Movie Book Haul: In which my dive into dusty stacks pays off enormously

Any book nerd knows that a good used bookstore is worth its weight in gold. My personal preferred flavor is the “dusty teetering stacks” kind of establishment. I hit the shelves a little while back and emerged with some pretty amazing stuff. Share time!

First, I picked up a biography, a rather acclaimed one too:

chaplin robinson
Original dust jacket. Mine came without.

Chaplin: His Life and Art by David Robinson. I’ve been wanting to own this one for a while. I have borrowed copies but now it’s mine, mine, mine. Mwahahahaha!

Here’s a peek inside:

chaplin-insideNext, three books on non-Hollywood cinema. Huzzah!

japanese cinemaA Hundred Years of Japanese Film by Donald Richie. I am rather looking forward to this one as I enjoyed Richie’s book on the films of Akira Kurosawa. Also, a quick skim revealed pretty meaty coverage of the silent era. “Hundred year” books often gloss over pre-sound cinema and I am always pleased when the author takes some time to discuss early film.

A look inside:


And now here’s something really obscure! Joy!

shanghaiCinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai, 1922-1943, edited by Yingjin Zhang. I am insanely excited about this one! I am keen to learn more about Chinese silent cinema and this book places the films within the cultural context of Shanghai. This is very heavy, very geeky and very much up my alley. Score!

magical reelsMagical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America by John King. The section on silent cinema is pretty puny but it was cheap and so I got it. (Packrat!)

Next up, two books on the workings of Hollywood and the movies:

box officeHollywood and the Box Office 1895-1986 by John Izod. I took macro and micro economics for the humanities credit in college (they allowed it for one semester, it was weird) and had a blast. This book takes a look at the underlying box office concerns and how they shaped the movies. Juicy stuff and the silent era takes up almost half of the pages! Yay!


One Reel a Week by Fred Balshofer and Arthur Miller. The history of early film as told by two cameramen who lived through those exciting days? Yes, please! More nickelodeon goodness!

I saved the best for last and now, here is my favorite book of the entire haul:

And here I thought the idea was to make bad movies. I'm so glad they specified.
And here I thought the idea was to make bad movies. I’m so glad they specified.

How to Make Good Movies: A Complete Handbook for the Amateur Movie Maker by the Eastman Kodak Company. You may know this already but I collect how-to movie books from the silent era. Well, this is a mid-century version and it is so darn Mayberry that I couldn’t resist it. I mean, it’s not silent but LOOK AT THIS!





6 Replies to “Movie Book Haul: In which my dive into dusty stacks pays off enormously”

  1. I’ve read the Richie, and it definitely does give good coverage of silents from the 20s and 30s, not so much before that ,although it does mention a few (and there probably isn’t much surviving from the teens).

  2. I love these book stores and can be lost in them for a good couple of hours if not more. We have a couple in my city and I love the. And even their smells

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