Star Wars, Harry Potter, Judd Apatow and more! – Film and Television books for August

Here is a great selection covering the history of Hollywood, famous movies and famous people.

Syndetics book coverHollywood traitors : blacklisted screenwriters : agents of Stalin, allies of Hitler / Allan H. Ryskind.
“Too often, the “Hollywood Ten” brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee are memorialized as victims of an unjust witch-hunt and heroes who stood up for free speech. The truth is shocking: Not only did these supposed liberal paragons adore Josef Stalin and take their orders directly from the Communist Party, but they also sympathized with Adolf Hitler. Ryskind, who grew up in the heart of the Hollywood scene and personally knew many of the key players in this real-life Hollywood drama, has penned a definitive, myth-busting account of the Hollywood Ten and Hollywood Blacklist that will forever change the way you think about the ideological battle waged in the movie capital of the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSick in the head : conversations about life and comedy / Judd Apatow.
“Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. He took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club so he could watch endless stand-up for free. He hosted a show for his local high school radio station on Long Island – a show that consisted of Q & As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd – and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do. Sick in the Head gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career, but his entire adult life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUltimate Star Wars / written by Patricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham.
“Become an expert on the Star Wars galaxy! Ultimate Star Wars® is an in-depth visual feast exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. This is a beautifully illustrated guide that is structured chronologically and packed full of information about key characters and storylines from the Star Wars movie saga, The Clone Wars , and Rebels(tm) . Ultimate Star Wars will get new and old fans caught up and knowledgeable on all things Star Wars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA wish your heart makes : from the Grimm brothers’ Aschenputtel to Disney’s Cinderella / Charles Solomon ; introduction by Kenneth Branagh.
“With its kind heroine who receives her just reward with the help of her Fairy Godmother, ‘Cinderella’ is one the most beloved fairy tales throughout the world. A Wish Your Heart Makes will trace the history and many incarnations of the fairy tale, emphasising its strong ties to Walt Disney and his studio. The book will conclude with the making of the 2015 live-action film Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh, including interviews with Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Derek Jacobi and Lilly James.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYear of the fat knight : the Falstaff diaries / Antony Sher ; with illustrations by the author.
Year of the Fat Knight is legendary stage actor Sir Antony Sher’s account–splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches–of researching, rehearsing, and performing one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters for a 2014 Royal Shakespeare Company production. This follow-up to Sher’s 1985 classic Year of the King is a terrific read, rich in humor and excitement, that also stands as a celebration of the craft of character acting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarry Potter : magical places from the films : Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and beyond / by Jody Revenson.
Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond offers an unprecedented look at the creative process that transformed the magical locations of the wizarding world from the page to the big screen. Readers will discover the many challenges the studio faced to build the fantastical sites depicted in Rowling’s books, from Hogwarts castle and its many classrooms and dormitories, to Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic. Organized by film appearance, the book takes readers on a behind-the-scenes visual journey through all eight of the Harry Potter films. Gorgeously designed, visually stunning, this is truly is an unmatched look at the imaginative sets that were designed, built, furnished, and digitally enhanced specifically for the films.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBroadcast hysteria : Orson Welles’s War of the worlds and the art of fake news / A. Brad Schwartz.
“On October 30, 1938, regular radio programming was interrupted by an announcer delivering news of a meteor strike in New Jersey. With increasing intensity, the announcer read bulletins describing terrifying war machines moving toward New York City. Some listeners sat transfixed before their radios, while others ran to alert neighbors or call the police. But the broadcast was not breaking news–it was Orson Welles’s adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds. In Broadcast Hysteria , A. Brad Schwartz examines the history behind the infamous radio play. Did it really spawn a wave of mass hysteria? Schwartz is the first to examine the hundreds of letters sent directly to Welles after the broadcast. Relatively few listeners believed an actual attack was under way. But even so, Schwartz shows that Welles’s broadcast prompted a different kind of “mass panic” as Americans debated the bewitching power of the radio and the country’s vulnerability in a time of crisis.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverConquering chaos / by Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra.
“Since Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra shared their story of teen pregnancy and adoption on the MTV’s ’16 and Pregnant’ and ‘Teen Mom’, they’ve been known for their inspiring commitment to growing up right. Between their experience placing their first daughter for adoption, and their struggle to cope with problems in their families, Catelynn and Tyler were challenged in every imaginable way. But against all odds, the childhood sweethearts rose above the dysfunction to become responsible adults whose story has inspired many others. How did two troublemaking kids from the trailer park make it through the storm of family dysfunction, teen pregnancy, and adoption without letting go of each other? In their debut book, Catelynn and Tyler tell the story in their own words…and they leave nothing out.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow Star Wars conquered the universe : the past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise / Chris Taylor.
“Why do most people know what an Ewok is, even if they haven’t seen Return of the Jedi? How have Star Wars action figures come to outnumber human beings? How did ‘Jedi’ become an officially recognised religion? When did the films’ merchandising revenue manage to rival the GDP of a small country? Tracing the birth, death and rebirth of the epic universe built by George Lucas and hundreds of writers, artists, producers, and marketers, Chris Taylor jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how STAR WARS has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.” (Syndetics summary)

