From the actor who somehow lived through it all, a “sharply detailed…funny book about a cinematic comedy of errors” (The New York Times): the making of the cult film phenomenon The Room.
In 2003, an independent film called The Room—starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.
Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Actor Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar and longtime best friend, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, unraveling mysteries for fans (like, who is Steven? And what’s with that hospital on Guerrero Street?)—as well as the most important question: how the hell did a movie this awful ever get made? But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).
The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.
Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.
With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.
Recognized the world over for his distinct voice and timeless hits spanning a career of nearly half a century, Charlie Wilson is one of the most celebrated musicians of his generation. So it took friends and family by surprise when he checked into rehab and revealed that he had been not only homeless, but also helpless.
Here is the riveting story of how love and faith carried him through not only his addiction, but also prostate cancer. Here, too, is the story of his work in the music business, including a career resurgence that saw collaborations with some of the most sought-after artists of today, including Pharrell and Justin Timberlake.
Now over twenty years sober, Wilson recounts a life filled with vertiginous highs and heartbreaking lows. His is a story of triumph over adversity, courage in the face of extreme hardship, and love when all else is lost. It is a tale of the last sixty years in social and pop culture history, and one that will stay with you for years to come.
– Bob Gale, co-creator, co-producer, and co-writer of the Back to the Future trilogy
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic Back to the Future trilogy
Long before Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled through time in a flying DeLorean, director Robert Zemeckis, and his friend and writing partner Bob Gale, worked tirelessly to break into the industry with a hit. During their journey to realize their dream, they encountered unprecedented challenges and regularly took the difficult way out.
For the first time ever, the story of how these two young filmmakers struck lightning is being told by those who witnessed it. We Don’t Need Roads draws from over 500 hours of interviews, including original interviews with Zemeckis, Gale, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Huey Lewis, and over fifty others who contributed to one of the most popular and profitable film trilogies of all time. The book includes a 16-page color photo insert with behind-the-scenes pictures, concept art, and more.
With a focus not only on the movies, but also the lasting impact of the franchise and its fandom, We Don’t Need Roads is the ultimate read for anyone who has ever wanted to ride a Hoverboard, hang from the top of a clock tower, travel through the space-time continuum, or find out what really happened to Eric Stoltz after the first six weeks of filming. So, why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here – and start reading! We Don’t Need Roads is your density.
"What fun! Deeply researched and engagingly written … the book Back to the Future fans have been craving for decades. Geekily enthusiastic and chock full of never-before-heard tales of what went on both on and off the screen, We Don't Need Roads is a book worthy of the beloved trilogy itself." – Brian Jay Jones, author of the national bestseller Jim Henson: The Biography
From the Trade Paperback edition.
MO' META BLUES
The World According to Questlove
Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture.
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!?
But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.
It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes.
It's a record that keeps going around and around.
The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.
Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.
Get ready to be pitch slapped.
The roots of unaccompanied vocal music stretch all the way back to Gregorian chants of the Middle Ages, and collegiate a cappella is over a century old. But what was once largely an Ivy League phenomenon has, in the past twenty years, exploded. And it’s not what you think. Though the blue blazers and khakis may remain, a cappella groups at colleges across the country have become downright funky.
In Pitch Perfect, journalist Mickey Rapkin follows a season in a cappella through all its twists and turns, covering the breathtaking displays of vocal talent, the groupies (yes, there are a cappella groupies), the rock-star partying, and all the bitter rivalries. Rapkin brings you into the world of collegiate a cappella characters—from movie-star looks and celebrity-size egos to a troubled new singer with the megawatt voice. Including encounters with a cappella alums like John Legend and Diane Sawyer and fans from Prince to presidents, Rapkin shows that a cappella isn’t for the faint of heart—or lungs.
Sure to strike a chord with fans of Glee and The Sing-Off, this raucous story of a cappella rock stars shows that sometimes, to get that perfect harmony, you have to embrace a little discord.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Among the bands profiled: Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur Jr.
Here is the remarkable, untold story of how five major Hollywood directors—John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler, and Frank Capra—changed World War II, and how, in turn, the war changed them. In a move unheard of at the time, the U.S. government farmed out its war propaganda effort to Hollywood, allowing these directors the freedom to film in combat zones as never before. They were on the scene at almost every major moment of America’s war, shaping the public’s collective consciousness of what we’ve now come to call the good fight. The product of five years of scrupulous archival research, Five Came Back provides a revelatory new understanding of Hollywood’s role in the war through the life and work of these five men who chose to go, and who came back.
“Five Came Back . . . is one of the great works of film history of the decade.” --Slate
“A tough-minded, information-packed and irresistibly readable work of movie-minded cultural criticism. Like the best World War II films, it highlights marquee names in a familiar plot to explore some serious issues: the human cost of military service, the hypnotic power of cinema and the tension between artistic integrity and the exigencies of war.” --The New York Times
Unlike many forms of popular music, metalheads tend to embrace their favorite bands and follow them over decades. Metal is not only a pastime for the true aficionados; it’s a lifestyle and obsession that permeates every aspect of their being. Louder Than Hell is an examination of that cultural phenomenon and the much-maligned genre of music that has stood the test of time.
