Rebel With a Library: A Quick Scan of Some of the Many Tomes That Touch Upon James Dean

by Johnny Ray Huston

Later this month we reach the 59th anniversary of James Dean’s untimely death, and this week, Pacific Film Archive is presenting new digital restorations of East of Eden , Rebel Without a Cause , and Giant , the canonical trilogy of sorts that define his brief but enduring film career. James Dean is so thoroughly iconic, so intricately woven into the fabric of Western pop culture, that an article-length summation of his life and work would be pure folly. Instead, here are a trio of book-based angles on the actor and the man-myth.  Continue reading

“Five Came Back,” A Book Review

by Vince Keenan

Five is a charmed number for Mark Harris.  In 2008’s Pictures at a Revolution, he charted New Hollywood’s tectonic shifts by profiling the quintet of films nominated for Best Picture of 1967, from the nouvelle vague-influenced Bonnie & Clyde  to the studio bloat of Doctor Dolittle .  He deploys a similar conceit in Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War .  Chronicling the military careers of several established filmmakers allows him to tell the sprawling, underreported tale of the Allied propaganda effort.

Continue reading

Roadshow!: The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s

In Roadshow! , film historian Matthew Kennedy tells the fascinating story of the downfall of the big-screen musical in the late 1960s.  It is a tale of revolutionary cultural change, business transformation, and artistic missteps, all of which led to the obsolescence of the roadshow, a marketing extravaganza designed to make a movie opening in a regional city seem like a Broadway premier.  On Thursday, June 26, Kennedy will deliver a Slideshow Presentation from 7:00-8:30PM at Folio Books, 3957 24th Street, San Francisco, preceded by a wine and cheese reception. Read an excerpt from the book here.  Continue reading