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Book Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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    Critical Thinking

    People often ask me what critics I read, if any. Of course, I’m not typical; I don’t consult reviews to help me decide whether or not to see a film. In most cases, I read reviews after I’ve already screened the picture in question.

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    In Search Of ‘The Searchers’

    Glenn Frankel’s "The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend" (Bloomsbury) has received more attention from the mainstream press than the average film book, and for good reason: it is an exceptional piece of writing and research.

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    NEW AND NOTABLE FILM BOOKS

    As always, there are more new film books than I have time to digest, but it’s been a while since I posted a survey, so here we go.

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    What’s On TV Tonight?

    guest review by Darwyn Carson — We’ve all heard it. Someone channel surfing tosses the remote aside and says: “Over a hundred channels and nothing’s on TV.” Seems times have changed. Point of fact, the viewing pendulum has swung from nothing to watch to too much to watch.

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    LEE MARVIN: POINT BLANK by Dwayne Epstein (Schaffner Press)

    Dwayne Epstein may not have intended to spend nearly twenty years working on a biography of Lee Marvin, but had he not started in the mid-1990s he would have missed the opportunity of interviewing the actor’s older brother, many of his directors (from Sam Fuller to John Frankenheimer), and an even g...

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    MAKING FILM SCHOLARSHIP FUN

    Book review — Jeanine Basinger is a rare film scholar who brings to her subject the enthusiasm of a lifelong fan.She’s not afraid to write conversationally, punctuating her thoughtful points with often-hilarious asides.

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    THE WIZARD OF MGM

    For forty years, A. Arnold “Buddy” Gillespie made movie history as the king of visual effects at MGM. From Tarzan swinging on a supposed vine to a tornado ripping through Kansas in The Wizard of Oz, he and his team created true movie magic.

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    TIME TRIPPING WITH FRED & ADELE ASTAIRE

    If I could step into a time machine, one of the places I’d want to visit is a Broadway (or London) theater in the 1920s when Fred and Adele Astaire enchanted audiences and sent critics to their thesauruses to find new words of praise.

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    CURE FOR A MOVIE HANGOVER

    I love watching movies, but it becomes challenging during December when the year’s lengthiest and most ambitious films arrive all at once. By the time I’m done digesting, writing about and voting for them, I need a breather. That’s when I start reading, for pleasure, and watching vintage B movies—ev...

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    MEL BROOKS, BUSTER KEATON, THE 3 STOOGES AND MORE

    The goodies just keep piling up—for gift-giving or adding to your own library. I was delighted to contribute an essay about Mel Brooks’ career to Shout! Factory’s multi-disc set 'The Incredible Mel Brooks', but there is so much material in this collection I still haven’t gotten through it all. That’...

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