What 'movie books' would you recommend and why?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Weinberg, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    I'm not talking novelizations here.

    There was a great thread a while back that had people talking about the 'movie books' they'd most recommend. As I was unable to find that thread, I thought I'd ask again.

    Stuff like William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade, Julie Salamon's The Devil's Candy and Julia Phillips' You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again. Fact-based stuff that offers some entertaining dirt and anecdotes.

    Looking forward to your suggestions, and thanks.
     
  2. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut is an invaluable resource for the Hitchcock obsessive. The two great directors converse about each of Hitch's films.

    Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe follows a similar tack. Especially valuable now that Wilder has passed.

    It's been a long time since I read it, but Roger Ebert's Book of Film is an excellent anthology that covers a wide range of topics and eras.

    Getting Away With It by Steven Soderbergh is an interesting read in light of the success he's now enjoying.
     
  3. Guy Martin

    Guy Martin Second Unit

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    I just read Mike Medavoy's autobiography, Your Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Ones and 100 for Which I ought to be Shot and found it just as interesting and entertaining as its title. That and any studio executive willing to admit that he should be subjected to capital punishment for some of his product has my vote of confidence. [​IMG]
    More sensationalistic is Hit and Run by Kim Masters and Nancy Griffin about the disastrous tenure of John Peters and Peter Guber as heads of Columbia Tristar. It tends toward hyperbole and Medavoy (who worked at Tristar during the time) has disputed a number of the facts of the book. Still very entertaining, if somewhat questionable.
    Another good one on writing is John Gregory Dunne's Monster about his experience writing Up Close and Personal. Vastly more interesting than the movie itself and a good cautionary tale for anyone who wants to be a screenwriter.
    Also, Goldman fans should check out his The Big Picture, a collection of his essays for New York magazine on Hollywood in the 90s. Not quite as good as the Adventures books, but worth a read.
    Finally, for anyone with any interest in editing at all owes it to themselves to check out Walter Murch's In the Blink of an Eye. A truly wonderful combination of how-to essay, life story and theoretical primer in one easy-to-read book.
    - Guy
     
  4. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    I love the Battle of Brazil, which is a fasinating look at the struggles at getting the film made, with quite a bit of humor (some of it somewhat unintentional)

    And if you like that... Gilliam on Gilliam.

    The Films of Akira Kurosawa is a great look at the Japanese master's works with pictures, history and comments from Kurosawa on each film.

    Along different lines, many of the Art of Star Wars and similar books are great eye candy. The only ones similar to those that I have are From Star Wars to Indian Jones: The Best of The Lucasfilm Archives which has pictures of concept art, props, models, storyboards etc and Star Wars: From Concept To Screen To Collectible.
     
  5. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    If you're interested in the B-movie side of things, "If Chins Could Kill" by Bruce Campbell is a really fun autobiography. Very interesting to see how Bruce (and Sam Raimi) got started and the perspective on the industry from below. And Bruce's voice comes across perfectly in the writing; you really feel like he's right there talking to you [​IMG]
     
  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The "History of American Cinema" series is excellent.

    There's 8 volumes, so far, which each cover a time period. Volume 1 is from 1800's to 1907. (The Emergence of Cinema)
    Volume 2 is 1907-1915. (The Transformation of Cinema)
    Volume 3 is 1915-1928. (The Silent Feature Era)
    Volume 4 is 1926-1931 (The Talkies)
    Volume 5 is 1930-1939
    Volume 6 is 1940-1949
    Volume 9 is 1970-1979.
    Volume 10 is 1980-1989.

    I assume Volume 7 is the 1950's and volume 8 is the 1960's, but they're not yet released. These DO get technical, but this is basically the essential "encyclopedia" of cinema. I haven't read all of them except for the first two, but volume 3 and 4 are probably the most interesting if you're into silent film. 5 and 6 would be good for classic film.
     
