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Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at London's National Theatre
From the Tony Award and Laurence Olivier Award-winning former director of London's National Theatre--this is a fascinating, candid, eloquent memoir about his career directing theater, producing films and opera, and working closely with some of the world's most celebrated actors.
The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood
Chinatown is the Holy Grail of 1970s cinema. Its twist ending is the most notorious in American film and its closing line of dialogue the most haunting. Here for the first time is the incredible true story of its making.In Sam Wasson's telling, it becomes the defining story of the most colorful characters in the most colorful period of Hollywood history. Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, as compelling a movie star as there has ever been, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston. Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage death of his wife, returning to Los Angeles, the scene of the crime, where the seeds of his own self-destruction are quickly planted. Here is the fevered dealmaking of "The Kid" Robert Evans, the most consummate of producers. Here too is Robert Towne's fabled script, widely considered the greatest original screenplay ever written. Wasson for the first time peels off layers of myth to provide the true account of its creation.Looming over the story of this classic movie is the imminent eclipse of the '70s filmmaker-friendly studios as they gave way to the corporate Hollywood we know today. In telling that larger story, The Big Goodbye will take its place alongside classics like Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and The Devil's Candy as one of the great movie-world books ever written.
Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: and Other Lessons in Life
Now in his 85th year, Hollywood legend Michael Caine shares wisdom and stories from his remarkable career in this "engrossing" memoir that "shines with positive energy" (Library Journal, starred review).One of our best-loved actors, Michael Caine has starred in over 100 films in his six-decade career, spanning classic movies like Alfie, Zulu, and The Italian Job (the inspiration for the book title) to playing Alfred opposite Christian Bale's Batman in Christopher Nolan's blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy. Caine has excelled in every kind of role--with a skill that's made it look easy. Caine knows what success takes. He's made it to the pinnacle of his profession from humble origins. But as he says, "Small parts can lead to big things. And if you keep doing things right, the stars will align when you least expect it." Still working and more beloved than ever, Caine now shares everything he's learned-and "his fans will be rewarded, as will anyone seeking an enjoyable, inspirational read" (Library Journal).
Bruce Lee: A Life
The most authoritative biography - featuring dozens of rarely seen photographs - of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans.Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at age thirty-two, journalist and bestselling author Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. It’s also one of the only accounts; incredibly, there has never been an authoritative biography of Lee. Following a decade of research that included conducting more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family, friends, business associates, and even the actress in whose bed Lee died, Polly has constructed a complex, humane portrait of the icon.Polly explores Lee’s early years as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction and how that turned Bruce into a troublemaking teenager who was kicked out of high school and eventually sent to America to shape up; his beginnings as a martial arts teacher, eventually becoming personal instructor to movie stars like James Coburn and Steve McQueen; his struggles as an Asian-American actor in Hollywood and frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup; his eventual triumph as a leading man; his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband; and his shocking end that to this day is still shrouded in mystery.Polly breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and argues that, contrary to popular belief, he was an ambitious actor who was obsessed with the martial arts - not a kung-fu guru who just so happened to make a couple of movies. This is an honest, revealing look at an impressive yet imperfect man whose personal story was even more entertaining and inspiring than any fictional role he played onscreen.
Bruce Lee: A Life
The most authoritative biography—featuring dozens of rarely seen photographs—of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans.Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at age thirty-two, journalist and bestselling author Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. It’s also one of the only accounts; incredibly, there has never been an authoritative biography of Lee. Following a decade of research that included conducting more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family, friends, business associates, and even the actress in whose bed Lee died, Polly has constructed a complex, humane portrait of the icon.Polly explores Lee’s early years as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction and how that turned Bruce into a troublemaking teenager who was kicked out of high school and eventually sent to America to shape up; his beginnings as a martial arts teacher, eventually becoming personal instructor to movie stars like James Coburn and Steve McQueen; his struggles as an Asian-American actor in Hollywood and frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup; his eventual triumph as a leading man; his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband; and his shocking end that to this day is still shrouded in mystery.Polly breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and argues that, contrary to popular belief, he was an ambitious actor who was obsessed with the martial arts—not a kung-fu guru who just so happened to make a couple of movies. This is an honest, revealing look at an impressive yet imperfect man whose personal story was even more entertaining and inspiring than any fictional role he played onscreen.
Rigorously researched and elegantly written, Cary Grant: A Biography is a complete, nuanced portrait of the greatest star in cinema history. Exploring Grant’s troubled childhood, ambiguous sexuality, and lifelong insecurities, as well as the magical amalgam of characteristics that allowed him to remain Hollywood’s favorite romantic lead for more than thirty-five years, Cary Grant is the definitive examination of every aspect of Grant’s professional and private life and the first biography to reveal the real man behind the movie star.
