Whether you’re a fan of The Big Lebowski or Peter Biskind’s depiction of ’70s movie brats, you can now glimpse behind the silver screen.
1. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
This game has been a cult favorite since its release in 1998. It was Biskind, a former editor of Premiere magazine, who wrote this in-depth description of the “cinema brats” of the 1970s, and their flood of masterpieces, which had hitherto been disregarded. Biskind’s book introduced a new generation to the new wave of Hollywood movies in a way that was both academic and entertaining.
2. Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Stanley Kubrick unsuccessfully tried to make a biography on Napoleon, which would have starred Jack Nicholson and Blow-David Up’s Hemmings. Kubrick’s screenplay notes and costume drawings are included in this bookshelf-sized Taschen compendium of the director’s extensive study for the film. It’s an eye-opening experience.
3. Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes
It’s a sequel to Easy Riders, Raging Bulls despite the fact that Pierson released it years earlier (who later discovered The Blair Witch Project). Harvey Weinstein, who plays a villainous puppet master, is the focus of his film about the 1980s indie wave.
4. Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood
A new audience was introduced to the entertainment potential of old-gold Hollywood through Longworth’s You Must Remember This podcast. This epic narrative of the producer/entrepreneur/sleaze and his control over a generation of starslets distills it all down to its essence.
5. Emeric Pressburger
Michael Powell’s grandson, the filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, has written a fascinating film history of his father’s filmmaking collaborator, who co-wrote The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus. As a fellow professional, he has a unique perspective on the subject.
6. Shepperton Babylon
The best book I’ve ever read on the British film industry. From the silent era to the sexploitation era of the 1960s, Sweet has been a strong advocate for the industry’s more underappreciated stars like Pen Tennyson and Anita Fay Tipping.
7. The Big Lebowski: The Making of a Coen Brothers Film
“Making of” books are a dime a dozen, but William Preston Robertson’s “bowling noir” book is one of the best, predicting the film’s cult status and delivering interviews with the Coen brothers’ core themes (howling, obese men, etc.) in Robertson’s dry, sardonic writing. Tricia Cooke, Ethan Coen’s wife, is in charge of editing.
8. What Makes Sammy Run?
Novels can provide a unique perspective on the film industry. On the other hand, Martin Amis’s Money and Christopher Isherwood’s Prater Violet were both inspired by working on flop sci-fi tales Saturn 5 and The Scream. In terms of industrial fiction, this 1941 story of Sammy Glick, an immensely ambitious want tobe, is the actual prince of the bunch.
9. The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business
This is a whole new level of backroom industry sleight-of-hand. From the beginnings of vaudeville to the era of power suits in the 1980s and 1990s, this book examines Hollywood through the unique perspective of the dealmakers and power brokers.
10. The Devil’s Candy
A groundbreaking investigation of the excesses of big-budget Hollywood filmmaking. After being granted unrestricted access to Brian De Palma’s Bonfire of the Vanities movie set by the Wall Street Journal, film reviewer Salamon was able to witness an automobile wreck of the highest order.