RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksFans of Keaton, as well as classic cinema, will be delighted to read James Curtis’s new book ... Curtis’s biography diligently reconstructs Keaton’s origins growing up in a vaudeville family ... Curtis thoroughly covers Keaton’s response to sound and its impact on comedy, his thoughts on getting fired by Louis B. Mayer, and his artistic and commercial struggles from the 1930s to his death in 1966. For those interested in personal details, Curtis takes us through Keaton’s three marriages, his drinking problems, and his stints on television toward the end of his life. Given its size, Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life could easily have been published in two volumes, but its heft makes it a treasure trove for Keaton’s most dedicated fans.
RaveLos Angeles Review of Books... sharp and witty journalism ... The collection has been edited by the great film historian Noah Isenberg and translated by the brilliant Shelley Frisch ... Wilder’s profile of Whiteman gives us a glimpse into the future filmmaker’s eye for detail and his ability to channel humor through the seemingly mundane ... The selections in Billy Wilder on Assignment show Wilder carefully honing his skills at splashy prose and erudite analysis. Reading these essays gives us a better understanding of the filmmaker’s first profession, which served him so well in Hollywood ... full of glorious turns of phrase, entertaining narratives, and quirky characters. Shelley Frisch, this book’s superb translator, observes that \'Wilder’s prose is, well … wilder than I usually get to render in my translations\' ... Thumbing through Wilder’s essays from the 1920s will make you feel as if you are enjoying yourself at a German coffeehouse, catching up on popular culture, and planning your next weekend adventure in the Weimar Republic. Isenberg and Frisch have done a great service for film historians and fans of classic Hollywood. There are very few filmmakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age whose formative years are worthy of such a deep exploration. With Billy Wilder on Assignment, we get to take a fascinating and entertaining journey with the best narrator of his day.
RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksEyman is a master at unveiling the person behind the iconic disguise ... As in so much of his excellent work on Hollywood history, Eyman gives readers a real sense of who Cary Grant was ... Grant began to successfully confront his past...in 1958 ... Eyman covers these years with a frank tenderness, as Grant desperately sought a means to fully accept himself, including his failed relationships ... Eyman has constructed a definitive biography of the Hollywood legend ... this fine biography gets us as close as we have ever been to seeing Grant whole.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"Since Lubitsch’s day, McBride observes a consistent decline in sophisticated comedy, which has been replaced by shock humor and profanity. The author fears that \'the trends that have dumbed down our society\' explain, in part, why interest in historic films has waned.However, McBride remains optimistic. Access to films new and old is on the rise, which means that more people may discover hidden gems, sparking renewed interest in Lubitsch and other Golden Age filmmakers. McBride’s study serves as both a biography and a cultural history of Europe’s influence on Hollywood that will be a great companion for those interested in underexplored comedies in film history.
RaveThe Washington PostWith a combination of astute archival research and personal stories from Fox’s niece, Angela Fox Dunn, Krefft weaves a tale that will engage amateur movie enthusiasts and film historians … Krefft chronicles the significant shift that came about at the end of 1915, when Fox sent employees to Los Angeles to helm the Fox West Coast studio … Krefft’s history gives us the whole story, one that shows us the tenacity of a titan instead of the bitter caricature left by his final years. Coupling expert scholarship and the tight prose of a seasoned journalist, The Man Who Made the Movies provides an overdue addition to film history. Krefft captures both the culture of the origins of cinema as a business and the many fascinating personalities at play within the narrative.