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Performed by Lugosi Paperback – September 28, 2010
"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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Top customer reviews
Author Wilson takes each film and breaks it down into notes about the production, plot, casting and comparisons to the story. Each section ends with the author's observations. The sections vary in size due to fluctuations in the original short story and Lugosi's involvement. For a hard core Lugosi fan, there are not many surprises, but to a casual fan or someone who wants to strengthen their understanding of Lugosi films, this is an excellent starting point.
The only possible shortcoming is a lack of some sort of introductory material about the original publications, such as a history and notes. Granted, the book is focused on the film versions, but in at least one case the length of the short story takes up more pages than the film discussion. Lack of story background is obviously not an issue with an Edgar Allan Poe or Bram Stoker tale, but for a comparative unknown piece such as Harry Earnshaw and Vera Oldham (authors of "Chandu the Magician"), it could have been helpful.
As an author of several non-fiction histories in the horror genre, I am well aware there is a tightrope to walk between too much minutiae and too broad an overview. Wilson manages to avoid such pitfalls and produce a solid contribution to Lugosi studies.
I was pleasantly surprised to find, alongside his informative and well-researched account of the films' histories, a running current of Wilson's own particular sly wit and his backhanded brand of movie reviewing, a style which is near and dear to my heart, and aptly suited to the callow treatment that film studios of the day often gave to their scripts' literary roots.
Shining through the historic accounts and casual commentary is Wilson's genuine regard for Bela Lugosi. Long a fan of Lugosi myself, I found this a very appealing mix of elements, and can only imagine that anyone curious about Bela will be likewise rewarded by their reading of this painstakingly assembled compilation. Drawing from a number of texts about Lugosi's strange and complex relationship with the Hollywood studios of the day, Wilson discusses others' ideas as well as his own about how Bela responded to the very particular requirements of the industry he found himself a part of, a sometimes-uncomfortable arrangement for all parties involved.
Each original story is present for the reader to absorb on their own, followed by an account of the movie that resulted. This section introduces the film's vital statistics, including the studio's often heavily-distorted, character-driven plot line, and the pre-screen treatment of the material, production notes, Bela's involvement in the film, and, like a tasty dessert at the end, food for thought in the form of Wilson's musings, which often provide an insightful and appreciative view of the movie.