The new “Cinema Presents” book provides information on 30 actors from the history of cinema. We look into it as well.
Their aura is still fascinating, their cinematic legacy lingers to this day, and their life stories are often more exciting than the roles with which they became famous. Stars like Robert Redford (“The Clou”), Elizabeth Taylor (“Cleopatra”), Marlon Brando (“Endstation Sehnsucht”), Jack Nicholson (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”) and Grace Kelly (“Above the Roofs of Nice”) ) shaped the cinema with their incomparable style and acting class, broke outdated taboos with their political and social engagement and vehemently fought against social grievances. For this book, CINEMA, Germany’s best-known film magazine, opened its archives and immersed itself in the careers of the 30 greatest film stars. Find out how Marlene Dietrich (“The Blue Angel”) became a pioneer of female emancipation, Kirk Douglas (“Spartacus”) put the finger on the reactionary politics of America, James Dean (“Giants”) made himself immortal with just three films, Catherine Deneuve (“Belle de Jour”) cultivated her myth as an unapproachable diva and Sidney Poitier (“In the Heat of the Night”) countered racism with dignity and self-confidence.
“Filmstars” is another book from the “Cinema Presents” series and presents portraits of 30 stars who have shaped the dream factory over the years. They did not focus on the stars of modern times, but mostly presented actors from the 40s to 60s. Actually, this is not a bad move, because many young readers today are likely to be unfamiliar with them. Whether this arouses interest in the films is another question.
The people are presented here in words and pictures on several pages, whereby the photographs are mostly in color, which is of course a big plus. There is a selection of the most important films of the respective actor and in the individual texts the respective careers are examined in more detail. Amazingly, the book reads quite interestingly and also briefly introduces the respective era in which the films were produced.
It includes greats such as Sean Connery and Kirk Douglas, but also Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who were certainly known to everyone at the time, are not neglected here. Of course you can only make a certain selection with 30 people, but, as the foreword postulates, there is enough material for a second volume and if this is written like the present one, then it is difficult to criticize.
There is also a bit of shadow, however, because the information may not be as detailed as one would have liked. A few more personal information instead of just ticking off the stages in the life of the respective person would certainly not have been wrong. In doing so, some of the more ugly details would probably have come to light, but such a retrospective view might also have been interesting. Of course, the grumbling is at a high level and you just had to make a selection in order not to break the band in terms of content.
And, as is almost mandatory with such a band, you have to put up with the question at this point whether you can find all of this on the Internet. You certainly do that, even if perhaps not with all the details researched here and in this compilation – you will have to search here longer. As mentioned at the beginning, however, the good glossy finish scores points here, showing color photos, some of which are also rarer photos. So you can also see the book as a collector’s item that looks great on a bookshelf.
Well-written book about 30 actors from the last century, which impresses above all with the high-quality presentation and the rare set photos. Perhaps one could have gone into more detail in some places, but overall an informative work remains that can be recommended to anyone who is interested in the topic.
Information: A copy of this edition was given to the author by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of review.
|Author:||Philipp Schulze, Ralf Blau, Lennart Gotta, Janosch Leuffen, Lisa Schwarz, Oliver Noelle|
|Year of publication (original):||2021|
|Number of pages:||225|