Wednesday, July 7, 2021

2021 Summer Reading Challenge: First Round-Up


I've never been more impressed with the summer reading challenge participants as I have been this year. They have been killing it with some awesome reads and even more awesome reviews. Keep up the good work! Seeing their social media mentions and the #classicfilmreading hashtag pop up and reading/watching/listening to their reviews brings a smile to my face every single time.

Congrats to Woodson for being the first to complete the challenge!

Here is the first batch of reviews!*

Andy of Journeys in Darkness and Light

""a great book for any classic film lover, and perhaps an even better book to read with another classic movie fan, leading to many opportunities for discussion, agreement, or maybe even knock-down-drag-out arguments"

The Art of American Screen Acting, 1912-1960 by Dan Callahan

"Holding has crafted not only a suspenseful tale, but also an examination of relationships, race issues, moral dilemmas, gender roles, and much more."

The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

"provides a good overview of the actor’s life and work and will no doubt make fans want to check out as much of his performances as possible."

Edmond O’Brien: Everyman of Film Noir by Derek Sculthorpe

"Although time and budget were constant woes, the stories of how these creators overcame such constraints are remarkable, compelling, and often jubilant."

Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup by Tom Weaver

"The characters of the kidnappers are less well-developed and their motivations somewhat standard, yet taken as a whole, the novel is a tightly knit page-turner that’s quite satisfying."

King's Ransom by Ed McBain 

Breanna of Bresfilms41

"As a movie trivia lover, this was a treasure trove of information, and I loved every bit of it." 

52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold

"The discussion between the two directors is relentlessly fascinating, sometimes funny, and occasionally poignant."


"[Vieira's] research is incredibly thorough, and he crafts such a compelling, living image not only of Thalberg but of every other character in his story..."

Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince by Mark A. Vieira 

"McGilligan manages to pull back the curtain and create an incredibly compelling narrative study."

Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane by Patrick McGilligan

Brittaney of The Story Enthusiast

"Having now read about Cukor’s life, I can appreciate his pictures even more."

George Cukor: A Double Life by Patrick McGilligan

Carl of The Movie Palace Podcast 

"will prove most satisfying to those who already actively admire the film, because Tarantino uses the novel to expand on various aspects from the movie."

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino

"this book is highly readable, concise and persuasive, therefore I recommend it to all cinephiles who admire Rebecca."

Rebecca by Patricia White

Chuck on Twitter

"The book is a quick read at a slim 144 pages and I was informed and entertained reading it.  It's a irreverent look at this classic film, kind of like the brothers themselves."

Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made by Roy Blount Jr.

"the book is informative without being overly academic in its analysis."

Source: Jess of Box Office Poisons

Jess of Box Office Poisons

"It's light and refreshing, just like Ann-Margret!"

My Story by Ann-Margaret

Kara on Goodreads

"I came away from this book feeling that I know Audrey Hepburn better and that our world is a poorer place without her in it."

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert Matzen

Lee of Lee Mac on YouTube

"It was fantastic. 5 stars. Amazing. Love hearts raining everywhere." 

Captain Blood: His Odyssey by Rafael Sabatini

Miriam of Cine Gratia Cinema on YouTube

"one of the most magnificent books and cookbooks that I've ever come across... quote me on that."

A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price 

Molly of Classic Mollywood

"As a TCM lover, every time I saw quotes from Robert Osborne I felt enormous joy. It was like hearing Robert talk about these films all over again."

The Essentials Vol. 2 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold

Nathan on Twitter and YouTube

"Through various anecdotes, he reveals tragedy, humor, and transparency within that fractured world."

Kieślowski on Kieślowski 

"Thomson shines a light with sensibility, wit, and with a love of cinema."

A Light in the Dark: A History of Movie Directors by David Thomson

"an excellent insight from a genuine filmmaker about the process of filmmaking."

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

"It's not a pretty story, but there's a strength in telling it and I'd implore you to give it a good read."

What Falls Away: A Memoir by Mia Farrow

Raquel of Out of the Past

"paints the portrait of a complicated woman who stumbled upon fame and soon found her calling as an internationally renowned entertainer."

Mean... Moody... Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend by Christina Rice

(Plus an author interview for TCM!)

Robert of Robert Bellissimo At The Movies on YouTube

"some of these stories are dramatic, engaging and brutal"

Conversations with Ava Gardner by Lawrence Grobol

"a real page turner"

The Marlon Brando Western - The Making of One Eye Jacks by Toby Roan

Sarah on Goodreads

"Reading about her time in Hollywood and her experiences in silent and early film-making were interesting and fun- she was definitely a '20s spirit!"

Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks

"such a fun summer read! This book has a little of everything- animals, starlets, dancers, child stars and more."

This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories by Carla Valderrama

Steve on Goodreads

"This book serves as a testament to how the film was made but also why it will be eternal. It’s a fascinating read for a legendary film. Read it twice."

Singin' in the Rain: The Making of an American Masterpiece by Earl J. Hess, Pratibha A. Dabholkar

Woodson on LibraryThing

"Spoto is quite adept at pointing out the many interesting motifs which run throughout the film maker's works..."

The Art of Alfred Hitchcock: Fifty Years of His Motion Pictures by Donald Spoto

"This book is a finely crafted balancing act: serious without being grindingly academic, honest without being salacious, adoring the art without basking in the rosy glow of nostalgia..."

Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak 

"Sadly, the author has only written one other book concerning that film world... That he hasn't continued writing about film is the cinematic world's loss" 

The Great Movies by William Bayer

"Though all of the essays would make sense to the layman, this is really more of a work for the hard core cultists. As such, it is wonderful."

Film Noir Prototypes: Origins of the Movement edited by Alain Silver and James Ursini

"Some books tell us a lot. Some books delight us a lot. Quite often the two types don't intersect. By the happiest of circumstances, a book concerning the subject of films which delight is at once informative and as delightful as its subject."

Romantic Comedy in Hollywood: From Lubitsch to Sturges by James Harvey

"In some sense this book is a bit of a parlor game with smart cinephiles identifying films, roles, actors. However, Thomson is also making a big point about that and the very fact of watching as opposed to doing."

Suspects by David Thomson 

*If for any reason you don't see your review here, it's because it's missing from the link submission form. Make sure you submit and it'll be included in the next round-up.

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