Tuesday, January 24, 2023

New & Upcoming Classic Film Books (20)

It's that time again! I've poured over countless publisher catalogs to find some classic film book gems so you don't have to. Here is another robust list of new and upcoming releases with something for every classic movie enthusiast.

Are you new to my list? Here are the details. The books include biographies, memoirs, scholarly texts, coffee table books and more from a variety of publishers. For any scholarly books I make sure the ones included are affordable. There are also some reissues and paperback editions added to the bunch. Publication dates range from January to June 2023 (with some late 2022 releases thrown in) and these are subject to change. These are U.S. release dates. International release dates may vary.

Links go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Powell's. I receive a small commission if you shop through some (not all) of my buy links. 


The Acrobat
by Edward J. Delaney
Turtle Point Press
280 pages — November 2022

Claude Rains
Madness, Magic & Mayhem
by John T. Soister, Jessica Rains and JoAnna Jones
BearManor Media
494 pages — October 2022

Elizabeth Taylor
The Grit & Glamour of an Icon
by Kate Andersen Brower
512 pages — December 2022

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
by Anita Loos
Dover Publications
112 pages — December 2022

Local Hero
Making a Scottish Classic
by Jonathan Melville
352 pages — October 2022


Anna May Wong
From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend
by Graham Russell Gao Hodges
Chicago Review Press
304 pages — January 2023

Crooked, but Never Common
The Films of Preston Sturges
by Stuart Klawans
Columbia University Press
376 pages — January 2023

Jean Gabin
The Actor Who Was France
by Joseph Harriss
University Press of Kentucky
328 pages — January 2023

Ida Lupino
A Biography
by William Donati
University Press of Kentucky
360 pages — January 2023

The Rise and Fall of Hollywood's Dracula  
by Shadmi Koren
Humanoids, Inc.
160 pages — January 2023

Madness at the Movies
Understanding Mental Illness through Film
by James Charney
Johns Hopkins University Press
448 pages— January 2023

The Motion Picture Teller
by Colin Cotterill
Soho Crime
240 pages— January 2023

Nothing To Fear
Alfred Hitchcock And The Wrong Men 
by Jason Isralowitz
Fayetteville Mafia Press
250 pages — January 2023

Obsession Dietrich
by Edouard Taufenbach and Bastien Pourtout
48 pages — January 2023

Oscar Wars
A History of Hollywood in Gold, Sweat, and Tears 
by Michael Schulman
608 pages — January 2023

Perplexing Plots
Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder
by David Bordwell
Columbia University Press
512 pages — January 2023

The Way They Were
How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen 
by Robert Hofler
304 pages — January 2023

The Way We Were
The Making of a Romantic Classic
by Tom Santopietro
Applause Books
336 pages — January 2023

Will Rogers and His America
by Gary Clayton Anderson
University of Oklahoma Press
244 pages — January 2023


American Rivals of James Bond
by Graham Andrews
120 pages  — February 2023

The Annotated Abbott and Costello
A Complete Viewer's Guide to the Comedy Team and Their 38 Films
by Matthew Coniam and Nick Santa Maria
490 pages — February 2023

**Paperback Edition**
Barbara Stanwyck
The Miracle Woman
by Dan Callahan
University Press of Mississippi
272 pages  — February 2023

Dancing Down the Barricades
Sammy Davis Jr. and the Long Civil Rights Era 
Matthew Frye Jacobson
University of California Press
344 pages  — February 2023

(New on sale date)
The Farrows of Hollywood
Their Dark Side of Paradise
by Marilyn Ann Moss
Skyhorse Publishing
312 pages — February 2023

Harvard, Hollywood, Hitmen, and Holy Men
A Memoir
by Paul W. Williams
University Press of Kentucky
312 pages  — February 2023

Ida Lupino, Filmmaker
edited by Phillip Sipiora
Bloomsbury Academic
288 pages  — February 2023

Once Upon a Rind in Hollywood
50 Movie-Themed Cheese Platters and Snack Boards for Film Fanatics 
photographed by Rachel Riederman
Ulysses Press
144 pages  — February 2023

Rochelle Hudson
A Biography and Career Record
by David C. Tucker
178 pages  — February 2023

Silent Film's Last Hurrah
The Remarkable Movies of the Long 1928
by David Meuel
158 pages  — February 2023

