Hey, Farran Smith Nehme has a novel coming out in November. Set in New York City in the late 80s, Missing Reels tells the tale of Ceinwen Reilly’s search for a forgotten silent film, and Farran’s begun a series of entries cataloguing cinematic references. “If nothing else, it will be decorative.”
Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television collects the legendary lectures and discussions Jean-Luc Godard held in Montreal in 1978 that laid the groundwork for Histoire(s) du cinema (1988–1998). And it’s available now.
Jonathan Rosenbaum presents Mark Rappaport’s introduction to his new collection, The Secret Life of Moving Shadows, now available as an e-book in two parts (here and here). “If there is anything that unifies [the essays], it is my particular taste in movies and my particular and maybe even peculiar take on them.”
“Roman Polanski has written the foreword to a forthcoming book about the life of his murdered wife, Sharon Tate,” reports the Guardian‘s Ben Child. “The book, titled Recollection, has been put together by Sharon’s sister Debra and will be published in the US next month. It also features contributions from its subject’s co-stars on the 1967 cult drama Valley of the Dolls, Patty Duke, Joan Collins and Jane Fonda.”
For the TLS, Eric J. Iannelli reviews Chris Nashawaty’s Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of the B Movie and Noah Isenberg’s Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins, “an excellent double feature on two men who not only embodied the ethos of the B-movie but that of independent cinema as a whole.”
Writing for Film International, Brandon Konecny notes that Oskar Fischinger “made over fifty animated films that dazzled viewers with their visual musicality and geometric dramaturgy; attracted the attention of Hollywood giants such as Walt Disney and Ernst Lubitsch; and served as an inspiration to later champions of avant-garde film like Jordan Belson, Harry Smith, and John and James Whitley. Given such credentials, his scarcity [in literature on avant-garde cinema] can only appear puzzling. All this makes Oskar Fischinger 1900-1967: Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction, edited by Cindy Keefer and Jaap Guldemond, an especially exciting publication.”
Stella! Mother of Modern Acting is the first biography of Stella Adler, “a titan among acting teachers,” as Greg Ferrara calls her, introducing his interview with author Sheana Ochoa at Movie Morlocks. Charles McNulty in the Los Angeles Times: “Brando was Adler’s most famous pupil, and his endorsement of her teaching over Lee Strasberg’s Method was a crucial victory in the rancorous war between these two American interpreters of Stanislavsky’s revolutionary system of acting training…. Ochoa valuably reviews this still-simmering debate and offers a vivid sketch of the burgeoning, early 20th century Yiddish theater of New York’s Lower East Side that gave rise to the socially conscious realism ushered in by the Group Theatre an assimilated generation later. The book, however, suffers from imprecision, in both its language and its factual detail, which undermines its narrative’s authority.”
The sixth edition of David Thomson’s classic, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, is out, and Slate‘s Dana Stevens marvels “at the unlikely publishing miracle by which one person’s private jottings somehow Trojan-horsed their way into something called a ‘dictionary,’ which the author was then allowed to revisit, rewrite, and build upon for the next 40 years.”
For the LA Weekly, Amy Nicholson talks with Anne Thompson about The $11 Billion Year, “a detailed month-by-month breakdown of the modern movie machine in 2012” that offers “insight into the madness, pressure, and superstitions of the major studios to produce expensive sequels (‘an antediluvian model that they’re keeping going in a denial of the forces of change’), while keeping tabs on the indies from their film festival debuts to awards season campaigns.”
And finally for now, Flavorwire‘s Jason Diamond reviews The Letters of James Agee to Father Flye: “On their own, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, screenplays for iconic films like The Night of the Hunter and The African Queen, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning A Death in the Family (which was published posthumously) all would provide sufficient evidence of Agee’s lasting influence and importance. While I’ve read few collections of letters that give greater insight into how the mind of an author of great works, [Robert] Phelps is right to suggest [in his foreword] that Agee’s letters could be the best gateway to the rest of his writing.” More from John Lingan at Hazlitt.