Cabin In the Woods & Downton Abbey : new film & TV books

This month our selection of new books includes the visual companion to Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the official series three tie-in for Downton Abbey, how to make and market your own web series, and the first in the new “If you like…” series that collects more than 200 movies you’ll like if you love the Terminator movies. Plus, Nicole Kidman, The Big Lebowski, film history, and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe chronicles of Downton Abbey / foreword, Julian Fellowes ; text, Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis ; photography, Joss Barratt, Nick Briggs and Giles Keyte.
“The Chronicles of Downton Abbey take you deep into the lives of the Crawleys, their servants, lovers, friends and guests. So wander the crowded servants’ quarters and peek into luxurious bed chambers. This lavish book explores the lives of every important member of the Downton estate. Focusing on each character individually, it examines their motivations, their actions and the inspirations behind them. An evocative source of story and background, it will take you even deeper into the secret, beating heart of the house.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cabin in the woods : the official visual companion / foreword by Drew Goddard ; afterword by Joss Whedon ; screenplay written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard ; interviews by Abbie Bernstein.
“This exclusive companion book to the Cabin in the Woods movie, directed by Joss Whedon, features an extended interview with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the full script, and over 150 photos and stunning pieces of production art. The details of the plot are a closely guarded secret, though Joss himself has described it as ‘a straight-up, balls-out, really terrifying horror movie’, adding, ‘it is not just a slasher in the woods. It’s a little more complicated than that…'” (

