Sydney Ladensohn Stern’s The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics is a solid read and works as a dual biography. I immediately changed up my quarantine reading list when Netflix issued the first teaser trailer of Mank on October 8. Going into that day, my plan had been to start on Scott Eyman’s biography of Cary Grant in hopes of finishing in time for its October 20th release. Alas, The Brothers Mankiewicz took immediate…"The Brothers Mankiewicz by Sydney Stern"
A Talent for Trouble: The Life Of Hollywood’s Most Acclaimed Director, William Wyler by Jan Herman is one of two Wyler biographies. Earlier this year during what feels like forever ago in quarantine, I was reading Five Came Back by Mark Harris. I saw where there were two different Wyler biographies in the bibliography–both this one and the one by Axel Madsen. This is the book recommended by Mark and so it became my 20th…"A Talent for Trouble by Jan Herman"
Alan K. Rode gives us the definitive biography of the longtime Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Curtiz in Michael Curtiz: A Life In Film. Curtiz directed Casablanca, which was one of the greatest films ever made in cinematic history. Curtiz came up at a time when he didn’t so much have a choice in what he directed. The studio system was like a factory in that filmmakers were assigned films by the studio. In this case, none…"Michael Curtiz: A Life In Film by Alan K. Rode"
Ted Hope is back with another installment of Hope for Film with new insight following his time working in production for Amazon Studios. The second edition of Hope for Film, much like the first edition, is essential reading for anybody looking to produce. Hope’s insight comes from someone who as worked many facets of independent film. most recently with Amazon. Strangely enough, Hope got the Amazon gig as a result of the first edition. Hope…"Hope for Film by Ted Hope is A Must-Read"
Brian Jay Jones writes the definitive biography of the Star Wars filmmaker in George Lucas: A Life–published by Little, Brown in 2016. Lucas is one of the greatest world-builders of all time. Even when he wasn’t officially directing The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi, he was still directing the film. I mean, wouldn’t you want to be in charge of your own creation? You can certainly understand why a filmmaker like Lucas…"George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones"
Peter Tonguette’s Picturing Peter Bogdanovich: My Conversations with the New Hollywood Director is a critical breakdown of the filmmaker’s career. Tonguette’s relationship with the critic-turned-filmmaker started with a phone call for an article in 2003. The initial phone call has turned into a lengthy relationship including a meeting at an AFI Silver screening. The first half of the book plays as a biography with Tonguette breaking down the director’s filmography. What follows in the second…"Picturing Peter Bogdanovich by Peter Tonguette"
Steven Spielberg: A Biography (2nd Edition) by Joseph McBride takes a critical look at the filmmaker while updating the Spielberg story through 2010. Spielberg is my favorite filmmaker of all time. If not for Jurassic Park, there’s a good bet that I wouldn’t even be doing what I do–whether that’s write about film working to transition into filmmaking. One of the things I’ve been doing of late when watching Spielberg films is watch the bonus…"Steven Spielberg: A Biography by Joseph McBride"
On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder by Ed Sikov is an in-depth biography of the late Oscar winning filmmaker, who died in 2002. When Ernst Lubitsch died in 1947, all of his secrets went to the grave. But who was there to succeed him in terms of his style of filmmaking? The answer to the question comes in the form of another filmmaker from the Continent, Billy Wilder. Double Indemnity. The…"On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder"
Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise, written by film historian Scott Eyman, is the definitive biography of the To Be or Not To Be filmmaker. The first thing I took away in reading Eyman’s biography is that Lubitsch was considered to be “The Griffith of Europe.” Unfortunately, the filmmaker also emulated Griffith in more ways than one. This includes, sadly, wearing blackface as one of his characters. It’s sad and unfortunate because he was one of…"Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise by Scott Eyman"
Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War tells the stories of five film directors who enlisted to serve in the military during World War 2. John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler, and Frank Capra may be known best for their Oscar-winning films. What you might not know about the five directors are that they did their part during WW2. Thanks to Mark Harris’ brilliant book, we get insight…"Five Came Back by Mark Harris"