Rosanne’s Top 5 Books for Film Buffs

Here are my Top 5 picks for the best books for film buffs.

Dunne, John Gregory. Monster: Living Off the Big Screen. New York: Random House, 1997.

Even though it’s about a film made in 1996 that even die hard Robert Redford fans have not likely seen (Up Close and Personal), this book about writing a blockbuster film by John Gregory Dunne discusses Hollywood honestly – especially as it deals with married screenwriters like he and his wife Joan Didion.

Harmetz, Aljean . The Making of Casablanca: Bogart, Bergman, and World War II. Hyperion, 2002.

You don’t need to love the film to like this book about how a classic came together. I like the way Harmetz gives backgrounds on all the supporting characters and we learn how many were refugees from Nazi regimes.

McGillligan, Patrick. Backstory: Interviews with Screenwriters of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

McGillligan has 4 more books in this series – each one containing long, interesting interviews with screenwriters from a particular era from the 1920s to the 1990s. And as we all know, writers are highly entertaining conversationalists!

Messenger, Chris. The Godfather and American Culture: How the Corleones Became “Our Gang.” Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

What’s to say except this is a great book if you love The Godfather – but even if you don’t it is a good reminder of how certain movies become entrenched in our national culture – and can do things like make us more comfortable with minorities so that they soon become majorities.

Norman, Marc. What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting. New York: Harmony Books, 2007.

This is the history of how screenwriters got screwed out of being considered the legal ‘authors’ of the works they write!

“Class of ’80” in Written By Magazine

If you’re a fan of 80s TV, check out my interview with Kenny Johnson, Steve Bochco, Don Bellisario and Stephen J. Cannell in this month’s Written By Magazine — “Class of 80”

Written By Magazine

We talked about all their signature shows that have been ‘re-imagined’ and their days as staff writers at Universal. The issue has a wonderful memorial to Mr. Cannell as well.  I spoke to him a couple of months before he passed away with no knowledge that he was ill.  It lead to the magazine collecting several pages of tributes from other writers he worked with across the years – a real time-capsule of television in one of its heydays.