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Book Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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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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    NEW AND NOTABLE FILM BOOKS—Part 1

    I’m overdue with a new film book survey, and with the holidays upon us I’m trying my best to catch up. If you sense some redundancy in my descriptions of the following titles, it’s because they are all elaborate, beautifully printed coffee-table books.

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    The Harry Langdon Mystique

    If Harry Langdon is the neglected figure from the pantheon of great silent-comedy stars, Chuck Harter and Michael J. Hayde have done their best to rectify that situation in a massive, and exhaustive, new book. A whopping 686 oversized pages, it resembles a phone directory for a mid-sized city as muc...

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    The Man Who Changed Moviegoing

    Book review: American Showman: Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry 1908-1935  by Ross Melnick (Columbia University Press)

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    My Big Fat Reference Book

    Yes, Virginia, some people still consult reference books, and some people still edit them, like me. At 1640 pages, 'Leonard Maltin’s 2013 Movie Guide' is the latest edition of a paperback I’ve been overseeing since I was a teenager.

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    New And Notable Film Books

    Books continue coming in at a faster pace than I can possibly keep up with and it’s been a while since I did a survey. Here are some of the recent titles that pique my interest. Remember, these are not critiques, but descriptions based on a quick once-over. I hope to print full-fledged reviews, on a...

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