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Author Topic: Books about movies and cinema – Reviews, guides and more  (Read 620 times)

Cinephagous

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Hi everyone, I open this thread so we can post here about books we have read that have cinema, movies, directors and so on as it main subject. (Sorry if there is already a thread for this, if so I haven´t seen it)

There are lots of interesting books about all kind of filmic genres, with reviews of our favourite features and also biographies of filmmakers we admire.

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Cinephagous

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So here comes the first one, about blind swordsman Zatoichi

Shintaro Katsu´s Zatoichi: Complete guide to all movies

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1661672663/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1598528501&sr=1-2

"Zatoichi is a Japanese literary and cinematographic character whose adventures are set in the 19th century (around 1830-1840). He is a wandering swordsman who has the particularity of being blind. Despite his blindness, he is capable of facing numerous enemies (who sometimes attack him simultaneously) and of being victorious in numerous battles. He always travels walking with his cane stick, which also serves as a sword –
Inside there is a sharp blade. Zatoichi is shrewd and cunning, as well as wise and compassionate at the same time; he feels a strong responsibility to protect the humble. His auditory faculties are highly developed, and he also possesses a "sixth sense" that helps to get him out of more than one trouble.

The character was created by novelist Kan Shimozawa (1892-1968), who published a series of books starring Zatoichi. Later the adaptations to the big screen would come, starring Shintaro Katsu (1931-1997). This great actor belonged to a dynasty of traditional Kabuki theater performers. In cinema he would specialize in the typically Japanese genre of chanbara or jidaigeki ("samurai" films, which used to be set in the Tokugawa era).

As a guide, this book compiles critiques and analyses of each and every one of Zatoichi's 26 films shot between 1962 and 1989. They were already published, in Spanish, in my blog "Alucine Cinéfago". These films, based on Shimozawa's stories, were directed by different filmmakers, but the protagonist is always Shintaro Katsu.

The purpose of this compilation is to offer chanbara fans a review of the blind swordsman's film career. Zatoichi is very popular in his country of origin (in recent years the famous Takeshi Kitano returned to the character for one of his productions), but also in the West he has a huge community of fans. "

(Book description)
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Cinephagous

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Italian Giallo Movies

https://www.amazon.com/Italian-Giallo-Movies-Antonio-Tentori-ebook/dp/B00FMPDAR8/

"“Giallo” is the Italian word for “yellow” and this GIALLO term was used in the 1930s to describe the mystery-thriller novels published in Italy that were bound in instantly recognisable yellow covers. But this same GIALLO term has also been used from the early 1970s to definy the mistery/thriller movie genre wich has originated from Dario Argento’s THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and DEEP RED. And this book is the definitive guide to Italian GIALLO movies, the darker side of Italian exploitation cinema: over two hundred sex and horror movies dealing with beautiful, scantily-clad females being menaced by knife-wielding maniacs..."

(Book description)
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Cinephagous

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Sword and sorcery in cinema: Conan and other barbarians: A filmic guide

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089CL1G6M/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

"Adventures in remote times and lost continents, beyond history as we know it, is a fascinating subject that has excited the imagination of many authors. One of these writers was Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), creator of Conan the Barbarian.

Later, Marvel decided to profit from the enormous potential of Conan's stories by bringing the barbarian into the world of comic-books.

In 1982 the long-awaited film by John Milius arrived, adapting the adventures of this surly and frowning warrior of the misty Cimmeria to the big screen.

The success of this epic blockbuster, with a clear Nietzschean stamp, catapulted Conan to international fame. Some sequels would come to light, and countless apocryphal adaptations and films inspired by the charismatic and Herculean Cimmerian were made in the following years. And this is precisely what we are dealing with in this book.

The purpose of this volume is to show a journey through sword and sorcery films, from the blockbuster "Conan the Barbarian" (John Milius, 1982) to the most unknown and bizarre imitations, many of which came from Italy, where a new sub-genre of the "exploitation" kind was being developed. Some of these films, which are technically cheesy, are not without interest. And several of them, as you will see, have a very special charm."