Charlton Heston: Hollywood's Last Icon
This is the first and definitive biography of one of the most iconic, complex and enduring legends of Hollywood’s golden age, whose major presence in American film, radio, television, stage and theater lasted beyond the second half of the 20th Century, and whose classic films are known throughout the world.
Charlton Heston: Hollywood's Last Icon (Large Print)
This is the definitive biography of one of the most iconic, complex and enduring legends of Hollywood’s golden age, whose major presence in American film, radio, television, stage and theater lasted beyond the second half of the 20th Century, and whose classic films are known throughout the world.
Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking
In discussions that begin in 1971 and end in 2009, Allen talks about every facet of moviemaking through the prism of his own work as well as the larger world of film, and in so doing reveals an artist’s development over the course of his career. He speaks about his influences and about the genesis of his ideas; about writing, casting, acting, shooting, directing, editing, and scoring - and throughout shows himself to be thoughtful, honest, self-deprecating, always witty, and often hilarious.
The Disaster Artist
In 2003, an independent film called The Room - starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau - made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as "like getting stabbed in the head," the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Ten years later, it's an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons. Hailed by The Huffington Post as "possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed," The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Greg Sestero, Tommy's costar, recounts the film's bizarre journey to infamy, explaining how the movie's many nonsensical scenes and bits of dialogue came to be and unraveling the mystery of Tommy Wiseau himself.
The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney
“The single most illuminating work on America and the movies” (The Kansas City Star): the story of how a shy boy from Chicago crashed Hollywood and created the world’s first multimedia entertainment empire - one that shapes American popular culture to this day.When Walter Elias Disney moved to Hollywood in 1923, the twenty-one-year-old cartoonist seemed an unlikely businessman - and yet within less than two decades, he’d transformed his small animation studio into one of the most successful and beloved brands of the twentieth century. But behind Disney’s boisterous entrepreneurial imagination and iconic characters lay regressive cultural attitudes that, as The Walt Disney Company’s influence grew, began to not simply reflect the values of midcentury America but actually shape the country’s character.Lauded as “one of the best studies ever done on American popular culture” (Stephen J. Whitfield, Professor of American Civilization at Brandeis University), Richard Schickel’s The Disney Version explores Walt Disney’s extraordinary entrepreneurial success, his fascinatingly complex character, and - decades after his death - his lasting legacy on America
The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts
Tessa Fontaine’s astonishing memoir of pushing past fear follows the author on a life-affirming journey of loss and self-discovery - through her time on the road with the last traveling American sideshow and her relationship with an adventurous, spirited mother.Turns out, one lesson applies to living through illness, keeping the show on the road, letting go of the person you love most, and eating fire:The trick is there is no trick. You eat fire by eating fire.Two journeys - a daughter’s and a mother’s - bear witness to this lesson in The Electric Woman.For three years Tessa Fontaine lived in a constant state of emergency as her mother battled stroke after stroke. But hospitals, wheelchairs, and loss of language couldn’t hold back such a woman; she and her husband would see Italy together, come what may. Thus Fontaine became free to follow her own piper, a literal giant inviting her to “come play” in the World of Wonders, America’s last traveling sideshow. How could she resist?Transformed into an escape artist, a snake charmer, and a high-voltage Electra, Fontaine witnessed the marvels of carnival life: intense camaraderie and heartbreak, the guilty thrill of hard-earned cash exchanged for a peek into the impossible, and, most marvelous of all, the stories carnival folks tell about themselves. Through these, Fontaine trained her body to ignore fear and learned how to keep her heart open in the face of loss.A story for anyone who has ever imagined running away with the circus, wanted to be someone else, or wanted a loved one to live forever, The Electric Woman is ultimately about death-defying acts of all kinds, especially that ever constant: good old-fashioned unconditional love.
Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir
Benjamin, H. Jon
H. Jon Benjamin - the lead voice behind Archer and Bob's Burgers - helps us all feel a little better about our failures by sharing his own in a hilarious memoir-ish chronicle of failure.
Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek
This is the unauthorized, uncensored and unbelievable true story behind the making of a pop culture phenomenon. The original Star Trek series debuted in 1966 and has spawned five TV series spin-offs and a dozen feature films. The Fifty-Year Mission is a no-holds-barred oral history of five decades of Star Trek, told by the people who were there. Hear from the hundreds of television and film executives, programmers, writers, creators and cast as they unveil the oftentimes shocking story of Star Trek's ongoing fifty-year mission - a mission that has spanned from the classic series to the animated show, the many attempts at a relaunch through the beloved feature films.Make no mistake, this isn't just a book for Star Trek fans. Here is a volume for all fans of pop culture and anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of a television touchstone.
