergei Eisenstein and Sergei Prokofiev and their visits to Hollywood.

Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians is also an informed and entertaining analysis of the representation of Russians and Soviets in American cinema. Rarely has a country loomed so large in the American zeitgeist yet remained so unknown. As a result, it was mainly through the medium of film that Americans’ images of and attitudes toward Russia were shaped. From the 1920s to the 1950s these depictions often mimicked the contemporary state of U.S. / Soviet relations at that time: the anti-Soviet Ninotchka, establishing the trope of the seduction of a Soviet by Western charm and the World War II films such as Mission to Moscow and Days of Glory which lent a positive spin to the tribulations of our erstwhile ally. The Cold War brought a slew of Red-baiting genre films (along with notable action and spy films), while the intermittent post-Stalin “thaws” are represented by such classics as David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago and Warren Beatty’s Reds. Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians is an original contribution to our knowledge of the early Hollywood film community and a lively blend of film analysis and social and political history.

HARLOW ROBINSON is Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Modern Languages and History at Northeastern University. He is the author of Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography (2002) and The Last Impresario: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Sol Hurok (1995), and is the editor and translator of Selected Letters of Sergei Prokofiev (1998).

Hardcover, dust jacket – 396 pp., index – Dimensions 21,5 x 14,5 cm (8,5 x 5,7 inch) – Weight 669 g (23,6 oz) – PUBLISHER Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1979 – ISBN 1-55553-686-7