FILM ‘ eooxs
Allan Hunter and Trevor Johnston review new cinema books.
0 Spencer Tracy—Tragic Idol Bill Davidson (Sidgewick & Jackson £12.95) Uneven but interesting biography ofthe man hailed by Olivier as the screen‘s greatest actor. Davidson places his emphasis away from Tracy‘s distinguished career and concentrates on his more problematic private life. specifically his lifelong alcoholism and 25-year attachment to Katharine Hepburn. An attempt is made to explore the paradoxes within Tracy‘s fiery Irish Catholic persona but. although many provocative questions are aired. few satisfactory answers emerge. The real strength ofthe book lies in Davidson‘s ability to call upon a lifetime‘s research as a hardworking journalist and thus he can utilise comments from the likes ofGable. Bogart. Cagney. studio publicists and close friends. A solid. easy read. (Allan Hunter)
0 TV Movies and Video Guide Leonard Maltin (Penguin £4.95) Latest revised edition ofone ofthe few film reference books that truly merits the description ofindispensable. Cast lists. running times. informed comment and star ratings on over 17,000 titles. Laudably up to the minute. superior to Halliwell and outstanding value for money. (Allan Hunter)
0 Astaire The Biography Tim Satchell (Hutchinson £12.95) Earnest. authoritative portrait of the obsessive perfectionist, born Frederic Austerlitz II in 1899, who left an indelible impression on every branch of the entertainment profession in a remarkable eight-decade career.
Exhaustiver researched and refreshingly non-adulatory in tone this may well be the definitive biography of a man whose excessive toil and worry were designed to beguile the public and carry off the most difficult routine with apparently effortless. jaunty ease. (Alan Hunter)
0 The Last of England Derek Jarman (Constable £10.95). To coincide with the release of the controversial new film of the same nems (premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival and due to return to screens in central Scotland early in the new year) comes this second instalment of Derek J arman’s personal reminiscence, a follow-up to 19805’ Dancing Ledge. Peppered with eye-catching film stills and candid private photographs, the main bulk of the text is formed from a series of conversations with an anonymous interviewer around the often
frustrating experiences of the director’s ﬁlmography, from the 1985 short Imagining October to the current offering. This is the familiar outspoken public J arman, rankling against film industry, media notoriety and social decay alike. More affecting though, are the book’s ﬂeeting autobiographical musings; from home life on an RAf station with a kleptomaniac father, counter culture debauchery in Sixties’ New York, artistic associations with David Hockney and Patrick Procter, right up to the chance acquisition of a seaside cottage after discovering a little place on a Sunday drive with Tilda Swinton. Anecdotal and refreshingly open these sections offer the intriguing spontaneity of conversation. Yet, the revelation of J arman’s confrontation with the AIDS virus cast it all in a melancholy light; the final chapters show this buoyant, always likeable man facing up to a foreboding future in a way that is honest and moving in its absence of self-pity. (Trevor Johnston)
0 A Llle in Movies Michael Powell (Methuen £4.95) Paperback edition of the celebrated autobiography by one of the foremost film-makers ever to come out of Britain. Dealing with the first half of his career, Powell’s book covers the years up to 1949, stretching from the early days as an assistant under Hitchcock to the quota quickies of the Thirties to the masterly collaborations with Emeric Pressburger, including one of Churchill’s least favourite films, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. A wistful love of the shooting process combined with an ardent dedication to the medium as an artform shine through the mass of fascinating details packed into rapidly moving six hundred or so pages.
0 Godard 0n Godard Tom Milne (Da Capo £8.95) Updated edition of a series of Sixties interviews given by the great Gallic iconoclast, including illuminating discussions on his love of American B-pictures, and the background to New Wave classics like Breathless and Pierrot Le Fou. Irritating, provocative, and thoroughly compulsive reading.
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o The Film Yearbook Volume 6 Edited by James Park (Virgin £8.99) New tidier format for the customarily readable and authoritative round-up
ART BOOKS FROM SCOTLAND
.. v EBJAS’O‘Eg it! . ""“ . ~.-
f.) 14. 95 96 pages Hardback This wide-ranging and lucid history traces the Paisley pattern on its journey from the needle to the loom, the east to the west and its climactic impact on the world of fashion. Lavisth illustrated in full colour throughout THE I’AISLFY PATTERN makes the ideal gift.
An indispensable fully illustrated guide to the architect, designer and water- colourist who, for his futuristic vision, was acclaimed father of the modern movement.
ocelyn Grigg " 9’5
Available from John Smith and all good bookshops.
Richard Drew Publishing Ltd, 6 Clairmont Gardens, Glasgow C3 7I.W Scotland Tel. 041-333 9341 Telex 777308
Buy Books for Christmas . . .
LONGER SCOTTISH POEMS
VOLUME ONE 1375—1650 Edited Priscilla Ban/'cutt and Felicity Riddy (424 pages, hardback £18.50, paperback £9.50)
LONGER SCOTTISH POEMS VOLUME TWO 1650—1830
[Edited lgy Thomas Cram/0rd, David Hewitt and Alexander I are (20aiipages,hardback g.‘i.go,‘pap;a;.‘ct L15. ,3) " ' " ” '
‘two splendid volumes . .
. imaginative/J, the reader is transported to the poet’s (Alan Bold in The Scotsman)
THE SCOTTISH THIRTIES
An Architectural Introduction
(200 pages, over 400 illus, hardback
‘. . . an engaging mix ofstatistics and anecdote, of serious political assessment and light personal comment . . .’ (Glasgow Herald)
and for friends at home and abroad don’t forget the RIAS/ Landmark series Of Architectural Guides. There are now seven: [Edinburgh ( 5.50)’; Dundee ( 3.95); Stirling and the 'I'rossachs ( 5.95); Aberdeen (£3.95); The 50th Clyde Estuary (£4.50); Clackmannan and the ()chils (£4.00) and '1 'he District of Moray (£6.00).
‘. . . used with pleasure hy local people and travellers alike . . .' (Heritage Outlook)
Available from good bookshops or contact Scottish Academic Press, 35 Montgomery Street, Iidinburgh, IiH7 5JX
:1 [Lippi (.‘lit'is‘tnlzts‘ to .-I II 0111‘ Readers
The List 27 Nov — 10 Dec 1987 47