Louder than Hell features more than 250 interviews with some of the biggest bands in metal, including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Spinal Tap, Pantera, White Zombie, Slipknot, and Twisted Sister; insights from industry insiders, family members, friends, scenesters, groupies, and journalists; and 48 pages of full-color photographs.
Ever since Edison's peep shows first captivated urban audiences, film has had a revolutionary impact on American society, transforming culture from the bottom up, radically revising attitudes toward pleasure and sexuality, and at the same time, cementing the myth of the American dream. No book has measured film's impact more clearly or comprehensively than Movie-Made America.
This vastly readable and richly illustrated volume examines film as art form, technological innovation, big business, and cultural bellwether. It takes in stars from Douglas Fairbanks to Sly Stallone; auteurs from D. W. Griffith to Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee; and genres from the screwball comedy of the 1930s to the "hard body" movies of the 1980s to the independents films of the 1990s.
Combining panoramic sweep with detailed commentaries on hundreds of individual films, Movie-Made America is a must for any motion picture enthusiast.
The son of a successful entrepreneur, Newman grew up in a prosperous Cleveland suburb. Despite fears that he would fail to live up to his father’s expectations, Newman bypassed the family sporting goods business to pursue an acting career. After struggling as a theater and television actor, Newman saw his star rise in a tragic twist of fate, landing the role of boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me when James Dean was killed in a car accident. Though he would joke about instances of “Newman’s luck” throughout his career, he refused to coast on his stunning boyish looks and impish charm. Part of the original Actors Studio generation, Newman demanded a high level of rigor and clarity from every project. The artistic battles that nearly derailed his early movie career would pay off handsomely at the box office and earn him critical acclaim.
He applied that tenacity to every endeavor both on and off the set. The outspoken Newman used his celebrity to call attention to political causes dear to his heart, including civil rights and nuclear proliferation. Taking up auto racing in midlife, Newman became the oldest driver to ever win a major professional auto race. A food enthusiast who would dress his own salads in restaurants, he launched the Newman’s Own brand dedicated to fresh ingredients, a nonprofit juggernaut that has generated more than $250 million for charity.
In Paul Newman: A Life, film critic and pop culture historian Shawn Levy gives readers the ultimate behind-the-scenes examination of the actor’s life, from his merry pranks on the set to his lasting romance with Joanne Woodward to the devastating impact of his son’s death from a drug overdose. This definitive biography is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinarily gifted man who gave back as much as he got out of life and just happened to be one of the most celebrated movie stars of the twentieth century.
From the Hardcover edition.
The films of the Brat Pack—from Sixteen Candles to Say Anything—are some of the most watched, bestselling DVDs of all time. The landscape that the Brat Packmemorialized—where outcasts and prom queens fall in love, preppies and burn-outs become buds, and frosted lip gloss, skinny ties, and exuberant optimism made us feel invincible—is rich with cultural themes and significance, and has influenced an entire generation who still believe that life always turns out the way it is supposed to.
You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried takes us back to that era, interviewing key players, such as Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, and John Cusack, and mines all the material from the movies to the music to the way the films were made to show how they helped shape our visions for romance, friendship, society, and success.
From the Hardcover edition.
Believe it or not, America's fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Perez Hilton, Charlie Sheen's breakdown and allegations against Woody Allen. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren’t always the saints that we make them out to be. BuzzFeed columnist Anne Helen Petersen is here to set the record straight with Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Pulling little-known gems from the archives of film history, Petersen reveals eyebrow-raising information, including:
The smear campaign against the original It Girl, Clara Bow, started by her best friendThe heartbreaking story of Montgomery Clift’s rapid rise to fame, the car accident that destroyed his face, and the “long suicide” that followedFatty Arbuckle's descent from Hollywood royalty, fueled by allegations of a boozy orgy turned violent assaultWhy Mae West was arrested and jailed for "indecency charges"And much morePart biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it's not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book. The stories are all contextualized within the boundaries of film, cultural, political, and gender history, making for a read that will inform as it entertains. Based on Petersen's popular column on the Hairpin, but featuring 100% new content, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.
For years, rappers from Nas to Ja Rule have hero-worshipped the legendary drug dealers who dominated Queens in the 1980s with their violent crimes and flashy lifestyles. Now, for the first time ever, this gripping narrative digs beneath the hip-hop fables to re-create the rise and fall of hustlers like Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols, Gerald “Prince” Miller, Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, and Thomas “Tony Montana” Mickens. Spanning twenty-five years, from the violence of the crack era to Run DMC to the infamous murder of NYPD rookie Edward Byrne to Tupac Shakur to 50 Cent’s battles against Ja Rule and Murder Inc., to the killing of Jam Master Jay, Queens Reigns Supreme is the first inside look at the infamous southeast Queens crews and their connections to gangster culture in hip hop today.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
We watched her mature on the movie screen before our eyes—in Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, and on and on. She has been hailed—along with Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor—as one of the top three female movie stars in the history of film, making her a legend in her own lifetime and beyond. But the story of what Natalie endured, of what her life was like when the doors of the soundstages closed, has long been obscured.
