Film

Eloise Ross reviews 'Scandals of Classic Hollywood' by Anne Helen Petersen

Eloise Ross
27 March 2015

Bette Davis once described Hollywood actors as American royalty, a cohort that answered the core human desire to look up to something. Those Hollywood actors who became stars (so named because of the stars in Paramount Pictures’ logo), thus served a purpose not only by acting, but also by representing societal and cultural ideals; not an easy demand, as such ideal ... More

Jake Wilson reviews 'Last Words' by Jason Wood

Jake Wilson
27 March 2015

‘Published interviews with filmmakers are increasingly becoming a thing of the past,’ writes Jason Wood in the introduction to Last Words. You could have fooled me. I suspect that Wood’s statement would come as a surprise to others as well, especially readers of the invaluable Keyframe Daily column on the Fandor website, a digest of international film n ... More

Michael Morley reviews 'Naked Cinema' by Sally Potter

Michael Morley
26 March 2015

Whereas library shelves tend to sag beneath the weight of volumes penned by, and intended for, theatre actors and directors, the number of comparable handbooks, instruction manuals, and studies pitched at their cinematic colleagues is rather thinner on the ground. To be sure, there are crucial works by David Mamet, Patrick Tucker, and Janet Sonnenberg, along with bo ... More

Philippa Hawker reviews 'John Wayne' by Scott Eyman

Philippa Hawker
26 March 2015

‘I’m Duke Morrison, and I never was and never will be a film personality like John Wayne. I know him well. I’m one of his closest students. I have to be. I make a living out of him.’ In Scott Eyman’s biography John Wayne: The Life and Legend, these words, uttered by ‘Duke Morrison, aka John Wayne’, serve as an epigraph. They are a curious mixtur ... More

Critics and professionals nominate their favourite drama series

Ian Collie et al.
25 March 2015
To complement James McNamara’s article we invited a number of cultural commentators and film and television professionals to nominate their favourite television drama series. More

Max Sipowicz reviews 'Zombies' by Jennifer Rutherford

Max Sipowicz
26 November 2014

In recent times the figure of the zombie has pervaded modern culture. Despite their origins as macabre creatures from Haitian myths, and then their modern cultural origins in B-grade horror films, zombies have established themselves as an important element of modern mythology. Jennifer Rutherford’s book aims to explore the reasons for our society’s obsession wit ... More

Eloise Ross reviews 'The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan'

Eloise Ross
24 September 2014

‘I get awful intense about these movies I do. I become, in fact, obsessed with them.’ So Elia Kazan (1909–2003) wrote to his daughter in 1957. A workaholic, Kazan was both extremely self-assured and plagued by self-doubt, terrified he would produce mediocrity. He rarely did. As a stage and screen director he achieved remarkable success. Kazan was an egotist, a ... More

Desley Deacon reviews the new biography of Shirley Temple

Desley Deacon
24 September 2014

Lucky Shirley Temple! Film star biographies are usually made up of a chronology laced with doubtful studio publicity and salacious gossip. But The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression is written by a reigning scholar of American culture, John F. Kasson. A professor of History and American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kass ... More

Michael Morley reviews two books on Hitler’s impact on film and music

Michael Morley
23 July 2014

For all their differences of subject matter and approach (not to mention style), both of these studies can be seen as belonging to the category of what might be termed archaeological history. That is, they are concerned with retrieving and bringing to the surface a gallery of characters and set of important stories and connections which have been either suppressed o ... More

Desley Deacon on the 'Life of Barbara Stanwyck'

Desley Deacon
31 March 2014

How many words does it take to write a life (or actually half a life) of movie star Barbara Stanwyck? Admittedly, she had a long career – she started in a revue chorus in 1921 at the age of fourteen and played in her last episode of the television series The Colbys in 1987 at the age of eighty – but 1044 pages that take us only to 1940? As Liz Smith quipp ... More

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