Wednesday, November 02, 2005

McFarland's November 2005 Film & TV Book Schedule!

As y'all may know, I've written eleven books for North Carolina publisher, McFarland (and I'm toiling on number 12 right now...). McFarland prints some of the finest books in the film and TV reference categories you could ever hope to find, with a bent towards the scholarly (and exhaustively researched). Anyway, here's what they've got coming up this this month.

Oh, and please notice the last title on the re-published list (*ahem*) - it's my Analytical Guide to TV's Battlestar Galactica!

New Releases:

Austrian Cinema,
by Robert von Dassanowsky

Austria, the multicultural crossroad of the European continent, has been the genesis of many artistic concepts. Just as late 19th and early 20th century Austria gave influential modernism to the world in the fields of medicine, urban planning, architecture, design, literature, music, and theater, so its film industry created a significant national cinema that seeded talents and concepts internationally. Nevertheless, the value of Austrian cinema to international film has been long obscured. Austria’s important bond with American film is also underappreciated because of the lack of accessible English language scholarship on the early careers of Austro-Hollywood artists and on influential developments in Austrian film history.

This first comprehensive English survey of Austrian film introduces more than a century of cinema, following the development of the industry chronologically through the nation’s various transformations since 1895. Important industry movements, genres and films are highlighted with sociopolitical, cultural and aesthetic details. An analysis of the economic trends that have influenced Austrian film is also provided. The survey considers the directors, actors, producers, writers, cinematographers, editors, composers and other film artists who have been essential to the development and influence of Austrian cinema. The closing chapter anticipates new faces of the Austrian film industry in the 21st century.

The Opera Singer and the Silent Film
By Paul Fryer

Film technology developments in the early 20th century opened up a new world of possibilities for the motion picture industry, and opera, relying as it did on the melodramatic storyline and grand pantomime acting, was an ideal subject for early silent film. Even deprived of their principal glory—their voices—opera singers were among the first prominent screen stars.

This book examines the relationship between the established operatic stars of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the newly developing motion picture industry. It concentrates primarily on developments between 1895 and 1926, from the invention of the commercially exploitable motion picture to the coming of viable sound on film. Early chapters discuss the changing role of the opera star prior to and during the development of film as a popular commercial medium, and explore the technological innovations that eventually enabled opera to move out of the strict confines of the opera house and to be viewed by a global audience. Later chapters expose the fragile relationship between art and the entertainment industry in the early decades of the motion picture, and show how the opera helped establish a balance between film as a new art form and its commercial exploitation. Also discussed is the extent to which the inclusion of opera in early motion pictures contributed to the broader democratization of art. The book concludes with four detailed case studies that examine the experiences of operatic performers who made the transition to the silent screen and who made a notable impact on the early movie industry. An extensive filmography is included to provide the reader with full details of films cited and archival locations of surviving materials.

The Films of Fay Wray
By Roy Kinnard and Tony Crnkovich

Widely acclaimed as a horror movie actress, Fay Wray is best remembered for her performances in King Kong and four other classic 1930s film thrillers, Doctor X, The Most Dangerous Game, Mystery of the Wax Museum and The Vampire Bat. Yet her film career encompassed much more than these memorable turns as a damsel in distress. Wray appeared in 77 feature films between 1925 and 1958, playing leading roles in 67 of these. Sadly, the true breadth of Wray’s film career is not readily apparent today, as many of her films, including her entire silent film output, have been lost or are available only on a limited archival basis.This heavily illustrated filmography of Wray’s work at last makes obvious her sizeable contribution to the film industry. It begins with an overview of her professional acting career, from her period of great demand after the making of King Kong to her gradual decline in the late 1930s. The filmography is divided into three sections that describe and discuss the complete collection of Fay Wray’s films. The first section introduces Wray’s early silent feature film appearances; the second covers her “leading lady” period in popular horror thrillers and other films in the sound era; and the third covers her latter-day supporting roles. Two appendices document her work in theatrical film shorts and her television appearances. Commentary throughout also includes first-person interviews with Fay Wray.

Mexican Cinema
Carl J. Mora

From its early beginnings in 1896 to its present condition, the historical development of Mexican filmmaking is traced here. Of particular interest are the great changes in Mexico’s film industry from 1990 to 2004: the confluence of talented and dedicated filmmakers, the important changes in Mexican cinematic infrastructure and the country’s significant social and cultural transformations. From Nicolás Echevarría’s Cabeza de Vaca (1991), to the 1992 releases of Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos and Alfonso Arau’s Como agua para chocolate, to Alfonso Cuarón’s Y tu mamá también (2001), this work provides a close look at Mexican films that received international commercial success and critical acclaim and put Mexico on the cinematic world map.Arranged chronologically, this completely updated and revised edition covers the entire scope of Mexican cinema. The main films and their directors are discussed, together with the political, social and economic context of the times. Appendices offer selected filmographies and useful addresses.

