What are you reading?

Films, TV shows, and books of the 'modern' era

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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

Thanks for the info.
Chris

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CharlieT
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Post by CharlieT »

Judith and moira

I'm about 40% through the Epstein book so far and it's very interesting. Most of what you hear about him in other sources is about his relationship to and with the Beatles, but this book concentrates on Brian and his quest to be successful at something other than the family furniture business.

According to the author, he believed the Beatles had something special that would make them "bigger than Elvis." Without him, they probably would have never made it out of Liverpool. Another interesting side of him that I wasn't aware of was that he managed several other groups and individuals at the same time, including Gerry (Marsden) and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and a group that achieved local success called The Big Three.

I'll give my impressions of the book once I've finished it, but I'd recommend it to anyone who remembers the early days of Beatlemania on the portion that I've read so far. Ironically, the day I started this book, IFC played A Hard Day's Night and I listened to the Beatles Anthology on CD for the first time since it first came out. Many of the early songs mentioned in the book were in the first volume of the anthology.

After I've finished this, I am planning on diving into the biography four pack of John, Paul, George and Ringo that my daughter got me for Christmas a couple of years ago.
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CharlieT
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Post by CharlieT »

I finished the Epstein biography. I think that anyone who lived through that era and likes rock and roll would enjoy the memories of the period noted in this book. It gives a deep insight into Brian Epstein's personality and character that might vary from the public persona that so many are familiar with. The author, Ray Coleman, does an excellent job of researching his subject and presenting the results of countless interviews and reminiscences of Epstein's former employees, clients, friends and enemies.

I plan to go ahead and start The Beatles Box Set for my working hours, but will probably reserve my at home reading time for Stephen King's newest work, Duma Key.

So much to read... so little time! :roll:
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CharlieT
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Post by CharlieT »

Just finished Alan Clayson's biography of Paul McCartney from the box set and am starting on Ringo. It wasn't too bad, but Clayson made it as much a review of PM's music as it compared to his contemporaries throughout his career as his life story. The biographical details are there, but intertwined with opinions of the author concerning his feelings about Paul and his relationship with the other Beatles and other recording artists from his earliest days to the beginning of this century. Since the author is also a performing artist, some of his comments seemed a little bit self-serving, but he admits to having a somewhat slanted view in the forward fo the book, so he's at least being fair in that respect.

One down and three to go. :shock:
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

Charlie:

When you are done we should have a good discussion on the Beatles. I've read several books and have the video Anthology and several pieces on them.

A book you might want to check if you are interested in a critical look at their music in more of a generational (musically speaking) context is "A Day In The Life" by Mark Hertsgard.
Chris

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CharlieT
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Post by CharlieT »

Hi, Chris.

After I'm finished reading this set, I'm planning on revisiting the video anthology. It's been a while since I watched it and then it was sometimes a long period between discs. Although it's fictionalized like any Hollywood biopic, the movie Backbeat gives a good overall impression as to what life was like for the Beatles in Germany when they were first starting out. I don't own it, but I did give it to my best friend for his birthday a couple of years ago. Of course, I have all of the cheap Beatle related videos that Wal-Mart offered in its bargain bin a few years back and they add some insight into the history of the group.

I'll never be an expert on the boys from Liverpool, but I'll always enjoy their music and their contribution to the history of rock and roll.
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Post by jdb1 »

Just finished Kenneth Fearing's The Big Clock, which I enjoyed immensely. A lot of the characterization and feel of this novella made it into the movie, but I think the movie improved on the story. Of course, the timeframe being the 1940s, the characters in the movie were made a bit nicer than those in the book, but they aren't all that nice in the movie, either. There is no actual clock in the book; the main character thinks of the inexorable movement of fate as a big clock - sort of like the wheel of fortune.

Incidentally, much is made of the fact that the main character and his wife are named George and Georgette. In fact, in the book they have a daughter named Georgia, and they all call each other "George." The main character, George Stroud, likes to hide, even behind his own name.

I really appreciate our friend Harry Morgan as the silent and probably murderous Bill in the movie even more; he is only peripherally drawn in the book, and the movie character is far more menacing and suggestive.
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Post by ChiO »

I just started Anthony Mann by Jeanine Basinger today. Virtually no typical biographical info -- just not available. But it looks like it will really get into film analysis.
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Post by klondike »

CharlieT wrote: I plan to go ahead and start The Beatles Box Set for my working hours, but will probably reserve my at home reading time for Stephen King's newest work, Duma Key.
Charlie, if Duma Key hasn't pulled you feverishly into the undertow yet, stand by to get plunged!
After the so-so distractions of his Cell, Lisey's Story, & Blaze, I found Duma Key to be a welcome, and often thrilling, return to the type of bold, impulsive, yet well-thought-out story-feast that made King a true force to be reckoned with throughout the 80's & early 90's.
8)
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Post by benwhowell »

