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)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Hopkins in Westworld

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rock and role: Jamie Bell's character Benjamin Grimm is transformed into 'Thing' in the film adaptation of Marvel Comics' 'Fantastic Four'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Hopkins veered between sycophancy and insult in her new chat show
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
In his role as Hamlet, Benedict Cumberbatch will have to learn, and repeat night after night, around 1,480 lines

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Belgian sexologist Goedele Liekens with pupils at Hollins Technology College in Accrington
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The rapper Drake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The gaffer: Prince Philip and the future Queen in 1947
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Style icons: The Beatles on set in Austria
film
Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Books
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future