Natasha is based on years of exhaustive research into Natalie's turbulent life and mysterious drowning. Author Suzanne Finstad conducted nearly four hundred interviews with Natalie's family, close friends, legendary costars, lovers, film crews, and virtually everyone connected with the investigation of her strange death.
Through these firsthand accounts from many who have never spoken publicly before, Finstad has reconstructed a life of emotional abuse and exploitation, of almost unprecedented fame, great loneliness, poignancy, and loss. She sheds an unwavering light on Natalie's complex relationships with James Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Raymond Burr, Warren Beatty, and Robert Wagner and reveals the two lost loves of Natalie's life, whom her controlling mother prevented her from marrying.
Finstad tells this beauty's heartbreaking story with sensitivity and grace, revealing a complex and conflicting mix of fragility and strength in a woman who was swept along by forces few could have resisted.
Miller, Ramis, and Kenney wrote a film treatment that was rejected and ridiculed by Hollywood studios—until at last Universal Pictures agreed to produce the film, with a budget of $3 million.
A cast was assembled, made up almost completely of unknowns. Stephen Furst, who played Flounder, had been delivering pizzas. Kevin Bacon was a waiter in Manhattan when he was hired to play Chip. Chevy Chase was considered for the role of Otter, but it wound up going to the lesser-known Tim Matheson. John Belushi, for his unforgettable role as Bluto, made $40,000 (the movie's highest-paid actor).
For four weeks in the fall of 1977, the actors and crew invaded the college town of Eugene, Oregon, forming their own sort of fraternity in the process. The hilarious, unforgettable movie they made wound up earning more than $600 million and became one of America's most beloved comedy classics. It launched countless careers and paved the way for today's comedies from directors such as Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips.
Bestselling author Matty Simmons was the founder of National Lampoon and the producer of Animal House. In Fat, Drunk, and Stupid, he draws from exclusive interviews with actors including Karen Allen, Kevin Bacon, Peter Riegert, and Mark Metcalf, director John Landis, fellow producer Ivan Reitman, and other key players—as well as behind-the-scenes photos—to tell the movie's outrageous story, from its birth in the New York offices of the National Lampoon to writing a script, assembling the perfect cast, the wild weeks of filming, and, ultimately, to the film's release and megasuccess.
This is a hilarious romp through one of the biggest grossing, most memorable, most frequently quoted, and most celebrated comedies of all time.
In this new edition, Karl G. Heider thoroughly updates Ethnographic Film to reflect developments in the field over the three decades since its publication, focusing on the work of four seminal filmmakers—Jean Rouch, John Marshall, Robert Gardner, and Timothy Asch. He begins with an introduction to ethnographic film and a history of the medium. He then considers many attributes of ethnographic film, including the crucial need to present "whole acts," "whole bodies," "whole interactions," and "whole people" to preserve the integrity of the cultural context. Heider also discusses numerous aspects of making ethnographic films, from ethics and finances to technical considerations such as film versus video and preserving the filmed record. He concludes with a look at using ethnographic film in teaching.
In 1969 Illeana Douglas' parents saw the film Easy Rider and were transformed. Taking Dennis Hopper's words, "That's what it's all about man" to heart, they abandoned their comfortable upper middle class life and gave Illeana a childhood filled with hippies, goats, free spirits, and free love. Illeana writes, "Since it was all out of my control, I began to think of my life as a movie, with a Dennis Hopper-like father at the center of it."
I Blame Dennis Hopper is a testament to the power of art and the tenacity of passion. It is a rollicking, funny, at times tender exploration of the way movies can change our lives. With crackling humor and a full heart, Douglas describes how a good Liza Minnelli impression helped her land her first gig and how Rudy Valley taught her the meaning of being a show biz trouper. From her first experience being on set with her grandfather and mentor-two-time Academy Award-winning actor Melvyn Douglas-to the moment she was discovered by Martin Scorsese for her blood-curdling scream and cast in her first film, to starring in movies alongside Robert DeNiro, Nicole Kidman, and Ethan Hawke, to becoming an award winning writer, director and producer in her own right, I Blame Dennis Hopper is an irresistible love letter to movies and filmmaking. Writing from the perspective of the ultimate show business fan, Douglas packs each page with hilarious anecdotes, bizarre coincidences, and fateful meetings that seem, well, right out of a plot of a movie.
I Blame Dennis Hopper is the story of one woman's experience in show business, but it is also a genuine reminder of why we all love the movies: for the glitz, the glamor, the sweat, passion, humor, and escape they offer us all.
In Elvis: My Best Man, a heartfelt, entertaining, and long-awaited contribution to our understanding of Elvis Presley and the early days of rock ’n’ roll, George Klein writes with great affection for the friend he knew—about who the King of Rock ’n’ Roll really was and how he acted when the stage lights were off. This fascinating chronicle of boundary-breaking and music-making through one of the most intriguing and dynamic stretches of American history overflows with insights and anecdotes from someone who was in the middle of it all. From the good times at Graceland to hanging out with Hollywood stars to butting heads with Elvis’s iron-handed manager, Colonel Tom Parker, to making sure that Elvis’s legacy is fittingly honored, GK was a true friend of the King and a trailblazer in the music industry in his own right.
