Cecilia De Mille Presley and Mark Vieira. Cecil B. DeMille: The Art of the Hollywood Epic, Running Press, $60.
This book is a veritable King Tut’s tomb of the the memorabilia of film mogul Cecil B. DeMille, as shared by his granddaughter Cecilia De Mille Presley and documented by photographer and film historian Mark Vieira. This is a treasure you’ll want for your own shelves, and to spend time with. It covers epics such as both the silent and sound versions of The Ten Commandments, and King of Kings, The Sign of the Cross, Cleopatra (1934), The Crusades, Samson and Delilah, and many others. A classic like its subject.
Brent Phillips. Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance, University Press of Kentucky, $40.
From the trolley scene in Meet Me in St. Louis to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’s last dance together in The Barkleys of Broadway in 1949 to Judy Garland’s timeless, tuxedo-clad performance of “Get Happy” in Summer Stock, Charles Walters staged the iconic musical sequences of Hollywood’s golden age. He worked with such stars as Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, and Frank Sinatra, He was the go-to man for MGM’s musicals in the late 40s and 1950s, yet he is not very well known. In this full-length biography, Brent Phillips sets out to give him his due.
Richard Zoglin. Hope: Enertainer of the Century, Simon & Schuster, $30.
Bob Hope could have been called “the King of All Media.” He had performed in vaudeville and stand-up comedy, was a star of radio, television, and movies, wrote books and newspaper columns, entertained hundreds of thousands of GIs at USO shows around the world, and was the host for fourteen Academy Award ceremonies. Richard Zoglin has written the first comprehensive biography of Bobe Hope, showing his accomplishments and his faults. Hope died at 100 in 2003.
Karina Longworth. Hollywood Frame by Frame: Behind the scenes, Cinema’s Unseen Contact Sheets, 1951-1997. Princeton Architectural Press, $30.
We know those beautiful photographs of the stars that survive the decades, although nowadays they are a lost art. But “contact sheets” showed all the photos that were taken on a movie set, most of them never used and therefore never seen again. Yet here are some great behind-the-scenes shots of actors at rest and at play. A nice way to spend time with some of our favorite actors .
William J. Mann. Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood. Harper, $27.99
The murder of film director William Desmond Taylor in 1922 has been a mystery for decades, prompting several books with theories about the crime. The likely involvement of other stars and studio bosses has kept this true crime topical. In his book William Mann, author of diverse subjects of interest to classic Hollywood fans, comes up with an interesting book and a definitive answer.
Steven Bingen with Marc Wanamaker. Warner Bros. Hollywood’s Ultimate Backlot, Taylor Trade, $29.95.
Take the ultimate tour of the Warner Brothers studio lot through its history in this one-of-a-kind book by author Steven Bingen and photograph archivist Marc Wanamaker. Bingen provides the rich back-story to WB’s amazing history and its cast of thousands.
Sophia Loren. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, My Life. Simon & Schuster, $28.
In her first autobiography, Sophia Loren recalls her childhood in poverty, her rise to stardom and being the first woman to win a foreign-language Oscar, her many male co-stars, and her family life. An interesting read, but no tell-all.
John Canamaker. The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic. Weldon Owen, $60
Animation director and designer John Canemaker presents in this book the photographic documentation that was the scrapbook of onetime photographerand effects technician at the 1930s Walt Disney Studio, Herman Schulteis. The “Notebook” which was unkown for decades, has been called the Rosetta Stone of the process used to make Disney classics such as Fantasia, Pinnocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi. This book is a complete facsimile of that notebook. In addition to photos, notes indicate how special effects were achieved.
The Art of Film Magic: 20 Years of Weta. $99, ships from New Zealand.
While not yet “Classic Films” these movies soon will be so this deluxe two-volume slip-cased editon lavishly illustrates the history of the fantasy movies and film-making magic produced at Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, the creative companies behind such celebrated films as The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, The Avengers, King Kong, District 9 and The Hobbit series. The set includes concept art, behind-the-scenes imagery and interviews with cast and crew members. Also see how costumes, creatures, characters, weaponry, and visual effects are created. A visual treat for film fantasy lovers.
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