In 1982, film historian James Curtis wrote his first biography of Whale. James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters is not a revision of that book, however, but a substantial reworking involving much in the way of new research. Whale's life story is emblematic of an entire generation of European émigrés who made critical artistic contributions to American film only to find themselves in ultimate obscurity. Although recent fictional and truthful accounts of Whale's life have emphasized his homosexuality--even the jacket cover of this book cites it as the reason for Hollywood's eventual rejection of Whale--Curtis himself tells a more nuanced tale. Certainly, Whale made no attempts to hide his preference for men; at the same time, he made his sexual orientation neither a prominent feature of his personal life nor his movies. While it's possible that he was fired from Columbia Pictures in 1941 because of homophobia on the part of studio owner Harry Cohn, it should also be noted that it didn't take much to get on the bad side of Harry Cohn and that, perhaps more to the point, Whale hadn't had a significant commercial hit in five years.
Curtis's biography is filled with fascinating anecdotes from David Lewis, Whale's longtime companion, and several of the actors who worked with Whale, including Peter Cushing and Gloria (Titanic) Stuart. It also has a rich appreciation of the artistic qualities of Whale's work. It is, in short, the sort of critical biography that any film director would hope to have. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It's a must read for any fan of classic films of Hollywood!
Mr. Curtis gives us a lot of detail about James Whale's life and I sometimes found myself skimming a bit, particularly in the beginning of his career as an actor.
James Whale made one great film, "The Bride Of Frankenstein", and a number of other very good ones, like "The Invisible Man".
Author and film historian James Curtis has produced several books on Hollywood people who, for reasons far-removed from questions of talent, lived at least part of their lives... Read morePublished 16 months ago by pasquale55
James Whale made one great film, "The Bride Of Frankenstein", and a number of other very good ones, like "The Invisible Man". Read morePublished on October 29, 2006 by Mr. Nowhere
When I saw the movie "Gods And Monsters," I was intrigued enough to look for the book that it was based upon. Read morePublished on August 15, 2006 by Robert S. Gartner
Written with detail, candor and insight, this seems to be the definitive biography of the interesting and eccentric film director. Read morePublished on March 14, 2004 by Nelson Aspen
I bought and read this biography after seeing the film "Gods and Monsters" and reading the novel Father of Frankenstein. Read morePublished on July 27, 2002