Everybody loves a good villain and this book covers movie villains from the silent era through the 1960s. Best of all, it is written by William K. Everson, who was one of the most assertive defenders of silent movies during the mid-century dark age.
This 1964 book is an oversized hardcover (though paperback versions are available). It is completely out of print and but there are a great many copies available for as little as a few dollars. I highly recommend seeking out hardcover as oversized paperbacks tend to pull themselves apart if you read them more than a few times.
What is it?: A book dedicated to movie villains. Rather than organizing it by era or by star, Everson chose to sort it by villain type. So we have a chapter on Master Criminals, one for Psychos, another for Western Outlaws, etc. It is a clever way of sorting the information and makes it easy to read about the type of villain you are interested in.
Unlike many books of this type, the silent era villains are given equal attention. Everson even goes one better by explaining why some villains were more popular in sound and others reigned in silence.
Warning: My to-watch list is bursting at the seams thanks to this book and I think yours will be too.
Pictures: Tons of movie stills included, from both silent films and talkies and with thorough captioning.
Writing Style: Everson’s opinionated, persnickety prose is another selling point for this book. He takes occasional swipes at 1960s whippersnappers and their aggressive, unladylike heroines. It’s grand fun to read. I don’t always agree with Everson but I always like to read his thoughts on all things cinematic.
This book is perfect for reading or browsing. I consider it an ideal addition to any movie fan’s bookshelf.
Like what you’re reading? Please consider sponsoring me on Patreon. All patrons will get early previews of upcoming features, exclusive polls and other goodies.
Disclosure: Some links included in this post may be affiliate links to products sold by Amazon and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.