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Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger Paperback – June, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060922141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060922146
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,052,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Creator of such cinematic cult classics as Scorpio Rising and Fireworks, and author of the eye-opening Hollywood Babylon books, Kenneth Anger is one of America's most noted and innovative underground filmmakers. He is also a recluse who has reinvented his life history at will, which makes him a difficult subject for a biography. But Landis's claim to have arrived at a fairly accurate portrait of Anger is substantiated by meticulous research and detailed interviews with many of Anger's family and associates. The portrait that emerges here is of an iconoclast whose personal relations are fraught with conflict but whose artistic vision has remained uncompromised. Anger's story is also of interest because of his collaborations with other countercultural luminaries: his provocative aesthetic has attracted the attention of, among others, avant-gardists Anais Nin and Marianne Faithfull, rock icons Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page and sexuality expert Alfred Kinsey. This study also offers a useful history of the underground film scene and of the occultist tradition, an important influence on Anger's work. Although Landis's prose is not particularly energetic, his account of Anger's existence on, and cinematic exploration of, the fringes of modern culture is engrossing. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

The unauthorized biography of the bestselling author and controversial underground filmmaker, whose lurid and dramatic life was as fascinating and bizarre as the books and films that made him famous. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book to anyone interested in underground film, whether you're a maker or purveyor. Despite personal conflicts with the subject, Mr. Landis manages to provide us with an even-handed account of the life of Kenneth Anger, and subsequently, the history of underground film-making.
Personally, the most interesting chapters were those that dealt with the celebrities that crossed paths with Anger and the pretenses by which they did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Ward VINE VOICE on September 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
Kenneth Anger deserves a much more serious and scholarly bio, but this will do for now. He's literally CURSED Landis for this work, and you can see why-- Landis has dug up lots of dirt about the controversial film-maker, and shares much about his early life (including his birth name). Reservations aside, Anger's lived such a fabulous and improbable life, and created such forward-looking and brilliant films, that the ride is a fast and furious one. Film students and fans of the counter-culture in the 50s, 60s, and 70s will love this, as I did.

Where is Anger's autobiography? Now THAT would be a trip to read....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Wolinsky on October 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
When I read this back in 1999, there was no other extensive biograph on Kenneth Anger. Today, thanks to the web, wikipedia, youtube, and various sites, there's more information available on Anger. You can even see his new short films (finally) as well as interviews with Anger (who looks far younger than his 80 years).

Bill Landis obviously worked hard on gathering all his information on Anger. I don't know if he interviewed Anger at all, but if he didn't the book would obviously be incomplete. Landis largely blames Anger's attitude for his problem with the Led Zeppelin soundtrack to LUCIFER RISING, but Anger (in a youtube clip) says that Jimmy Paige was on drugs and couldn't function. He also makes a negative issue of Anger being furious with Led Zep because they didn't ask him to direct THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME.
But what I sensed from the book is that Anger was looking for acceptance. He wanted to cultivate the kind of people who would appreciate his work. Instead, he was picked up and dumped by Paige, Jagger, and others who didn't really take him seriously. While the 1960's made stars out of offbeat oddballs, Kenneth Anger and his work largely went unnoticed.
Despite the availability of info on Anger, there are many questions still unanswered. Why did he not attempt to enter mainstream directing? He could have worked for Roger Corman on his b-movies but never did. And why did he produce almost no work in the 20 years following Lucifer Rising? Why does he not create more movies in this decade, now that cheap, high-quality digital video cameras are available? And what does he do for a living? If he hasn't worked in the last 30 years, how does he support himself? He woudln't have Social Security?
There are some things about Kenneth Anger that we'll just never know.
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