**Paperback Edition**
Truly, Madly
Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and the Romance of the Century
by Stephen Galloway
Central Publishing
416 pages  — February 2023

A Queer Way of Feeling
Girl Fans and Personal Archives of Early Hollywood
by Diana W. Anselmo
University of California Press
280 pages — February 2023


**Paperback Edition**
12 Angry Men
Reginald Rose and the Making of an American Classic
by Phil Rozenweig
Empire State Editions
314 pages — March 2023

Battle of Britain: The Movie
The Men and Machines of one of the Greatest War Films Ever Made 
by Dilip Sarkar and Robert J. Rudhall
Air World
224 pages — March 2023

Being Bardot
Photographed by Douglas Kirkland and Terry O'Neill
Acc Art Books
252 pages — March 2023

The Life and Times of Tennessee Williams's Greatest Creation 
Nancy Schoenberger
340 pages — March 2023

Blood on the Moon
Reel West
by Alan K. Rode
University of New Mexico Press
136 pages — March 2023

But Have You Read the Book?
52 Literary Gems That Inspired Our Favorite Films
by Kristen Lopez
TCM and Running Press
240 pages — March 2023

Cinema Ann Arbor
How Campus Rebels Forged a Singular Film Culture
Frank Uhle
University of Michigan Press
344 pages — March 2023

Colors of Film
The Story of Cinema in 50 Palettes
by Charles Bramesco
Frances Lincoln
208 pages — March 2023

**En Español**
El libro de cine
Nueva edición
por DK
352 paginas — March 2023

French B Movies
Suburban Spaces, Universalism, and the Challenge of Hollywood 
by David A. Pettersen
Indiana University Press
346 pages — March 2023

Mel Brooks
Disobedient Jew
by Jeremy Dauber
Yale University Press
216 pages — March 2023

Melody in the Dark
British Musical Films, 1946-1972
by Adrian Wright
Boydell Press
384 pages — March 2023

**Paperback Edition**
My West Side Story
A Memoir
by George Chakiris with Lindsay Harrison
Lyons Press
232 pages — March 2023

**Paperback Edition**
The Real Diana Dors
by Anna Cale
200 pages — March 2023

The Story of Disney
100 Years of Wonder
by John Baxter, Bruce Steele, Staff of the Walt Disney Archives
Disney Editions
304 pages — March 2023

**Commemorative Edition**
Walt Disney
An American Original
Disney Editions
432 pages — March 2023

The Woman Who Dared
The Life and Times of Pearl White, Queen of the Serials
by William M. Drew
University Press of Kentucky
672 pages — March 2023


Bloodstained Narratives
The Giallo Film in Italy and Abroad 
edited by Matthew Edwards and Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns
University Press of Mississippi
304 pages —April 2023

**Paperback Edition**
Citizen Welles
A Biography of Orson Welles
by Frank Brady
University Press of Kentucky
680 pages —April 2023

Eddie Muller's Noir Bar
Cocktails Inspired by the World of Film Noir 
by Eddie Muller
TCM and Running Press
248 pages —April 2023

BFI Film Classics
by Claire Henry
120 pages —April 2023

From Silent Film Idol to Superman
The Life and Career of John Stuart
by Jonathan Croall
164 pages —April 2023

(Updated on sale date)
Getting Carter
Ted Lewis and the Birth of British Noir 
by Nick Triplow
Soho Syndicate
April 2023

Guns, Dames and Private Eyes
The Rivals of Philip Marlowe
Stories from the Golden Age of the American Pulp Magazines
edited by Nick Rennison
No Exit
320 pages — April 2023

Hollywood in the Klondike
Dawson City’s Great Film Find 
Michael Gates
Lost Moose Books
304 pages — April 2023

Memories of Underdevelopment
BFI Film Classics
by Darlene J. Sadlier
104 pages —April 2023

Military Women in World Cinema
A 20th Century History and Filmography
by Deborah A. Deacon and Stacy Fowler
291 pages —April 2023

The Official John Wayne Handy Book for Boys
Essential Skills and Fun Activities for Adventurous, Self-Reliant Kids 
by James Ellis
Media Lab Books
256 pages — April 2023

On Marilyn Monroe
An Opinionated Guide
by Richard Barrios
Oxford University Press
192 pages — April 2023

Recollecting Collecting
A Film and Media Perspective
edited by Lucy Fischer
Wayne State University Press
300 pages —April 2023

