Tuesday, September 21, 2021

2021 Summer Reading Challenge: Final Roundup


The 2021 summer reading challenge is officially over. Congrats to everyone who participated! You all did great work. It was a joy to read/listen/watch all of your reviews.

Here is the list of participants (a whopping 14 finalists!) who finished by the challenge by reading and reviewing 6 classic film books:

Andy W.
Angela P.
Breanna M.
Chuck P. 
John M.
Jess I.
Kara L.
Karen B.
Molly S.
Nathan J.
Robert B.
Sarah A.
Shawn H.
Woodson H.

These participants were automatically entered into a giveaway to win a single disc Kino Lorber DVD or Blu-Ray of their choice (under $25 USD). Using Random.org I chose three of the finalists and those winners are: 

John M. 
Molly S.
Robert B.

Here is the final round-up up reviews. Make sure you check out the first and second round-up for more reading delights!

"manages to pack a lot of detail in under three hundred pages"

Carl of The Movie Palace Podcast

"Although this is an academic book, I do think that it's an accessible one that may appeal to a general reader who is interested in the subject matter."

Shadow of a Doubt by Diane Negra

Chuck on Twitter

"The film is good in its own ways, but can not match the book in its bleakness which makes it a satisfying noir read."

Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes

Image Source: Jess of Box Office Poisons

Sure, Ava's career is a focus in this biography, but overwhelmingly, the focus is on love."

"If there's one thing I learned about Lauren Bacall that will stay with me after reading her autobiographies it's this: she possessed a steel spine and the confidence to be who she was every moment of her life."

By Myself and Thensome by Lauren Bacall

"Spencer Tracy was a titan, and this 1,024-page biography by James Curtis, is an excellent thesis as to why." 

Spencer Tracy by James Curtis

Image Source: Jessica of Comet Over Hollywood

"When Elizabeth Spencer’s 1960 novella “Light in the Piazza” was adapted for film, the movie is nearly identical to the original printed word. This doesn’t often happen."

Light by the Piazza by Elizabeth Spencer

John on Goodreads

"a deep, thorough, dive into the making, production, and influence of the film that bridges genres and created an iconic role for one of the great film actresses in history."

by Sam Wasson 

"It is a very - VERY detailed and incredibly researched breakdown of the history of the studio and it's progression throughout the 20th Century."

"an excellent "introduction" to filmmaking for someone who wants to know the basics."

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

"wonderful gem of a book..."

"This is a fine book to give as a gift; to put out in the den next to a crackling fire as the snow is falling outdoors, or like for me, to read in early September with 80 degree temperatures and a cold iced tea."

Kara on Goodreads

"While we don’t know whether the emotions described in the book are really the way Grace Kelly felt, I think the author taps into Grace’s work and the way she is perceived today."

"Because seemingly everyone in Hollywood was involved with this great cause, you’re sure to find a photo or mention of one of your favorite stars."

"In reading the book, I not only gained a lot of new information, but I also compiled a lengthy list of films that I now want to see."

"One of my favorite things about the book is that Borgnine devotes roughly half of the book to covering many of his films – from the popular to the obscure – sharing his recollections from each."

"This book makes an enjoyable companion to Arnold’s previous book – I hope he comes out with another 52 must-sees!"

"A couple of bright spots in the midst of the gloom – I discovered two new-to-me movies by reading the book: Peggy Shannon’s Deluge (1933) and Sidney Fox’s Bad Sister (1931)."

"These were minor deviations, though; all things considered, the film provided a faithful adaptation of the book, which I highly recommend."

Jennie Gerhardt by Theodore Dreiser

"It opens with her detailed description of taking LSD at the suggestion of Cary Grant. If this doesn’t give you a clue of what kind of wild ride this book would be, I don’t know what will."

The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography by Esther Williams with Digby Diehl

"If you’re a fan of Jarman, The Yearling, the San Francisco festival, or just enjoy behind-the-scenes tales of old Hollywood, you’ll enjoy this memoir."

Laura of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

"The deep research and the author's engaging writing style combine for a "must read" biography."

Lê of Critica Retro

"The book is very informative, and even a die-hard Welles admirer like me learned a lot from it."

O Pensamento Vivo de Orson Welles by Rogério Sganzerla

Image Source: Molly of Welcome to Classic Mollywood

Molly of Welcome to Classic Mollywood

"She intertwines factual events with her emotions, but she never gets too carried away as to sway the reader to her side." 

"You can tell that the authors actually love the movies that they pair the recipes with. There is just so much careful attention to detail with the recipes and the films that inspired them."

"Overall, Mitchell's book is well-written and a page-turner, though there are many passages that could be tightened up significantly. "

Ralph on LibraryThing

"A rewarding and rich book that is experienced more than read and unlike many of the desperate dames and gunmen the reader comes out a winner."

Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Eddie Muller

"I found all the essays and interviews entertaining and informative especially the closing interview with Kevin McCarthy which was surprisingly poignant"

"James Curtis has done a wonderful job with this encompassing volume in illuminating the filmmaking talents and contributions of William Cameron Menzies..."

Raquel of Out of the Past

"As a biography, this book was thoroughly researched, relatively chronological with thematic chapters and very thorough. The writing is engaging but is inevitably weighed down by its subject matter."

Robert of Robert Bellissimo at the Movies

""something [for] all filmmakers, actors, writers, director of photography, editors particularly... a must read" 

Hitchcock Truffaut by Francois Truffaut

"a nice balance of Loretta’s life on and off screen."

Loretta Young: An Extraordinary Life by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein

Sarah on Goodreads

"I really enjoyed the setup of the story and all of the details that make trying to figure out a noir as it unfolds a fun process." 

The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing

"Anita Loos is such a delightful storyteller. Every bit of this book was fun and interesting."

Cast of Thousands by Anita Loos

"Stenn’s biography of Clara captures her talent as an actress and her alluring star persona while examining Bow’s tumultuous private life that differed wildly from her glamorous screen image."

"Riders of the Purple Sage is a perfect showcase of Zane Grey’s engrossing Western melodramas and the picture of the American West that heavily influenced early Western films. "

"Anyone who loves classic film and is familiar with Utah would also enjoy learning about how Utah became the favorite location of numerous filmmakers."

"Mahar writes a fascinating book filled with numerous nuggets of information."

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