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool
On 29 September 1981, Peter Turner received a phone call that would change his life. His former lover, Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, had collapsed in a Lancaster hotel and was refusing medical attention. He had no choice but to take her into his chaotic and often eccentric family's home in Liverpool.Liverpool born and bred, Turner had first set eyes on Grahame when he was a young actor, living in London. Best known for her portrayal of irresistible femme fatales in films such as The Big Heat, Oklahoma and The Bad and the Beautiful, for which she won an Oscar, Grahame electrified audiences with her steely expressions and heavy lidded eyes and the heroines she bought to life were often dark and dangerous. Turner and Grahame became firm friends and remained so even after their love affair had ended. And it was to him she turned in her final hour of need.Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool is an affectionate, moving and wryly humorous memoir of friendship, love and stardom.
Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog
An extraordinary book; one that almost magically makes clear how Tennessee Williams wrote; how he came to his visions of Amanda Wingfield, his Blanche DuBois, Stella Kowalski, Alma Winemiller, Lady Torrance, and the other characters of his plays that transformed the American theater of the mid-twentieth century; a book that does, from the inside, the almost impossible - revealing the heart and soul of artistic inspiration and the unwitting collaboration between playwright and actress, playwright and director.
Funny Man: Mel Brooks
A deeply textured and compelling biography of comedy giant Mel Brooks, covering his rags-to-riches life and triumphant career in television, films, and theater.
Funny Man: Mel Brooks
Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy award–winner Mel Brooks was behind (and sometimes in front the camera too) of some of the most influential comedy hits of our time, including The 2,000 Year Old Man, Get Smart, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. But before this actor, writer, director, comedian, and composer entertained the world, his first audience was his family.The fourth and last child of Max and Kitty Kaminsky, Mel Brooks was born on his family’s kitchen table in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926, and was not quite three-years-old when his father died of tuberculosis. Growing up in a household too poor to own a radio, Mel was short and homely, a mischievous child whose birth role was to make the family laugh.Beyond boyhood, after transforming himself into Mel Brooks, the laughs that came easily inside the Kaminsky family proved more elusive. His lifelong crusade to transform himself into a brand name of popular humor is at the center of master biographer Patrick McGilligan’s Funny Man. In this exhaustively researched and wonderfully novelistic look at Brooks’ personal and professional life, McGilligan lays bare the strengths and drawbacks that shaped Brooks’ psychology, his willpower, his persona, and his comedy.McGilligan insightfully navigates the epic ride that has been the famous funnyman’s life story, from Brooks’s childhood in Williamsburg tenements and breakthrough in early television - working alongside Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner - to Hollywood and Broadway peaks (and valleys). His book offers a meditation on the Jewish immigrant culture that influenced Brooks, snapshots of the golden age of comedy, behind the scenes revelations about the celebrated shows and films, and a telling look at the four-decade romantic partnership with actress Anne Bancroft that superseded Brooks’ troubled first marriage. Engrossing, nuanced and ultimately poignant, Funny Man delivers a great man’s unforgettable life story and an anatomy of the American dream of success.Funny Man includes a 16-page black-and-white photo insert.
A larger-than-life narrative of the making of the classic film, marking the rise of America as a superpower, the ascent of Hollywood celebrity, and the flowering of Texas culture as mythology.Featuring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, Giant is an epic film of fame and materialism, based around the discovery of oil at Spindletop and the establishment of the King Ranch of south Texas. Isolating his star cast in the wilds of West Texas, director George Stevens brought together a volatile mix of egos, insecurities, sexual proclivities, and talent. Stevens knew he was overwhelmed with Hudson’s promiscuity, Taylor’s high diva-dom, and Dean’s egotistical eccentricity. Yet he coaxed performances out of them that made cinematic history, winning Stevens the Academy Award for Best Director and garnering nine other nominations, including a nomination for Best Actor for James Dean, who died before the film was finished.In this compelling and impeccably researched narrative history of the making of the film, Don Graham chronicles the stories of Stevens, whose trauma in World War II intensified his ambition to make films that would tell the story of America; Edna Ferber, a considerable literary celebrity, who meets her match in the imposing Robert Kleberg, proprietor of the vast King Ranch; and Glenn McCarthy, an American oil tycoon; and Errol Flynn lookalike with a taste for Hollywood. Drawing on archival sources Graham’s Giant is a comprehensive depiction of the film’s production showing readers how reality became fiction and fiction became cinema.
A Grand Success!: The Aardman Journey, One Frame at a Time
Aardman Animations was founded in 1972 by Peter Lord and David Sproxton. Joined by animator Nick Park in 1985, Aardman pioneered a quirky, lovable style of stop-motion animation and is behind a string of unforgettable award-winning hits including Chicken Run, the highest-grossing stop-animated film of all time, and the Wallace & Gromit series.With A Grand Success!, Lord, Sproxton, and Park tell the inside story of the over 40-year history of Aardman. From their first short films, made on a lark on their kitchen table, to advertisements and music videos, A Grand Success! recounts the adventures and challenges of developing their own unique style, growing their business, working with famous actors, and working with Hollywood, all while animating at 24 painstaking moves per second. This is a charming and insightful must-read for all fans of animation.
Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor
One of my dad’s favorite jokes about getting older was: “I went out for coffee when I was twenty-one and when I got back I was fifty-eight!”I get what he meant now. Time flies. My first book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a "B" Movie Actor, was published back in 2001 and it chronicles the adventures of a “mid-grade, kind of hammy actor" (my words), cutting his teeth on exploitation movies far removed from mainstream Hollywood.This next book, an “Act II” if you will, could be considered my “maturing years” in show business, when I began to say “no” more often and gravitated toward self-generated material. Taking stock in the overall quality of my life, I fled Los Angeles and moved to a remote part of Oregon to renew, regroup and reload.If that sounds tame, the journey from Evil Dead to Spider-Man to Burn Notice was long, with plenty of adventures/mishaps along the way. I never pictured myself hovering above Baghdad in a Blackhawk helicopter, facing a pack of wild dogs in Bulgaria, or playing an aging Elvis Presley with cancer on his penis - how can you predict this stuff? The sheer lunacy of show business is part of the fun for me and I hope you'll come along for the ride.– Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell
Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart
Henry Fonda and James Stewart were two of the biggest stars in Hollywood for forty years. They became friends and then roommates as stage actors in New York, and when they began making films in Hollywood, they roomed together again. Between them they made such memorable films as The Grapes of Wrath, Mister Roberts, Twelve Angry Men, and On Golden Pond; and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Destry Rides Again, The Philadelphia Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, and Rear Window.They got along famously, with a shared interest in elaborate practical jokes and model airplanes, among other things. Fonda was a liberal Democrat, Stewart a conservative Republican, but after one memorable blow-up over politics, they agreed never to discuss that subject again. Fonda was a ladies’ man who was married five times; Stewart remained married to the same woman for forty-five years. Both men volunteered during World War II and were decorated for their service. When Stewart returned home, still unmarried, he once again moved in with Fonda, his wife, and his two children, Jane and Peter, who knew him as Uncle Jimmy.For Hank and Jim, biographer and film historian Scott Eyman spoke with Fonda’s widow and children as well as three of Stewart’s children, plus actors and directors who had worked with the men - in addition to doing extensive archival research to get the full details of their time together. This is not another Hollywood story, but a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary friendship that lasted through war, marriages, children, careers, and everything else.
Hide in Plain Sight: The Hollywood Blacklistees in Film and Television, 1950-2002
Hide in Plain Sight offers a powerful examination of the effects of Hollywood's blacklist era, taking up the question of how blacklistees fared after they were driven out of the mainstream. A good number entered careers in television, with many finding work in children's and family programs, writing for shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle, Lassie, and Flipper. Many also wrote adult sitcoms such as Hogan's Heroes,The Donna Reed Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, M*A*S*H, Maude, and All in the Family. Ultimately, many returned to Hollywood in the sixties and seventies to work creatively on films that contained a dose of radical politics and influenced the creative outburst of that decade. The list of impressive films from the survivors of HUAC includes Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Midnight Cowboy. Hide in Plain Sight completes Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner's trilogy, which includes Tender Comrades (1998) and Radical Hollywood (2002). Together these books provide a thorough and disturbing portrait of the McCarthy era's impact on an important aspect of American culture and society.
Ian McKellen: A Biography
The definitive biography of Sir Ian McKellen from an acclaimed biographerIn 2001, Ian McKellen put on the robe and pointed hat of a wizard named Gandalf and won a place in the hearts of Tolkien fans worldwide. Though his role in the film adaptation of Lord of the Rings introduced him to a new audience, McKellen had a thriving career a lifetime before his visit to Middle Earth. He made his West End acting debut in 1964 in James Saunders’s A Scent of Flowers, but it was in 1980 that he took Broadway by storm when he played Antonio Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Tony-Award-winning play Amadeus.He has starred in over four hundred plays and films and he is that rare character: a celebrity whose distinguished political and social service has transcended his international fame to reach beyond the stage and screen. The breadth of his career—professional, personal and political—has been truly staggering: Macbeth (opposite Judi Dench), Iago, King Lear, Chekhov’s Sorin in The Seagull and Becket’s tramp Estragon (opposite Patrick Stewart) in Waiting for Godot. Add to all this his tireless political activism in the cause of gay equality and you have a veritable phenomenon. Garry O’Connor’s Ian McKellen: A Biography probes the heart of the actor, recreating his greatest stage roles and exploring his personal life. Ian McKellen will show readers what makes a great actor tick. His life story has been a constantly developing drama and this biography is the next chapter.
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