From the Hardcover edition.
In the wake of Hotel Rwanda’s international success, Rusesabagina is one of the most well-known Rwandans and now the smiling face of the very Hutu Power groups who drove the genocide. He is accused by the Rwandan prosecutor general of being a genocide negationist and funding the terrorist group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
For the first time, learn what really happened inside the walls of Hotel des Mille Collines.
In Inside the Hotel Rwanda, survivor Edouard Kayihura tells his own personal story of what life was really like during those harrowing days within the walls of that infamous hotel and offers the testimonies of others who survived there, from Hutu and Tutsi to UN peacekeepers. Kayihura writes of a divided society and his journey to the place he believed would be safe from slaughter.
The book exposes the Hollywood hero of the film Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, as a profiteering and politically ambitious Hutu Power sympathizer who extorted money from those who sought refuge, threatening to send those who did not pay to the génocidaires, despite pleas from the hotel’s corporate ownership to stop.
Inside the Hotel Rwanda is at once a memoir, a critical deconstruction of a heralded Hollywood movie alleged to be factual, and a political analysis aimed at exposing a falsely created hero using his fame to be a political force, spouting the same ethnic apartheid that caused the genocide two decades ago.
Kayihura’s Inside the Hotel Rwanda offers an honest and unflinching first-hand account of the reality of life inside the hotel, exposing the man who exploited refugees and shedding much-needed light on the plight of his victims.
There's little debate that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, screen actors of his generation, perhaps of all time. His work, particularly in the first 20 years of his career, is unparalleled. Mean Streets, the Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, the Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull all dazzled moviegoers and critics alike, displaying a talent the likes of which had rarely--if ever--been seen. De Niro become known for his deep involvement in his characters, assuming that role completely into his own life, resulting in extraordinary, chameleonic performances.
Yet little is known about the off-screen De Niro--he is an intensely private man, whose rare public appearances are often marked by inarticulateness and palpable awkwardness. It can be almost painful to watch at times, in powerful contrast to his confident movie personae. In this elegant and compelling biography, bestselling writer Shawn Levy writes of these many De Niros--the characters and the man--seeking to understand the evolution of an actor who once dove deeply into his roles as if to hide his inner nature, and who now seemingly avoids acting challenges, taking roles which make few apparent demands on his overwhelming talent. Following De Niro's roots as the child of artists (his father, the abstract painter Robert De Niro Sr., was widely celebrated) who encouraged him from an early age to be independent of vision and spirit, to his intense schooling as an actor, the rise of his career, his marriages, his life as a father, restauranteur, and businessman, and, of course, his current movie career, Levy has written a biography that reads like a novel about a character whose inner turmoil takes him to heights of artistry. His many friendships with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Harvey Keitel, Shelley Winters, Francis Ford Coppola, among many others, are woven into this extraordinary portrait of DeNiro the man and the artist, also adding a depth of understanding not before seen.
Levy has had unprecedented access to De Niro's personal research and production materials, creating a new impression of the effort that went into the actor's legendary performances. The insights gained from DeNiro’s intense working habits shed new perspective on DeNiro’s thinking and portrayals and are wonderful to read. Levy also spoke to De Niro's collaborators and friends to depict De Niro's transition from an ambitious young man to a transfixing and enigmatic artist and cultural figure.
Shawn Levy has written a truly engaging, insightful, and entertaining portrait of one of the most wonderful film artists of our time, a book that is worthy of such a great talent.
Acclaimed pop culture journalist Jen Chaney celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the classic film’s release in the first book of its kind, weaving together original interviews with writer and director Amy Heckerling; key cast members, including Alicia Silverstone (Cher), Paul Rudd (Josh), Stacey Dash (Dionne), Donald Faison (Murray), Elisa Donovan (Amber), Wallace Shawn (Mr. Hall), Twink Caplan (Ms. Geist and associate producer); and other crucial Clueless players like costume designer Mona May, casting director Marcia Ross, director of photography Bill Pope, former Paramount chairwoman Sherry Lansing, and many more. Cast and crew also pay heartfelt tribute to the late Brittany Murphy, who lit up the screen as Cher’s protégée, Tai.
Chaney explores the influence of Jane Austen’s Emma as the unlikely framework for Heckerling’s script, the rigorous casting process (including the future stars who didn’t make the cut), the functional yet fashion-forward wardrobe, the unique slang that drew from the past and coined new phrases for the future, the sun-drenched soundtrack that set the tone, and—above all—the massive amount of work, creativity, and craft that went into making Clueless look so effortlessly bright and glossy.
As If! illuminates why plaid skirts and knee socks will never go out of style, and why Clueless remains one of the most beloved comedies of all time.
Now with a new afterword: the history and process of moviemaking in general, and of Martin Scorsese's brilliant and varied films in particular, through the words and wit of the master director.
