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Book Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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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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    Hollywood’s Hobo In Residence

    Had I not been lucky enough to see William Wellman’s 1928 silent film 'Beggars of Life' years ago, or read the works of Gene Fowler, I might not know about Jim Tully, the scrappy Irish-American who became celebrated for writing about the subject he knew best: the hardscrabble life of an orphan turne...

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    THE LEGENDARY LYDECKER BROTHERS

    At last, someone has paid proper tribute to Howard and Theodore Lydecker, the legendary siblings who created unforgettable visual effects for Republic Pictures’ action-packed serials, westerns, and feature films during the studio’s heyday.

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    Getting To Know Groucho—And His Brothers—book reviews

    I avoided reading Steve Stoliar’s 'Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House' when it was first published in 1996 because I didn’t want to learn about an aging, diminished Groucho Marx, and I wasn’t interested in rehashing the exploits of Erin Fleming, the controversial woman who took control...

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    New And Notable Film Books, Part One

    As usual, books keep piling up much faster than I can possibly read them, so rather than wait until I can compose full-length reviews I’m going to highlight a handful of recent arrivals I’ve only had a chance to skim. I will have more for you shortly, as there is still a healthy stack of...

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    New And Notable Film Books

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    GROUCHO MARX AND OTHER SHORT STORIES AND TALL TALES: Selected Writings of Groucho Marx

    The world may know Groucho Marx as a great comedian, but I’m sure I’m not the only fan who wasn’t terribly familiar with his writings—aside from his autobiographies and 'The Groucho Letters'—until now. Updating his 1993 compendium, Marx scholar and aficionado Robert S. Bader has added 19 new essays ...

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