Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Final Roundup: 2022 Classic Film Reading Challenge

The 2022 Classic Film Reading Challenge is officially over. I'm so proud of all the participants for tackling their stack of books and for everyone's continued enthusiasm for the challenge. Great work! I look forward to seeing what you all read next year.

This year 13 participants finished the challenge. Here is the list

Alejandro V.
Andy W.
Chris M.
Chuck P.
Greg B.
Jess I.
John M.
Ralph C.
Raquel S.
Robert B.
Shawn H.

And this year I decided to select five winners for the giveaway. These winners will receive one Kino Lorber single-disc DVD or Blu-ray of their choosing. Congrats to:

Chuck P.
Jess I.
Ralph C.

Now on to the reviews!

Alejandro on Goodreads

"Curtis delivers a worthy biography that so rich in detail that it will surely be a valuable resource for fans of Buster Keaton."

Andy of Journeys in Darkness and Light

"I love big concept books and The Genius of the System is certainly that, taking a broad scope of the subject, frequently zooming in for a closer look then zooming out again for the big picture."

"What we get from this book is a detailed account of the production of the film... you'll gain a tremendous amount of knowledge and enjoyment from reading Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic"

Angela of The Hollywood Revue

"if you’re more in the mood for a in-depth character study about ambition, class, and the American dream, An American Tragedy holds up very well."

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (adapted into A Place in the Sun)

"If you’re a big fan of The Graduate, the book is worth checking out, if only for those smaller but interesting differences that come up throughout the book. It’s a fast but enjoyable read."
The Graduate by Charles Webb

"I’m a big fan of Night of the Hunter, both as a book and a movie. The extra details we get in the book make John Harper a truly fascinating and compelling character."

The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb

Ari of Classic Movie Muse

"Robert Nathan’s lyrical prose is absorbing in its depth and detail. He draws the reader into his atmospheric mood piece with profound questions and statements on art, life, love, death, and time."

Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan

Carl on Instagram

"Whilst Blonde is admirably clearsighted on the unpleasant aspects of the American film industry, its speculative attempt to portray Marilyn Monroe’s psychology is not entirely successful."

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates

Chris of Digging Star Wars

"Stevens achieves something rare: a sincere retelling of Keaton’s life and filmography, sandwiched into an interesting premise…or an overall dissertation."

Greg on Goodreads

"This is a fine, straightforward bio on Claude Rains that will be a treat to his biggest fans looking for a fairly in-depth look at the man's life and career. I feel like something was missing here, though."

"Yes, you are given an exhaustive, detailed account of the making of one of the greatest Films in Cinema History from the very first conceptualizations of the original idea through to the first Theatrical screening and onto its legacy, but I think this book kind of transcends this format and becomes an epic tale in and of itself. "

Image courtesy of Jess of Box Office Poisons

Jess of Box Office Poisons

"The Brideson sisters are very engaging writers here, and punctuate their biography with contemporary sources to their subject. Gene's career is told as much through their lens as it is through what was being written about Gene in movie magazines or reviews."

"Richard Zoglin's biography is more than just an examination of the comedian, it's an attempt to put him in context of how he once represented the best of Hollywood but then became a relic who might've overstayed his welcome..."

John on Goodreads

"This is a well-researched, detail-laden, heavily illustrated, deep dive into the 100 years of making movies and film history in and about New York City."

"[The author] made clear that both she and Millicent had their share of struggles achieving successes through equality in the workplace - Millicent, so much in fact that her work on the "Creature From the Black Lagoon" was all but erased. It is great to see that she now has gotten the well-deserved acknowledgment."

"As a baseball fan, I have always thought that this was a "must-see" classic for baseball/film fans... It was great to read about it and be enlightened by the many factors that went into its production."

Image courtesy of Karen of Shadows and Satin

Karen of Shadows and Satin

"I can’t recommend this book enough – both interesting and informative, it has served to illuminate a significant facet of the entertainment industry and forever heighten my awareness about this important subject."
Backwards & in Heels by Alicia Malone

"I’ve always been far more captivated by the women of pre-Code than the men, but LaSalle’s book has piqued my interest in these gents (especially Barthelmess!) and resulted in my adding more than 50 movies to my watchlist."

"This was one of the best (if not THE best) biographies I’ve ever read... the book ends with Mike Nichols’s death, and I actually cried. I mean, like, SOBBED. It was as if I were experiencing the death of someone I knew – and that was because, after reading this bio, I felt like I did."

Mike Nichols: A Life by Mark Harris

"I knew the story, having seen the film numerous times, but that fact didn’t spoil my immense enjoyment of this novel. It was written in a “real time” format, with each chapter a different time, beginning at 9:30 pm, which added to the tension and suspense."

Sorry, Wrong Number by Allan Ullman and Lucille Fletcher

"it’s a bizarre tale that I didn’t quite grasp or appreciate on the silver screen and, frankly, didn’t much care for after having read the play."

Suddenly, Last Summer by Tennessee Williams

"I enjoyed the play just as much as I did the film – Hellman did a superb job bringing the characters to life..."

Toys in the Attic by Lillian Hellman

Peter of Let Yourself Go... To Old Hollywood

"I would not recommend this book for those seeking to learn more about Ida Lupino's life and career. As a biography of Lupino, it is completely lacking."

Ida Lupino By Jerry Vermilye

"This is an excellent first-hand look at a character who personified the image of the glamorous classic Hollywood movie star and played into that image with all her energy—highly recommended."

Ralph on LibraryThing

"Author Geoff Dyer revisits a favorite film Where Eagles Dare and proceeds to dismantle it with an affectionate eye and wry tone in "'Broadsword Calling Danny Boy' Watching Where Eagles Dare"."


"The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith is an evocative richly detailed story of the earliest days of filmmaking featuring pivotal encounters with historic figures such as the Lumiere brothers and Thomas Edison while taking place in prominent historic film centers of yesterday and today..."

The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith

"Maybe someday a revised, updated and expanded edition could be produced of this fantastic book. Just wish I had read it sooner!"

"One could not ask for a better tour guide than Steven Bingen who... is a former studio executive who spent the majority of his career working on the lot at Warner Bros. where he tells us he often acted as guide for visiting VIP guests. He puts that experience to good use welcoming readers on the tour... "

Raquel of Out of the Past

"Danger on the Silver Screen is as fascinating as the stunts described within its beautifully designed pages."

"Hollywood Tiki has a lot to offer classic movie fans especially those who love movies with exotic settings or the beach movies of the 1960s. There is much to learn here about how Tiki cinema really spoke to audiences who were dealing with the aftermath of war and the changing times."

"If your love for music runs as deep as your love for film, Rock on Film: The Movies That Rocked the Big Screen deserves a spot in your book collection."

Robert of Robert Bellissimo at the Movies

"a fantastic new book... this is a topic I've long been interested in."

Sarah on Goodreads

"I loved it and would recommend to anyone! This was a great read that had me laughing out loud a few times and smiling even more often."

"This book covers a wider span of time than the film, and briefly touches on the similarities I listed earlier. I enjoy stories written in the '20s, and this one was a fun, quick read."

Shawn of The Everyday Cinephile

"For covering a century of history, this book is a compact, fun read even when behind-the-scene business decisions and box office numbers are discussed."

20th Century Fox by Scott Eyman

"Heritage of the Desert is a worthy entry into the Western genre and clearly had a lasting impact on the genre in novels and films." 

"Hoyt, the manager of the wonderful online resource The Media History Digital Library, uses his extensive knowledge of early trade papers to provide readers context behind dozens of regional and national trade papers that document the film industry."

For more reviews check out:

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