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Film, Theater, and Performing Arts > Individual Performers and Directors
Colley Cibber changed the course of the English-speaking theater. One of the most complete theater men in the history of the stage, he fostered the change from drama as the handmaiden of literature to theater as an independent and lively art. In the process, Cibber became one of London's brightest stars, one of its most popular playwrights and, for thirty years, manager of the most important theater in England, Drury Lane.
Yet above all, Cibber was an actor, and this fact governed his life and career. In his plays, he demonstrated a remarkable awareness of the audience in the playhouse, while the character of a fool, which he created for the stage, gradually became the mask he wore in private life. The man himself achieved fame and wealth and gained powerful friends who gave him the post of Poet Laureate. But the mask and his success brought equally powerful enemies who made him the target of their ridicule and succeeded in destroying his reputation.
Since then the distorted image created by Pope and Fielding has amused generations of readers, but it does not explain how such a supposed fool remained a favorite with the public throughout his career, had more plays in the repertory than any other contemporary author, successfully managed a major theatrical company, or wrote the best theatrical history of his age. This biography looks at the man behind that distorting mask, his position in his own time, and his contribution to the theater.
Interviews from Hollywood's Golden Era
James Bawden: Seeing the way people behave when they're around you, is it still fun being Cary Grant?
Cary Grant: I don't like to disappoint people. Because he's a completely made-up character and I'm playing a part. It's a part I've been playing a long time, but no way am I really Cary Grant. A friend told me once, "I always wanted to be Cary Grant." And I said, "So did I." -- from the bookIn Conversations with Classic Film Stars, retired journalists James Bawden and Ron Miller present an astonishing collection of rare interviews with the greatest celebrities of Hollywood's golden age. Conducted over the course of more than fifty years, they recount intimate conversations with some of the most famous leading men and women of the era, including Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joseph Cotten, Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, Joan Fontaine, Loretta Young, Kirk Douglas, and many more.
Each interview takes readers behind the scenes with some of cinema's most iconic stars. The actors convey unforgettable stories, from Maureen O'Hara discussing Charles Laughton's request that she change her last name, to Bob Hope candidly commenting on the presidential honors bestowed upon him. Humorous, enlightening, and poignant, Conversations with Classic Film Stars is essential reading for anyone who loves classic movies.
Conversations with Steve Martin presents a collection of interviews and profiles that focus on Martin as a writer, artist, and original thinker over the course of more than four decades in show business. While those less familiar with his full body of work may think of Martin as primarily the “wild and crazy guy” with an arrow through his head, this book makes the case that he is in fact one of our nation’s most accomplished and varied artists. It shows the full range of Martin’s creative work, tracing the source of his comic imagination from his early standup days, starting in the mid to late 1960s through the films he has written and starred in, and emphasizing his more recent creative outpourings as playwright, essayist, novelist, memoirist, songwriter, composer, musician, and art critic.
“Standup is the hardest material in the world to write for someone else; it’s like trying to condense 10 years of experience into 20 minutes of new material.,” Martin says. But commenting on his fiction writing, he says. “I think you have to be able to find as a writer that state where you don’t know what you’re going to say or what the character is going to say or who the characters are. That’s the biggest thrill of all. When you start to trust that subconscious thing and you don’t censor yourself—just remember you can always throw it away—that’s when the good stuff comes out.”
The selected materials consist not only of pieces focused primarily on Martin’s writings, but also broader profiles and conversations that help explain Martin’s development as a writer within the larger context of his many other accomplishments, talents, and performance skills.
From Olympic Gold to the Silver Screen
Dean Smith has taken falls from galloping horses, engaged in fistfights with Kirk Douglas and George C. Scott, donned red wig and white tights to double Maureen O’Hara, and taught Goldie Hawn how to talk like a Texan.
He’s dangled from a helicopter over the skyscrapers of Manhattan while clutching a damsel in distress, hung upside down from a fake blimp 200 feet over the Orange Bowl, and replicated one of the most famous scenes in movie history by climbing on a thundering team of horses to stop a runaway stagecoach.
Cowboy Stuntman chronicles the life and achievements of this colorful Texan and Olympic gold medal winner who spent a half century as a Hollywood stuntman and actor, appearing in ten John Wayne movies and doubling for a long list of actors as diverse as Robert Culp, Michael Landon, Steve Martin, Strother Martin, Robert Redford, and Roy Rogers.
Sex, Celebrity, and My Father's Unsolved Murder
On June 29, 1978, Bob Crane, known to Hogan's Heroes fans as Colonel Hogan, was discovered brutally murdered in his Scottsdale, Arizona, apartment. His eldest son, Robert Crane, was called to the crime scene. In this poignant memoir, Robert Crane discusses that terrible day and how he has lived with the unsolved murder of his father. But this storyline is just one thread in his tale of growing up in Los Angeles, his struggles to reconcile the good and sordid sides of his celebrity father, and his own fascinating life.
Crane began his career writing for Oui magazine and spent many years interviewing celebrities for Playboy -- stars such as Chevy Chase, Bruce Dern, Joan Rivers, and even Koko the signing gorilla. As a result of a raucous encounter with the cast of Canada's SCTV, he found himself shelving his notepad and tape recorder to enter the employ of John Candy -- first as an on-again, off-again publicist; then as a full-time assistant, confidant, screenwriter, and producer; and finally as one of Candy's pallbearers.
Through disappointment, loss, and heartbreak, Crane's humor and perseverance shine. Beyond the big stars and behind-the-scenes revelations, this riveting account of death, survival, and renewal in the shadow of the Hollywood sign makes a profound statement about the desire for love and permanence in a life where those things continually slip away. By turns shocking and uplifting, Crane is an unforgettable and deeply human story.
