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The other night, I made a New Year’s resolution: to re-read my favorite film books.
We spend too little time watching the masterpieces of the past, and even less reflecting on what went into them. It’s good to know that things were just as difficult back then, and that even if the past (as it’s been said) is a foreign country, sometimes they do things the same there, too.
The following ten books offer a window into Hollywood’s history. Not only do they delve into the stories behind many of the greatest pictures ever made, but they also allow a deeper understanding of Hollywood itself.
Inevitably, this is a subjective list. There are fine film books that I haven’t included because they never touched me personally (Kevin Brownlow’s The Parade’s Gone By, John Gregory Dunne’s The Studio and Francois Truffaut’s Hitchcock/Truffaut), and others that touched me deeply but don’t reveal as much about the business as a whole (Aljean Harmetz’s superb Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca, William Friedkin’s terrific The Friedkin Connection and Robert Evans’ mesmerizing The Kid Stays in the Picture).
Still, anyone wanting to understand an eco-system would do well to look at these books, ranked in order of preference.
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