Syndetics book coverThe Big Lebowski : an illustrated, annotated history of the greatest cult film of all time / by Jenny M. Jones.
“This is the first comprehensive, highly illustrated analysis of the history, legacy, and cultural significance of the 1998 Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski. Author Jenny Jones explores what it is that makes the film so raucous, quotable, memorable, and downright hilarious” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverIf you like the The Terminator– here are over 200 movies, TV shows, and other oddities that you will love / Scott Von Doviak.
“Here is the first book to explore the spectacular array of films, television shows, and other works that helped inspire The Terminator , as well as those that have drawn inspiration from it. If You Like The Terminator … delves into the history of science-fiction cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond, encountering killer robots, time travelers and postapocalyptic wastelands along the way. This turbo-charged journey through time also reviews the improbable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the action heroes of the 1980s, and reevaluates the films of James Cameron, before touching down in the computer-dominated realm of today’s science fiction cinema and projecting the future of the Terminator franchise. From Metropolis to The Matrix , from Frankenstein to RoboCop , from H. G. Wells and Harlan Ellison to Roger Corman and Roland Emmerich, you’ll find them all here in If You Like The Terminator.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverHistory of film / David Parkinson.
“In this lively, informative and up-to-date analysis of what has been called the seventh art, David Parkinson traces the evolution of the moving image from the earliest shadow shows to the digital film-making of the 21st century. Covering the key elements and players that have contributed to its artistic and technical development, the book offers a remarkably concise overview of film throughout the world” (Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverNicole Kidman / Pam Cook.
“Nicole Kidman is a high-profile, successful exponent of contemporary commodity stardom, and a product of fundamental changes in the media industries over the last two decades. Pam Cook vividly brings to life her journey from Australian actress to global superstar, looking at her work in different contexts from film and television to fashion, commercials, philanthropy and the Internet. This absorbing case study unveils a star narrative as compelling as any that appears in her films.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeb TV series : how to make and market them / Dan Williams.
“Online distributors – such as YouTube, Hulu, and Funny or Die – are interested in acquiring web series (episodic digital entertainment, like mini-TV shows) that attract audiences and appeal to advertisers. Web TV Series… How to Make and Market Them provides advice and expertise to help readers create their own original, successful online shows – projects that can be profitable, potentially developed into film or television properties, and help to start a career in the industry. Readers will learn how to develop characters and stories designed for new media platforms, and find tips for planning, shooting, and editing that are tailored specifically to web series production. This book also extensively covers the latest distribution platforms and social media marketing strategies.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComedy by the numbers : the 169 secrets of humor and popularity / [edited] by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren.
“Being funny is hard work: just ask Gary Rudoren and Eric Hoffman. Like many people, they once believed that comedy was simply a matter of coming up with “zingers” and “jokes.” But after countless hours of painstaking research, they’ve discovered that true creativity is derived from simple formulas and the memorization of data. Their groundbreaking new book makes the secrets of comedy accessible to all, not only to the naturally funny, but to those who lack the ability or talent to be funny.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New film & television books: featuring Star Wars, Star Trek & Doctor Who

The new film & television books this month have a distinctly sci-fi bent — with new titles on Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who. Sandwiched around the sci-fi books this month are several titles on the golden boys of film and sirens of the screen — the the first two volumes in a four volume series entitled “Sexbombs”. Read for profiles of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverA brief guide to Star Trek / Brian J. Robb.
“This essential guide will cover all prominent actors including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Patrick Stewart and will explore the connection between Star Trek and the US cold war foreign policy, why much of the far-out science from the show is now at the forefront of research, why linguists are now studying Klingon, and much more.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverStar trek FAQ : everything left to know about the first voyages of the Starship Enterprise / Mark Clark.
“Star Trek FAQ tells the complete story of Star Trek, from the before the beginning (the books, films, and TV shows that inspired producer Gene Roddenberry to create Star Trek) until after the end (when the show emerged as a cultural phenomenon in syndication), and including dramatic behind-the-scenes stories (e.g., Leonard Nimoy’s struggle with alcoholism and actress Grace Lee Whitney’s controversial firing) often omitted from “authorized” histories of the program.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverU.S.S. Enterprise owners’ workshop manual : 2151 onwards (NX-01, NCC-1701, NCC-1701-A to NCC-1701-E) / Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley ; technical consultant, Michael Okuda.
“The U.S.S. Enterprise is without doubt the most famous starship in history. The vessels that have carried the name have saved the galaxy countless times and her captains, including Archer, Kirk, and Picard, have been legendary. This Haynes Manual provides in-depth information about these extraordinary ships, from the Enterprise NX-01, to Captain Kirk’s Enterprise NCC-1701 and Captain Picard’s Enterprise NCC-1701-D including histories of each vessel, technical information about their systems, and discussions of key technologies such as transporters and warp-speed travel.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Wars : the essential guide to warfare / Jason Fry with Paul R. Urquhart ; illustrations by Drew Baker … [et. al].
“Like many a great epic, Star Wars is rooted in a rich history of armed conflict. Now, for the first time, the facts, figures, and fascinating backstories of major clashes and combatants in the vast Star Wars universe have been documented in one fully illustrated volume. Encompassing all of the Star Wars media, including the legendary films, the hit TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the bestselling books, comics, and videogames, and packed with original full-color artwork, Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare is a conquering achievement.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverWho is the doctor : the unofficial guide to Doctor Who : the new series / Graeme Burk & Robert Smith?.
“Penned by the authors of the famed sci-fi series’ fanzine collections, this entertaining combination of episode guides and essays is a must-have for all Doctor Who aficionados. The handbook explores all facets of the six most recent seasons, providing an essential companion for the show’s avid fans and casual viewers alike. The history of everything related to Doctor Who is touched upon, from Daleks and Cybermen to the eight Classic Series Doctors.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverLove and monsters : the “Doctor Who” experience, 1979 to the present / Miles Booy ; [series editor, Stacey Abbott].
“Scholar and Whofan Miles Booy has written the first historical account of the public interpretation of Doctor Who. Love and Monsters begins in 1979 with the publication of ”Doctor Who Weekly”, the magazine that would start a chain of events that would see creative fans taking control of the merchandise and even of the program’s massively successful twenty-first century reboot. From the twilight of Tom Baker’s years to the newest Doctor, Matt Smith, Miles Booy explores the shifting meaning of Doctor Who across the years – from the Third Doctor’s suggestion that we should read the Bible, via costumed fans on television, up to the 2010 general election in Britain.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Golden boys. Vol. 1, Sexiest men ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]]
“In this edition (the first of four) we revisit the compelling mystery of the male sex symbol in a lavish fashion. The lives and legends of Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Elvis Presley, Harrison Ford, Clark, Gable Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Rudolph Valentino, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jim Morrison, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Tom Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, Mick Jagger.” (adapted from summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Sirens. Vol. 2, Sexiest women ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]].
“Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jane Russell, Jayne Mansfield, Ursula Andress, Mata Hari, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Ann-Margaret, Bettie Page, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Mae West, Betty Grable, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Madonna, Lauren Bacall. To be a star you need to rouse the senses, but to be a siren you must touch the heart. The intensity of human beauty concentrated in the most famous female sex symbols of the twentieth century is matched by their vulnerability, their daring and their sheer courage.” (adapted from summary)