Rod Serling
His Life, Work, and Imagination
by Nicholas Parisi
Foreword by Anne Serling
University Press of Mississippi
558 pages —April 2023

The Soundies
A History and Catalog of Jukebox Film Shorts of the 1940s
by Mark Cantor
120 pages —April 2023

A Taste of Honey
BFI Film Classics
by Melanie Williams
104 pages —April 2023

**Revised and Updated**
Where Are They Buried?
How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy 
by Tod Benoit
Black Dog & Leventhal
592 pages —April 2023


The Brightest Star 
A Novel
by Gail Tsukiyama
320 pages — May 2023

The Cinema of Barbara Stanwyck
Twenty-Six Short Essays on a Working Star
by Catherine Russell
University of Illinois Press
368 pages — May 2023

**Paperback Edition**
Elizabeth and Monty
The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship
by Charles Casillo
400 pages — May 2023

Hollywood Cocktails
Over 200 Excellent Recipes 
Michael O'Mara Books
60 pages — May 2023

The Official John Wayne Handy Book of Emergency Preparedness
Essential skills for prepping, surviving and bugging out when disaster strikes
by Billy Jensen and Check Freedman
illustrated by Richard Phipps
Media Lab Books
256 pages —May 2023

Warner Bros. 100
100 Years of Storytelling
Mark A. Vieira
Running Press
368 pages — May 2023

Women and New Hollywood
Gender, Creative Labor, and 1970s American Cinema 
edited by Aaron Hunter and Martha Shearer
Rutgers University Press
230 pages — May 2023

The Women Who Built Hollywood
12 Trailblazers in Front of and Behind the Camera 
by Susan Goldman Rubin
Calkins Creek
208 pages — May 2023


Bogie & Bacall
The Surprising True Story of Hollywood's Greatest Love Affair
by William J. Mann
448 pages — June 2023

Cinema of Swords
A Popular Guide to Movies about Knights, Pirates, Barbarians, and Vikings 
(and Samurai and Musketeers and Gladiators and Outlaw Heroes) 
by Lawrence Ellsworth
376 pages — June 2023

Interviews and Essays Exploring the Making of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe Films, 1960-1964 
by Chris Alexander
Foreword by Roger Corman
250 pages — June 2023

Hollywood Confidential
How the Studios Beat the Mob at Their Own Game
by Ted Schwarz
Lyons Press
312 pages — June 2023

Twelve Films about Love and Heaven
by Pete Fraser
St. Augustine's Press
210 pages — June 2023

Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Classic Film Collective: Career Women in Love: Ex-Lady (1933), The First Hundred Years (1938) and Woman of the Year (1942)

This was originally published in the former The Classic Film Collective Patreon.

As someone who appreciates classic movies while also watching them through a contemporary lens, I look for the subtle or not so subtle signs of feminism in early films. I want to see how the role of women evolved over the 20th century and how Hollywood packaged these portrayals for mass consumption. Woman of the Year (1942), George Stevens’ delightful comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, is one of those films that has an interesting feminist angle which is then canceled out by the ending. And yes you can love a movie even though you hate how it ends. Hepburn plays Tess Harding, a successful newspaper correspondent specializing in international affairs. Tracy is the sports writer with whom she falls in love. Their marriage can’t withstand Tess’ hectic schedule and their impasse is resolved in just the sort of way you would expect of a 1940s Hollywood film. I’ve watched this film many times over the years, sometimes skipping the ending and imagining another outcome for Tess. Compromise is a key element to relationships, on screen and off, but usually it’s the women who have to sacrifice something. And for a working woman it’s giving up her career to raise a family. The ending is never a surprise. Hollywood liked to keep the status quo. However, the joy in watching these early films about career women in love are those moments where the woman stands her ground, planting seeds of dissent in an otherwise male dominated world.

