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on January 9, 2003
If you love the movies, if you love good reading and if you love the combination of the two like I do, you will *loooooove* this: a collection of notes, essays, interviews and memoirs by the movie makers, critics and reveiwers, about the icons, the good, the bad and the dirty of Hollywood and the movies.
There's so much good stuff in this, I don't know where to start
to inform you about it. Let me try the bullet approach.
*The important movie critics, of course, are here. Pauline Kael
does a tango with Norman Mailer on the flick "Last Tango in Paris", Sarris and Tynan as well as Editor Ebert are included
here.
*There's a great Truman Capote piece where he and Marilyn Monroe
(in anti-Monroe drag) hang out and dish the dirt. Capote tries to get her to admit that she's seeing writer Arthur Miller.
*Julia Phillips tells of the coked up, spiked up, hyped up days before and after the time she won the Oscar for her producing The Sting.
*There's hilarious sections on WC Fields and Baby Leroy (WC spikes Leroy's orange juice bottle with gin--"the child was more or less restored to consciousness, but in the scene that followed Turog (the director) complained of his lack of animation.") and Groucho Marx' letters to Warners Bros. executives about what "A Night in Casablanca" entailed. (The executives took umbrage to the use of Casablanca in the title.
Groucho, took umbrage to how absurd these guys were so he took the absurdity to another level.)
*There's the Spike Lee "Do the Right Thing" notes which basically outlines the entire film, but are extremely interesting none the less, there's the infamous Gleave and Forest FAQ on Quintin Tarintino's "Pulp Fiction".
*John Waters dishes the dirt on the polyester, back door, wrapped in cellophane and tossed in the dumpster LA. Funny stuff
*Janet Leigh on Hitchcock and the infamous shower scene, Hitchcock on Hitchcock's style of directing, Mamet on Mamet's style of directing.
*Peter Bogdanovich does a excellent piece on Humphrey Bogart and the Bogey Mystique. You are gonna luv that one, trust me.
*Terry 'Waiting to Exhale' McMillian tells us what growing up in Michigan and having the "Wizard of Oz" come on television has meant to her and her family.
And I haven't even scratched the surface of the many pleasures of this great undertaking. There's Mae West, there's Doris Day, there's Orson Welles, there's Frederico Fellini, there's Cary Grant and there's essays from the great novels Hollywood Babylon, Get Shorty and The Player.
There's hours and hours of reading pleasure in this fantastic book. "For me, no other art form touches me the way movies do", says Ebert. I heartily concur and I appreciate that his love of the movies has inspired him to put together this collection.
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on January 4, 1997
The picture of Ebert on the cover of this book says it all: he's gazingup at the movie screen, captured, awed, almost grateful. This marvelousanthology is his happy acknowledgement that others feel the same way about movies. It's a collection of takes on the industry--be it a particular film, a favorite star, or the behemoth that is Hollywood--from very talented participants in it. The information is fascinating, but it's the palpable love and excitement for movies that really gets across. One example: after reading reviews of "Last Tango in Paris" by Pauline Kael and Norman Mailer, I ran to the video store to rent it. (And then I ran to the bookstore for more Mailer!) I also found eerie the remarkable prescience of people like Maxim Gorky and Leo Tolstoy in their anticipation of how the industry would develop. Every single contribution to this book is colorful and fun. If you love movies, it's an important book to have.
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on October 8, 1997
I know, 10's a little high, but come on, where else am I gonna read Klaus Kinski's version of his hellish Aguirre shoot? Or Ebert's own interview with Lee Marvin, itself a small masterpiece of literary journalism. I was glad to see Kael's glowing review of "Last Tango" balanced with Mailer's vulgar ripping of same. The chapter from Kurosawa's autobiography led me find the entire volume at the local library. This book not only highlights our love for the movies, it inspires a new passion for the written word -- and a greater appreciation for film criticism of all types. (And, of course, there's a chapter devoted to "Pulp Fiction" -- of course!)
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on May 6, 2006
In 1996 Ol' Rog published one of the greatest compilations of film related writing ever produced.

It's huge in more than just its page content, and its cover deserves to be made into a wall poster, and framed.

The cover is the inside of a Movie Palace, & the patrons are a select company of worthies one can only dream about having in the room at the same time....

Sitting front & center are Roger, Orson Welles, and looking, with an arched eyebrow, over Orsons' shoulder is Alfred Hitchcock, while over Rogers is John Huston.

In a funny juxtoposition, 3 rows back, but seen between the heads of Orson & Roger is Woody Allen with his finger to his lips. :-)

Spread out around these gents are Cary Grant, John Wayne, Louise Brooks, Akira Kurosawa, Doris day, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Quentin Tarantino, Leo Tolstoy, Katherine hepburn, Francois Truffaut, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin.

