Rutgers Films in Print series

Showing 1-6 of 10 items.

The Maltese Falcon

John Huston, director

Edited by William Luhr
Rutgers University Press

Few films have had the impact or retained the popularity of The Maltese Falcon. An unexpected hit upon its release in 1941, it helped establish the careers of John Huston and Humphrey Bogart while also helping both to transform the detective genre of movies and to create film noir. This volume includes an introduction by its editor and a shot-by-shot continuity of the film, as well as essays on its production, on literary and film traditions it drew upon, and on its reputation and influence over the last half century.

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Imitation of Life

Douglas Sirk, Director

Edited by Lucy Fischer
Rutgers University Press

Douglas Sirk (Claus Detler Sierck) was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1900. He made nine films before fleeing Nazi Germany, eventually coming to America. His best-known films, made during the 1950s—all of them melodramas—were Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, The Tarnished Angels, Written on the Wind, and Imitation of Life (made in 1958, released in 1959).

Because of the special stamp he put on his melodramas, Sirk's best works transcend the constraints of their genre. In them, he both exemplified and critiqued postwar, conservative, materialistic life and its false value systems. There is much in Sirk, particularly in Imitation of Life, that is of interest to us today. The time seems to be right for a new look at the film, its reception amidst scandal over the affairs of its star—Lana Turner—the relationships between its mothers and daughters, the tensions between its men and its women, the friendships between its black and white women, and the ambiguous, controversial approach of Sirk to his material.

This volume includes the complete continuity script of the film, critical commentary and published reviews, interviews with the director, and a filmography and bibliography. It also includes an excellent introduction by Lucy Fischer.

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Memories Of Underdevelopment

Rutgers University Press

Memories of Underdevelopment was the first great international success of Cuban cinema. The film provides a complex portrait of Sergio, a disaffected bourgeois intellectual who remains in Havana after the Revolution, suspended between two worlds. He can no longer accept the values of his family's reactionary past and yet boredom and the conditioning of his early life prevent him from committing himself to the new revolutionary society. Sergio's story is played out in the turbulent period of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the 1962 missile crisis, events he can only watch on his television screen or from his apartment balcony.The film, initially banned by the U.S. government as part of its trade quarantine of Cuba, was shown here five years after its original release. But American critics responded enthusiastically to it and the National Society of Film Critics bestowed an award on its director.

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Don Siegel, director

Edited by Al LaValley
Rutgers University Press

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is a low-budget science fiction film that has become a classic. The suspense of the film lies in discovering, along with Miles, the central character (played by Kevin McCarthy), who is "real" and who is not, and whether Miles and Becky (played by Dana Wynter) will escape the pod takeover. As the center of the film moves outward from a small-town group of neighbors to the larger political scene and institutional network (of police, the FBI, hospital workers), the ultimate question is whether "they" have taken over altogether. Although Invasion can be interpreted in interesting ways along psychological and feminist lines, its importance as a text has centered primarily on political and sociological readings. In his introduction to this volume, Al LaValley explores the politics of the original author of the magazine serial story on which the film is based, Don Siegel; and of its screenwriter, Daniel Mainwaring. And he looks at the ways the studio (Allied Artists) tried to neutralize certain readings by tacking on an explanatory frame story. The commentary section includes readings by Stephen King, Peter Biskind, Nora Sayre, and Peter Bogdanovich. A section of postproduction documents reproduced here (many for the first time) includes many written by Wanger and Siegel. The volume also contains two previously unpublished framing scripts written for Orson Welles. For students and individual enthusiasts, the contextual materials are particularly interesting in showing how crucial the postproduction history of a film can be. A filmography and bibliography are also included in the volume. Al LaValley is the director of film studies at Dartmouth. He is the author of many articles on film and editor of Mildred Pierce in the Wisconsin screenplay series.

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Chimes at Midnight

Orson Welles, Director

Rutgers University Press

Among the films inspired by Orson Welles's lifelong involvement with Shakespeare, the greatest is Chimes at Midnight (1966). It is a masterly conflation of the Shakespearean history plays that feature Falstaff, the great comic figure played by Welles himself in the film. For Welles, the character was also potentially tragic: the doomed friendship between Falstaff and Prince Hal becomes an image of the end of an age. To this epic subject Welles brings the innovative film techniques that made him famous in Citizen Kane, TheLady from Shanghai, and Touch of Evil.

This volume offers a complete continuity script of Chimes at Midnight, including its famous battle sequence. Each shot is described in detail and is keyed to the original Shakesperian sources, thus making the volume an invaluable guide to Welles as an adaptor and creator of texts. The first complete transcription of the continuity script of Chimes is accompanied by the editor's critical introduction on Welles's transformation of Shakespeare; a special interview with Keith Baxter, one of the film's principal actors, which discusses its production history; reviews and articles; and a biographical sketch of Welles, a filmography, and a bibliography.

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Bringing Up Baby

Howard Hawks, Director

Edited by Gerald Mast
Rutgers University Press

Bringing Up Baby (1938) is the essence of thirties screwball comedy. It is also quintessential Howard Hawks, treating many of the director's favorite themes, particularly the loving war between the sexes. Bringing Up Baby features Katharine Hepburn as a flaky heiress and Cary Grant as an absentminded paleontologist, roles in which they come into their own as stars and deliver particularly fine comic performances. Pauline Kael has called the film the "American movies' closest equivalent to Restoration comedy." The comparison is based on the quick repartee and witty dialogue, a hallmark of Hawks's work and well conveyed here by Gerald Mast's transcription from the screen.

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