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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.

Book Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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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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    “Must” Reading: Frank Langella’s Memoir

    I read a number of show-business books and enjoy quite a few, but every now and then I fall in love with one of them. The last was Tom Mankiewicz’s 'My Life as a Mankiewicz'. The latest is Frank Langella’s 'Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them' (Harper Collins). I know I’m late to this...

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    Under The Radar: Chaplin’s Girl

    The first movie book I ever purchased was a discarded library copy of Theodore Huff’s landmark biography of my cinematic hero, Charlie Chaplin. (The price was ten cents.) In the years since then I’ve amassed more volumes about Chaplin than any other individual…and apparently there’s no end in sight....

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    RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born—book review

    I can’t explain why I’ve always been attracted to the films of RKO. It can’t just be that arresting radio tower logo; there’s something unpredictable about the studio’s body of work during the 1930s and '40s. Now, thanks to longtime studio scholar Richard Jewell (who coauthored the coffee-table refe...

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    My Life As A Mankiewicz: An Insider’s Journey Through Hollywood

    If you love Hollywood anecdotes—not the same old stuff you’ve heard before but fresh material, related first-hand by a master storyteller—you simply must get this book. I didn’t so much read as devour it, and now I feel impelled to tell everyone I know how good it is.

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    Hollywood’s Kiddie Connection

    What do Jerry Lewis, Bugs Bunny, and Hopalong Cassidy have in common? They all recorded special material for an innovative kid-oriented Capitol Records series in the 1940s and ‘50s. This amazing output, perfectly timed for the baby boom of the post-World War II era, has now been exhaustively documen...

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