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Looking for recommendations for good movie reads

Read any good books lately?

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charliechaplinfan
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Looking for recommendations for good movie reads

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 25th, 2008, 1:17 pm

I thought I'd start this thread after a discussion on another thread.

I love to collect movie related books. I collect then faster than I can possibly read them but I will read then all one day. I'm one of those people who is always hopping from genre to genre, actor to actor etc.

There are so actors and actresses that I have been wanting to read about, our library is not good, so I resort to buying them.

This thread is for anyone who wants to read about movies/actors/actresses/genres/directors etc but is unsure what books have been published or what author/version is best.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » June 25th, 2008, 1:29 pm

Here are some people I wouldn't mind books about, I don't mind buying a second hand copy if that is thought to be the best or definitive.

KATHARINE HEPBURN
CARY GRANT
CAROLE LOMBARD
CLARK GABLE - I'VE READ THE BOOK BY WARREN G HARRIS. I DIDN'T RATE IT UNFORTUNATELY.

MARCELLO MASTROIANNI - HAS ANYONE READ THIS BOOK, IT INTRIGUES ME BECAUSE IT TELLS HIS STORY AND THE STORY OF ITALY AND IT'S HISTORY.

Editor's note: this is a shorter link to the Amazon listing of Marcello Mastroianni book:
http://tinyurl.com/5yrbmq

Marcello Mastroianni is someone I'm getting more and more acquainted with as I watch more and more Italian films. He intrigues me, he takes on very varied roles, some quite emasculating, he's a fascinating actor. I've already ordered a book by Matilde Hochkofler .

That's all for now. I'd appreciate any help you could give me.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » June 25th, 2008, 2:32 pm

I'm a Hepburn fan, Alison, and you will find dozens of books about her, pro and con. She herself wrote at least two books which you might enjoy.

One is called The Making of the African Queen, or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind. There are a few books about the making of the movie written by other authors as well.

Hepburn's memoirs are also very entertaining and titled, aptly Me.

No one can say any grass ever grew under that lady. She had a fascinating life, and probably would have done so even if she didn't gone into film.

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knitwit45
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Postby knitwit45 » June 25th, 2008, 3:06 pm

Judith, did you ever read the Garson Kanin book about Tracy and Hepburn? I read it eons ago, and loved the way he jumped back and forth in time. It's the way people reminisce. Something that happened years ago, then something from 6 months ago. I know the book caused a great rift in the friendship of T & H and Kanin and his wife Ruth Gordon.
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
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jdb1

Postby jdb1 » June 25th, 2008, 3:45 pm

Now that you mention it, Knitty, I did read Kanin's book. Also his memoirs and some others (did he do the search for Scarlett book?). All very good reads.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » June 25th, 2008, 4:49 pm

I've read her book about the making of The African Queen. I've also read Lauren Bacall's memoirs. It was great to get the experience of making that film from two different view points.

I'm a big fan of Katharine Hepburn, it's about time I read about her.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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MichiganJ
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Postby MichiganJ » June 26th, 2008, 10:42 am

While I have biographies on Gable, Grant and Hepburn, I have not yet read them so can’t offer an opinion. These are a few of the “star” biographies I have read and found quite informative without being (too) judgmental.

Bogart--A.M. Sperber & Eric Lax (superb)
Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild--David Stenn (okay)
Louise Brooks--Barry Paris (superb)
Chaplin: His Life and Art--David Robinson (Maybe the best biography I’ve ever read)
W.C. Fields--James Curtis (very good)
Garbo--Barry Paris (superb)
Audrey Hepburn--Barry Paris (very good)
Buster Keaton: Cut To The Chase--Marion Meade (very good)
Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn’t Lie Down--Tom Dardis (very good)
Harold Lloyd: Shape of Laughter--Richard Schickel (superb)
Nazimova--Gavin Lambert (superb)
Mabel: The Life of Mabel Normand--Betty Harper Fussell (very good)
Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood--Eileen Whitfield
Madam Valentino: The Many Lives of Natacha Rambova--Michael Morris (very good)

Thanks to an extremely cheap used book store nearby I have a fairly large assortment of film books. If you like, there are plenty more recommendations I can make, including director/producer bios as well as specific books on genres (particularly the Silents). While I have a number of autobiographies, I usually don’t recommend them as a primary sources of information. Usually they are more telling by the information that is left out.

Kevin
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » June 26th, 2008, 1:29 pm

I have five of your top six. I don't have the WC Fields book. I'd agree with you apart from the Clara Bow book, I was quite taken with his writing. The Chaplin book is a great book, so long but it never flags and so well researched.

I have the Tom Dardis book on Buster Keaton, it's very good too.