  7. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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    Scott, you might want to check out this thread, which I started about a year and a half ago.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hlight=reading
    It began as a "Challenge," but after a few months, only a couple of us were still posting reviews. Still, the suggested reading list in the first post should give you some starting points.
    My favorites:
    - Sculpting in Time by Andrei Tarkovsky -- Because it made me completely rethink the importance of art.
    - Hitchcock/Truffaut -- Because it's a transcription of Hitchcock talking to Truffaut! . . . about movies! . . . Come on!
    - Film Art by Bordwell and Thompson -- Because without it I wouldn't know know the difference between the 180 degree rule and a match-on-action cut.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Peter Biskind, Easy Riders and Raging Bulls. Trashy and Bart's a smart aleck, but it's an interesting review of the changes that swept Hollywood in the 70s.
    Sidney Lumet, Making Movies. Great insight and perspective from someone who's been doing interesting work for a very long time.
    Pauline Kael, For Keeps. Whether you agree with her or find her outrageous, she was an exceptional writer and a passionate movie watcher, and she almost single-handedly invented the role of the modern movie critic. Name your favorite critic writing today; they all owe her.
    M.
     
  9. Randall Dorr

    Randall Dorr Second Unit

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    I'll second Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (by Peter Biskind, not Bart).
    Notes on the Making of Apocalypse Now by Eleanor Coppola.
    Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate by Steven Bach.
     
  10. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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    Kieslowski on Kieslowski by Daniesza Stok, containing transcripts and interviews by Kieslowski about everything from his film school days up to the Three Colors trilogy.
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  12. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    I, Fellini Charlotte Chandler
    A fascinating account of the life of one of cinema's geniuses. I love this book.
    Picture Lillian Ross
    This is THE book to read about movies. It charts the production of John Huston's The Red Badge of Courage, including how it was mutiliated by the studio from epic length to 67mins. [​IMG]
    Sam Peckinpah: 'If They Move.... Kill 'Em!' David Weddle
    The best movie book I've ever read. Will probably be more interesting to those who are interested in Peckinpah movies though.
    Also, The Dark Side of Genius Donald Spoto is a great book on Hitchcock.
     
  13. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    A couple of books that are much lighter reading, but still great fun are:
    Sex And Zen & A Bullet In The Head: The Essential Guide To Hong Kong's Mind-Bending Films by Stefan Hammond & Mike Wilkins
    Dying For Action: The Life And Films Of Jackie Chan by Renee Witterstaetter
     
  14. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Thanks to all who threw out their suggestions, and THANKS to Darren for posting that link. That was indeed the thread I was referring to in my original post!

    I should be all set now, but feel free to toss out any other titles you guys may have enjoyed.
     
  15. Dave Preston

    Dave Preston Extra

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    The Evil Dead Companion
     
  16. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    How could I forget about John Pierson's Spike, Mike, Slackers, and Dykes about some of the seminal independent films of the 80s and 90s.
     
  17. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    Some of my favorites have been mentioned, but it never hurts to point out that they're great books: Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes, The Battle of Brazil and The Devil's Candy.
    I really enjoyed Robert Rodriguez' Rebel Without A Crew, about the making of El Mariachi.
    I picked up a paperback at a clearance sale called What I Really Want To Do Is Direct by Billy Frolick. The book follows seven film school graduates as they try to break into Hollywood. Interesting reading. One of the guys featured in the book has gone on to direct a number of Cartoon Network shows.
     
  18. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    The Lost Worlds of 2001, The Ultimate Log of The Ultimate Trip By Arthur C. Clark.
     
  19. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Stanley Kubrick, Director (A Visual Analysis) - by Alexander Walker (the latest edition covers Eyes Wide Shut)

    Kubrick - by Michel Ciment (lengthy interviews with Kubrick make this a must)

    Hitchcock's Notebooks - by Dan Aulier (explore the ins-and-outs of Hitchcock's methods)

    Harlan Ellison's Watching - by Harlan Ellison (an excellent compendium of critical essays by the love-him-or-hate-him Ellison)
     

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