Tag Archives: Cole Porter

Important books about film and film stars, published by the University Press of Kentucky.

Books about film and film stars—important books about film and film stars—are published by the University Press of Kentucky. Here is a handful of new and forthcoming film titles.

Legendary actress and two-time Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland ($34.95) is renowned for her role as Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939). She often inhabited characters who were delicate, ladylike, elegant and refined. At the same time, she was a survivor with a fierce desire to direct her own destiny on and off the screen. She fought and won a lawsuit against Warner Bros. over a contract dispute that changed the studio contract system forever. She is also renowned for her long feud with her fellow actress and sister Joan Fontaine—a feud that lasted from 1975 until Fontaine’s death in 2013.

Author Victoria Amador utilizes extensive interviews and forty years of personal correspondence with de Havilland to present an in-depth look at the life and career of this celebrated actress .Amador begins with Havilland’s early life ( born in Japan in 1916 to a single mother and controlling stepfather) and her theatrical ambitions at a young age. The book then follows her career as she skyrocketed to star status, becoming one of the most well-known starlets in Tinseltown.

Readers are given an inside look at her love affairs with iconic cinema figures such as James Stewart, and John Huston, and her onscreen partnership with Errol Flynn, with whom she starred in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Dodge City (1939 ). After she moved to Europe in the mid-’50s, de Havilland became the first woman to serve as the president of the Cannes Film Festival in 1965, and remained active but selective in film and television until 1988.

Olivia de HavillandLady Triumphant is a tribute to one of Hollywood’s greatest legends, who has evolved from a gentle heroine to a strong-willed, respected and admired artist


With celebrated works such as Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and Gladiator, Ridley Scott has secured his place in Hollywood. This legendary director and filmmaker has had an undeniable influence on art and the culture of filmmaking, but is also a respected media businessman.

In Ridley Scott: A Biography ($40), Vincent LoBrutto delves into Ridley Scott’s oeuvre in a way that allows readers to understand the yin and yang of his exceptional career. Presented is a unique crosscut between the biographical facts of Scott’s personal life—his birth and early days in northeast England, his life in New York City— and his career in Hollywood as a director and producer of television commercials, TV series, miniseries and feature films.

Every film is presented, analyzed, and probed for a greater understanding of the visionary, his personality, and his thought process, for a deeper perception of his astounding work and accomplishments. The voices of cast and crew who have worked with Scott, as well as the words of the man himself, are woven throughout this book for a fully realized, critical biography, revealing the depth of the artist and his achievements.


The many con men, gangsters and drug lords portrayed in popular culture are examples of the dark side of the American dream. Viewers are fascinated by these twisted versions of heroic American archetypes, like the self-made man and the entrepreneur. Applying the critical skills he developed as a Shakespeare scholar, Paul A. Cantor finds new depth in familiar landmarks of popular culture in Pop Culture and the Dark Side of the American Dream:
Con Men, Gangsters, Drug Lords and Zombies ($40). He invokes Shakespearean models to show that the concept of the tragic hero can help us understand why we are both repelled by and drawn to figures such as Vito and Michael Corleone or Walter White.

Beginning with Huckleberry Finn and ending with The Walking Dead, Cantor also uncovers the link between the American dream and frontier life. In imaginative variants of a Wild West setting, popular culture has served up disturbing—and yet strangely compelling—images of what happens when people move beyond the borders of law and order. Cantor demonstrates that, at its best, popular culture raises thoughtful questions about the validity and viability of the American dream, thus deepening our understanding of America itself.


Throughout his career, Alfred Hitchcock had to deal with a wide variety of censors attuned to the slightest suggestion of sexual innuendo, undue violence, toilet humor, religious disrespect and all forms of indecency, real or imagined. From 1934 to 1968, the Motion Picture Production Code Office controlled the content and final cut on all films made and distributed in the United States. Code officials protected sensitive ears from standard four-letter words, as well as a few five-letter words like tramp and six-letter words like cripes. They also scrubbed “excessively lustful” kissing from the screen and ensured that no criminal went unpunished.

During their review of Hitchcock’s films, the censors demanded an average of 22.5 changes, ranging from the mundane to the mind-boggling, on each of his American films. Code reviewers dictated the ending of Rebecca (1940), absolved Cary Grant of guilt in Suspicion (1941), edited Cole Porter’s lyrics in Stage Fright (1950), decided which shades should be drawn in Rear Window (1954), and shortened the shower scene in Psycho (1960).

In Hitchcock and the Censors ($50), author John Billheimer traces the forces that led to the Production Code and describes Hitchcock’s interactions with code officials on a film-by-film basis as he fought to protect his creations, bargaining with code reviewers and sidestepping censorship to produce a lifetime of memorable films. Despite the often-arbitrary decisions of the code board, Hitchcock still managed to push the boundaries of sex and violence permitted in films by charming—and occasionally tricking—the censors and by swapping off bits of dialogue, plot points, and individual shots (some of which had been deliberately inserted as trading chips) to protect cherished scenes and images.

