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New titles from others and research in progress

Another Faulkner-Hawks collaboration that never got filmed as originally planned.

The film, as actually shot, is a poor thing compared to Faulkner's conception of it: a man (Bogart) seeking redemption and finding himself the cynosure of a community that depends on him.  It is, in fact, a parable about Faulkner's own plight after winning the Nobel Prize. I work out this subtext in The Life of William Faulkner.
 
Faulkner knew both Brennan and Humphrey Bogart, and both actors spoke to both the talkative and taciturn sides of Faulkner’s character.
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Faulkner and Film

On March 28, I will be giving a talk at Columbia University.  Below is an outline of the talk:
 
1. There are several reasons I decided to do a biography of Faulkner (I will explain briefly), especially because of my conviction that previous biographers did not do justice to his life and work in Hollywood. That work was not separable from his output as a novelist, or to his character as a writer. So I want to describe what brought him to Hollywood and what held him there.
2. I will briefly describe the nature and significance of his Hollywood work from 1932 to 1955.
3. I then want to focus on To Have and Have Not. Should I bring a dvd? I want to show a few scenes, focus on Eddie (Walter Brennan) and how Faulkner's creation of this character fits into what I want to call his fables of fascism.
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Vanda Krefft’s new biography of William Fox

I reviewed Vanda Krefft’s biography of William Fox for The Weekly Standard. As Krefft shows, much of what we take for granted about Hollywood was either invented or developed by this forgotten filmmaker. His disappearance from film history is now explained and remedied in this monumental biography.  Read More 
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How about a biography of Eve Arden?

I would love to have a biography of Eve Arden in my Hollywood Legends series, University Press of Mississippi. I grew up watching her in Our Miss Brooks. And of course she appeared in many films, including Curtain Call at Cactus Creek, the only film of hers I have written about—in A Real American Character: The Life of Walter Brennan. I can hear her speaking to me now, so wry, so witty.  Read More 
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Kent Rasmussen’s research-in-progress on Mark Twain film adaptations

Unlike the Yankee played by Bing Crosby in this scene from The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain's Yankee doesn't use a watch crystal as a magnifying glass to set fire to the proclamation ordering his execution; in fact Mark Twain's Yankee doesn't have a magnifying glass or even a watch and never sees a written proclamation.
This past year, I’ve been researching film and television productions adapted from Mark Twain’s writings. One of the first questions anyone studying this subject asks is how “faithful” the production is to its source. As I’ve gotten deeper into my research, I must confess I’m finding that question increasingly elusive.  Read More 
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A new book by one of the masters of Hollywood history

Beverly Gray worked for Roger Corman, wrote a biography of him, and now offers the biography of a film, a Hollywood classic. I have followed Beverly’s work and her blog, in which she covers so many fascinating issues in the world of cinema. I recommend her work to anyone interested in Hollywood and how film has shaped our culture. Read More 
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The biography of a book

I reviewed Anne Boyd Rioux’s biography of Constance Fenimore Woolson and can tell you she is a consummate writer. Louisa May Alcott, I don’t have to tell you, has had an enormous influence on generations of women and men (I can testify to that). Little Women had a significant impact on one of my subjects, Susan Sontag, as my wife and I recount in Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon Read More 
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The first Dan Duryea biography

From A Classic Movie blog review: "an engaging read, because it is deeply satisfying to admire the intelligence with which this consummate professional approached his life and career. He was a smart, compassionate man, who brought joy to those around him and the reminisces of the people he knew are some of the best passages in the book." Read More 
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Donald Spoto's biography of Teresa Wright is the newest edition to the Hollywood Legends series

Donald Spoto was Teresa Wright's friend, and his book was written with the full cooperation of Wright's family.
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The first biography of this wonderful comic actress and singer

The newest edition to the Hollywood Legends series
Library Journal hails this comprehensive treatment of a Hollywood star as sensitive and authoritative. Based on extensive interviews with Kahn's family and friends, and with a wonderful collection of photographs, Kahn's life and work is celebrated and examined with marvelous insight and care. You learn a good deal about her working methods and her relationships with Mel Brooks, Peter Bogdanovich, Barbra Streisand, and many others.  Read More 
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