With Richard Schickel as the canny and intelligent guide, these conversations take us deep into Scorsese's life and work. He reveals which films are most autobiographical, and what he was trying to explore and accomplish in other films. He explains his personal style and describes many of the rewarding artistic and personal relationships of his career, including collaborations with Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Jack Nicholson, and Leonardo DiCaprio. An invaluable illumination and appreciation of one of our most admired film directors.
His full name was Spencer Bonaventure Tracy. He was called “The Gray Fox” by Frank Sinatra; other actors called him the “The Pope.”
Spencer Tracy’s image on-screen was that of a self-reliant man whose sense of rectitude toward others was matched by his sense of humor toward himself. Whether he was Father Flanagan of Boys Town, Clarence Darrow of Inherit the Wind, or the crippled war veteran in Bad Day at Black Rock, Tracy was forever seen as a pillar of strength.
In his several comedy roles opposite Katharine Hepburn (Woman of the Year and Adam’s Rib among them) or in Father of the Bride with Elizabeth Taylor, Tracy was the sort of regular American guy one could depend on.
Now James Curtis, acclaimed biographer of Preston Sturges (“Definitive” —Variety), James Whale, and W. C. Fields (“By far the fullest, fairest, and most touching account . . . we have yet had. Or are likely to have” —Richard Schickel, The New York Times Book Review, cover review), gives us the life of one of the most revered screen actors of his generation.
Curtis writes of Tracy’s distinguished career, his deep Catholicism, his devoted relationship to his wife, his drinking that got him into so much trouble, and his twenty-six-year-long bond with his partner on-screen and off, Katharine Hepburn. Drawing on Tracy’s personal papers and writing with the full cooperation of Tracy’s daughter, Curtis tells the rich story of the brilliant but haunted man at the heart of the legend.
We see him from his boyhood in Milwaukee; given over to Dominican nuns (“They drill that religion in you”); his years struggling in regional shows and stock (Tracy had a photographic memory and an instinct for inhabiting a character from within); acting opposite his future wife, Louise Treadwell; marrying and having two children, their son, John, born deaf.
We see Tracy’s success on Broadway, his turning out mostly forgettable programmers with the Fox Film Corporation, and going to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and getting the kinds of roles that had eluded him in the past—a streetwise priest opposite Clark Gable in San Francisco; a screwball comedy, Libeled Lady; Kipling’s classic of the sea, Captains Courageous. Three years after arriving at MGM, Tracy became America’s top male star.
We see how Tracy embarked on a series of affairs with his costars . . . making Northwest Passage and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which brought Ingrid Bergman into his life. By the time the unhappy shoot was over, Tracy, looking to do a comedy, made Woman of the Year. Its unlikely costar: Katharine Hepburn.
We see Hepburn making Tracy her life’s project—protecting and sustaining him in the difficult job of being a top-tier movie star.
And we see Tracy’s wife, Louise, devoting herself to studying how deaf children could be taught to communicate orally with the hearing and speaking world.
Curtis writes that Tracy was ready to retire when producer-director Stanley Kramer recruited him for Inherit the Wind—a collaboration that led to Judgment at Nuremberg, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and Tracy’s final picture, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner . . .
A rich, vibrant portrait—the most intimate and telling yet of this complex man considered by many to be the actor’s actor.
From the Hardcover edition.
Since The Dark Side of the Screen first appeared over two decades ago, it has served as the essential take on what has become one of today’s most pervasive screen influences and enduringly popular genres. Covering over one hundred outstanding films and offering more than two hundred carefully chosen stills, it is by far the most thorough and entertaining study available of noir themes, visual motifs, character types, actors, and directors. This landmark work covers noir in full, from the iconic performances of Burt Lancaster, Joan Crawford, and Humphrey Bogart to the camera angles, lighting effects, and story lines that characterize the work of directors Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, and Orson Welles.
With a new afterword about the lasting legacy of noir as well as recently rediscovered films deserving of their own screenings alongside the classics, The Dark Side of the Screen reestablishes itself as both an unsurpassed resource and a captivating must-read for any fan of noir.
Glenn Ford: A Life chronicles the volatile life, relationships, and career of the renowned actor, beginning with his move from Canada to California and his initial discovery of theater. It follows Ford’s career in diverse media—from film to television to radio—and shows how Ford shifted effortlessly between genres, playing major roles in dramas, noir, westerns, and romances.
This biography by Glenn Ford’s son, Peter Ford, offers an intimate view of a star’s private and public life. Included are exclusive interviews with family, friends, and professional associates, and snippets from the Ford family collection of diaries, letters, audiotapes, unpublished interviews, and rare candid photos. This biography tells a cautionary tale of Glenn Ford’s relentless infidelities and long, slow fade-out, but it also embraces his talent-driven career. The result is an authentic Hollywood story that isn’t afraid to reveal the truth.
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
In 1965, a young, up-and-coming illustrator by the name of Edward Sorel was living in a $97-a-month railroad flat on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Resolved to fix up the place, Sorel began pulling up the linoleum on his kitchen floor, tearing away layer after layer until he discovered a hidden treasure: issues of the New York Daily News and Daily Mirror from 1936, each ablaze with a scandalous child custody trial taking place in Hollywood and starring the actress Mary Astor. Sorel forgot about his kitchen and lost himself in the story that had pushed Hitler and Franco off the front pages.
