Categories
"Making of" Classic Cinema Production Design

Book Review: Joe Alves – Designing ‘Jaws’

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Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: December 03, 2019

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) is one of the most enduring movies ever made. It has thrilled generations of audiences worldwide, and it is no wonder why there have been several books devoted to telling the story of the film’s production. On the surface, it may seem that another book on the subject is superfluous, but Dennis Prince’s beautiful new coffee table book zeros in on the enormous contributions of Joe Alves (the film’s production designer). Included are Joes’ stunning pre-production illustrations; handwritten location and production notes; on-set photographs; blueprints of the shark’s design and first-time publication of his complete catalogue of storyboards used to chart the heart-stopping action. Designing Jaws proves that there is still quite a bit more to learn about the film’s creation, and it adds to one’s appreciation of the film. Scholars will reference the book and fans will treasure it.

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Categories
"Making of" Classic Cinema

Book Review: The Making of ‘Alien’

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Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: July 23. 2019

Titan Books is marketing the book as “the definitive work on this masterpiece of popular cinema,” but it is difficult not to become skeptical about these so-called “making of” coffee table books. They are too often anemic in terms of actual information, and the often gorgeous production photography tends to feel like padding. This isn’t at all the case here as J.W. Rinzler’s text is surprisingly comprehensive. It covers each stage of the filmmaking process in rich detail, and the sometimes rare production photography is icing on a very enjoyable cake. It’s an essential book for fans of the film (although they are certain to already know at least some of the information presented here).

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Categories
Classic Cinema Filmmakers

Book Review: On Set with John Carpenter

On Set with John Carpenter

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: October 21, 2014

On Set with John Carpenter reminds one of a high school yearbook. The difference is that instead of remembering the hell that is high school, the reader can remember a few of John Carpenter’s best films.

Carpenter’s producing partner Debra Hill hired photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker to be the unit photographer on Halloween, and Kim soon became part of Carpenter’s film-making family, going on to shoot stills on the sets of some of his most iconic films (Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, and Christine). She also worked on Halloween II, which was written and produced by Hill and Carpenter. The book’s 176 pages are filled with Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s excellent still photography from the set of these films.

The book is 90% photography. Short quotes from the cast and crew of the films act as captions. These captions add context to the excellent photographs. Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s short introductions are also incredibly interesting. This book proves that the still photographer is a valuable commodity on any film set. Her perspective is unique and valuable. Her photography is excellent. This book is recommended to fans without hesitation.

Review by: Devon Powell

Categories
Alfred Hitchcock Classic Cinema Filmmakers

Book Review: The Alfred Hitchcock Story

Alfred Hitchcock Master

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Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: August 19, 2008

Ken Mogg’s coffee table book is better than similar books about the director. The title might lead one to believe that the book is another biography, but it is really a tribute to the director’s film output. There are similar books about the director available, but The Alfred Hitchcock Story stands out for a number of reasons.

The text of Mogg’s book benefits from an easy to read style, and will certainly expand the reader’s appreciation of the films discussed. Readers should also be suitably impressed with the vast amount of photographs that are included on each page. I would venture a guess that readers will find at least a few photos that they have never seen before.

The book’s structure is somewhat unusual. It is broken up into five different units (The Early Years 1899-1933, Classic British Movies 1934-1939

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