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!

Syndetics book coverIs 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

Syndetics book coverTales 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

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverZona / 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

cover imageBritish 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

New film & TV books: including James Bond, Doctor Who, and many many movie guides!

Our picks of this month’s film and TV books cover many many movie guides. From the greatest gangster movies of all time to Australian film critic Marc Fennell‘s selection of movies for every weekend of the year and Stephen Jay Schneider’s tome of 1001 movies you must see before you die, there’s a lot of good viewing here! Plus, a companion guide to Season 6 of Doctor Who, and an encylopaedia of James Bond for you to test your knowledge against (how exactly does 007 prefer his martini?). Enjoy!

Syndetics book cover The ultimate book of gangster movies : featuring the 100 greatest gangster films of all time / George Anastasia & Glen Macnow ; foreword by Joe Pistone.
“The gangster movie is one of the most popular genres in film. From the Italian, Irish, and Russian “families” in America to similarly sinister groups in Europe, Japan, and beyond, the cinema has never shied away from portraying the evil exploits of these brutal outfits. The Ultimate Book of Gangster Movies provides extensive reviews of the Top 100 gangster films of all time, including sidebars like “Reality Check,” “Hit and Miss,” “I Know That Guy,” and other fun and informative features.”(description from

Syndetics book coverThat movie book : awesome, weird and wonderful movies for every weekend of the year / Marc Fennell.
“SO MANY MOVIES … But which ones are worth watching? With Marc Fennell’s That Movie Book in your hand, you will never again be at a loss for what to pick up in the DVD store. Movie critic and mischief-maker Marc Fennell has cunningly programmed and reviewed more than 260 movies to fill every weekend of the year. Each weekend has a theme – a genre, filmmaker, actor or trend. Whether you’re bored, infirm or under house arrest, your level of commitment is catered to. Expect movies from the past as well as the present, from Hollywood to art house, from kids to adult. It’s a veritable film festival from your couch.”(Description from

