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"
Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America tells the incredibly true story of Jews fighting back against Nazis in LA. Leon Lewis and Joseph Roos are American heroes. You might not know their names and that’s perfectly okay. Truthfully, I didn’t know their names either. However, I’m perfectly glad to finally rectify this. There were some pretty damning moments while reading this book. Given the state of the United…"Hitler in Los Angeles by Steven J. Ross"
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann is a thrilling true-crime mystery that will keep you turning pages for hours. I have to be honest. After the Deadline interview, I went into this book expecting some insight into the 1918 flu epidemic. While I have to admit that I was disappointed on that regard, this book is a thrilling read. I devoured all 400-plus pages in just over…"Tinseltown by William J. Mann"
Film historian/author Scott Eyman delivers the definitive biography in Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer. In recent years, it’s hard to look at someone like Louis B. Mayer and not think of him in a similar way to Harvey Weinstein. Much of this probably has to do with Bosley Crowther’s books according to the epilogue. I’m not going to say that the two of them are similar in their ways. …"Lion of Hollywood by Scott Eyman"
Back in the late 1980s, A. Scott Berg gave film fans the definitive biography of pioneering film producer Samuel Goldwyn. While reading the William Fox biography, I learned that Sam Goldwyn had been forced out of Goldwyn Productions, which he formed with the Selwyns. The studio had been named after their names: Goldfish and Selwyn. Until that point, I had always assumed he had been involved with the leadership of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This wasn’t the first…"Goldwyn: A Biography by A. Scott Berg"
John Billheimer takes a look at how filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was impacted by the Production Code Administration in Hitchcock and the Censors. It’s been nearly a year since University Press of Kentucky released this book in their Screen Classics series. If you have any interest in classic movies, you certainly can’t go wrong with these books. Anyway, this review is going online over a week after I finished reading my sixth quarantine book. The main…"Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer"
Vanda Krefft gives us a defining biography in The Man Who Made The Movies: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox. It’s no secret that William Fox is forgotten to history. Of all the major studios, he personally didn’t survive the stock market crash. Well, he did so as a person but he was no longer the head of the studio. Fox would file for bankruptcy. While Disney acquired Twentieth Century-Fox, it came…"The Man Who Made The Movies by Vanda Krefft"
King Cohn: The Life and Times of Harry Cohn, written by the late Bob Thomas, is the definitive portrait of the Columbia Pictures co-founder. First published in 1967, the book was reprinted by New Millennium Press in 2000. Thomas spoke to 250 plus people in gathering comments and anecdotes about the late Cohn. Interestingly enough, both Columbia and Warner Brothers had a pair of brothers named Harry and Jack. Maybe it’s just a mere coincidence…"King Cohn: The Life and Times of Harry Cohn"
In writing Voice Lessons, voice actor Rob Paulsen writes about his battle with throat cancer in addition to sharing memories throughout his life and career. Yakko from Animaniacs. Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. Raphael from the original animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. These are but a few of the many characters that Rob Paulsen has helped bring to life. In his memoir, he writes about what led him to obtain these various jobs.…"Voice Lessons by Rob Paulsen"