Film books round-Up
‘Tis the season to settle down with a good old-fashioned film book. Having a stack of cinema related tomes on your bedside table is essential for any aspiring cineaste at this time of year. So after many hours of sifting through recent releases this is what I think you should put on you Christmas list or better, order from your local library today.
Ever, Dirk (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) ●●●● is a collection of legendary British actor Dirk Bogarde's letters to everyone from Luchino Visconti and Joseph Losey to Joanna Lumley. Bogarde's tetchy, obtuse, perplexingly closeted personality jumps off every page. His letter writing skills are second to none and this book paints a more accurate portrait of the British film industry between the late 1960s and early 1990s than any I can remember. Also the pictures are great. Michael Deeley's Blade Runners, Deer Hunters and Blowing the Bloody Doors Off (Faber) ●●●● attempts to reclaim the producer's voice in the now largely over annotated period of cinema history. It's actually a whole lot of fun with Deeley revealing himself to be particularly good on the socio-economic rootings of many of the films he worked plus there's loads of drugs stories which is always fun.
If its erudition and semantics you seek you can't do much better than Widescreen (Wallflower) ●●●●, a selection of Mark Cousins' film writing for Prospect magazine. Cousins’ writing is fresh and contrary and like all good film theory, it’s beholden of its own peculiar logic. Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando (Faber) ●●●● is a fine and sustained examination of Brando's tumultuous life and art by New York Times and Time magazine cinema critic veteran Stefan Kanfer.
Finally, Lights, Camera, Soundtracks (Canongate) ●●●● is Martin C Strong's long gestating project to do for movies what he did for music with The Essential Rock Discography. For sheer hard work and anal retentiveness Strong surely deserves a knighthood for service to film and music obsessives everywhere. Happy reading.