The Greek Film Musical
Lydia Papadimitriou

The Greek film musical was the most popular film genre in Greece in the 1960s. The songs became instant hits, the dances were performed at parties, and the fashions were imitated by people of all ages. Challenging assumptions that the Greek film musical was a culturally lacking imitation of Hollywood, this work examines the genre as a cinematic and historical phenomenon that condensed key social and cultural concerns of its time, and contributed to the development of a national popular culture in the light of the rapid Americanization of postwar Greece. During two decades characterized by affluence and upward mobility in Greek society, the musical expressed and reinforced the optimism of the times while capturing the tensions and contradictions that emerged as a result of rapid social changes.Beginning with an introduction to modern Greece and cultural identity, the book locates the genre in its historical context and argues that it consists of different layers of cultural appropriation and transformation that redefine traditionally fixed notions of identity. Old Greek cinema is examined, the Greek musical is defined, and a number of key films are analyzed with particular emphasis on the style and structure of the musical numbers. The work concludes with a filmography of Greek musicals; lists of the annual outputs of the production companies Finos Films, Karagiannis-Karatzopoulos, Klak Films, and Damaskinos Michailidis; a glossary; and bibliographies in English, Greek, and French.

Empires of the Imagination
By Alec Worley
Foreword by Brian Sibley

The warlocks and ghosts of fantasy film haunt our popular culture, but the genre has too long been ignored by critics. This comprehensive critical survey of fantasy cinema demonstrates that the fantasy genre amounts to more than escapism. Through a meticulously researched analysis of over a century of fantasy pictures—from the seminal work of Georges Méliès to Peter Jackson’s recent tours of Middle–earth—the work identifies narrative strategies and their recurring components and studies patterns of challenge and return, setting and character.First addressing the difficult task of defining the genre, the work examines fantasy as a cultural force in both film and literature and explores its relation to science fiction, horror, and fairy tales. Fantasy’s development is traced from the first days of film, with emphasis on how the evolving genre reflected such events as economic depression and war. Also considered is fantasy’s expression of politics, as either the subject of satire or fuel for the fires of propaganda. Discussion ventures into the subgenres, from stories of invented lands inhabited by fantastic creatures to magical adventures set in the familiar world, and addresses clashes between fantasy and faith, such as the religious opposition to the Harry Potter phenomenon. From the money-making classics to little-known arthouse films, this richly illustrated work covers every aspect of fantasy film.

Books Republished:

The Charlie Chan Film Encyclopedia
Howard M. Berlin

The first film featuring Charlie Chan, The House Without a Key, appeared in 1925. Forty-seven films and six Charlies later, the series still delights audiences. Charlie Chan connoisseurs cite a variety of reasons for the honorable detective’s longevity and appeal, ranging from his wit and personality to the films’ fascinating casts that often included future celebrities.This encyclopedia contains over 1,900 entries for characters, actors, crew members, plot devices, and facts, as well as film summaries and Charlie’s famous aphorisms. Photographs accompany the text and the entries are arranged alphabetically for easy reference and access. Practically anything a fan of these films might want to know is thoroughly analyzed here.

Film Cartoons

By Douglas L. McCall

This work covers ninety years of animation from James Stuart Blackton’s 1906 short Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, in which astonished viewers saw a hand draw faces that moved and changed, to Anastasia, Don Bluth’s 1997 feature-length challenge to the Walt Disney animation empire. Readers will come across such characters as the Animaniacs, Woody Woodpecker, Will Vinton’s inventive Claymation figures (including Mark Twain as well as the California Raisins), and the Beatles trying to save the happy kingdom of Pepperland from the Blue Meanies in Yellow Submarine (1968).Part One covers 180 animated feature films. Part Two identifies feature films that have animation sequences and provides details thereof. Part Three covers over 1,500 animated shorts. All entries offer basic data, credits, brief synopsis, production information, and notes where available. An appendix covers the major animation studios.

An Analytical Guide to Television’s Battlestar Galactica-
By John Kenneth Muir

When the space drama Battlestar Galactica debuted on ABC in 1978, it was expected to be the most popular new program of the year. Instead, it was attacked as a Star Wars rip-off and canceled after a mere 17 stories. The author acknowledges the show was full of dramatic clichés and scientific inaccuracies, but despite these shortcomings, Battlestar Galactica was a dramatically resonant series full of unique and individual characters, such as Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) and ace warrior Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch). The author contends that Battlestar Galactica was a memorable attempt to make science fiction accessible to mainstream television audiences. The brilliant work of artist John Dykstra brought a new world of special effects to network television. Battlestar Galactica also skillfully exploited legends and names from both the Bible and ancient mythology, which added a layer of depth and maturity to the weekly drama.

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