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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Words about Film

I woke up this morning not really wanting to get up then suffered great indecision (not indigestion, thank goodness) about whether to make coffee or just go back to bed. The day must go on, and the choice was made- I'm still loving this Paul Newman "Nell's Breakfast Blend" in the French press. Although I would prefer to grind the beans myself- its such a lovely coffee. Armed with a double size mug of this light roast I approach a bookcase over flowing and stacked precariously searching the titles for inspiration. The question I want to answer, What is my favorite book about movies? 

I have narrowed it down to two- for the top favorite- then a long list of those in second place - but I will spare you such a listing. We'll go for the top two and a smattering of honorable mentions. 

"Myself Among Others" Ruth Gordon (1971) - This is perhaps the writing that solidified my obsession with film. Being nosy, I always appreciate a good biography and Ms.Gordon lived an interesting life. But it is transitions through her career that I drew out from the pages with giddy delight. 

I suppose we could say this is more a book about acting itself than film- but the early days of making films are there so clearly in her words. 

Start by watching: 
"Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (1940)
"Lord Love a Duck" (1966)
"Harold and Maude" (1971) - You'll want to own this so you can watch it again- and show it to your friends.

Then, watch all of her films you can find. 

"The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking" Mark Polish, Michael Polish, Jonathan Sheldon (2005) 

oohhh....In my love for gossip along with a general nosy parker curiosity- I found this book incredibly entertaining. And then of course there is the inside scoop to ups and downs of actually getting a film made outside the system.  Pay special attention to the side notes - they are the real meat of the book. 

Definitely watch: 

"Northfork"  (2003) - The costumes alone are worth the time to watch this one but its the dialogue and filmscape that get you. 

Don't feel bad if you skip "Astronaut Farmer" (2006)- its cute, but not great. 

Just to round things out- a couple of recommended readings:

"Tracy & Hepburn" by Garson Kanin (1971) 
"Cinema Of Outsiders" by Emmanuel Levy (1999) 
"Hollywood Babylon" by Kenneth Anger ( 1965) - Take this one with a grain of salt, its good and mostly true. But you know how that goes, only the people involved really really have the story. 

Happy Reading! 

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