Syndetics book coverJames Bond encyclopedia / John Cork and Collin Stutz.
“Fully updated with new content on “Quantum of Solace,” the “James Bond Encyclopedia” is the resource for everything Bond. A lavish and comprehensive guide to the world of Bond, James Bond.–“The Daily Sentinel”” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDoctor Who : the brilliant book 2012 / edited by Clayton Hickman ; designed by Paul Lang ; [written by Jason Arnopp … [et al.].
“Packed with unseen photographs and original artwork and illustrations, The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who 2012 is your indispensable guide to Series 6 of Doctor Who. Weaving fact and fiction, interviews and information, The Brilliant Book boasts brand new material from the writers of the TV show, including Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts, Matthew Graham, Tom Macrae, and Steve Thompson, plus exclusive fiction from award-winning novelist Neil Gaiman.” (Publisher desription)

Syndetics book cover1001 movies you must see before you die / general editor, Steven Jay Schneider.
“Film buffs willing to challenge the claim made by Schneider (Understanding Film Genres) that they must see his selection of 1,001 international films are in for a shock. This heavy, boxlike, full-color guide to the best of the best truly represents the work of a century, culling its selection from all genres and nations. Arranged chronologically, film entries include brief summations, credits, award information, and, more often than not, a film still. Director and film indexes conclude the volume. Highly recommended for all film, general public, and academic reference collections.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe film book : a complete guide to the world of film / Ronald Bergan.
“A comprehensive and easy-to-use source of everything readers want to know about the movies and the people behind them, “The Film Book” is a unique treasure trove of a guide that will appeal to anyone who loves movies. From the history of the art form to techniques and the films themselves, “The Film Book” provides an overview of cinematic styles and genres, the industry’s greatest and most influential directors, and their key works, as well as looking at film-making around the world, from Hollywood to Bollywood. Buyer’s Choice” (Syndetics summary)

New film & TV books: American Idol, The Apprentice, Sherlock Holmes, and more

We’ve put together our January round-up of the new film and television books at the library – and American Idol features twice! The show celebrates 10 years on air this year, and we have two new titles that tell the story of the show and its many contestants. Also included this month: the official book of the TV series Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, and a complete film and TV history of Sherlock Holmes adaptations (if this one interests you, you might also like this blog post). Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverPawnee : the greatest town in America / written, compiled, researched, typed, collated, proofread, and run through spell-check by Leslie Knope ; with Nate DiMeo and the creative team of Parks and recreation.
“The mockumentary genre used so effectively in, e.g., Spinal Tap and The Office is showcased in this full-blown over-the-top guide to fictional Pawnee, IN, the setting of NBC’s Parks and Recreation. It is written by deputy director of Pawnee’s parks and recreation department Knope, the character played by esteemed Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler. With a Hoosier-sized cornucopia of photos, illustrations, sidebars, statistics, and footnotes (almost 200…yikes!), Knope leaves no Pawnee ear of corn unshucked in her detailed Parks and Recreation backstories.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverAmerican idol : the untold story / Richard Rushfield.
“American Idol is a cultural force like no other. Over the last ten years, the show has offered up high-stakes drama outside the competition that has swept up millions of viewers in its wake. And now, for the first time, a veteran journalist with deep access to the judges, contestants, and crew enlightens readers with a fascinating and insightful look into ten years of America’s most popular television show.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmerican idol : celebrating 10 years : the official backstage pass / by Shirley Halperin.
“Straight from the photo vault of America’s number-one show, “American Idol: Celebrating 10 Years” is the official photographic celebration of the first 10 years of the television show that changed the face of music and popular culture throughout the world. Includes more than 70 images, many never before published.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBig fat gypsy weddings.
“This is the official book of one of the most talked-about TV series ever to have hit our screens. The show offered a unique insight into the traveller and gypsy communities, their lives, loves and their incredible wedding ceremonies. But there is so much more to these fascinating people and their culture and this book draws readers even further into an extraordinary secret world. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings is a gilt-edged invitation into the heart of gypsy and traveller life, brimming with unforgettable stories and brand new insights into a disappearing world.” (description from

Syndetics book coverThe apprentice A-Z : the totally unofficial guide to the hit TV series / Charlie Burden.
“Everything you have ever wanted to know about the hit show The Apprentice is within these pages! For example: A is for Alan—Lord Alan Sugar, an entrepreneur, media personality, and political advisor who grew up in an East End council flat and boiled beetroots for the local greengrocer, but who is now one for the most famous businessmen in Britain. From the colorful candidates to the eventual winners, this comprehensive A-to-Z details everything you want to know about The Apprentice, including details of Lord Alan Sugar, his successes, and all the behind-the-scenes gossip.” (description from