I wish I had a shop like yours near me.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Postby feaito » June 26th, 2008, 9:03 pm

Of the ones I've read since I was a a teenager and I've enjoyed I recommend:

John Oller's biography of Jean Arthur "The Actress Nobody Knew"
André Soares biography of Ramón Novarro "Beyond Paradise"
Myrna Loy's autobiography "Being and Becoming"
Jeanette MacDonald's biography by E. Baron Turk "Hollywood Diva"
Geoffrey Wansell's "Cary Grant-Haunted Idol"
Larry Swindell's "The Last Hero: A Biography of Gary Cooper"
Hervé Dumont's book about Frank Borzage
Jan Herman's book about William Wyler "A Talent for Trouble"
Joanna Hershfield's "The Invention of Dolores del Río"
John Kobal's "People Will Talk"
Mick LaSalle's "Complicated Women"
Mark Vieira's "Sin in Soft-Focus Pre-Code Hollywood"
James R. Parish's "The Hollywood Players-The 30s"
William Drew's "At The Center of the Frame"
John Kobal's "Gotta Sing Gotta Dance- A History of Movie Musicals"
Daniel Bubbeo's "The Women of Warner Brothers"
James Harvey's "Romantic Comedy in Hollywood"
Roger Dooley's "From Scarface to Scarlett"
Thomas Doherty's "Pre-Code Hollywood"
Scott Eyman's "The Speed of Sound"
Alexander Walker's "The Shattered Silents"
Ethan Mordden's "The Hollywood Studios"
William K. Everson's "Love in the Film"
Gregory D. Black's "Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics and the Movies"
Mick La Salle's "Dangerous Men"
James Robert Parish's "The Best of MGM The Golden Years 1928-1959"
Bob Thomas' books on Thalberg and Selznick

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » June 27th, 2008, 12:44 pm

That's a great list Fernando. Some I've read and enjoyed too and some I'm going to have to look out for.

I'm glad I started this thread :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Postby feaito » June 27th, 2008, 4:59 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:That's a great list Fernando. Some I've read and enjoyed too and some I'm going to have to look out for.

I'm glad I started this thread :wink:


I'm glad too, because thanks to recommendations in threads of this kind I decided to buy some of the books I now own :D

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myrnaloyisdope
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Postby myrnaloyisdope » June 27th, 2008, 6:51 pm

Mark A. Vieira's Sin in Soft Focus is a wonderful recap of pre-code Hollywood, with a ton of great photos, and a quite thorough history of that era.

Other than that I recommend William J. Mann's Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, which might be the best biography I've ever read.

I also recommend anything by Jonathan Rosenbaum. He's fantastic.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » June 28th, 2008, 9:52 am

I'd be interested to know how you found the book on Kate Hepburn when you've finished it. IMO it wasn't Bette Davis who was the foremost actress of her generation but Kate Hepburn who was equally good at Comedy or drama.

I've just started reading Complicated Women by Mike LaSalle I'll let you know what I think of it.

Sin in Soft Focus is a great book the narrative is well written and never flags, it's the pictures that are the cherry on the cake.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Postby feaito » June 28th, 2008, 10:36 am

myrnaloyisdope wrote:Mark A. Vieira's Sin in Soft Focus is a wonderful recap of pre-code Hollywood, with a ton of great photos, and a quite thorough history of that era.

Other than that I recommend William J. Mann's Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, which might be the best biography I've ever read.

I also recommend anything by Jonathan Rosenbaum. He's fantastic.


Besides the great information contained in Sin in Soft Focus, are Alison states, the pictures as truly awesome. Some of the best ever featured in one single book.

Myrnaloyisdope, I wanted to purchase the Mann biography on Hepburn -I did enjoy the William Haines biography he wrote and I noticed I did not include it in my list- but I already have three biographies on Hepburn and have not read any of them: Me by herself, Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg and Katharine the Great by Darwin Porter. The two latter books were birthday presents and I do not expect much accuracy from the Porter book, having read his book on Bogart :roll:

I'd also recommend Return Engagement, a wonderful book with some beautiful photos and William M. Drew's Speaking of Silents.

Another book I enjoyed was Charles Higham's Merchant of Dreams, about Louis B. Mayer. I'll have to compare it with Scott Eyman's Lion of Hollywood which I purchased last year and of which I have high expectations :D .

George Cukor's biography A Double Life by Patrick McGilligan was also an interesting read, although quite downbeat.

Kay Francis, A Passionate Life and Career by Lynn Kear and John Rossman is a good book, with its sources very well identified, but I felt it focused more on Kay's personal life rather than her career. Is her other biography I Can't Wait to Be Forgotten more focused on her career?

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » June 28th, 2008, 1:45 pm

I have the two William M Drew books. What is great is that he mostly chose actresses that aren't as accessible to the average reader.

Mark A Vieira has done a wonderful book on Garbo too called Greta Garbo a cinematic legacy. Just like Sin In Soft Focus, it has some gorgeous pictures. Garbo herself is like a work of art. It's well written too concentrating mostly on Garbo's screen career.

After those two books I got his book on Hurrell called Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits. They are books for those amongst us who just like to look at the pictures and portraits of the stars of yesteryear.

Fernando, we sound alike, so many good books, so little time :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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