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New And Notable Film Books

Leonard Maltin By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin August 27, 2012 at 2:04AM

Books continue coming in at a faster pace than I can possibly keep up with and it’s been a while since I did a survey. Here are some of the recent titles that pique my interest. Remember, these are not critiques, but descriptions based on a quick once-over. I hope to print full-fledged reviews, on a few more, in the weeks ahead.
1
Jack Nicholson-378
University Press of Kentucky

JACK NICHOLSON: THE EARLY YEARS by Christopher Fryer and Robert Crane (University Press of Kentucky)

          For years I’ve treasured my slightly-worn copy of Jack Nicholson: Face to Face, a large-format paperback published in 1975. It marked the only time the talented actor ever submitted to a lengthy interview about his career—perhaps because the interviewees were a pair of 20-year-old college film students. After two in-depth conversations with the candid and articulate Nicholson, the would-be authors sought out some of his closest friends and colleagues (Dennis Hopper, Roger Corman, Hal Ashby, Bruce Dern, Robert Evans, Ann-Margret) and talked to them about Jack, to flesh out their book. It’s high time this valuable material was made available again. In their winning introduction, Fryer and Crane look back from a distance of 35 years to recount their once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

I Am Spartacus-378
Open Road Media

I AM SPARTACUS: MAKING A FILM, BREAKING THE BLACKLIST by Kirk Douglas; foreword by George Clooney (Open Road Media)

          At 95, Kirk Douglas is still making a vivid impression on fans and followers with every public appearance, and now with a memoir of this landmark film, on which he was executive producer and star. Envisioned as an e-book, it is also available in paperback form. Either way, you’ll see behind-the-scenes stills that have never been published before, including material from the aborted shoot under Anthony Mann’s direction, with a newly-discovered leading lady (who was later replaced by Jean Simmons). Many of these pictures were sitting in Universal Pictures’ vaults, never printed from their original contact sheets! As for Douglas’ memories of giving blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo his proper credit, the publication of this book has caused Douglas’ longtime partner Edward Lewis to break his long silence about who was really responsible for that brave decision. But Lewis is not a charismatic nonagenarian movie star, and Douglas is.

This article is related to: Book Reviews, Jack Nicholson, Walt Disney, Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews, 3-D, William Castle