New film books: Bollywood dance, tales from Development Hell, & the Astaires
In our picks of the new film and cinema books this month you’ll find books on a range of topics, including “Development Hell” — a place film directors and producers fear to tread… Have a browse!
Is it all about hips? : around the world with Bollywood dance / Sangita Shresthova.
“In this brilliant ethnography, Sangita Sresthova, who has pioneered various dance forms brings alive the world of Bollywood dance. You embark upon this exhilarating journey at a live performance in London, and travel with the author discovering how this unique dance form has united peoples and cultures far and wide. Behind-the-stage preparations and dance classes booming with desi exuberance come to life with a panorama of colorful stills, making this book is the first-of-its-kind account of the Bollywood dance culture flourishing worldwide.” (description from Amazon.com)
Tales from development hell : the greatest movies never made? / David Hughes.
“A compulsively readable journey into the area of movie-making where all writers, directors and stars fear to tread: Development Hell, the place where scripts are written, actors hired and sets designed… but the movies rarely actually get made! Whatever happened to Darren Aronofsky’s Batman movie starring Clint Eastwood? Why were there so many scripts written over the years for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s fourth Indiana Jones movie? Why was Lara Croft’s journey to the big screen so tortuous, and what prevented Paul Verhoeven from filming what he calls “one of the greatest scripts ever written”? Why did Ridley Scott’s Crisis in the Hot Zone collapse days away from filming, and were the Beatles really set to star in Lord of the Rings?” (description from Amazon.com)
The golden girls of MGM : Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, and others / Jane Ellen Wayne.
“From Jeanette MacDonald and Norma Shearer to Princess Grace and Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the 16 portraits in this lively, photograph-filled volume, each accompanied by the star’s filmography, tell the tales that have long lay hidden behind the gossip and the glories of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s glamorous golden girls.” (Syndetics summary)
Zona / Geoff Dyer.Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room
“Some films inspire devotion in viewers, while others spark obsession. Novelist and nonfiction author Dyer (Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi) has become obsessed with the 1979 Russian film Stalker, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Dyer gives the reader an impressionistic, deeply subjective tour of a cerebral film featuring a character who guides people through a forbidden wasteland zone. The author claims the work contains the “quality of prophecy” and has always “invited allegorical readings.” As he explicates the film, Dyer supplies lengthy, deliberate digressions on such topics as drinking in films, the annoying quality of coming attractions movie trailers, and his perceived similarities between Stalker and The Wizard of Oz-the latter film he admits he’s never seen and never intends to see.” (Library Journal)
The actor as storyteller : an introduction to acting / Bruce Miller.
“The Actor as Storyteller is intended for serious beginning actors. It opens with an overview, explaining the differences between theater and its hybrid mediums, the part an actor plays in each of those mediums. It moves on to the acting craft itself, with a special emphasis on analysis and choice-making, introducing the concept of the actor as storyteller, then presents the specific tools an actor works with. Next, it details the process an actor can use to prepare for scene work and rehearsals, complete with a working plan for using the tools discussed. The book concludes with a discussion of mental preparation, suggestions for auditioning, a process for rehearsing a play, and an overview of the realities of show business.” (description from amazon.com)
The Astaires : Fred & Adele / Kathleen Riley.
“In this comprehensive coverage of Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire, Riley (Nigel Hawthorne On Stage) offers a splendiferous glimpse of gaiety, scintillating style, syncopated rhythms; and lost glamour, noting, “The story of the Astaires conjures up a vanished world.” Offering fascinating anecdotes and surprising details, Riley contrasts Fred’s perfectionism with Adele’s alluring impudence: critic Richard Watts found her “funny and bewitching.” Riley writes with zest and authoritative expertise, displaying a grace and elegance equal to her subjects. Her scholarly skills are showcased in this effervescent, spirited history, with a concluding “Chronologies,” an informative 18-page chart, printed sideways, that lists all Astaire shows with their musical numbers, production personnel, and theaters.” (Publisher Weekly)
British comedy cinema / edited by I.Q. Hunter and Laraine Porter.
British comedy cinema has been a mainstay of domestic production since the beginning of the last Century and arguably the most popular and important genre in British film history.
This edited volume will offer the first comprehensive account of the rich and popular history of British comedy cinema from silent slapstick and satire to contemporary romantic comedy. Using a loosely chronological approach, essays cover successive decades of the 20th and 21st Century with a combination of case studies on key personalities, production cycles and studio output along with fresh approaches to issues of class and gender representation. Films covered include: St Trinians, A Fish Called Wanda, Brassed Off, Local Hero, The Full Monty, Four Lions and In the Loop. (description from Amazon.co.uk)