Monday, November 16, 2009

New Film and TV Books from McFarland

Irwin Allen Television Productions, 1964–1970

Before establishing himself as the “master of disaster” with the 1970s films The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, Irwin Allen created four of television’s most exciting and enduring science-fiction series: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants.

These 1960s series were full of Allen’s favorite tricks, techniques and characteristic touches, and influenced other productions from the original Star Trek forward. Every science-fiction show owes something to Allen, yet none has equaled his series’ pace, excitement, or originality.

This detailed examination and documentation of the premise and origin of the four shows offers an objective evaluation of every episode—and demonstrates that when Irwin Allen’s television episodes were good, they were great, and when they were bad, they were still terrific fun.


Terrorism in American Cinema

The American cinema of terrorism, although coming to prominence primarily in the 1970s amidst high-profile Palestinian terrorist activity, actually dates back to the beginnings of the Cold War. But this early terrorist cinema was centered largely around the Bomb—who had it, who would use it, when—and differs greatly from the terrorist cinema that would follow. Changing world events soon broadened the cinema of terrorism to address emerging international conflicts, including Black September, pre–9/11 Middle Eastern conflicts, and the post–9/11 “War on Terror.” This analytical filmography of American terrorist films establishes terrorist cinema as a unique subgenre with distinct thematic narrative and stylistic trends. It covers all major American films dealing with terrorism, from Otto Preminger’s Exodus (1960) to Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies (2008).


Peter Cushing

From his film debut in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) through Biggles (1985), here is the movie career of Peter Cushing, known as “the gentle man of horror.” From interviews and extensive personal correspondence, the authors are able to provide Cushing’s own views on many of his 91 films.

A plot synopsis for each film is followed by production data and credits and contemporary reviews.


Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows

When media coverage of courtroom trials came under intense fire in the aftermath of the infamous New Jersey v. Hauptmann lawsuit (a.k.a. the Lindbergh kidnapping case,) a new wave of fictionalized courtroom programming arose to satiate the public’s appetite for legal drama. This book is an alphabetical examination of the nearly 200 shows telecast in the U.S. from 1948 through 2008 involving courtrooms, lawyers and judges, complete with cast and production credits, airdates, detailed synopses and background information. Included are such familiar titles as Perry Mason, Divorce Court, Judge Judy, LA Law, and The Practice, along with such obscure series as They Stand Accused, The Verdict Is Yours Sam Benedict, Trials of O’Brien, and The Law and Mr. Jones. The book includes an introductory overview of law-oriented radio and TV broadcasts from the 1920s to the present, including actual courtroom coverage (or lack of same during those years in which cameras and microphones were forbidden in the courtroom) and historical events within TV’s factual and fictional treatment of the legal system. Also included in the introduction is an analysis of the rise and fall of cable’s Court TV channel.


The Christopher Lee Filmography

The career of Christopher Lee has stretched over half a century in every sort of film from comedy to horror and in such diverse roles as the Man With the Golden Gun, Frankenstein’s monster, Fu Manchu and Sherlock Holmes.

From Corridor of Mirrors in 1948 to Star Wars: Episode II–Attack of the Clones in 2002, this reference book covers 166 theatrical feature films: all production information, full cast and crew credits, a synopsis, and a critical analysis, with a detailed account of its making and commentary drawn from some thirty hours of interviews with Lee himself. Two appendices list Lee’s television feature films and miniseries and his short films.

The work concludes with an afterword by Christopher Lee himself. Photographs from the actor’s private collection are included.


Grande Dame Guignol Cinema

This critically analytical filmography examines 45 movies featuring “grande dames” in horror settings. Following a history of women in horror before 1962’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which launched the “Grande Dame Guignol” subgenre of older women featured as morally ambiguous leading ladies, are all such films (mostly U.S.) that came after that landmark release. The filmographic data includes cast, crew, reviews, synopses, and production notes, as well as recurring motifs and each role’s effect on the star’s career.



A History of the Doc Savage Adventures in Pulps, Paperbacks, Comics, Fanzines, Radio and Film

Doc Savage is the prototype of the modern fictional superhero. The character exploded onto the scene in 1933, with the Great Depression and1the gathering clouds of war as a cultural backdrop. The adventure series is examined in relation to historical events and the changing tastes of readers, with special attention paid to the horror and science fiction elements. The artwork features illustrations, covers, and original art. Chapters cover Doc Savage paperbacks, pulp magazines, comic books, and fanzines, and an appendix offers biographies of all major contributors to the series.


Dark Dreams 2.0

Greatly expanded and updated from the 1977 original, this new edition explores the evolution of the modern horror film, particularly as it reflects anxieties associated with the atomic bomb, the Cold War, 1960s violence, sexual liberation, the Reagan revolution, 9/11 and the Iraq War. It divides modern horror into three varieties (psychological, demonic and apocalyptic) and demonstrates how horror cinema represents the popular expression of everyday fears while revealing the forces that influence American ideological and political values. Directors given a close reading include Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma, David Cronenberg, Guillermo Del Toro, Michael Haneke, Robert Aldrich, Mel Gibson and George A. Romero. Additional material discusses postmodern remakes, horror franchises and Asian millennial horror. This book also contains more than 950 frame grabs and a very extensive filmography.


Screen Sirens Scream!

These twenty heroines portrayed imperiled women in science fiction, horror, film noir and mystery movies from the 1930s to the 1960s. Some—like Sandy Descher, who confronted the giant ants of Them!—were only girls when they faced their screen perils. Others—such as Mary Murphy, who played opposite Marlon Brando in The Wild One—were leading ladies in other film genres. Yet others—such as June Wilkinson, considered by many as Playboy’s greatest model—came from outside the acting world.

Each interview is preceded by an introduction. Besides the three above, the interviewees are Ramsay Ames, Claudia Barrett, Jean Byron, Linda Christian, Faith Domergue, Amanda Duff, Evangelina Elizondo, Margaret Field, Mimi Gibson, Marilyn Harris, Kitty de Hoyos, Donna Martel, Joyce Meadows, Noreen Nash, Cynthia Patrick, Paula Raymond and Joan Taylor. Among the films they starred in are The Mummy’s Ghost, Robot Monster, Tarzan and the Mermaids, This Island Earth, It Came from Beneath the Sea, Where Danger Lives, The Man from Planet X, The Monster That Challenged the World, Frankenstein, The Brain from Planet Arous, Phantom from Space, The Mole People, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers. Some interviews were previously published in a different form in fan magazines.


Food in the Movies, 2d ed.

Although food has been part of motion pictures since the silent era, for the most part it has been treated with about as much respect as movie extras: it’s always been there on the screen but seldom noticed.

For the most part filmmakers have settled on three basic ways to treat food: as a prop in which the food is usually obscured from sight or ignored by the actors; as a transition device to compress time and help advance the plot; as a symbol or metaphor, or in some other meaningful way, to make a dramatic point or to reveal an aspect of an actor’s character, mood or thought process.

This hugely expanded and revised edition details 400 food scenes, in addition to the 400 films reviewed for the first edition, and an introduction tracing the technical, artistic and cultural forces that contributed to the emergence of food films as a new genre—originated by such films as Tampopo, Babette’s Feast and more recently by films like Mostly Martha, No Reservations and Ratatouille. A filmography is included as an appendix.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thundarr the Barbarian in "Valley of the Man-Apes"

In “Valley of the Man-Apes,” Thundarr, Ariel and Ookla ride through Death Canyon when they spy intelligent ape creatures digging in the dese...