At the time of the trial, Mary Astor was still only a supporting player in movies, but enough of a star to make headlines when it came out that George S. Kaufman, then the most successful playwright on Broadway and a married man to boot, had been her lover. The scandal revolved around Mary’s diary, which her ex-husband, Dr. Franklyn Thorpe, had found when they were still together. Its incriminating contents had forced Mary to give up custody of their daughter in order to obtain a divorce. By 1936 she had decided to challenge the arrangement, even though Thorpe planned to use the diary to prove she was an unfit mother. Mary, he claimed, had not only kept a tally of all her extramarital affairs but graded them—and he’d already alerted the press. Enraptured by this sensational case and the actress at the heart of it, Sorel began a life-long obsession that now reaches its apex.
Featuring over sixty original illustrations, Mary Astor's Purple Diary narrates and illustrates the travails of the Oscar-winning actress alongside Sorel’s own personal story of discovering an unlikely muse. Throughout, we get his wry take on all the juicy details of this particular slice of Hollywood Babylon, including Mary's life as a child star—her career in silent films began at age fourteen—presided over by her tyrannical father, Otto, who "managed" her full-time and treated his daughter like an ATM machine. Sorel also animates her teenage love affair with probably the biggest star of the silent era, the much older John Barrymore, who seduced her on the set of a movie and convinced her parents to allow her to be alone with him for private "acting lessons."
Sorel imbues Mary Astor's life with the kind of wit and eye for character that his art is famous for, but here he also emerges as a writer, creating a compassionate character study of Astor, a woman who ultimately achieved a life of independence after spending so much of it bullied by others.
Featuring ribald and rapturous art throughout, Mary Astor's Purple Diary is a passion project that becomes the masterpiece of one of America’s greatest illustrators.
In Cinema and Social Change in Latin America, Julianne Burton presents twenty interviews with key figures of Latin American cinema, covering three decades and ranging from Argentina to Mexico. Interviews with pioneers Fernando Birri, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and Glauber Rocha, renowned feature filmmakers Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Carlos Diegues, prize-winning documentarists Patricio Guzmán and Helena Solberg-Ladd, among others, endeavor to balance personal achievement against the backdrop of historical, political, social, and economic circumstances that have influenced each director's career. Presented also are conversations that cast light on the related activities of acting, distribution, theory, criticism, and film-based community organizing.
More than their counterparts in other regions of the world, Latin American artists and intellectuals acknowledge the degree to which culture is shaped by history and politics. Since the mid-1950s, a period of rising nationalism and regional consciousness, talented young artists and activists have sought to redefine the uses of the film medium in the Latin American context. Questioning the studio and star systems of the Hollywood industrial model, these innovators have developed new forms, content, and processes of production, distribution, and reception.
The specific approaches and priorities of the New Latin American Cinema are far from monolithic. They vary from realism to expressionism, from observational documentary to elaborate fictional constructs, from "imperfect cinema" to a cinema that emulates the high production values of the developed sectors, from self-reflexive to "transparent" cinematic styles, from highly industrialized modes of production to purely artisanal ones. What does not vary is the commitment to film as a vehicle for social transformation and the expression of national and regional cultural autonomy.
From early alternative cinema efforts in Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba to a contemporary perspective from within the Mexican commercial industry to the emerging cinema and video production from Central America, Cinema and Social Change in Latin America offers the most comprehensive look at Latin American film available today.
Beginning in the early 1930s, these films told compelling stories about ethnic urban lower-class desires to "make it" in an America dominated by Anglo-Saxon Protestant ideals and devastated by the Great Depression. By the late 1940s, however, their focus shifted to the problems of a culture maladjusting to a new peacetime sociopolitical order governed by corporate capitalism. The gangster no longer challenged the establishment; the issue was not "making it," but simply "making do."
Combining film analysis with archival material from the Production Code Administration (Hollywood's self-censoring authority), Munby shows how the industry circumvented censure, and how its altered gangsters (influenced by European filmmakers) fueled the infamous inquisitions of Hollywood in the postwar '40s and '50s by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Ultimately, this provocative study suggests that we rethink our ideas about crime and violence in depictions of Americans fighting against the status quo.
Marked Women classifies fifteen recurrent character types and three common narratives, many of them with their roots in male fantasy. The “Happy Hooker,” for example, is the liberated woman whose only goal is to give as much pleasure as she receives, while the “Avenger,” a nightmare of the male imagination, represents the threat of women taking retribution for all the oppression they have suffered at the hands of men. The “Love Story,” a common narrative, represents the prostitute as both heroine and anti-heroine, while “Condemned to Death” allows men to manifest, in imagination only, their hostility toward women by killing off the troubled prostitute in an act of cathartic violence.
The figure of the woman whose body is available at a price has fascinated and intrigued filmmakers and filmgoers since the very beginning of cinema, but the manner of representation has also been highly conflicted and fiercely contested. Campbell explores the cinematic prostitute as a figure shaped by both reactionary thought and feminist challenges to the norm, demonstrating how the film industry itself is split by fascinating contradictions.