Syndetics book coverSherlock Holmes on screen : the complete film and TV history / Alan Barnes.
“Conan Doyle’s master detective Sherlock Holmes has appeared on screen more times than any other fictional character. Sherlock Holmes on Screen surveys over a century’s worth of his exploits in film and television, from the silent era to the present day. Illustrated with rare archive pictures throughout, Sherlock Holmes on Screen is now updated with entries on the BBC’s modern-day Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and director Guy Ritchie’s all-action Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr – plus Sherlockian turns from Rupert Everett and Jonathan Pryce. This revised edition is the most comprehensive Holmes filmography ever published.”(description from

New film & TV books: MTV, animation, Harry Potter and more!

For our last round-up of the film & television books before 2012, we’ve chosen some excellent reads for you – including a history of animation, a look at the filming and development of the Harry Potter film series (Ron! Hermione! Harry!!), and a look at how MTV changed television. Plus, ever wondered exactly how well movies and politics mix? We’ve got you covered with a look at how celebrities in America on the Left and Right have fared in politics. Plus, a film history of the goriest genre: horror. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe world history of animation / Stephen Cavalier.
“Focusing on the 100-plus-year history of the genre, animator and director Cavalier’s coffee-table volume offers a comprehensive chronological look at film, television, and web-based animations. He does a great job of never overwhelming readers with information. The narrative, which nicely ties together the history and reproduced images, is almost epic as it showcases the evolution of animation techniques that are the core of the genre. Cavalier also includes a list of essential films with synopses and relevant biographies. Photographs are well placed throughout the book and add interest.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverHarry Potter : page to screen : the complete filmmaking journey / [Bob McCabe].
“From the acquisition of the film rights to the casting of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the assembly of the creative team, Harry Potter: Page to Screen is a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most popular film series in cinema history, as told by the people who made the magic real. Harry Potter: Page to Screen traces the cinematic process of bringing J.K. Rowling’s beloved books to big-screen life.”  (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverI want my MTV : the uncensored story of the music video revolution / Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum.
“MTV’s influence went beyond music–it soon changed network and cable television, radio, sports, film, fashion, teen sexuality, and even politics. Highly respected music journalists Marks and Tannenbaum have assembled an unprecedented collection of stories from the early days of MTV, straight from the mouths of those who were part of the video revolution. 50,000 print.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShock value : how a few eccentric outsiders gave us nightmares, conquered Hollywood, and invented modern horror / Jason Zinoman.
“Based on unprecedented access to the genre’s major players, “New York Times” film critic Zinoman delivers the first definitive account of horror’s golden age–the 1970s, when such directors as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma redefined the genre.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHollywood left and right : how movie stars shaped American politics / Steven J. Ross.
“Ross (history, Univ. of Southern California; Working-Class Hollywood) reveals the wide-ranging and lasting influence of Hollywood stars and producers on American politics. He profiles ten celebrities – five on the left (Charlie Chaplin, Edward G. Robinson, Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, and Warren Beatty) and five on the right (Louis B. Mayer, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston, and Arnold Schwarzenegger) – who devoted themselves to political activism, sometimes at great risk to their careers. Ross situates the personal stories of his subjects within the greater cultural and political landscape, exploring the motivations that drove each of them and measuring the effectiveness of their efforts.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverCinema : the whole story / general editor, Philip Kemp ; foreword by Sir Christopher Frayling.
“”Cinema: The Whole Story” takes a close look at the key time periods, genres and key works in world cinema. It places the burgeoning world of cinema in the context of social and cultural developments that have taken place since its beginnings. Organized chronologically, the book traces the evolution of cinematic development, from the earliest days of film projection to the multiscreen cinemas and super-technology of today. Illustrated, in-depth text charts every genre of cinema, from the first silent films to epic blockbusters, CGI graphics and groundbreaking effects of the 21st century. “Cinema: The Whole Story” is an indispensable book for all those who love watching and reading about films and who want to understand more about the world of cinema.” (Syndetics summary)

