Jake Wilson reviews 'Directory of World Cinema, Volume 19' edited by Ben Goldsmith, Mark David Ryan, and Geoff Lealand

Jake Wilson

Careful readers will soon notice something puzzling about this book, an attractive large-format paperback with frequent colour illustrations. Staring accusingly from the cover is the young indigenous actor Rowan McNamara, one of the stars of Warwick Thornton's 2009 love story Samson & Delilah. The image seems aptly chosen: Thornton's film is an acknowle ... More

Desley Deacon reviews 'Women I've Undressed' by Orry-Kelly

Desley Deacon

Orry George Kelly – the Oscar-winning costume designer professionally known as Orry-Kelly – was one of the many Australians who have made it big in Hollywood. He is lucky enough to have been rediscovered by one of our major filmmakers, Gillian Armstrong. Kelly's name and story are now well known, thanks to Armstrong's recent documentary, and so is the brilliant ... More

Eloise Ross reviews 'Women He's Undressed' directed by Gillian Armstrong

Eloise Ross

The first time that I really took notice of Orry-Kelly’s name was when I began researching the 1933 pre-code film Baby Face a number of years ago. I became obsessed with Barbara Stanwyck’s sharp Manhattan business attire, her intricate gloves, and the fur-draped costumes she later wore as a kept woman. That the costumes were, at heart, Australian m ... More

Jake Wilson reviews 'The Gangster Film' by Ron Wilson

Jake Wilson

Part of a series aimed at undergraduates, Ron Wilson’s stimulating guide to American gangster cinema covers much ground in just over a hundred pages. What is especially useful about Wilson’s approach is his ability to place the genre in a context that extends beyond cinema: not so much what actual gangsters said and did, but the various discourses, from pulp nov ... More

Desley Deacon reviews 'Double-Act' by Brian McFarlane

Desley Deacon

Although many attempt it, writing the biography of an actor of a previous era is fraught. They consist mainly of lists of movies or plays long forgotten. The reception of their art is recorded by critics, once all-powerful, but now unknown. Their personal life and personality are hidden behind a screen of studio publicity. Writing the lives and careers of two stars ... More

Kim Wilkins reviews 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Kim Wilkins

In a hit-driven commercial climate, creating film franchises makes economic sense. Consumers who enjoyed the first The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are likely to purchase a ticket to the sequel. Those who have committed more than eleven hours’ viewing to the first six films in The Fast and the Furious series will probab ... More

James Douglas reviews 'World Film Locations: Sydney' edited by Neil Mitchell

James Douglas

The World Film Location series aims to articulate the ways in which physical environments shape the ‘emotional spaces’ of characters in cinema. For the Sydney volume, editor Neil Mitchell has corralled a selection of writers to contribute short entries (with a few longer essays) on the city’s various appearances on film.

... More

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

Eloise Ross

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

‘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

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

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