I received my April edition of the Turner Classic Movies "Now Playing" guide today and noticed a new book on Vincente Minnelli featured in the "Book Corner" column. Mark Griffin's A HUNDRED OR MORE HIDDEN THINGS: THE LIFE AND FILMS OF VINCENTE MINNELLI has an official release date on March 9th. (Click the title of this post for an Amazon link.)
I happened to be in a Barnes & Noble this evening and they already had a few copies of the book on the shelf, which was something of a miracle given that this particular B&N has a very poor film book section. I immediately flipped to the chapter on the Minnelli film I watched most recently, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952), and found it interesting enough I decided to purchase the book.
As MGM musical fans are aware, Minnelli directed many of the greatest films from the studio's Golden Era, including MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, THE BAND WAGON, and GIGI. He also directed one of my personal favorites, the often overlooked -- or outright disdained -- YOLANDA AND THE THIEF, one of the most visually dazzling movies MGM ever made.
The book is a softcover which is just under 450 pages including the footnotes and index. Most of Minnelli's films have their own chapter of roughly six to ten pages. The author conducted an impressive number of interviews and it thus appears the book has a great deal of fresh primary source research on its subject; for instance, the chapter on THE BAND WAGON has quotes from the author's interviews with James Mitchell and Nanette Fabray.
One minor drawback is that Minnelli was renowned for his brilliant use of color, and the book's fairly minimal photographs are in black and white; also, there are no glossy photo inserts, but instead the photos are printed directly on the page, which diminishes their quality. However, I have other books with color photographs from Minnelli films, and I'm sure the lack of glossy or color photos helped a great deal to keep the book at a very affordable price point. As a side note, given that MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is one of my all-time favorite films, I was fascinated by a new-to-me photo of a deleted scene.
For those who are interested in reading more on Minnelli's career, I highly recommend Drew Casper's VINCENTE MINNELLI AND THE FILM MUSICAL (1977) and Stephen Harvey's DIRECTED BY VINCENTE MINNELLI (1989). Minnelli himself published his autobiography, I REMEMBER IT WELL (1974).
For more info on A HUNDRED OR MORE HIDDEN THINGS, see the book's official blog site.