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Queen of the Movies
In the early days of cinema, when actors were unbilled and unmentioned in credits, audiences immediately noticed Mary Pickford. Moviegoers everywhere were riveted by her magnetic talent and appeal as she rose to become cinema's first great star.
In this engaging collection, copublished with the Library of Congress, an eminent group of film historians sheds new light on this icon's incredible life and legacy. Pickford emerges from the pages in vivid detail. She is revealed as a gifted actress, a philanthropist, and a savvy industry leader who fought for creative control of her films and ultimately became her own producer. This beautifully designed volume features more than two hundred color and black and white illustrations, including photographs and stills from the collections of the Library of Congress and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Together with the text, they paint a fascinating portrait of a key figure in American cinematic history.author of South of the Border with Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948
Joe Davis and the New York Music Scene, 1916-1978
Joe Davis, the focus of The Melody Man enjoyed a 50-year career in the music industry, which covered nearly every aspect of the business. He hustled sheet music in the 1920s, copyrighted compositions by artists as diverse as Fats Waller, Carson Robison, Otis Blackwell, and Rudy Vallee, oversaw hundreds of recording session, and operated several record companies beginning in the 1940s. Davis also worked fearlessly to help insure that black recording artists and song writers gained equal treatment for their work.
Much more than a biography, this book is an investigation of the role played by music publishers during much of the twentieth century. Joe Davis was not a music "great" but he was one of those individuals who enabled "greats" to emerge. A musician, manager, and publisher, his long career reveals much about the nature of the music industry and offers insight into how the industry changed from the 1920s to the 1970s. By the summer of 1924, when Davis was handling the "Race talent" for Ajax records, he had already worked in the music business for most of a decade and there was more than five decades of musical career ahead of him. The fact that his fascinating life has gone so long under-appreciated is remedied by the publication of Never Sell A Copyright.
Originally published in England, in 1990, Never Sell a Copyright: Joe Davis and His Role in the New York Music Scene, 1916-1978 was never released in the United States and available in a very limited print run in England. The author, noted blues scholar and folklorist Bruce Bastin, has worked with fellow music scholar Kip Lornell to completely update, condense, and improve the book for this first-ever American edition.
Prolific British director Michael Winterbottom (b.1961) might be hard to pin down and even harder to categorize. Over sixteen years, he has created feature films as disparate and stylistically diverse as Welcome to Sarajevo , 24 Hour Party People In This World, Butterfly Kiss and The Killer Inside Me. But in this collection, the first English-language volume to gather international profiles and substantive interviews with the Blackburn native, Winterbottom reveals how working with small crews, available light, handheld digital cameras, radio mics, and minuscule budgets allows him fewer constraints than most filmmakers, and the ability to capture the specificity of the locations where he shoots. In Michael Winterbottom: Interviews he emerges as an industrious filmmaker committed to a stripped-down approach whose concern with outsiders and docu-realist authenticity have remained constant throughout his career.Collecting pieces from news periodicals as well as scholarly journals, including previously unpublished interviews and the first-ever translation of a lengthy, illuminating exchange with the French editors of Positif , this volume spans the full breadth of Winterbottom's notably eclectic feature-film career.Damon Smith, Brooklyn, New York, is a film programmer and editor for Babelgum. His work has appeared in Reverse Shot , Boston Globe, Time Out New York Cinema Scope and several other publications.
In this much needed examination of Mike Leigh, Sean O'Sullivan reclaims the British director as a practicing theorist--a filmmaker deeply invested in cinema's formal, conceptual, and narrative dimensions. In contrast with Leigh's prevailing reputation as a straightforward crafter of social realist movies, O'Sullivan illuminates the visual tropes and storytelling investigations that position Leigh as an experimental filmmaker who uses the art and artifice of cinema to frame tales of the everyday and the extraordinary alike._x000B__x000B_Concentrating on the most recent two decades of Leigh's career, the study examines how Naked, Secrets and Lies, Topsy-Turvy, Vera Drake, and other less-discussed films such as Four Days in July and The Short and Curlies engage narrative convergence and narrative diffusion, the tension between character and plot, the interplay of coincidence and design, cinema's relationship to other systems of representation, and the filmic rendering of the human figure. This volume also includes key selections from O'Sullivan's several interviews with Leigh.