By examining Hitchcock’s priorities in dealing with the censors, this work highlights the director’s theories of suspense as well as his magician-like touch when negotiating with code officials.


 

Just how queer does cinema get? Film Movement releases, for the first time on Blu-ray, Derek Jarman’s stunning “Edward II”

There are so many ways to celebrate Gay Pride, but nothing deserves first place other than Edward II, the new Queer Cinema landmark film that Film Movement is making available for the first time on Blu-Ray in a stunning digitally restored version. This special edition includes the featurette “Derek’s Edward” and an essay by filmmaker Bruce LaBruce with a prologue by Tilda Swinton. Celebrate the flick on June 12, when it flies into stores.

In 1593, Christopher Marlowe penned Edward II, based on the life of Britain’s only openly gay monarch. In 1991, legendary artist and director, Derek Jarman radically adapted the Elizabethan drama in a highly-stylized feature starring Jarman and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton and Steven Waddington.
Jarman’s postmodern adaptation delivers filmgoers to the court of Plantagenet King Edward II (portrayed by Waddington), a weak gay monarch with a tenuous grasp on the throne. The stage is set for palace revolt when the King rejects his wife, Queen Isabella (Swinton), and takes a male lover, the ambitious commoner Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) upon whom he bestows gifts and power. The spurned Queen and the sober court officials become enraged and the plotting begins in this festival favorite, a Golden Lion nominee at Venice, called “intelligent and striking” and a “phantasmagoric, outrageously stylized interpretation”. With anachronistic imagery, gay activists battling riot police and a rare film appearance by Annie Lennox singing Cole Porter’s 1944 classic “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” the story of Edward and the persecution he suffered is given contemporary resonance in one of Jarman’s most powerful and personal films. He died in 1994, at the age of 52.

“The Very Best of Diana Krall” reminds us just how brilliant she is

Verve Records/UMe are celebrating the legacy of the incomparable multi-platinum Grammy-winning singer and pianist Diana Krall by releasing The Very Best of Diana Krall on vinyl for the first time in the U.S., as the greatest hits collection nears its 10th anniversary. The album is available as a two-LP set on audiophile-favorite 180-gram vinyl and follows last year’s release of eight essential Diana Krall albums on vinyl as part of Verve’s 60th anniversary celebration.

Covering the years 1996-2006, this 15-track collection compiled by Krall in collaboration with her longtime producer, the late Tommy LiPuma, features highlights from her first decade as a recording artist, during which time the Grammy winning singer/pianist’s expressive vocals and delicate, soulful piano work gained her international stardom.

Krall has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, making the Berklee College of Music graduate one of the best-selling jazz artists of all time. The Very Best on vinyl arrives as Krall celebrates the May release of her acclaimed new album, Turn Up the Quiet, and current tour that will last more than two years, and take her around the world.

The selections on The Very Best range from intimate trio work to pieces recorded live with a full symphony orchestra. Krall delivers some deeply personal moments and reimagines timeless vintage standards by some of her favorite composers as George and Ira Gershwin; Cole Porter; Irving Berlin; Rodgers and Hart; Van Heusen and Cahn; and Bacharach and David.

Overflowing with career highlights, the album includes several tracks from Krall’s towering 1999 international breakthrough,When I Look in Your Eyes: her mesmerizing interpretations of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Let’s Fall in Love,” and “Pick Yourself Up.” That album, her Verve Records debut, was nominated for Album of the Year at the 42 Annual Grammy Awards, the first time in 25 years a jazz singer was nominated in that major category. It won for Best Jazz Vocal and Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical).

Throughout the album, Krall’s artistry is highlighted on the Gershwin standard “’S Wonderful” and the Bacharach and David-penned title track from her 2001 Grammy-winning album, The Look of Love.  This album put her atop her native Canada’s all-genre albums chart for the first time and gave her the Artist and Album of the Year trophies at the Juno Awards in her home country.

The collection is also notable for Krall’s imaginative take on Tom Waits’ “The Heart of Saturday Night” and the dark and seductive “You Go to My Head” taken from The Look of Love sessions, both previously unreleased. It also features beautiful live renditions of “East of the Sun (West of the Moon)” and “Fly Me To The Moon,” recorded with a symphony orchestra at Krall’s sold-out concerts at Paris’ Olympia Theatre for her remarkable live album, Live In Paris.

Included on Billboard’s Top Jazz Albums of the Decade list, The Very Best of Diana Krall is both the perfect sampler for the new listener and a reminder for her most passionate fans all the reasons Diana Krall is regarded as one of the greatest Jazz artists of her time.