A rich and vibrant homage to a singular visual stylist.

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HITCHCOCK'S CALIFORNIA

VISTA VISIONS FROM THE CAMERA EYE

In this debut book, two photographers and a writer pay tribute to the cinematic language of Alfred Hitchcock.

Jones, Auiler, and Sinclair’s work begins with an introduction by Bruce Dern, the actor who starred in Hitchcock’s 1976 thriller, Family Plot. Dern’s writing, enjoyable if unremarkable, makes the case for Hitchcock’s distinctive genius. The best of Dern’s stories is the one where he and director John Frankenheimer have the prop master at Paramount build them a dummy to take in a car so they can drive in the high-occupancy vehicle lane. After Dern’s lively intro, each of the three authors presents a short essay on Hitchcock. Jones, a photojournalist, pens a love letter to cinema, describing his childhood experience of seeing Psycho for the first time. Thrilled and terrified, he became a lifelong “Hitchcock fanatic.” In 2014, while visiting Bodega Bay, California—one of the filming locations for The Birds—Jones got the idea for the book: “In that moment I knew I would revisit these scenes out of Hitchcock’s celluloid nightmares with a ‘widescreen’ camera and shoot them over…to recapture the essence of the feelings that Hitchcock had instilled in me.” Next is a short, academic essay by Auiler, a Hitchcock expert and movie historian, who focuses on how film locations informed and enriched the auteur’s work. Finally, Sinclair describes her first encounters with Hitchcock’s movies, her relationship with photography, and the experience of shooting “Souvenirs of a Killing,” a series of staged re-creations of memorable moments in the director’s films. These 17 photos are interspersed throughout the work. But the meat of this project is Jones’ 80 photos, vivid and glowing, of California locations featured in Hitchcock’s movies. After the photos comes the transcription of an exhaustive conversation between Jones and Auiler and a brief afterword by author Dorothy Herrmann, the daughter of Bernard Herrmann, who scored many of the director’s films. Though this is an eclectic and varied collection of writing and images, the majority of the book is Jones’ photos. The volume’s dimensions—it’s almost twice as wide as it is tall—are a fitting tribute to the widescreen format Hitchcock preferred. The photos of California are beautiful, but the strongest effect they have is to make readers want to see the source material: a Hitchcock film. Looking at the photos, one can’t quite escape the impression of viewing a slideshow from a road trip that, while clearly a blast for the traveler, isn’t quite as enchanting secondhand. But Jones’ photos are still appealing—even, at times, haunting. In the conversation between Auiler and Jones, the former delivers an accurate assessment of the pictures: “I think even the casual observer…can sense Hitchcock’s ghost there.” Sinclair’s photos strike a different visual tone. Sometimes they’re unexciting, rote re-creations, but a few are genuinely titillating, like her picture of a camera in a sandwich from Topaz. Some of these visual odes add little, though—like a shot of cornstalks more evocative of stock photos than the crop-duster chase in North by Northwest. Despite its unevenness, the panoramic book captures and conveys the authors’ delight in Hitchcock’s work and in the potency and splendor of his images, moving or still.

A rich and vibrant homage to a singular visual stylist.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9837376-3-6

Page Count: 143

Publisher: Middlebrow Books, L.L.C.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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