New books, DVDs and Blu-Rays keep streaming through LIS & onto our shelves! LIS currently has a couple of gems which take a “behind the scenes” look at two giants in film, John Ford and Elia Kazan. The first book, “Ford at Fox: A Great Director’s Professional Home,” was published in 2007, with an introductory by Joseph McBride. It follows Ford’s early years at Fox, where he began his career in 1920, while on loan from Universal. He stayed at Fox through its transition into Twentieth-Century Fox, after the Depression era in 1935. Ford directed nearly 50 films at Fox, up until 1952. “His long and fertile relationship with Fox was among the most extensive director/studio relationships in the history of American film.” In 1939 Ford directed “Up the River,” debuting young actors Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart in their first full length feature. 1939 brought Ford’s classic, “Young Mr. Lincoln” with Henry Fonda. The 40s’ decade offered ”The Grapes of Wrath” and ”How Green was my Valley.” This is a fascinating look into American icon John Ford and his work at Fox.
Also on the new books shelf is a look at Elia Kazan’s brilliant, yet sometimes controversial career. Simply titled, “Elia Kazan” by David M. Gillen, published in 2010, it chronicles the films of another Fox veteran, who began his career in 1944 at Fox to direct five films in the same amount of years. Kazan bravely confronted pressing social topics in his time: class division, bigotry and corruption. Uncomparable works of directorial art were crafted; these films include ”A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “On the Waterfront,” “East of Eden,” “Splendor in the Grass,” Babydoll” and ”A Face in the Crowd.” His last work was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel, “The Last Tycoon” (1976) with Robert DiNiro. Oscar awards for recipients crowd the book’s pages, along with notes on celebrated actors and collaborators with whom Kazan created his cinematic masterpieces. Both books are fantastic “must-reads” for those who appreciate the art of film.