One of the most innovative comedic programs to air on television, Monty Python’s Flying Circus was a mix of the carnivalesque and the critical. The show has become famous for eschewing many of the conventions of situation comedy, the fully formed and coherent script, narrative closure, predictable characters, and the decorum associated with presentation. Its curious transatlantic popularity defied the assumption that comedy is regional and exclusive, and the show’s cult status still lives on in the United States and United Kingdom through reruns, videos, DVDs, and continual reappearances by the show’s now iconic stars. Most written accounts of Monty Python’s Flying Circus focus solely on members of the Pythons, histories of the sketches, or the development of other Monty Python projects, leaving a dearth of scholarly and contextual analysis on the television show itself. Marcia Landy’s book is one of the rare studies available examining the Flying Circus within the context of its time, analyzing the show’s influence on 1960s and 1970s British television as well as British cultural influence on the show’s legendary material. Landy explores not only why the series’ complex form of comedy was important but also why it was so well received, citing the Pythons’ amalgam of comedic material: the unruly treatment of sexuality, the mockery of religion and class, and the critique of the medium of television. The Flying Circus parodied both the lowbrow and the highbrow, throwing many previously untouchable topics into the ring, and here Landy deconstructs the impact of the show’s risks and reception. As informative as it is engaging and entertaining, this book will appeal to film and media scholars, popular culture enthusiasts, and Monty Python fans alike.
Solving a Silent Screen Mystery
For more than eighty years, the famous unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, the legendary bisexual film director, has generated debate and controversy. Now, best-selling author Charles Higham has solved the crime. Higham uncovers the corruption and intrigue of Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties—and the film industry moguls’ complete domination of the city’s authorities.
When it was discovered that a famous star of the day had probably killed Taylor, a massive cover-up began—from the removal of crucial evidence to the naming of innocent people as killers—which has continued until now to protect the truth. Murder in Hollywood goes beyond the killing to unearth unknown details about the life of Taylor before his arrival in Hollywood, as well as the stories and histories buried by the crooked authorities and criminals involved the case. The author’s exclusive interviews with the culpable star, his unique possession of long-vanished police records, and the support of the present-day Los Angeles county coroner—who examined the evidence as if the murder had taken place now—have ensured a hair-raising thriller.
Charles Higham successfully presents the most plausible and convincing solution yet to the mystery. In the process he paints a vivid portrait of Hollywood in the 1920s—from its major stars to its bisexual subculture. The result is a compelling answer to a long-standing mystery and a fascinating study of a place, and an industry that, as today, let people reinvent themselves. Murder in Hollywood is more extraordinary than any crime of fiction and more exciting than any action adventure movie.
An Insider's Journey through Hollywood
The son of famed director and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve , Guys and Dolls , Cleopatra ) and the nephew of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz was genuine Hollywood royalty. He grew up in Beverly Hills and New York, spent summers on his dad's film sets, had his first drink with Humphrey Bogart, dined with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, went to the theater with Ava Gardner, and traveled the world writing for Brando, Sinatra, and Connery. Although his family connections led him to show business, Tom "Mank" Mankiewicz forged a career of his own, becoming a renowned screenwriter, director, and producer of acclaimed films and television shows. He wrote screenplays for three James Bond films -- Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973), and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) -- and made his directorial debut with the hit TV series Hart to Hart (1979--1984). My Life as a Mankiewicz is a fascinating look at the life of an individual whose creativity and work ethic established him as a member of the Hollywood writing elite.