“I don’t want to be like my mother, the yes-woman for some man. I want to be a person of my own.” Bette Davis as Helen in Ex-Lady (1933)


There are two 1930s films that broach the same subject matter and face the same dilemma. Ex-Lady (1933), a Pre-Code directed by Robert Florey for Warner Bros., stars Bette Davis as Helen Bauer, a talented illustrator who is at the top of her game. She’s in a relationship with Don (Gene Raymond) but refuses to marry him. Instead they live “in sin”. When keeping up this lifestyle becomes too much, Helen agrees to marry Don and that’s when everything goes haywire. Don’s talent agency takes a nosedive and the two begin to see other people. The story is partly inspired by the real life relationship of writers Edith Fitzgerald and Robert Riskin, who were also in a long-term relationship in which they lived together but remained unmarried (Riskin went on to marry actress Fay Wray). Bette Davis has some great lines in this film questioning the institution of marriage. She finds it dull and fears that it will strip away both their independence and individuality. There are two key scenes early on in the film when Davis and Raymond contemplate their relationship. Davis declares ”no one has any rights about me except me.” At the time, Davis was fighting Warner Bros. for better parts and eventually faced the studio in court. According to film historian Sloan De Forest, Davis accused “the studio of ‘slavery’ by forcing her into ‘mediocre pictures.’ Bette lost the court case, but she won Warners’ eventual respect…” Even though Davis looked poorly upon Ex-Lady, in many ways she was playing herself.: a successful woman who craved the independence that a studio contract/marriage would deprive her of.

“Can I love you and still be interested in something else?” - Virginia Bruce as Lyn in The First Hundred Years (1938)

When I was shopping the Warner Archive Collection’s final 4 for $44 sale (you can watch my haul here) I discovered a film I had never heard of: The First Hundred Years (1938). It’s an MGM film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring two of my favorite actors of that era: Robert Montgomery, Virginia Bruce and Warren William. Reading the synopsis the film immediately reminded me of Ex-Lady and I quickly added it to my shopping cart. Virginia Bruce plays Lynn Conway, a top talent agency at a big New York City firm. She is highly sought after by authors, actors and directors to land theatrical gigs and regularly travels to Hollywood to book movie deals. Robert Montgomery plays her husband David, a shipbuilder who receives word that there is a job waiting for him in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Neither of them want to give up their jobs or the marriage but something here has to give. Because we’re now in the era of the strictly enforced Hays Code, The First Hundred Years is stripped of any of the sexual chemistry and innuendos that you’ll find in Ex-Lady. Where Raymond and Davis lust for each other in the Pre-Code film, Montgomery and Bruce have a sweet and tender romance. Any lust is relegated to secondary characters like Warren William who plays the hard-drinking talent agent and Binnie Barnes who plays a socialite trying to steal Montgomery’s David away from his wife. And yes The First Hundred Years has just the sort of ending you would expect. However, it doesn’t quite feel like a disappointment. Perhaps because the film does a good job at slowly distancing the female protagonist from her job so she can be more consumed with the social aspects of her life.

As a married career woman myself I find this sub-genre of classic movies endlessly fascinating and I’ll always be on the lookout for more. Even if I know exactly how they’ll end.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Classic Film Collective: 7 Life Lessons from Cicely Tyson’s Memoir

 This was originally published in the former The Classic Film Collective Patreon.

Just as I Am
by Cicely Tyson
Paperback ISBN: 9780062931078
432 pages

On January 26th, 2021, HarperCollins published Cicely Tyson’s memoir Just as I Am. Two days later, the great screen legend passed away, just as she was gearing up to promote her new book. Just before her passing, Tyson left us a precious gift. Just as I Am offers us mere mortals a look inside the mind of a screen queen. Tyson broke the mold of what black actresses should look like and what parts they should play. Generations of women after her benefited from Tyson’s defiance. Her work included notable performances in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Sounder, all of which she discusses at length in her book. Tyson also shares stories of growing up in the West Indian community of Harlem, becoming a teen mother, her transition from modeling to acting, her tumultuous relationship with musician Miles Davis and the many friendships she formed. Reading Tyson’s memoir was like drinking an elixir that offered me clarity and wisdom beyond my years. Here are some of my favorite life lessons that I extrapolated from reading Just as I Am.

(Note: Tyson’s memoir was co-written by Michelle Burford so quotes are most likely written by Burford but true to Tyson’s voice.)

Life lesson #1: Trust your gut

“I know instantly whether I should take a role. If my skin tingles as I read the script, then it is absolutely something I must do.”

At one point in her life, Tyson developed ESP and claimed that she could make predictions about major life events shortly before they happened. I personally believe these visions were a result of how in tune she was to her gut instincts. She knew when to take on a role and when to turn one down. Trusting her instincts benefited her throughout her career.

Life lesson #2: Know thyself

“The human desire to know where we’ve come from, and who our fore-parents were, is a universal longing that transcends ethnicity.”

