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Book Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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    Going to the Source

    Until this month I’d never read any fiction by Ernest Haycox, but a friend recommended "Bugles in the Afternoon," which inspired a mediocre 1952 movie starring Ray Milland and directed by Roy Rowland.

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    Songs In The Key Of Los Angeles

    I’m a sucker for vintage sheet music, but most of my favorite examples are movie-related. I never realized how many songs were written as paeans to the city of Los Angeles and its way of life...

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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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