Forty years and one billion dollars in gross box office receipts after the initial release of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola's masterful trilogy continues to fascinate viewers old and new. The Godfather Effect skillfully analyzes the reasons behind this ongoing global phenomenon. Packed with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from all three Godfather films, Tom Santopietro explores the historical origins of the Mob and why they thrived in America, how Italian-Americans are portrayed in the media, and how a saga of murderous gangsters captivated audiences around the globe. Laced with stories about Brando, Pacino, and Sinatra, and interwoven with a funny and poignant memoir about the author's own experiences growing up with an Italian name in an Anglo world of private schools and country clubs, The Godfather Effect is a book for film lovers, observers of American life, and Italians of all nationalities.
Covering the early Warner Brothers years through Day's triumphs working with artists as varied as Alfred Hitchcock and Bob Fosse, Santopietro's smart and funny book deconstructs the myth of Day as America's perennial virgin, and reveals why her work continues to resonate today, both onscreen as pioneering independent career woman role model, and off, as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor. Praised by James Cagney as "my idea of a great actor" and by James Garner as "the Fred Astaire of comedy," Doris Day became not just America's favorite girl, but the number one film star in the world. Yet after two weekly television series, including a triumphant five year run on CBS, she turned her back on show business forever.
Examining why Day's worldwide success in movies overshadowed the brilliant series of concept recordings she made for Columbia Records in the '50s and '60s, Tom Santopietro uncovers the unexpected facets of Day's surprisingly sexy acting and singing style that led no less an observer than John Updike to state "She just glowed for me." Placing Day's work within the social context of America in the second half of the twentieth century, Considering Doris Day is the first book that grants Doris Day her rightful place as a singular American artist.
In Tom Santopietro's witty yet analytical look at this one-of-a-kind career, the myths and personal foibles are stripped away, and the focus lands squarely on the work. From the early recordings to the groundbreaking television specials, from the Hollywood blockbusters to the history-making comeback concerts, Streisand's career is placed within an oftentimes uniquely American social context but always allowed to speak for itself. In a brisk, funny, and always compelling style, The Importance of Being Barbra reveals all the milestones in a new and sometimes startling light, ranging from the brilliance of Funny Girl and The Broadway Album to the misbegotten yet curiously popular A Star Is Born.
Treating Barbra Streisand like the serious artist she is---and has always claimed to be---The Importance of Being Barbra delves into the key reasons for her all-encompassing success: the overwhelming ambition, the notorious perfectionism, the fervent gay following, the dramatic pull of a voice and style that mysteriously connect with the lovelorn all around the world. A full-scale examination of the acting, singing, and directing that have ranged from the dazzling to the occasionally inexplicable---it's all here for anyone who has ever wondered at the phenomenon that is Barbra Streisand.
With the publication of Sinatra in Hollywood, an analytical yet deeply personal look at the screen legend of Frank Sinatra, Sinatra's standing as a significant, indeed legendary, screen actor has now been placed in full perspective. Examining each of Sinatra's seventy film appearances in depth, Tom Santopietro traces the arc of his astonishing six-decade run as a film actor, from his rise to stardom in "boy next door" musical films like Anchors Aweigh and On the Town, through his fall from grace with legendary flops like The Kissing Bandit, to the near-mythic comeback with his Oscar-winning performance in From Here to Eternity.
Laced throughout with Sinatra's own observations on his film work, Sinatra in Hollywood deals head-on with his tumultuous marriages to Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow and directly addresses the rumors of Mob involvement in Sinatra's Hollywood career. Ranging from the specifics of his controversial acting nickname of One Take Charlie to the iconic Rat Pack film Ocean's Eleven, from the groundbreaking performance in The Manchurian Candidate to the moving and elegiac late-career roles as tough yet vulnerable detectives, the myths and personal foibles are stripped away, placing the focus squarely on the work.
Oftentimes brilliant, occasionally off-kilter, but always compelling, Frank Sinatra, the film icon who registered as nothing less than emblematic of "The American Century," here receives his full due as the serious artist he was, the actor about whom director Billy Wilder emphatically stated, "Frank Sinatra is beyond talent."
With 40 million copies sold, To Kill a Mockingbird’s poignant but clear eyed examination of human nature has cemented its status as a global classic. Tom Santopietro's new book, Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters, takes a 360 degree look at the Mockingbird phenomenon both on page and screen.
Santopietro traces the writing of To Kill a Mockingbird, the impact of the Pulitzer Prize, and investigates the claims that Lee’s book is actually racist. Here for the first time is the full behind the scenes story regarding the creation of the 1962 film, one which entered the American consciousness in a way that few other films ever have. From the earliest casting sessions to the Oscars and the 50th Anniversary screening at the White House, Santopietro examines exactly what makes the movie and Gregory Peck’s unforgettable performance as Atticus Finch so captivating.
As Americans yearn for an end to divisiveness, there is no better time to look at the significance of Harper Lee's book, the film, and all that came after.
A legend of the American theater, Barbara Cook burst upon the scene to become Broadway’s leading ingénue in roles such as Cunégonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Amalia Balash in Jerry Bock’s She Loves Me, and her career-defining, Tony-winning role as the original Marian the librarian in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. But in the late 1960s, Barbara’s extraordinary talent onstage was threatened by debilitating depression and alcoholism that forced her to step away from the limelight and out of the public life. Emerging from the shadows in the early 1970s, Barbara reinvented herself as the country’s leading concert and cabaret artist, performing the songs of Stephen Sondheim and other masters, while establishing a reputation as one of the greatest and most acclaimed interpreters of the American songbook.
Taking us deep into her life and career, from her childhood in the South to the Great White Way, Then and Now candidly and poignantly describes both her personal difficulties and the legendary triumphs, detailing the extraordinary working relationships she shared with many of the key composers, musicians, actors and performers of the late twentieth century, among them Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Elaine Stritch, and Robert Preston.
Hailed by the Financial Times of London as "the greatest singer in the world", but preferring to think of herself as "a work in progress", Barbara Cook here delivers a powerful, personal tale of pain and triumph, as straight forward, unflinchingly honest, and open hearted as her singing.