(Book description)
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Cinephagous

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Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969


https://www.amazon.com/Roberto-Curti-ebook/dp/B00XNYOHAO/

"The "Gothic" style was a key trend in Italian cinema of the 1950s and 1960s because of its peculiar, often strikingly original approach to the horror genre. These films portrayed Gothic staples in a stylish and idiosyncratic way, and took a daring approach to the supernatural and to eroticism, with the presence of menacing yet seductive female witches, vampires and ghosts. Thanks to such filmmakers as Mario Bava (Black Sunday), Riccardo Freda (The Horrible Dr. Hichcock), and Antonio Margheriti (Castle of Blood), as well the iconic presence of actress Barbara Steele, Italian Gothic horror went overseas and reached cult status.
The book examines the Italian Gothic horror of the period, with an abundance of previously unpublished production information drawn from official papers and original scripts. Entries include a complete cast and crew list, home video releases, plot summary and the author's analysis. Excerpts from interviews with filmmakers, scriptwriters and actors are included. The foreword is by film director and scriptwriter Ernesto Gastaldi."

Book description
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Cinephagous

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Santo, the Wrestler with the Silver Mask: A guide to all his films

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086B9QXYW/

"Santo, the Silver Masked Man, is a celebrity in Mexico and in much of the Hispanic world. The popular classes quickly identified with him, and he became part of the Mexican cultural identity and ideosyncrasy, becoming, thanks to his extensive filmography, a true idol of the masses.

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta (1917-1984) soon stood out in the world of Mexican wrestling. He dominated classical Greco-Roman wrestling, jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts among other combat disciplines. He wore a silver mask and became famous with the nickname "El Santo" ("The Saint"). His popularity among wrestling fans grew immensely, to the point that it was decided to exploit it in other fields: first in comic books and later also in movies.

The movies made the Saint even more popular than he was before, and his fame transcended Mexican borders, becoming a celebrity in much of the Hispanic world, the United States, Europe, and even reaching such distant and different countries as Lebanon and Turkey. There is no doubt that in his native Mexico, Santo is a sociological phenomenon like Chavo del Ocho or Cantinflas; a true idol and national symbol.

Most of these films are very entertaining, even today, despite having been conceived for the masses in Mexico at a particular time (especially in the 60s and 70s).

The purpose of the present book is to serve as a guide for each and every one of the films that have the Saint as their protagonist. It comments on the plot of each part of the saga, as well as details about the actors, directors and film crew involved.

Some of these reviews have already appeared, in Spanish, in the blog Alucine Cinéfago. Until now, some biographical or sociological books had been published about the figure and impact of the Silver Masked Man, but a guide to all his films was still missing."

(Book description)
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Cinephagous

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Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography

https://www.amazon.com/Hammer-Films-Filmography-Tom-Johnson-ebook/dp/B00GU1G1X8/

"Though best known for its horror films, Hammer produced a wide variety of movies in many genres. The British studio was famous for its exciting stories and expert action--all on very small budgets and short shooting schedules.
From The Public Life of Henry the Ninth (1935) to The Lady Vanishes (1978), this is the definitive work on Hammer's 165 films. Complete filmographic data are provided for each film, including release dates in both the United Kingdom and the United States, running time, length, distributor, complete cast and production credits, and alternate titles. These data are followed by an extensive plot synopsis, including contemporary critical commentary and behind-the-scenes information from many of the players and crew members."

(Book description)
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Cinephagous

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“Lone Wolf and Cub”: ...and other samurai stories from cinema and TV

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084QKYQJQ/

"This book contains reviews and commentaries on the six films in the "Lone wolf and cub" saga, the "Oshi samurai" television series and the "Hanzo the Razor" trilogy.

The six films in the "Lone Wolf and Cub" saga tell the story of a disgraced ronin who becomes a fugitive and travels around Japan with his little son on a cart.

