Four books for movie buffs

  • By Susan King Los Angeles Times
  • Friday, January 4, 2013 12:25pm
  • LifeMovies

Are you a film buff who received a holiday gift certificate for books?

Not to worry. Here’s a post-Christmas guide to three books about legendary cinema stars, and a fourth about some of Hollywood’s bit players.

“Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies”

Christel Schmidt edited this lavish exploration of one of cinema’s first film stars, who by the age of 20 had appeared in more than 100 silent movies (among them “Sparrows,” “Daddy-Long-Legs” and “Little Lord Fauntleroy”).

Known as “America’s Sweetheart” because of her long, curly blond locks, Pickford was in reality a savvy businesswoman — the first female movie mogul.

She was given creative control of her movies at age 24 in 1916. Three years later, she became one of the founders of United Artists. Pickford went on to win the lead actress Oscar for 1929’s “Coquette” and then retired from the screen in 1933.

“Queen of the Movies” features several noted film historians, including Kevin Brownlow, who examines her career as a producer, and Beth Werling, who tours the Mary Pickford costume and ephemera collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Schmidt and others weigh in on Pickford’s highly publicized second marriage (to fellow superstar Douglas Fairbanks), her journey from breadwinner to businesswoman, the rise and fall of her curls and the story of how she became an advocate for film preservation in the mid-1930s.

“Queen of the Movies” also overflows with more than 200 color and back-and-white illustrations, including photographs and stills from the actresses’ personal collections at the Library of Congress and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“My Autobiography” by Charlie Chaplin with a foreword by David Robinson

The Little Tramp’s endearing 1964 autobiography, which the Chicago Tribune declared “the best autobiography ever written by an actor,” has just been published in a new paperback edition.

“John Wayne: The Legend and the Man: An Exclusive Look Inside Duke’s Archives”

Patricia Bosworth and Oscar-winning directors Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese are among the contributors to this photo-driven celebration of the life and career of one of the giants of the silver screen.

During his long career Wayne worked with many of the top directors in Hollywood, including John Ford (“Stagecoach,” “The Quiet Man,” “The Searchers”), Howard Hawks (“Red River,” “Rio Bravo,” “Hatari”) and William Wellman (“The High and the Mighty”).

Wayne won the lead actor Oscar for the 1969 western “True Grit.”

The book, which was authorized by John Wayne Enterprises, includes film stills, behind-the-scenes photos, family snapshots and even fan mail art.

“Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and Stand-Ins” by Anthony Slide

The film scholar’s latest exploration of Hollywood history celebrates the importance of extras in motion pictures from the silent era through the present, while also shining a spotlight on the Hollywood Studio Club, for many decades the chaperoned dormitory for women in the industry, Central Casting and the bittersweet reality that several stars from the silent era — including Drew Barrymore’s great-grandfather, Maurice Costello — ended their careers as extras.

More in Life

Beer and cupcakes: Snohomish brewer, baker form unlikely duo

Pacific Northwest Cupcakes uses SnoTown’s brews to make beer-infused sweet treats.

The art and science of weathervanes

They told the direction of the wind and aided in forecasting the, well, weather.

Hundreds of ways to pamper your home and yourself

Find fancy fridges to sparkling jewelry under one roof at home and gift shows in Everett.

This is exactly how a cleaning expert organizes her space in 20 minutes

Try these realistic and attainable tricks to land yourself a cleaner home.

Snohomish brewer flavors beer with chilies from mom’s back yard

Beer of the Week: Smoked rye forms sturdy foundation for SnoTown’s well-balanced Loose Rooster.

Fall is just another blooming season

October can be a time of spectacular colors in your garden.

Woodward Canyon Winery continues to weave masterpieces

Owner Rick Small uses grapes from vines he used when he made wine in his back yard in the 1970s.

Great Plant Pick: Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo,’ purple-leaf ninebark

Grow it with shrub roses and perennials, and it combines with with ornamental grasses.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Dash to Diamond Knot: Flying Unicorn Racing is teaming up with Mukilteo’s… Continue reading

Most Read