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Books for Film Buffs

Dive deep into the history of film with a reading list that includes "This Was Hollywood," "Made Men" and "Wild Minds" / BY Nathalie Atkinson / January 13th, 2021

Before watching David Fincher’s new biopic Mank, bone up on your Hollywood history. That way you’ll know more than the fact that it was Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz who sarcastically said “there but for the grace of God goes God” upon spotting Orson Welles. For the cinephiles, these books are sure to delight.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image. 

1This Was HollywoodCarla Valderrama

Inspired by her hugely popular Instagram account, these tales about lesser-known stars unearthed from 50 years of the Golden Age of Hollywood range from forgotten child star Cora Sue Collins’s #MeToo story to the anti-Communist statement John Garfield submitted to celebrity gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.




2Celeste Holm SyndromeDavid Lazar

Character actors we know and love, like Martin Balsam, Eric Blore, Thelma Ritter, Eve Arden and Oscar Levant, get a second look. As he reappraises their talent, these personal essays by Lazar, a nonfiction writer and Columbia College Chicago professor, also reconsider the gender politics and ageism at work in the studio system of the time.



3The Big GoodbyeSam Wasson

This 360-degree history of New Hollywood and the making of Chinatown furthers the Los Angeles creation myth and lionizes the men – Robert Towne, Roman Polanski, Jack Nicholson and Robert Evans – the movies, and the misbehaviour of the era.






4Wild MindsReid Mitenbuler

The untold origin stories of the colourful artists, personalities, and behind-the-scenes rivalries of iconic and often subversive creators like Winsor McCay, Max Fleischer, Walt Disney and Chuck Jones during the early and Golden Age of classic animation.






5Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas and the Reboot of the American GangsterGlenn Kenny

There is absolutely nothing you won’t know about of the meaning, making, and reception of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 crime classic (without which there would be no Sopranos!) after reading this book. 

Movie lovers who subscribe to auteur theory will want to pick up The Nolan Variations by Tom Shone and Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks by Canadian film critic Adam Nayman. Each is a deep dive into the creative process, works and influences of these two contemporary Hollywood filmmakers.



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