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Dudley Murphy, Hollywood Wild Card Hardcover – September 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (September 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816646546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816646548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,493,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By anastaires on December 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Before coming across this new book by Susan Delson I had never heard of Dudley Murphy or his fascinating, experimental films. I am so glad I picked it up! From the beginning I was pulled in to learn more about this great film director's life and how it affected his art. His story intertwines with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Man Ray, Cecile B. DeMille and a lot of other notables, making it an even more interesting read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on March 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm conflicted about the biography of Dudley Murphy, having spent much of the past six months going through it carefully. Now that I've finished the book, I'm puzzled to report that I don't have much of a sense of what Murphy must have been like as a man (or an artist). It could be that the biographical materials were too disparate in character for author Delson to assimilate entirely, for the book is as choppy as Murphy's career, which is rather like a dizzying ride inside a pinball machine featuring the reader as the pinball. She must have despaired several times over in the course of researching her book, when some new bit of information came in over the transom about Murphy, on how was she ever going to make this new info fit together with the picture already laid out, for one sniffs this fatalism every now and then in what is otherwise a very competent, even stylish account of the facts.

Trouble is, Dudley Murphy was like Zelig--everywhere, but sort of a phantom or even a nebbish. Where Delson excels and the book soars is in her accounts of the films themselves (those she has seen), and I count her versions of the making of SOUL OF THE CYPRESS, BALLET MECANIQUE, and THE EMPEROR JONES as among the most informed, witty, sophisticated and provoking film writing ever.

One thing that comes across is Murphy's relative hedonism. Did he really film the porn inserts in CYPRESS? (Probably not.) Did he and Man Ray film each other having sex? (Apparently. Now that's pretty Bob Crane behavior!) What about THE SPORT PARADE, a pre-Code Hollywood film with gay extras and shot after shot of Joel McCrea's magnificent backside framed in wet, translucent, ivory colored boxing trunks? His film work was all about the sexy guys, from McCrea to Paul Robeson to Ramon Navarro, providing each with some of their iconic It Boy roles. And yet the man behind this riot of pansexuality and daring racial figuration is still one for the shadows.
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Dudley Murphy, Hollywood Wild Card
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