The series "Oshi samurai" has as main character a mute bounty hunter looking for revenge.

And Hanzo's trilogy narrates the adventures of an incorruptible shogunate police officer, using expeditious and very unorthodox methods.

The "Lone Wolf" and the "Mute Samurai" are embodied by Tomisaburo Wakayama (1929-1992), one of the most representative and charismatic actors of the chambara. Hanzo is played by Shintaro Katsu (1931-1997), famous above all for giving life to the blind swordsman "Zatoichi" in an extensive saga of 26 films. "Hanzo" and "Zatoichi", despite being played by the same actor, could not be more different characters. The only thing they have in common is their skill with the katana; but their personalities are completely opposite.

As we did in the book dedicated to Zatoichi, the purpose of this volume is to serve as a guide for fans of chambara, honouring those three masterpieces of the genre."

(Book description)
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Funktion

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Thanks for the recommendations, Cinephagous.  ;)

I haven't picked up a lot of books recently (except a couple of books in the "Sex and Horror" series, compiling paintings and book covers by artists Emanuele Taglietti, and Fernando Carcupino; there's a third one by Alessandro Biffignandi, but I couldn't find it anywhere).

But, I recently did get the book Stories From The Trenches: Adventures In Making High Octane Hollywood Movies With Cannon Veteran Sam Firstenberg, as a crowdfunding reward.
It's this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Trenches-Adventures-Hollywood-Firstenberg/dp/3960346697

If anyone enjoyed the "b-movie" action flicks from Cannon, this mammoth of a book (700+ pages) is worth a look. It's filled with behind the scenes photos, interviews, and lots of info and recollections from Sam Firstenberg, the director behind films such as American Ninja, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Delta Force 3, and more.
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Cinephagous

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Thanks for the recommendations, Cinephagous.  ;)

I haven't picked up a lot of books recently (except a couple of books in the "Sex and Horror" series, compiling paintings and book covers by artists Emanuele Taglietti, and Fernando Carcupino; there's a third one by Alessandro Biffignandi, but I couldn't find it anywhere).

But, I recently did get the book Stories From The Trenches: Adventures In Making High Octane Hollywood Movies With Cannon Veteran Sam Firstenberg, as a crowdfunding reward.
It's this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Trenches-Adventures-Hollywood-Firstenberg/dp/3960346697

If anyone enjoyed the "b-movie" action flicks from Cannon, this mammoth of a book (700+ pages) is worth a look. It's filled with behind the scenes photos, interviews, and lots of info and recollections from Sam Firstenberg, the director behind films such as American Ninja, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Delta Force 3, and more.

Wow! This book looks very interesting and complete!  ::)

I have to admit that I am no expert in action films, but I remember having seen a movie by Italian cult director Joe D´Amato, named "Tough to kill", which is from 1979, i.e. two years before the first Rambo came out (normally the Italians made rip-offs of popular Hollywood movies, but in this case they made it before)
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Cinephagous

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Re: Books about movies and cinema – Reviews, guides and more
« Reply #10 on: 30 Aug 2020 - 10:59 »



Mafia Films: A Guide

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0892B4CG4/

"Gangster films are an extremely complete genre, containing elements of drama, tragedy, suspense, action...

Since the gangster genre (from classic film noir to current movies on organized crime) is so broad, in this book we will focus mainly on films specifically about the Italian and Italian-American Mafia (La Cosa Nostra).

This book offers reviews, comments and analysis of several films about the Mafia. Of course it includes "The Godfather" trilogy. It is a well-known fact that real-life mobsters were influenced by the image given of them in Coppola's famous masterpiece, copying and adapting for their daily lives the clichés and mannerisms seen in the movies.

In addition to the plots, and to the data on the feature films, the casts and the film crew, this book provides information on the history and context of the protagonists (when the movies are based on real events, as is the case with "Donnie Brasco", for example). Thus, Mafia movie lovers will have a compilation of critics and reviews of the most representative films of their favorite genre."

(Book description)
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