Um, can I get a collective WOW!! from the readership assembled? :-)

After a fine introduction by the author you are invited to dig into 11 sections with articles on a dozens of films, issues, and personalities.

Articles on film going by, among others, James Agee, Walker Percy.

H. L. Mencken on Rudy Valentino, Nicholas Ray on James Dean, Joan Didion on John Wayne, Rex reed on Ava Gardner, Tom Wolfe on Cary Grant, and John Updike on Doris Day, among other pieces on the Stars.

Carey McWilliams, Sam Arkoff, William Castle, and Elmore Leonard on the film business.

John Kobal on Mae West, Pauline Kael, and Norman Mailer with 2 views on Last Tango in Paris, are just a few of the pieces concerning sex & scandal in film.

The New York Times reports on the Vitascope's debut, the Philadephia Inquirer reviews The Great Train Robbery, Maxim Gorky comments on Lumiere, Leo tolstoy holds forth on Film, and Kevin Brownlow writes about Mary Pickford, and Gloria Swanson.

E. M. Forster writes about Minnie & Mickey, Andre Bazin writes about the Western, Robert Warshow on Gangsters, and Manny Farber on Underground Films,.

Directors Luis Bunel, Ingmar Bergman, Preston Sturges, Jean Renoir, Akira Kurasawa, Satyajit Ray, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Spike Lee are just a few of those whose writings on film apprear here.

Writers Ben Hecht, Gore Vidal, Christopher Isherwood, and Raymond Chandler are also here.

Film critics like Graham Greene, Dwight Macdonald, & Quentin Crisp have contributions here.

Nestor Almendros, Robert Benchley, Janet Leigh, and David Mamet write about technique.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Bloch, Budd Schulberg, Howard Koch, Nathaniel West, Groucho Marx, and Oscar Levant are among those who write about Hollywood.

At almost 800 pages you will never be bored, and can read the thing straight thru, or skip back and forth to your hearts content.

This is a book well worth searching out.
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on August 22, 2008
I loved the essays in this book. Ebert divides the book up into multiple sections (Going to the Movies, Movie Stars, The Business, Sex and Scandel, Early Days, Genres, Directors, Writers, Critics, Technique,and Hollywood) and presents the great articles that have appeared on each over the years. The critics section alone is worth the price of the book. Graham Greene recalls his critic days, Dwight Macdonald provides a great outline for any critic to follow, and Andy Sarris looks at what he stirred up with his book on American Cinema.

Lots of fun.
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on August 12, 2014
An anthology featuring the writings of great 20th Century novelists, critics, actors and directors.
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on February 28, 2003
Roger Ebert's a very good writer of critical analysis, and I read his reviews every week religiously. However, there's something that just doesn't seem right about this book. It just seems like there wasn't much effort put into it. Ebert pieced together a book made from essays and chapters from other books by other people, and he gives an unenlightening introduction to each of them. There are some good pieces in here (I especially like the ones by Klaus Kinski, Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen, and John Waters), but it's hardly a major work by the respected film historian.
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on February 24, 2016
"Very good condition, minimal wear" the the 700+ pages are hanging off the spine by one. page. Binding completely useless.
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on December 26, 2012
This book is a compilation of interviews with movie actors, directors, producers, writers, critics, and excerpts from written articles and books written about Hollywood.

Some are very interesting: Marilyn Monroe, Mario Puzo, Akira Kurosawa, Janet Leigh, Nestor Almendros, Buster Keaton and a few others. But most are uninteresting (Larry McMurtry,Elmore Leonard, Susan Sontag, etc), boring (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carey McWilliams, Sam Arkoff, etc) or just inane profanity (Last Tango In Paris, lee Marvin, Julia Phillips, etc). Still, 90% of articles are unflattering and I would have been happy not knowing about personal lives and opinions of these Hollywood people. For sure, Roger is in love with everything Hollywood (that shows in his excellent movie reviews), even though I hardly ever agreed with his 'thumbs up/down'.

I'm not a huge movie fan, but I expected much more from an expert film critic like Mr. Ebert. I didn't find much of the book useful or even related to a "Book of Film". Roger seems to think that just because a person is 'famous', then anything said or done by that person needs to be repeated, no matter how dull. I expected much more from an 800 page book, at the minimum an interesting read. Many parts I felt were a total waste of time and ink. 150-200 pages were interesting, the rest was difficult to get through or dissapointing to finish the article and read nothing of value.
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