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Casablanca is "not one movie," Umberto Eco once quipped, "it is 'movies'".
Released in 1942, the film won 4 Oscars, including Best Picture and featured unforgettable performances by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
The book offers a rich account of the film's origins, the myths and realities behind its production, and the reasons it remains so revered today.
Through extensive research and interviews with film-makers, Noah Isenberg explores he ways in which the film continues to dazzle audiences and saturate popular culture 75 years after its release.
"A revelation."—Marc Weingarten, Washington Post
Acclaimed film director Billy Wilder’s early writings—brilliantly translated into English for the first time
Before Billy Wilder became the screenwriter and director of iconic films like Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot, he worked as a freelance reporter, first in Vienna and then in Weimar Berlin. Billy Wilder on Assignment brings together more than fifty articles, translated into English for the first time, that Wilder (then known as "Billie") published in magazines and newspapers between September 1925 and November 1930. From a humorous account of Wilder's stint as a hired dancing companion in a posh Berlin hotel and his dispatches from the international film scene, to his astute profiles of writers, performers, and political figures, the collection offers fresh insights into the creative mind of one of Hollywood’s most revered writer-directors.
Wilder’s early writings—a heady mix of cultural essays, interviews, and reviews—contain the same sparkling wit and intelligence as his later Hollywood screenplays, while also casting light into the dark corners of Vienna and Berlin between the wars. Wilder covered everything: big-city sensations, jazz performances, film and theater openings, dance, photography, and all manner of mass entertainment. And he wrote about the most colorful figures of the day, including Charlie Chaplin, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Prince of Wales, actor Adolphe Menjou, director Erich von Stroheim, and the Tiller Girls dance troupe. Film historian Noah Isenberg's introduction and commentary place Wilder’s pieces—brilliantly translated by Shelley Frisch—in historical and biographical context, and rare photos capture Wilder and his circle during these formative years.
Filled with rich reportage and personal musings, Billy Wilder on Assignment showcases the burgeoning voice of a young journalist who would go on to become a great auteur.
buffs, cinephiles and critics, Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour (1945) has recently earned
a new wave of recognition. In the words of film critic David Thomson, it is
simply 'beyond remarkable.' The only B-picture to make it into the National
Film Registry of the Library of Congress, Detour has outrun its fate as the
bastard child of one of Hollywood's lowliest studios. Ulmer's film follows, in
flashback, the journey of Al Roberts (Tom Neal), a pianist hitching from New
York to California to join his girlfriend Sue (Claudia Drake), a singer gone to
seek her fortune in Hollywood. In classic noir style, Detour features mysterious
deaths, changes of identity, an unforgettable femme fatale called Vera (Ann
Savage), and, in Roberts, a wretched, masochistic antihero.
Noah Isenberg's study of Detour draws on a vast array of archival sources,
unpublished letters and interviews, to provide an animated and thorough
account of the film's production history, its critical reception, its afterlife
(including various remakes) and the different ways in which the film has been
understood since its release. He devotes significant attention to each of the key
players in the film – the crew as well as the principal actors – while charting
the uneasy transformation of Martin Goldsmith's pulp novel into Ulmer's
signature film, the disagreements between the director and writer, and the
severe financial and formal limitations with which Ulmer grappled. The story
that Isenberg tells, rich in historical and critical insight, replicates the briskness
of a B-movie.