Mankiewicz details his journey through the inner world of the television and film industries, beginning with his first job as production assistant on The Comancheros (1961), starring John Wayne. My Life as a Mankiewicz illuminates his professional development as a writer and director, detailing his friendships and romantic relationships with some of Hollywood's biggest stars as well as his struggle with alcohol and drugs. With the assistance of Robert Crane, Mankiewicz tells a story of personal achievement and offers an insider's view of the glamorous world of Hollywood during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Austrian director Michael Haneke is recognized for films that explore the most pressing social questions of our time while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of style with innovative visual and sonic practices. On Michael Haneke is one of the very first and most extensive considerations of Haneke’s work. Editors Brian Price and John David Rhodes have gathered contributors whose own work combines critical inquiry and close formal analysis to explore the philosophical, historical, and stylistic complexity of Haneke’s films. This volume is divided into three parts, beginning with “Violence and Play,” in which contributors explore the relation in Haneke’s films between violence and playfulness that complicates questions of media, representation, and morality. Essays in part 2, “Style and Medium,” investigate Haneke’s stylistic innovation and the ways in which he can be seen as indebted to previous traditions and filmmakers, including the Italian neorealists, Alfred Hitchcock, Antonioni, and Robert Bresson. Part 3 addresses questions of “Culture and Conflict” by looking at the cultural and historical problems suggested by Haneke’s films and exploring the relation between culture and film style. On Michael Haneke is both an introduction to the work of a major figure in world cinema and a model for modern media criticism. Scholars of film and television studies, cinephiles, and anyone interested in contemporary film culture will enjoy On Michael Haneke.
Her image is iconic: Oprah Winfrey has built an empire on her ability to connect with and inspire her audience. No longer just a name, “Oprah” has become a brand representing the talk show host’s unique style of self-actualizing individualism. The cultural and economic power wielded by Winfrey merits critical evaluation. The contributors to The Oprah Phenomenon examine the origins of her public image and its substantial influence on politics, entertainment, and popular opinion. Contributors address praise from her many supporters and weigh criticisms from her detractors. Winfrey’s ability to create a feeling of intimacy with her audience has long been cited as one of the foundations of her popularity. She has repeatedly made national headlines by engaging and informing her audience with respect to her personal relationships to race, gender, feminism, and New Age culture. The Oprah Phenomenon explores these relationships in detail. At the root of Winfrey’s message to her vast audience is her assertion that anyone can be a success regardless of background or upbringing. The contributors scrutinize this message: What does this success entail? Is the motivation behind self-actualization, in fact, merely the hope of replicating Winfrey’s purchasing power? Is it just a prescription to buy the products she recommends and heed the advice of people she admires, or is it a lifestyle change of meaningful spiritual benefit? The Oprah Phenomenon asks these and many other difficult questions to promote a greater understanding of Winfrey’s influence on the American consciousness. Elwood Watson, associate professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the editor of several books, including “There She Is, Miss America”: The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America’s Most Famous Pageant and Searching The Soul of Ally McBeal: Critical Essays.
Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution
Max Fleischer (1883–1972) was for years considered Walt Disney’s only real rival in the world of cartoon animation. The man behind the creation of such legendary characters as Betty Boop and the animation of Popeye the Sailor and Superman, Fleischer asserted himself as a major player in the development of Hollywood entertainment. Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution is a vivid portrait of the life and world of a man who shaped the look of cartoon animation. Also interested in technical innovation, Fleischer invented the rotoscope—a device that helped track live action and allowed his cartoons to revolutionize the way animated characters appeared and moved on-screen. In the 1920s, Fleischer created a series of “Out of the Inkwell” films, which led to a deal with Paramount. Their character KoKo the Clown introduced new animation effects by growing out of Fleischer’s pen on-screen. As the sound revolution hit film, the studio produced shorts featuring the characters interacting with songs and with the now-famous bouncing ball that dances across lyrics projected on the screen. Max Fleischer’s story is also one of a creative genius struggling to fit in with the changing culture of golden age cinema. Out of the Inkwell captures the twists and turns, the triumphs and disappointments, and most of all the breathless energy of a life vibrantly lived in the world of animation magic.