In 1983 - at the age of seventy-five, her career cresting - the four-time Academy Award winner opened the door to biographer A. Scott Berg - then thirty-three - and began a special friendship, one that endured to the end of her illustrious life.
From the start, Scott Berg felt that Katharine Hepburn intended his role to be not just that of a friend but also of a chronicler, a confidant who might record for posterity her thoughts and feelings. Over the next twenty years, Kate used their many hours together to reveal all that came to mind, often reflecting on the people and episodes of her past, occasionally on the meaning of life.
Here are the stories from those countless intimate conversations, and much more. In addition to recording heretofore untold biographical details of her entire phenomenal career and her famous relationships with such men as Spencer Tracy and Howard Hughes, Kate Remembered also tells the amusing, often emotional story of one of the most touching friendships in her final years. Scott Berg provides his own memories of Katharine Hepburn offstage - quiet dinners in her town house in New York City, winter swims (she swam, he watched) in the Long Island Sound at Fenwick, her home in Connecticut, weekend visits with family members and dear friends...even some unusual appearances by the likes of Michael Jackson and Warren Beatty. Finally, Kate Remembered discusses the legendary actress's moving farewell, during which her mighty personality surrendered at last to her failing body - all the while remaining true to her courageous character.
Kate Remembered is a book about love and friendship, family and career, Hollywood and Broadway - all punctuated by unforgettable lessons from an extraordinary life.
After a brief overview of Spanish film before Franco, the author proceeds to a discussion of censorship as practiced by the Franco regime. The response of directors to censorship—the “franquista aesthetic,” or “aesthetic of repression,” with its highly metaphorical, oblique style—is explored in the works of Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, Juan Antonio Bardem, Luis García Berlanga, and other important directors.
Virginia Higginbotham combines historical perspective with detailed critical analysis and interpretation of many famous Franco-era films. She shows how directors managed to evade the censors and raise public awareness of issues relating to the Spanish Civil War and the repressions of the Franco regime.
Film has always performed an educational function in Spain, reaching masses of poor and uneducated citizens. And sometimes, as this study also reveals, Spanish film has been ignored when the questions it raised became too painful or demanding.
The author concludes with a look at post-Franco cinema and the directions it has taken. For anyone interested in modern Spanish film, this book will be essential reading.
Organized into 52 chapters and arranged in chronological order, the book invites readers to spend a year with the director's most notable works, all of which are available on DVD. Each film is examined in the context of Hitchcock's career, as the authors consider the themes central to his work; discuss each film's production; comment on the cast, script, and other aspects of the film; and assess the film's value to the Hitchcock viewer. From The Lodger to Family Plot, 68 works directed by Hitchcock are analyzed. Each analysis is supplemented by key film facts, trivia, awards, a guide to his cameos, a filmography, and a listing of available DVD releases. Whether readers decide to undertake the journey through his films one week at a time or pick and choose at their discretion, A Year of Hitchcock will open the eyes of any viewer who wants to better understand this director's evolution as an artist.
Maureen O'Hara is the first book-length biography of the screen legend hailed as the "Queen of Technicolor." Following the star from her childhood in Dublin to the height of fame in Hollywood, film critic Aubrey Malone draws on new information from the Irish Film Institute, production notes from films, and details from historical film journals, newspapers, and fan magazines. Malone also examines the actress's friendship with frequent costar John Wayne and her relationship with director John Ford, and he addresses the hotly debated question of whether the screen siren was a feminist or antifeminist figure.
Though she was an icon of cinema's golden age, O'Hara's penchant for privacy and habit of making public statements that contradicted her personal choices have made her an enigma. This breakthrough biography offers the first look at the woman behind the larger-than-life persona, sorting through the myths to present a balanced assessment of one of the greatest stars of the silver screen.
From the moment in 1965 when he first stepped on stage—at age seven—in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was destined to become the undisputed King of Pop. In a career spanning four decades, Jackson became a global icon, selling over four hundred million albums, earning thirteen Grammy awards, and spinning dance moves that captivated the world. Songs like “Billie Jean” and “Black and White” altered our national discussion of race and equality, and Jackson’s signature aesthetic, from the single white glove to the moonwalk, defined a generation. Despite publicized scandals and controversy, Jackson’s ultimate legacy will always be his music.
In an account that “reminds us why Michael Jackson was, indeed, a ‘genius’ entertainer” (New York Newsday), Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper delves deeply into Jackson’s music and talent. From the artist’s early days with the Jackson 5, to his stratospheric success as a solo artist, to “Beat It” and “Thriller,” “Bad” and “The Man in the Mirror,” to his volatile final years, his attempted comeback, and untimely death, Knopper draws on his “critical and reportorial savvy in assessing Jackson’s creative peaks and valleys,” (USA TODAY) exploring the beguiling and often contradictory forces that fueled Michael Jackson’s genius. Drawing on an amazing four hundred interviews—ranging from Jackson’s relatives, friends, and key record executives to celebrities like will.i.am and Weird Al Yankovic—this critical biography puts his career into perspective and celebrates his triumph in art and music. This is “a thoughtful look at an artist who grew up in a segregated mill town and who, for the rest of his life, made music to bring down walls” (Chicago Tribune).
