Archive for August 2, 2022

Books on my floor

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2022 by dcairns

I did crazy good this week on book purchases —

The Laughton and Altman books came from the All You Can Eat book shop, which is rarely open but always affordable. £1 each. I know Simon Callow’s Laughton book is probably better than Charles Higham’s, but a cursory glance revealed this one to have some merit, and Elsa Lanchester cooperated in it. The Altman book is great and makes me think I should spend a week just catching up with oddities from his long career which have hitherto escaped me, from Combat to THE COMPANY.

I figured I’d read a few snatches of the Laughton — page 17, maybe, and in fact I did read the bit on Sternberg — and then forget it was there, but Fiona grabbed it and devoured it cover to cover so it’s paid its way. Also, there are some wonderful artists’ impressions of the Great Man:

Two by Elsa, and —

One by James Mason and one, a collage, by Brecht.

The Polanski book came from a nearby charity shop. A pretty handsome volume for £5. Polanski provides quotes on each film. There’s not a lot of meat to it — I read it in an afternoon — but it’s glossy and handsome. Many many of the pictures show Polanski doing other people’s jobs — sewing or arranging fights, swinging a log at an outsize opponent.

The Tod Browning one cost the most, from secondhand record-and-bookstore Elvis Shakespeare, a regular stop on my constitutionals. It happened to tie in with a little project I have on the go, so I couldn’t very well pass it up. £15. It’s pretty good — a series of essays on different aspects of Browning’s work. There are some howling factual errors — Roger Corman directing Christopher Lee in DRACULA — but they’re all sort of off-topic. On Browning’s films, the book is informative and insightful.