Darth Vader, Judy Garland, the art of Tintin, and more : new film books

In our picks of the film & television books this month: the cultural impact of Darth Vader and his story arc, the life and career of the unforgettable Judy Garland, and the story of how the artists at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop brought Hergé’s Tintin to life on the big screen. Plus, an introduction to film studies. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverRed Riding Hood : from script to screen / by Catherine Hardwicke ; screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson.
The director of the motion picture provides excerpts from her own notes and sketches about the making of the movie along with the screenplay, concept art, storyboards, and costume sketches.(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of The adventures of Tintin / [written by Chris Guise ; with forewords by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson and introductions by Joe Letteri and Richard Taylor].
“The artists at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop were thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg to bring Hergé’s wonderful characters to the big screen in The Adventures of Tintin. They spent five years working on this movie. This book tells the story of how the filmmakers started with the original Hergé artwork and books and ended up with what is seen on-screen. It features early concept drawings, previs sequences, models, costume designs and final stills from the film”. (description from

Syndetics book coverThe complete Vader / Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmur ; with a foreword by Stephen J. Sansweet.
An illustrated fan’s guide traces the complete story of the infamous Star Wars villain, exploring his history, myth, and cultural impact while covering his development by George Lucas and spin-off tales as portrayed in comics and novels.(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJudy : a legendary film career / by John Fricke.
“Historian Fricke (100 Years of Oz: A Century of Classic Images) has compiled a fine collection of remembrances, facts, and photos chronicling the life, career, and unforgettable personal appearances of Judy Garland. Within her first ten years at MGM, Garland found full-fledged stardom, complete with wealth, fame, and all the harsh truths of show business. Fricke exposes the driving forces behind her career in sound, onstage, and on-screen, which often put her family life and health at risk, while bringing classic Hollywood fans a renewed respect for the determined star. Highly recommended for Judy Garland fans.”(Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverFilm : a critical introduction / Maria Pramaggiore & Tom Wallis.
“Updated and expanded for a new edition, this is the perfect introduction for students of film studies. The book illustrates basic film concepts in context and in depth and addresses techniques and terminology used in film production and criticism, emphasising critically thinking and writing.” (Back Cover)

It’s not easy being green…

New film and television books for September. Highlights include: ‘Mad Men’, plus Jim Henson. Have a browse:

Syndetics book coverMad men : the illustrated world / written & illustrated by Dyna Moe.
“By turns fun, sophisticated, and celebratory, this eye-popping tie-in to the hit AMC series “Mad Men” is inspired by the artistic styles that defined the 1960s, and explores such topics as the office culture and the cocktail craze. Includes a Joan Holloway paper doll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand film : an illustrated history / edited by Diane Pivac with Frank Stark and Lawrence McDonald.
The age of cinema began in Paris in 1895. Within a year New Zealanders saw their first films and in fewer than five they were making their own. In the years since, New Zealand has produced almost every conceivable type of film, from home movies to arthouse flicks to Oscar-winning wide-screen epics, building a rich and varied screen culture and launching the careers of hundreds of directors, actors and behind-the-scenes professionals. New Zealand Film: An Illustrated History is the first book to provide a comprehensive overview of New Zealand film and film making from the very beginning. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIt’s not easy being green : and other things to consider / Jim Henson, the Muppets, and friends ; with drawings by Jim Henson ; edited by Cheryl Henson.
“Culled from the Jim Henson Company archives, program transcripts, personal letters, and interviews, along with some of Henson’s never-before-published writings, “It’s Not Easy Being Green” offers a testament on life, friendship, individuality, and creativity from Henson and his characters.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKardashian konfidential / by Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé Kardashian ; exclusive new photography for this book by Nick Saglimbeni.
“Confessions of life as a Kardashian sister–stuffed with family stories, advice, beauty tips, and exclusive gorgeous full-color photos, personal snapshots, and the inside scoop on their life growing up into the gorgeous Dash Dolls. As glamorous, fun and fashionable as the girls themselves, this is the perfect buy-one-for-me-buy-three-for-friends fan’s book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInfamous players : a tale of movies, the mob (and sex) / Peter Bart.
Former Paramount v-p and Variety editor-in-chief Bart (Shoot Out) takes readers on a wild ride through the years he spent at the struggling film studio from 1967 to 1975. He came aboard at the behest of Paramount’s new chief of production, Robert “the kid stays in the picture” Evans, leaving behind a promising journalism career and moving to Los Angeles. Paramount had recently been acquired by an eccentric man named Charles Bluhdorn, whose taste in films was questionable and whose temper was legendary. With anecdotes about well-known stars mixed with the ins and outs of trying to keep a film studio afloat, this memoir is perfect for cinephiles yearning for a behind-the-scenes view. (Publisher Weekly)

