At the movies: Books on filmmaking

Whatever the status of the filmmaking world itself, one thing that remains consistent is the larger-than-life personalities that people it and the fascinating creative processes that bring films to the screen. Here are a selection of books dealing with cinema published in 2023, available from the Wellington City Libraries collection.

Every man for himself and God against all : a memoir / Herzog, Werner
“Legendary filmmaker and celebrated author Werner Herzog tells in his inimitable voice the story of his epic artistic career in a long-awaited memoir that is as inventive and daring as anything he has done before. Every Man for Himself and God Against All is at once a firsthand personal record of one of the great and self-invented lives of our time, and a singular literary masterpiece that will enthral fans old and new alike.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The path to paradise : a Francis Ford Coppola story / Wasson, Sam
“Granted total and unprecedented access to the Academy Award-winning director’s archives, the author, drawing on hundreds of interviews with the artist and those who have worked closely with him, chronicles his attempt to reimagine the entire pursuit of moviemaking though his production company American Zoetrope.” (Catalogue)

Charlie Chaplin vs. America : when art, sex, and politics collided / Eyman, Scott
“In the aftermath of World War Two, Charlie Chaplin was criticized for being politically liberal and internationalist in outlook. He had never become a US citizen, something that would be held against him as xenophobia set in when the postwar Red Scare took hold. Politics aside, Chaplin had another problem: his sexual interest in young women. He had been married three times and had had numerous affairs. Eyman explores the life and times of the movie genius– and of an America consumed by political turmoil.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Everywhere an oink oink : an embittered, dyspeptic, and accurate report of forty years in Hollywood / Mamet, David
“Award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and director David Mamet shares scandalous and laugh-out-loud tales from his four decades in Hollywood where he worked with some of the biggest names in movies. David Mamet went to Hollywood on top-a super successful playwright summoned west in 1980 to write a vehicle for Jack Nicholson. Over the next forty years, Mamet wrote dozens of scripts, was fired off dozens of movies, and directed eleven himself. In Everywhere an Oink Oink, he revels of the taut and gag-filled professionalism of the film set. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Steven Spielberg : all the films : the story behind every movie, episode, and short / Bousquet, Olivier
“Organized chronologically and covering every short film, television episode, and blockbuster movie that Steven Spielberg has ever directed, Steven Spielberg All the Films tells the behind-the-scenes stories of how each project was conceived, cast, and produced; from the creation of the costumes to the search for perfect locations. Spanning more than fifty years, Steven Spielberg All the Films details every aspect of the creative processes that resulted in some of the most memorable and celebrated films of all time, including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan as well as newer work such as Lincoln, The Post, and The Fabelmans.” (Catalogue)

Bogie & Bacall : the surprising true story of Hollywood’s greatest love affair / Mann, William J
“From the noted Hollywood biographer and author of The Contender comes this celebration of the great American love story–the romance between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart–capturing its complexity, contradictions, and challenges as never before. Mann offers a comprehensive look at Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and the unlikely love they shared. He details their early years, paints a vivid portrait of their courtship and twelve-year marriage, and offers a sympathetic yet clear-eyed portrait of Bacall’s life after Bogie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The last action heroes : the triumphs, flops, and feuds of Hollywood’s kings of carnage / De Semlyen, Nick
“The behind-the-scenes story of the larger-than-life action stars who ruled ’80s and ’90s Hollywood–Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, and Jean-Claude Van Damme–and the beloved films that made them stars, including Die Hard, Rambo, and The Terminator. Drawing on candid interviews with the action stars themselves, plus their collaborators, friends, and foes, The Last Action Heroes is a no-holds-barred account of a period in Hollywood history when there were no limits to the heights of fame these men achieved, or to the mayhem they wrought, onscreen and off” (Adapted from Catalogue)

MCU : the reign of Marvel Studios / Robinson, Joanna
“The unauthorized, behind-the-scenes story of the stunning rise–and suddenly uncertain reign–of the most transformative cultural phenomenon of our time: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Entertainment was a moribund toymaker not even twenty years ago. Today, Marvel Studios is the dominant player both in Hollywood and in global pop culture. How did an upstart studio conquer the world? Dishy and authoritative, MCU is the first book to tell the Marvel Studios story in full–and an essential, effervescent account of American mass culture” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cinematic places: Recently acquired film books

Kia ora film aficionados! Are you the kind of person who hurries to IMDB after watching a movie? Does the Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival feature heavily in your calendar? If so, this list might be to your liking!

This month, we have stories about iconic filmmakers, including Aotearoa’s own Gaylene Preston, a recipe book inspired by the world of Studio Ghibli, a deep dive into censorship in Thai cinema history and a cinema inspired travel guide.

Cinematic Places (Inspired Traveller’s Guide) / Baxter, Sarah
“Cinematic Places is a guide to 25 essential cinematic destinations around the world, spanning different decades, directors and movie genres. Go beyond the big screen and explore the real places that inspired some of the greatest films of all time – brought to life through comprehensively researched text and stunning hand-drawn artwork.” (Catalogue)

Image sourced from Te Herenga Waka University PressGaylene’s take : her life in New Zealand film / Preston, Gaylene
“Gaylene Preston has always sought out the stories that have not yet been told, and in this book she reveals the challenges and sometimes heartbreak that have come with that ambition. In both wide lens and close-up, she writes of formative experiences: her childhood in Greymouth in the 1950s, working in a psychiatric institution near Cambridge, England in the 70s, interviewing her tight-lipped father about his life in the war, and a mysterious story of her great-grandfather chiselling a biblical text off a gravestone in the dead of night. Along the way she takes us behind the scenes and into the shadows of some of the most enduring popular classics of New Zealand popular cinema.” (Catalogue)

Studio Ghibli : the unofficial cookbook / Vo, Minh-Tri
“Create delicious dishes from My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, and more with this cookbook inspired by the stunning worlds of Studio Ghibli! Whether they offer a moment of family bonding, comfort in difficult situations, or pesky temptations, the kitchen scenes are always of central importance in Studio Ghibli films. Now, with Studio Ghibli: The Unofficial Cookbook, you can recreate more than twenty of these movie-inspired recipes in your own home!”–provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Thai Cinema Uncensored / Hunt,Matthew
“In this first full-length study on the topic, Matthew Hunt–with access to rare and controversial films–provides a history of film censorship in Thailand.” (Catalogue)

But Have You Read the Book? : 52 Literary Gems That Inspired Our Favorite Films / Lopez, Kristen
“For film buffs and literature lovers alike, Turner Classic Movies presents an essential guide to 52 cinema classics and the literary works that served as their inspiration. “I love that movie!” “But have you read the book?”. Within these pages, Turner Classic Movies offers an endlessly fascinating look at 52 beloved screen adaptations and the great reads that inspired them. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Number one is walking : my life in the movies and other diversions / Martin, Steve
“Number One Is Walking is Steve Martin’s cinematic legacy-an illustrated memoir of his legendary acting career, with stories from his most popular films and artwork by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. Steve Martin has never written about his career in the movies before. In Number One Is Walking, he shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films-Father of the Bride, Roxanne, The Jerk, Three Amigos, and many more-bringing readers directly into his world.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Acting naturally : the magic in great performances / Thomson, David
“From the celebrated film critic and author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film comes an essential work on some of the cinema’s finest actors and how they have approached their craft”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

All about me! : my remarkable life in show business / Brooks, Mel
“The legendary comedian, actor, and film producer and director traces his rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to his stellar film career, offering insight into the inspiration for his ideas and the many close friendships and collaborations behind his success.” (Catalogue)