BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS / Cinema: Stars and illuminations

OF COURSE the world needed another 'intimate biography' of James Dean, especially Joe Hyams's James Dean: Little Boy Lost (Century pounds 15.99), which wastes less time than most on the Method and goes directly to the sexual partners, male and female, then concludes with a chapter on where the whole cast - including Hyams, who knew his subject - happened to be when they heard of his fatal accident. Sex and death: isn't that what Hollywood is about?

There is no denying the contribution of both to Bernard of Hollywood's Marilyn (Boxtree pounds 18.99), a picture album with extracts from Bruno Bernard's diary of his friendship with Monroe, edited by his daughter. Everyone should keep a diary. The cinema conveys this illusion of intimacy with the stars, plus the assurance that there is always more to know. No wonder we find it hard to believe they die, especially in explicable ways. In The Hollywood Connection: The Mafia and the Movie Business (Robson pounds 17.95), Michael Munn states as plain fact that Monroe was killed on the orders of Sam Giancana, to spite the Kennedy brothers; no nonsense about evidence. If that is what you want, you'll love JFK: The Documented Screenplay (Applause pounds 12.99), which elevates Oliver Stone's hypothetical exercise to the status of history: we get the full script, extensive documentation on the assassination and all the film reviews. None of this helps to trace an already blurred divide between fiction and reality.

You have to admire the industry of such star biographers as Robert Tanitch, John Parker and Andrew Yule. All three have now done Sean Connery: Yule's Sean Connery: Neither Shaken nor Stirred (Little Brown pounds 16.99) appears this year, as does his Losing the Light: Terry Gilliam and the Munchausen Saga (Applause pounds 12.95), the story of 'the greatest financial disaster in movie history'. Tanitch's Connery, published last year, was a picture book, and not the place to look for details of the star's brief encounter with an ATS girl at the age of 14. This year's Tanitch is John Mills (Collins & Brown pounds 14.99), an actor who was too intent on winning the war to be distracted by the ATS. Warren Beatty: The Last Great Lover of Hollywood (Headline pounds 17.99) prefers his peers: John Parker's index lists 'Affairs' from Adjani, Isabelle to Wood, Nathalie. Beatty 'is very much into women', according to Who's Who in Hollywood (ed Robyn Karney, Bloomsbury pounds 20), clearly a guide for those who aren't, listing actors and directors but not studio bosses.

You don't need to believe in conspiracies to realise that the real power is behind the screen. Anthony Holden's The Oscars (Little Brown pounds 20) promises 'the secret history' of the Academy Awards, and delivers a lot of anecdotes followed by an exhaustive listing of the main winners.

Last year's re-release of Casablanca has been followed up by James C Robertson's biography of the film's neglected director, The Casablanca Man: The Cinema of Michael Curtiz (Routledge pounds 25) and Aljean Harmetz's Round Up the Usual Suspects (Weidenfeld pounds 15.99), a history of the making of the film. Earnest buffs will stay awake browsing through Pauline Kael's reviews, 5001 Nights at the Movies (Boyars pounds 24.95), or the new editions of The Aurum Film Encyclopaedia: Horror (ed Paul Hardy, pounds 35), The Time Out Film Guide (Penguin pounds 12) and The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats (Guinness pounds 11.99), but don't lose sleep worrying about 'the new auteurism'. This is the principle behind the Cambridge Film Classics, a new series of director studies from Cambridge University Press, which includes James Naremore on The Films of Vincente Minnelli, Maurice Yacowar on Paul Morrissey, Scott Simmon on D W Griffith, James Palmer and Michael Riley on Joseph Losey, Peter Bondanella on Roberto Rossellini (pounds 27.95/ pounds 9.95 each), Sam B Girgus on Woody Allen (pounds 22.95/ pounds 7.95) and David Sterritt on Alfred Hitchcock (pounds 27.95/ pounds 7.95). The theory involves looking at films not only as the work of a single auteur-director, but as 'a complex interaction of bureaucratic, technological, intellectual, cultural and personal forces'. In practice, it means concise, informative introductions to the subjects' films.

If you like the idea of the director as author, you will be pleased to know about The Best Intentions (Harvill pounds 8.99), Ingmar Bergman's story of his parents' marriage, filmed by Bille August; Kieslowski on Kieslowski (ed Daniela Stok, Faber pounds 14.99) and Malle on Malle (ed Philip French, Faber pounds 14.99); and about The Humphrey Jennings Film Reader (ed Kevin Jackson, Carcanet pounds 25), writings by a great documentary film- maker who was also a poet and painter.

Film will be a century old next year, but it has clearly not replaced the printed word. A superb present for some favoured nephew or niece who likes cinema would be Robert Sklar's Film: An International History of the Medium (Thames & Hudson pounds 32): the full works, from the magic lantern to Idrissa Ouedaogo's Tilai (1990), including the subjects more fully covered in Shades of Noir (edited by Joan Copjec, Verso pounds 34.95 / pounds 11.95), Christopher Palmer's The Composer in Hollywood (Marion Boyars pounds 19.95) and Reframing Japanese Cinema (eds Arthur Noletti and David Desser, Indiana University Press, pounds 15.99). If the nephew or niece is into film theory, you probably won't be exchanging presents. If the worst happens, respond with Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (BFI pounds 11.95) - but that way madness lies.

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links