Race, Camp, and Transnational Stardom
Carmen Miranda got knocked down and kept going. Filming an appearance on The Jimmy Durante Show on August 4, 1955, the "ambassadress of samba" suddenly took a knee during a dance number, clearly in distress. Durante covered without missing a beat, and Miranda was back on her feet in a matter of moments to continue with what she did best: performing. By the next morning, she was dead from heart failure at age 46.
This final performance in many ways exemplified the power of Carmen Miranda. The actress, singer, and dancer pursued a relentless mission to demonstrate the provocative theatrical force of her cultural roots in Brazil. Armed with bare-midriff dresses, platform shoes, and her iconic fruit-basket headdresses, Miranda stole the show in films like That Night in Rio and The Gang's All Here. For American film audiences, her life was an example of the exoticism of a mysterious, sensual South America. For Brazilian and Latin American audiences, she was an icon. For the gay community, she became a work of art personified and a symbol of courage and charisma.
In Creating Carmen Miranda, Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez takes the reader through the myriad methods Miranda consciously used to shape her performance of race, gender, and camp culture, all to further her journey down the road to becoming a legend.
Anthony Mann (1906-1967) is renowned for his outstanding 1950s westerns starring James Stewart (Winchester '73, The Naked Spur, The Man from Laramie). But there is more to Mann's cinematic universe than those tough Wild West action dramas featuring conflicted and secretive heroes. This brilliant Hollywood craftsman also directed fourteen electrifying crime thrillers between 1942 and 1951, among them such towering achievements in film noir as T-Men, Raw Deal, and Side Street. Mann was as much at home filming dark urban alleys in black-and-white as he was the prairies and mountains in Technicolor, and his protagonists were no less conflicted and secretive than his 1950s cowboys.
In these Mann crime thrillers we find powerful stories of sexual obsession (The Great Flamarion), the transforming images of women in wartime and postwar America (Strangers in the Night, Strange Impersonation), exploitation of Mexican immigrants (Border Incident), studies of the criminal mind (He Walked by Night), and Civil War bigotry (The Tall Target). Mann's forceful camera captured such memorable and diverse stars as Erich von Stroheim, Farley Granger, Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Richard Basehart, Ricardo Montalbán, Ruby Dee, and Raymond Burr.
The Crime Films of Anthony Mann features analysis of rare documents, screenplays, story treatments, and studio memoranda and reveals detailed behind-the-scenes information on preproduction and production on the Mann thrillers. Author Max Alvarez uses rare and newly available sources to explore the creation of these noir masterworks. Along the way, the book exposes secrets and solves mysteries surrounding the mercurial director and his remarkable career, which also included Broadway and early live television.
This volume is the first book-length study of the extensive career and prolific works of D.A. Pennebaker, one of the pioneers of direct cinema, a documentary form that emphasizes observation and a straightforward portrayal of events. With a career spanning decades, Pennebaker's many projects have included avant-garde experiments (Daybreak Express), ground-breaking television documentaries (Primary), celebrity films (Dont Look Back), concert films (Monterey Pop), and innovative fusions of documentary and fiction (Maidstone)._x000B__x000B_Exploring the concept of "performing the real," Keith Beattie's insightful analysis interprets the ways in which Pennebaker's presentation of unscripted everyday performances is informed by connections between documentary filmmaking and other experimental movements such as the New American Cinema. Through his collaborations with such various artists as Richard Leacock, Shirley Clarke, Norman Mailer, and Jean-Luc Godard, Pennebaker has continually reworked and redefined the forms of documentary filmmaking. This book also includes a recent interview with the director and a full filmography.
Blacklisted Hollywood Radical
James Dalton Trumbo (1905--1976) is widely recognized for his work as a screenwriter, playwright, and author, but he is also remembered as one of the Hollywood Ten who opposed the House Un-American Activities Committee. Refusing to answer questions about his prior involvement with the Communist Party, Trumbo sacrificed a successful career in Hollywood to stand up for his rights and defend political freedom.
In Dalton Trumbo, authors Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo present thier extensive research on the famed writer, detailing his work, his membership in the Communist Party, his long campaign against censorship during the domestic cold war, his ten-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress, and his thirteen-year struggle to break the blacklist.
The blacklist ended for Trumbo in 1960, when he received screen credits for Exodus and Spartacus. Just before his death, he received a long-delayed Academy Award for The Brave One, and in 1993, he was posthumously given an Academy Award for Roman Holiday (1953). This comprehensive biography provides insights into the many notable people with whom Trumbo worked, including Stanley Kubrick, Otto Preminger, and Kirk Douglas, and offers a fascinating look at the life of one of Hollywood's most prominent screenwriters and his battle against persecution.
Commanding a cult following among horror fans, Italian film director Dario Argento is best known for his work in two closely related genres, the crime thriller and supernatural horror. In his four decades of filmmaking, Argento has displayed a commitment to innovation, from his directorial debut with 1970's suspense thriller The Bird with the Crystal Plumage to 2009's Giallo. His films, like the lurid yellow-covered murder-mystery novels they are inspired by, follow the suspense tradition of hard-boiled American detective fiction while incorporating baroque scenes of violence and excess. _x000B__x000B_L. Andrew Cooper uses controversies and theories about the films' reflections on sadism, gender, sexuality, psychoanalysis, aestheticism, and genre to declare the anti-rational logic of Argento's oeuvre. Approaching the films as rhetorical statements made through extremes of sound and vision, Cooper places Argento in a tradition of aestheticized horror that includes De Sade, De Quincey, Poe, and Hitchcock. He reveals how the director's stylistic excesses, often condemned for glorifying misogyny and other forms of violence, offer productive resistance to the cinema's visual, narrative, and political norms._x000B_