In Translating Time, Bliss Cua Lim argues that fantastic cinema depicts the coexistence of other modes of being alongside and within the modern present, disclosing multiple “immiscible temporalities” that strain against the modern concept of homogeneous time. In this wide-ranging study—encompassing Asian American video (On Cannibalism), ghost films from the New Cinema movements of Hong Kong and the Philippines (Rouge, Itim, Haplos), Hollywood remakes of Asian horror films (Ju-on, The Grudge, A Tale of Two Sisters) and a Filipino horror film cycle on monstrous viscera suckers (Aswang)—Lim conceptualizes the fantastic as a form of temporal translation. The fantastic translates supernatural agency in secular terms while also exposing an untranslatable remainder, thereby undermining the fantasy of a singular national time and emphasizing shifting temporalities of transnational reception.
Lim interweaves scholarship on visuality with postcolonial historiography. She draws on Henri Bergson’s understanding of cinema as both implicated in homogeneous time and central to its critique, as well as on postcolonial thought linking the ideology of progress to imperialist expansion. At stake in this project are more ethical forms of understanding time that refuse to domesticate difference as anachronism. While supernaturalism is often disparaged as a vestige of primitive or superstitious thought, Lim suggests an alternative interpretation of the fantastic as a mode of resistance to the ascendancy of homogeneous time and a starting-point for more ethical temporal imaginings.
Based on astounding events in American history, The Birth of a Nation is the epic story of one man championing the spirit of resistance as he leads a rough-and-tumble group into a revolt against injustice and slavery.
Breathing new life into a story that has been rife with controversy and prejudice for over two centuries, the film follows the rise of the visionary Virginian slave, Nat Turner. Hired out by his owner to preach to and placate slaves on drought-plagued plantations, Turner eventually transforms into an inspired, impassioned, and fierce anti-slavery leader.
Beautifully illustrated with stills from the movie and original illustrations, the book also features an essay by writer/director, Nate Parker, contributions by members of the cast and crew, and commentary by educator Brian Favors and historians Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Daina Ramey Berry who place Nat Turner and the rebellion he led into historical context. The Birth of a Nation reframes the way we think about slavery and resistance as it explores the passion, determination, and faith that inspired Nat Turner to sacrifice everything for freedom.
Keeling draws on the thought of Frantz Fanon, Angela Davis, Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, and others in addition to Deleuze. She pursues the elusive figure of the black femme through Haile Gerima’s film Sankofa, images of women in the Black Panther Party, Pam Grier’s roles in the blaxploitation films of the early 1970s, F. Gary Gray’s film Set It Off, and Kasi Lemmons’s Eve’s Bayou.
It's the mid-1960s, and westerns, war movies and blockbuster musicals-Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music-dominate the box office. The Hollywood studio system, with its cartels of talent and its production code, is hanging strong, or so it would seem. Meanwhile, Warren Beatty wonders why his career isn't blooming after the success of his debut in Splendor in the Grass; Mike Nichols wonders if he still has a career after breaking up with Elaine May; and even though Sidney Poitier has just made history by becoming the first black Best Actor winner, he's still feeling completely cut off from opportunities other than the same "noble black man" role. And a young actor named Dustin Hoffman struggles to find any work at all.
By the Oscar ceremonies of the spring of 1968, when In the Heat of the Night wins the 1967 Academy Award for Best Picture, a cultural revolution has hit Hollywood with the force of a tsunami. The unprecedented violence and nihilism of fellow nominee Bonnie and Clyde has shocked old-guard reviewers but helped catapult Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway into counterculture stardom and made the movie one of the year's biggest box-office successes. Just as unprecedented has been the run of nominee The Graduate, which launched first-time director Mike Nichols into a long and brilliant career in filmmaking, to say nothing of what it did for Dustin Hoffman, Simon and Garfunkel, and a generation of young people who knew that whatever their future was, it wasn't in plastics. Sidney Poitier has reprised the noble-black-man role, brilliantly, not once but twice, in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, movies that showed in different ways both how far America had come on the subject of race in 1967 and how far it still had to go.
What City of Nets did for Hollywood in the 1940s and Easy Riders, Raging Bulls for the 1970s, Pictures at a Revolution does for Hollywood and the cultural revolution of the 1960s. As we follow the progress of these five movies, we see an entire industry change and struggle and collapse and grow-we see careers made and ruined, studios born and destroyed, and the landscape of possibility altered beyond all recognition. We see some outsized personalities staking the bets of their lives on a few films that became iconic works that defined the generation-and other outsized personalities making equally large wagers that didn't pan out at all.
The product of extraordinary and unprecedented access to the principals of all five films, married to twenty years' worth of insight covering the film industry and a bewitching storyteller's gift, Mark Harris's Pictures at a Revolution is a bravura accomplishment, and a work that feels iconic itself.
Including a new preface by the author, this Princeton Classics edition is a definitive work that has found an avid readership from students of film theory to major Hollywood filmmakers.