Awhile back I read this intriguing novel from Phillip Wylie. I can't recall the title...it was an old paperback that fell apart as I read it and (sad to say) could not be saved.
The timeframe is WWII. A young woman is waiting for her husband to return from war. She waits in an oceanside house (windows "blacked-out" with thick blankets) in Florida-inherited from her husband's family.
Her husband does not return-at least, in a physical form-and soon the house becomes "haunted(?)"
She decides to put the house up for rent...
In the meantime, somewhere further east, a young man has had much success with medical research and desires to enlist in the military. After medical examinations, it is discovered that he suffers from epilepsy. He decides to take an extended rest in Florida...and rents the house from the young woman.
Soon he becomes a part of her world...of "ghosts," a sister running from her past with a determination to "party" like there's no tommorrow and an artist who's "sold out" by doing artwork for romance magazines.
The artist has much disdain for radio advertising and, at one point, he enlists the aid of his two children to beat the radio to a pulp.
The artist eventually invites the young man into his studio...and we're treated to Wylie's descriptions of all his paintings. The paintings appear to be serene and orderly at first glance, but on closer inspection you discover "clues" that chaos is about to occur...which is the common theme in this novel-along with "power of suggestion" resulting in blissful(?) conformity.
Anxious to read more Phillip Wylie.
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Post by moira finnie »

Hi Ben! It's great to see that you're able to post here again.

When I was reading your interesting description of the Philip Wylie novel you'd read awhile ago, it dawned on me that elements of the storyline were quite familiar. Then I realized that you were talking about the book of Night Unto Night, which, believe it or not, was made into a film in 1949, which was directed by Don Siegel (who more or less disowned it in his autobiography).

I wrote about this obscure movie here last summer. I know it's hard to believe, but it did have a haunting quality and an attempt, (not wholly successful, but a real try, I think) of a good performance by none other than Ronald Reagan. The future pres, who had recently lost a baby with his soon to be ex-wife, Jane Wyman, and who was facing the end of his Warner's contract, seemed to convey much more than usual in this part. It didn't hurt that Rosemary DeCamp, and the beautiful Osa Massen, and Viveca Lindfors were on hand in supporting roles. In a nearly impossible role as an artist, Broderick Crawford pulled out all the stops. That's good or bad, depending how you look at it. :wink:

Though best remembered as a sci-fi writer, I don't know if you're old enough to remember a rather controversial book of essays that Wylie also wrote called A Generation of Vipers. In it Wylie went a bit overboard in blaming the alleged American "reverence" for motherhood as the basis for many of our society's ills, including homosexuality, (how quaintly Freudian!). Though written in the '40s, I seem to recall it being still talked about as allegedly misogynistic by some after the rise of the Women's Movement in the late '60s. He seems to have been a provocative writer whether tackling fiction or nonfiction in any case--and I think he sold alot of books as a result.

You make me want to read his novels now. Thanks!
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Post by jdb1 »

Wow, Philip Wylie's "Momism." Haven't heard that term in years and years. It was all over the media and cocktail party discussions in the 50s (no NPR or call-in radio shows then; people actually had to talk to each other, face to face). I think because psychotherapy was so chic in the 1950s (and more acceptable than it was in the 1940s), Wylie's diatribe against American hypocrisy (wherein he dissected many of Freud's theories) was still in current thought. At that time I was much too young to understand what it was all about, but I do remember adults around me using the term.

Wylie's Generation of Vipers must have been truly shocking in the 1940s, when anything that smacked of a lack of patriotism and unquestioning devotion to country was simply unacceptable. (Wylie's railing against "Momism" was only one part of that book.) I think that Wylie himself later tried to distance himself from what he believed to be the confusion of his ideas on the undue emphasis and influence of the idea of "Mother" with Freud's Oedipus complex, saying that's not what he meant at all.

But after all, Wylie gave us When Worlds Collide, and After Worlds Collide (both written with Edwin Balmer), and what would a kid's science fiction bookshelf be without them?
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Post by benwhowell »

Thank you, Moira!
I don't know how I could forget such an easy(?) title like "Night Unto Night.
I'm thilled that it was filmed-especially in the '40's by Don Seigel. Is it noir-ish?
Thinking back on it, the novel did have a film noir feel-even in sun drenched Florida.
I got the impression that Wylie was a learned man and a fanatical researcher, but I was somewhat unclear if he leaned to the right or the left...
I just thought he loved playing devil's advocate.
Doesn't he have a novel (from the late '20's?) entitled "Opus 21-"that is quite frank sexually?
I believe there is another collection of "essays" of his travels (with his wife) across the USA.
I wonder how influential he was to Tom Wolfe?
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Post by jdb1 »

It's interesting, Ben, that if you do a little research on Wylie, you'll find that in many cases both sides try to claim him.

I think you're right about his desire to be uncategorized, and that he generally took the unpopular position, whatever it might be. People who like a good debate usually do that to get the discussion going.
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I'm reading From Laundryman's Daughter To Hollywood Legend a biography of Anna May Wong. It's perhaps not the best written biography but it is a fascinating story. I'm just a little more than half way through, I had never realised just how much prejudice that Anna came up against. Some doesn't surprise me. Kisses with white costars were banned in America.

I've just got to the casting for The Good Earth a part Anna May wanted, once Paul Muni was casted it was impossible for her to have the lead role. Hollywood executives would not allow a Chinese woman to play Chinese opposite a white man playing Chinese, how sad.
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