Tyson had “misgivings about portraying domestics” and often turned down those roles, with a couple exceptions. Instead, she focused on characters she could connect to even if it meant dressing down or portraying someone much older. Tyson had this innate sense of self that guided her throughout her life making her the sole master of her fate.

Life lesson #3: Personal connections matters most in life

“We’d laugh and carry on for hours, talking about everything and everyone. That conversation went on for sixty years.”

Tyson had an incredible memory and it’s astonishing to see the level of detail she remembered from her childhood and her formative years. She clearly cherished personal connections above all else. This was most apparent while reading stories about her lifelong friendship with dancer Arthur Mitchell. When she accepted her honorary Oscar in 2018, she took the opportunity to pay special tribute to her dear friend. Years ago, he had promised to take her to the Oscar ceremony if she were ever to win. However, he passed away a few days before he got the chance. Make sure you have a tissue handy when you watch Tyson’s acceptance speech

Life lesson #4: Do what you love

“I suppose to be truly successful at any pursuit, you have to fall in love with it, surrender to its gravitational pull, allow it to carry you off to that world of giddy sleepiness.”

At first Cicely Tyson balked at the idea of becoming an actress. The acting profession was looked down upon, especially among certain communities, and good opportunities for black actresses were still difficult to come by. However, Tyson found her stride with acting and she felt that she could really tap into a reserve of natural talent within her. At first her mother rejected Tyson’s newfound profession and it put a strain on their relationship. Seeing her daughter’s success, she warmed up to the idea. I really admire Tyson’s devotion to her craft and willingness to overcome obstacles in order to pursue her dreams.

Life lesson #5: Don’t be afraid of being successful

“I have never been shy about making money. The most potent antidote to reticence is survival.”

Years before she ever became an actress, Cicely Tyson started adult life as a fiercely independent career woman and was unapologetic about being so. She worked hard to send her daughter “Joan” to the best schools and to make it on her own as a single mother. She worked as a secretary, hairstylist and model before she was discovered by producer Warren Coleman. As women, we’re often made to feel ashamed for wanted money and/or success. Tyson knew that money could offer her opportunities that were otherwise hard to come by. She was careful about taking on new opportunities, studying and analyzing scripts closely to make sure the role suited her sensibilities. In the memoir she wrote, “as ambitious as I was to earn money, I had no interest in making a public spectacle of myself.”

Life lesson #6: Defy beauty standards, do your own thing

“I never set out to start a natural hair craze.”

In 1962, Tyson had been playing the role of an African immigrant on the TV show East Side/West Side. She put a lot of thought into her character and came to the conclusion that “so adamant was this woman about embracing her native culture, there was no way she would have chemically processed hair. It didn’t feel right to me.” She went to her local barbershop and told the barber she wanted to get rid of all her relaxed hair and started afresh. She was the first black actress to wear her hair natural on TV and by doing so upended a strict standard of beauty. Tyson and women like her have inspired me to wear my hair natural and to embrace my own differences.

Life lesson #7: Hydrate and drink your greens

“I’d begin the day with a cup of fresh celery juice (before any solid food, as a way to cleanse my system)…”

In 1976, Tyson went to a health spa where she was put on a diet of organic fruits, vegetables and grains. She came out of the experienced a changed woman. In her memoir she wrote, “when I left there after a week of following that program, the world looked different to me. My head was clear. Colors, smells, and sounds felt more pronounced. My memory improved. I felt energized. So on my own at home, I continued eating that way.” For the next 40+ years, Tyson was a dedicated vegetarian (and sometimes pescatarian). She started her day with 4 glasses of water, eight ounces of fresh celery juice and would eat vegetables and limited fruits throughout the day. At the time of writing her book she said, “the change has agreed with me, it seems. At age ninety-six, I’m still kicking.”

After reading this I immediately started juicing again. I was a bit weary of drinking celery juice straight so instead I make a green juice that includes celery with a bunch of other good stuff mixed in. Here is the recipe if you’d like to try it out. Enjoy!

Green Juice
4 stalks of celery
1 large handful of baby spinach
2 large cucumbers peeled (or unpeeled English cucumbers)
1-inch nub of ginger
1 lime peeled ( it's easier to cut off rind with a serrated knife)
2 apples cored
4 sprigs of mint

Add ingredients to a juicer on the highest setting. Makes about 24 oz of juice.

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