From Library Journal
Before cable, videos, and DVDs, the only way to see many old films was through a film archive. Eminent film biographer McGilligan (Fritz Lang; Cagney: The Actor as Auteur) is a self-described film crazy who caught the bug at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research archives in the late Sixties and early Seventies. There, the author and fellow film crazies had access to prints of every Warner Brothers, RKO, and Republic motion picture, and they would bask in their good fortune as they watched an early William Wellman or Jimmy Cagney film. In the book reviewed here, McGilligan, after a brief introduction, offers a series of interviews that he conducted during the Seventies and Eighties. His one-on-one question-and-answer process lends new insight into the lives and works of such film greats as Alfred Hitchcock and George Stevens. He also includes short biographical sketches and filmographies for each subject interviewed. Essential reading for the true film buff and scholar, this book is for academic and public libraries."Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Free Libs., Salinas, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"We often felt like angels of death," McGilligan says of himself and his assistants, when they met the screen legends interviewed in this book, for most of the aged luminaries were in their eighties at the time. They debriefed some of the greatest names in film history, such as Hitchcock, William Wellman, Dore Schary, Joel McCrea, and Ida Lupino, and they caught Ronald Reagan during the 1976 campaign. With a book like this one, great subjects make great reading. Take Raoul Walsh. He started out acting in silents because he could ride a horse. After apprenticing at D. W. Griffith's immortal knee, he directed some fine silent films (The Thief of Baghdad
, What Price Glory?
, The Honor System
). When the talkies arrived, he directed Cagney, Bogart, and Flynn in classic he-man stuff. Or take Ida Lupino, more appreciated now than in her prime, who provides insight into the distaff side of Hollywood's golden age. Great subjects; great reading. Film history comes alive immediately and joyfully, perhaps even for the most casual film fans. Mike TribbyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved