Here’s five new or forthcoming books about films or films stars to watch out for!
[All links below direct you to our catalogue where you can reserve a copy online]
Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir by Joel Grey (13 Apr 2016)
Joel Grey, the Tony and Academy Award-winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret finally tells his remarkable life story. Born Joel David Katz to a wild and wooly Jewish American family in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932, Joel began his life in the theater at the age of 9, starting in children s theater and then moving to the main stage. He was hooked, and his seven decades long career charts the evolution of American entertainment – from Vaudeville performances with his father, Mickey Katz to the seedy gangster filled nightclubs of the forties, the bright lights of Broadway and dizzying glamour of Hollywood, to juggernaut musicals like “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” and “Wicked.” “Master of Ceremonies” is a memoir of a life lived in and out of the limelight, but it is also the story of the man behind the stage makeup. Coming of age in a time when being yourself tended to be not only difficult but also dangerous, Joel has to act both on and off the stage. He spends his high school years sleeping with the girls-next-door while carrying on a scandalous affair with an older man. Romances with to-die-for Vegas Showgirls are balanced with late night liaisons with like-minded guys, until finally Joel falls in love and marries a talented and beautiful woman, starts a family, and has a pretty much picture perfect life. But 24 years later when the marriage dissolves, Joel has to once again find his place in a world that has radically changed. Drawing back the curtain on a career filled with show-stopping numbers, larger-than-life stars and even singing in the shower with Bjork, “Master of Ceremonies” is also a portrait of an artist coming to terms with his evolving identity. When an actor plays a character, he has to find out what makes them who they are; their needs, dreams, and fears. It s a difficult thing to do, but sometimes the hardest role in an actor s life is that of himself. Deftly capturing the joy of performing as well as the pain and secrets of an era we have only just started to leave behind, Joel s story is one of love, loss, hard-won honesty, redemption, and success.
Elizabeth Taylor: A Private Life for Public Consumption by Ellis Cashmore (21 April 2016)
Elizabeth Taylor, who reigned empress-like in the 1960s, intrigued her global audience with her marriages and extra-marital improprieties, as well as her extravagant jewelry, her never-ending illnesses, her dependency on alcohol, and her perplexing friendship with Michael Jackson. She made over seventy films, though most people are hard-pressed to name three. Despite this, the name Elizabeth Taylor resonates like a thunderclap.
Ellis Cashmore s book sources celebrity culture in Taylor s scandalous affair with Richard Burton in the early 1960s. One iconic photograph taken by Marcelo Geppetti in 1962 announced the arrival of a new generation of predatory photojournalists we now know as the paparazzi. The picture propelled the world s most famous woman into a delirious media vortex. It changed Taylor s destiny. And, in a sense, it changed popular culture.
Taylor, Cashmore argues, remains the most influential Hollywood star ever: fascination in her was less about her body of work, more about the features of her life that made fans feel as if she shared the same kinds of torments as everyone. Untouchable and godlike, yet human in her frailties, Taylor was an engaging and reassuring symbol of humanness at a time when stars were remote and seemingly flawless.
Citizen Kane: A Filmmaker’s Journey by Harlan Lebo (13 May 2016)
With the approach of the 75th anniversary of Citizen Kane in May 2016, Harlan Lebo has written the full story of Orson Welles’ masterpiece film. The book will explore: Welles’ meteroric rise to stardom in New York and the real reason behind his arrival in Hollywood Welles’ unprecedented contract with RKO Studios for total creative control and the deeper issues that impeded his work instead; The dispute over who wrote the script The mystery of the “lost” final script, which the author has in his possession, and the missing scenes, which answer questions relating to the creation of the film; The plot by Hearst to destroy Welles’ project through blackmail, media manipulation, and other tactics; A detailed look behind the scenes of a production process that was cloaked in secrecy; The surprising emergence of Citizen Kane as an enduring masterpiece; Using previously unpublished material from studio files and the Hearst organization, exclusive interviews with the last surviving members of the cast and crew, and what may be the only surviving copy of the “lost” final script of the film, Citizen Kane: A Filmmaker’s Journey recounts the making of one of the most famous films in Hollywood history.
Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report by S. D. Perry (20 May 2016)
For 100’s of years, scientists at Weyland-Yutani Corp. have been monitoring the behaviour of an alien life-form whose potential for military application appears limitless. Though all attempts to harness its abilities have ended in bloodshed, acquisition of the Xenomorph remains a priority. As such, Weyland-Yutani has granted you access to their files on the alien in the hope that you will be able to help capture this fascinating, deadly creature.
Killing for Culture, from Edison to Isis: A New History of Death on Film [2nd ed.] (1 Jun 2016)
“I thought I was desensitized. I’m not. No hope for humanity… I feel like my quest is over.” – Comment posted online in reaction to the video, 3 Guys 1 Hammer.
Unlike images of sex, which were clandestine and screened only in private, images of death were made public from the onset of cinema. The father of the modern age, Thomas Edison, fed the appetite for this material with staged executions on film. Little over a century later the executions are real and the world is aghast at brutalities freely available online at the click of a button. Some of these films are created by lone individuals using shaky camera phones: Luka Magnotta, for instance, and the teenagers known as the Dnipropetrovsk maniacs. Others are shot on high definition equipment and professionally edited by organized groups, such as the militant extremists ISIS.
KILLING FOR CULTURE explores these images of death and violence, and the human obsession with looking – and not looking – at them. Beginning with the mythology of the so-called ‘snuff’ film and its evolution through popular culture, this book traces death and the artifice of death in the ‘mondo’ documentaries that emerged in the 1960s, and later the faux snuff pornography that found an audience through Necrobabes and similar websites. However, it is when videos depicting the murders of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg surfaced in the 2000s that an era of genuine atrocity commenced, one that has irrevocably changed the way in which we function as a society.