VERTIGO

THE MAKING OF A HITCHCOCK CLASSIC

A yeomanlike study of one of the few deserving films not yet granted an entire book. Carefully and thoroughly (and with the cooperation of Hitchcock’s daughter), film collector Auiler’s first book traces Vertigo to its start as a pesky alternative to another Hitchcock plan for a more studio-agreeable extravaganza called Flamingo Feather. Auiler then details Hitchcock’s interest in the authors of Vertigo’s novel source (their first novel became Les Diaboliques) and reports the screenwriting process, spanning playwright Maxwell Anderson, Angus MacPhail, and credited authors Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor. The book brims with behind-the-scenes material, all presented matter-of-factly. Unintoxicating (and pregnant) Vera Miles was replaced by “heat”-carrying Kim Novak, who attracted problematic paramours Sammy Davis Jr. and Rafael Trujillo Jr. and who said she understood her character Madeleine/Judy’s desire to be loved. Jimmy Stewart was a pro and an avuncular counselor to Novak; Hitchcock did shoot efficiently, except for the troubling post-rescue encounter. The film’s crew considered Vertigo “just another Hitchcock project,” and on release, the movie was generally praised but panned by Time as “another Hitchcock and bull story.” And maybe the movie showed that Hitchcock never recovered from losing Grace Kelly to Monaco. Yet even more interesting is the author’s noting how Vertigo has grown in stature over the past 40 years, through a survey of Hitchcock scholarship, interviews with those involved in its restoration for 1996 rerelease, and speculation that it reveals a “longing for what we can never have again.” This book assumes the film’s worth and through well-researched explication of its subtleties leads even skeptics to understand it, too. (50 b&w photos, 8 pages color photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-312-16915-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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