Saturday, July 06, 2013

My Summer Classic Film Book Reading List

This summer Raquel of Out of the Past is hosting a Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge.

The goal is to read and review half a dozen books related to classic movies by September 15th.

Today Raquel invited participants to share their reading lists.

Although I'm not sure I can make the deadline -- I'm passionate about books but spend hours each day reading for work -- I definitely love the goal!  So far I'm doing well, with 1/3 of my list completed.

First I read THREE BAD MEN: JOHN FORD, JOHN WAYNE, WARD BOND by Scott Allen Nolen. My review is here.


Here's the rest of my summer list:

I'm currently reading and very much enjoying MOVIE LOVE IN THE FIFTIES by James Harvey.  Harvey's writing, surveying a variety of films and making incisive points about all, rather reminds me of the style of Jeanine Basinger. In both cases the writers rev up my enthusiasm to see new-to-me films and to revisit titles I've previously seen with a fresh eye. (Update: My review of MOVIE LOVE IN THE FIFTIES is here.)

Titles still ahead of me to read this summer include ROMANTIC COMEDY IN HOLLYWOOD: FROM LUBITSCH TO STURGES, also by James Harvey. (Update: My review is here.)

I was delighted when my dad picked up YVONNE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Yvonne DeCarlo with Doug Warren. I love DeCarlo as an actress and a human being and am really looking forward to reading her memoir. (Update: Here's my review.)

And finally JOAN BLONDELL: A LIFE BETWEEN TAKES by Matthew Kennedy. I've seen countless Blondell films, with many more ahead of me to see for the first time, and I'm looking forward to learning more about her. (Update: Here's my review of the Blondell biography!)

If anyone has suggestions on film-related books to read in the future, please feel free to share titles in the comments. There are also ideas at Out of the Past, linked at the top of this post.

Happy reading!


Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

Thanks for sharing your list! I'll add it to my roundup. I really want to read that Joan Blondell book. She's one of my favorites. What is it about Yvonne De Carlo that you admire so much? I'm curious.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I have two of the books on your list, Laura (I don't know why that excites me so, but it does) -- Yvonne and the Joan Blondell book. In fact, I'd considered making the Joan Blondell one of my six. You're a third of the way finished -- that is awesome! I just finished my first one today. Yipes!

5:23 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Raquel!

I've read countless anecdotes that off the screen DeCarlo was very down-to-earth and friendly, a hard worker without any movie star "airs." One example was in a talk I heard by Cecil B. DeMille's granddaughter, who shared how kind DeCarlo was to her on the set of 10 COMMANDMENTS.

On the screen I've found her to be a really underrated comedienne who is delightful in movies such as THE GAL WHO TOOK THE WEST and BUCCANEER'S GIRL. Only wish she'd had even more projects that took full advantage of her talent and her sense of humor. Also love her in a far different role in CRISS CROSS. Thanks for giving me the chance to share more about her!

Best wishes,

5:25 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hey, Karen, that's really fun you have the books on these actresses too! It's perfect for you -- one from pre-Codes and one from noir. :)

Looking forward to reading about the book you just finished!

Best wishes,

5:29 PM  
Blogger Lasso The Movies said...

Thanks for sharing your list and for picking such interesting films. I don't read near enough, but am trying to get better and a few of these titles like to be right up my ally. Thanks again!

5:34 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Paul -- I also enjoy visiting your site and seeing what you've been watching, you keep up a great viewing & blogging pace! :) I hope you'll enjoy trying a couple of the books on this list, would love to know your thoughts if you check any of them out.

Best wishes,

5:42 PM  
Blogger Lasso The Movies said...

Hey Laura, thanks for being so nice about my blog! Just thought I'd come back and let you know I just purchased three of these books and can't wait to get started on my reading! Thanks again!

5:54 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

I found it interesting to read Blondell's Roman A Clef novel Center Door Fancy more or less with Matthew Kennedy's book.

6:01 PM  
Blogger VP81955 said...

I've owned the original version of Harvey's "Romantic Comedy" since it came out in the late 1980s. A terrific book.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I've read several "classic" movie books in recent months and, while none of them would be at the top of my list of recommendations, they all had worth. Those titles are:
WHY ME? by William Gargan
THALBERG by Roland Flamini

I've also read two books on the Barrymore family, but both of those spent more pages on their stage work than on their movies.

I'm about to start Joseph McBride's SEARCHING FOR JOHN FORD.

But, if I were to recommend just one book from the many I've read, it would be THE FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS BOOK by Arlene Croce. The author is a dance critic and I know NOTHING about dance. But she tells a fascinating story and she tells it well. It's not a new book (I read it probably 30-35 years ago), but if you haven't read it...

I see the book is available on Amazon, but the prices have gotten a little high. Still, it's a first-rate book.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Paul, I'm looking forward to hearing which books you purchased and what you think of them, I'm really delighted you found so much of interest on my list.

Really appreciate everyone's additional input. Can't believe I'm just now catching up with James Harvey, really enjoying him.

Rick, THE FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS BOOK was one of the very earliest film books in my family's collection, when I was just a kid and fascinated by the "flip book" dancing on the corners of the pages! I'm glad you mentioned it for those who might not be familiar with it.

Roland Flamini's SCARLETT, RHETT AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS was another early book in the collection, as well as Joseph McBride and Michael Wilmington's JOHN FORD. Good authors all.

Read the Keyes book many years ago and should revisit it along with THE GENIUS OF THE SYSTEM.

Thanks to you all!

Best wishes,

10:05 PM  

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