Hawks, a cofounder of the Directors Guild, was unusual in scrappy, knockabout early Hollywood; as an educated rich kid from Pasadena, he was slumming in what was still seen as a disreputable industry.
In his exhaustive biography of the shadowy, half-forgotten yet indomitable African-American film pioneer Oscar Micheaux, McGilligan deftly assembled the sterling research of scholars of early black filmmaking into a compelling account of a quixotic life.
For a personal insight into the buccaneering, freebooting youth of Hollywood, you can’t do better than the memoirs of the man behind the eye patch.
Originally published in 1985, Chaplin: His Life and Art offers a full immersion in the previously impenetrable method of Chaplin as a director.
Exiles in Hollywood looks at Fritz Lang, William Wyler, Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, and Otto Preminger, analyzing the profound effect they had on American popular cinema after leaving UFA Studios.
Drawing on three decades of research, Searching covers Ford's directing, history as a co-founder of the Directors Guild, politics, and his wildly contradictory personality, valiantly attempting to separate Ford’s many masks from his actual visage.
A rollicking account of mid-century Hollywood, City of Nets opens with the movie industry at the pinnacle of its success (1939) and ends 10 years later with the chaos of the HUAC hearings, the rise of television, and the Supreme Court’s antitrust decision.
Nearly forty years on from its original publication, Kevin Brownlow’s The Parade’s Gone By... still packs quite the Proustian punch, with its chorus of then venerable, now long-dead legends of the silent era reminiscing on experiences that even then were 40 years in the past.