Conversations with Movies

Have a conversation with extraordinary people from the movie industry; from the director to the gossip writer.

Syndetics book coverConversations with Scorsese / Richard Schickel [interviewer]. “Martin Scorsese’s career is a dense map of critical darlings and experimentalfilms–from “Mean Streets” to “Shutter Island.” Now fans are given the chance to see all of his movies, and moviemaking in general, through the eyes of the master director himself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Faber book of French cinema / Charles Drazin. “Producing such distinctive film-makers as Jean Renoir, Marcel Pagnol, Sachy Guitry and Julien Duvivier, the French cinema’s Golden Age boasted an intelligence, maturity and flair that classical Hollywood could admire but struggle to emulate. Suggesting a Gallic attitude that has always considered the cinema to be as much a cause as a business, Drazin looks at the extraordinary resilience of the French film industry during the Second World War when, in spite of the national catastrophe of defeat and occupation, it was still able to produce such classics as Le Corbeau and Les Enfants du Paradis. Finally, he traces its remarkable post-war regeneration. He seeks to capture the essence of the French film tradition and why it continues to matter to anyone who cares about the cinema…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverArthur Penn : American director / Nat Segaloff ; foreword by Jonathan Demme. “If director Arthur Penn (1922-2010) had made no other films, he would still be well known today for 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde, now considered a groundbreaking movie. Although he did other credible motion picture work, he never considered it his preferred medium. He had a distinguished career in early 1950s’ live television and in theatre, boasting such directing credits as The Miracle Worker, Toys in the Attic, and Wait Until Dark. His prickly personality, which did not suffer fools gladly, at times worked against him. Segaloff (Hurricane Billy: The Stormy Life and Films of William Friedkin) was a friend of Penn and obviously had great access to him, but the result is that almost everything in this biography seems filtered through the director’s eyes. It reads somewhat like an autobiography that lacks profound analysis. (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverDavid Hartnell : memoirs of a gossip columnist / [in collaboration with] Hazel Phillips. David is well-known by all New Zealanders. His gossip columns and much awaited annual ‘Best and Worst Dressed’ lists are legendary, and we read with bated breath his behind-the-scenes Hollywood tattletale reports in the weekly magazines! David Hartnell is David’s life story in his own words.  Bursting with remarkable photos and stories of his encounters, including a surprise lunch with Alfred Hitchcock and Bette Davis, his close friendship with the legendary Phyllis Diller, little-known secrets about the Royal Family’s crown jewels and many, many more, this book is for anyone who loves behind-the-scenes gossip and enjoys a rollicking good read. (Drawn from the summary at

Syndetics book coverJoan Crawford : the enduring star / Peter Cowie ; foreword by Mick Lasalle ; afterword by George Cukor. Joan Crawford’s classic beauty, dazzling confidence, and sheer toughness made her the very definition of a star; her formidable talent won her an Oscar for Mildred Pierce and shines through in other classics such as Grand Hotel and The Women. Focusing on the often overlooked first half of her career, this is the first visual book to reclaim her place in the canon of glamour. Crawford pioneered a new depth that had not been seen before in roles for women. Her domineering charisma gave audiences a new kind of heroine, laying the path for today’s actresses from Meryl Streep to Cate Blanchett. (Syndetics annotation)