Archives for films

Famous people, reading… Grace Kelly

Not a photo of Grace Kelly, reading, on a day off. This is a scene towards the end of Rear Window and Kelly’s character Lisa Fremont is reading Beyond the High Himalayas. When her boyfriend falls asleep, she abandons her book and picks up a fashion magazine. The original edition of Beyond the High Himalayas was published in by Doubleday in 1952. William O Douglas [below] was nominated by Franklin D Roosevelt as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Rear Window, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was released in 1954. It is based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story It Had To Be Murder. Jeff Jeffries [James Stewart] has broken his leg and is confined to a wheelchair in his apartment. His rear window looks out onto a courtyard and other apartments and, during a heatwave, he watches his neighbours. He becomes convinced he has seen a murder and his girlfriend Lisa investigates. Watch the trailer here.   ‘Beyond the High Himalayas’ by William O Douglas [UK: Pickard Press] See these other famous people, reading & writing:- Jerry Lewis Johnny Depp Alexa Chung And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
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Categories: Book Love.

Famous people, reading… Johnny Depp

Sitting in a bar, American actor Johnny Depp seems engrossed in his book. The edition of Hell’s Angels that Johnny is reading looks like a first edition [below] published in 1966 in the USA by Random House. It is a close-up look at a Hell’s Angels motor cycle club at a time when the gang was highly feared and accused of numerous criminal activities. It was Thompson’s first non-fiction book, but the book for which he is best known [and the film in which he was portrayed by Depp] is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, published in 1971. The film for which Depp is most likely preparing, by reading all Thompson’s books, was released in 1998 and directed by Python, Terry Gilliam. Gilliam also co-wrote the screenplay. Described as a black comedy road movie, Depp plays Raoul Duke alongside Benicio del Toro as Dr Gonzo. Watch the trailer here.   ‘Hell’s Angels’ by Hunter S Thompson [UK: Penguin Modern Classics] See these other famous people, reading & writing:- Gregory Peck Madonna James Patterson And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Famous people, reading… Johnny Depp #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-38H via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love.

First Edition: Rebecca

Never out of print, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is loved for its opening line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” It is a timeless combination of romance, jealousy, intimidation, mystery & death. First published in 1938 it was an immediate hit and sold nearly 3 million copies between 1938 and 1965. Ultimately, there are a lot of secondhand editions out there. It has been translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, German, Portugese, Spanish, Persian, Hungarian, Romanian, Polish, Greek, Latvian, Dutch and Czech. That’s quite a list.  This first UK edition [above right] comes with a Menabilly headed letter from du Maurier which briefly discusses her Christmas and New Year, and is signed ‘Yours sincerely, Daphne du Maurier’. Rare, it is for sale [at time of going to press] by John Atkinson Books for £2,750. The story A naïve young woman marries wealthy older widower Maxim. When he takes her to his home, Manderley, the unnamed narrator, the young wife, learns about the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca. Housekeeper Mrs Danvers continually tries to undermine the second Mrs de Winter, showing her contempt for the young woman, her inefficiency, her mousiness, her naivety. Believing Maxim still
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Categories: Book Love.

First Edition: The Hundred and One Dalmations

My first memory of the iconic children’s book The Hundred and One Dalmations by Dodie Smith, is actually the Disney animated film. This was quickly followed by a Puffin edition, which I sadly no longer have. That films are still being made of the story, and there is demand for old copies of the novel at rare booksellers, is, I think, testamount to the longevity of the book. Long may it continue, even if it includes no fight scenes, no dragons, no magic, no vampires or spaceships. First editions At bookseller Peter Harrington, there are three first editions available [at time of going to press].   A special edition by Heinemann 1956, £1,500, bound in white morocco with black onlay patches to resemble the coat of a Dalmation dog [above left]. The second example for sale is also a 1956 Heinemann first edition, £975, including black and white illustrations by Janet and Ann Grahame-Johnstone [above top right]. The third book, a pink leather first edition by Heinemann, 1956, £2,000, features an onlaid Dalmation on the front cover plus paw prints above lower right]. The story Pongo and Missis are a pair of spotty Dalmation dogs which live with Mr and Mrs
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Categories: Book Love.

First Edition: Jurassic Park

First published in the USA on November 20, 1990, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton would, like HG Wells and Jules Verne, bring science fiction to the masses and to the movie screen. The book actually started life as a screenplay written in 1983 in which a graduate student creates a dinosaur. Then, given the fact that genetic research is expensive and there was no need to create a dinosaur, Crichton changed the story so the dinosaurs were made to put into an entertaining wildlife park. Another thing changed from first to final draft was the point of view: originally it was told from a child’s viewpoint, but Crichton changed it when everyone who read the draft felt it would be better told by an adult. A signed US 1st edition [above] is for sale [at time of going to press] on eBay for $225. Read more about the first edition of the 1991 UK hardback edition [below] published by Century at Biblio.  The story Following strange animal attacks in Costa Rica and nearby island Isla Nublar, one of the animals involved is identified as an extinct dinosaur. Palaeontologist Alan Grant and paleobotanist Ellie Satler are asked to confirm this, but are
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Categories: Book Love.

Writing romantic comedy: Nancy Meyers

Do the same writing rules apply to films as to novels? Film director Nancy Meyers – What Women Want, and It’s Complicated – told Grazia magazine [January 18, 2010] the top six things she thinks women want at the movies. Do they apply to romantic novels too? One. Cast a lead man who looks like a nice person. “Most women’s husbands and boyfriends don’t look like movie stars. That’s why I cast Jack Black as Kate Winslet’s love interest in The Holiday.” Two. Romance doesn’t always mean boy meets girl. “Women want films with substance humour, which also reflect their own lives.” She cites The Devil Wears Prada, where the romance is between the woman and her work, her relationship with her boyfriend didn’t really matter. Three. Don’t sideline the women. She is disappointed with some romcom films. “A couple of years ago, all the romantic comedies were guys with guys, films like Wedding Crashers or Knocked Up”. Four. Less can be more. Movies don’t need to be big productions with massive budgets. She cites the classic 1960 comedy-drama The Apartment which was filmed in 30 days. “These days, audiences are used to getting something new and more dazzling every second,
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Film/Book: ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach

The Book by Deborah Moggach This is another book which successfully translated from the page to the cinema, perhaps because the screenplay was written by the author? In this case the original novel, These Foolish Things [see the original paperback cover above, which I bought in 2005] was re-named for the film. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a long title to fit onto a book cover or spine, but that is not a problem for the film. Moggach is the sort of author who, once discovered, is always loved. The first paragraph is so visual, it’s easy to see why it was made into a film: “Muriel Donnelly, an old girl in her seventies, was left in a hospital cubicle for forty-eight hours. She had taken a tumble in Peckham High Street and was admitted with cuts, bruises and suspected concussion. Two days she lay in A&E, untended, the blood stiffening on her clothes.” If you have watched the film, you know Muriel is played by Maggie Smith. The Film: In 2011, the first of what was to become a pair of films based on Deborah Moggach’s novel, was released. The pedigree was impressive: Moggach wrote the screenplay, the
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Categories: Book Love.

Film/Book: ‘Last Orders’ by Graham Swift

Last Orders – The Book Won the 1996 Booker Prize.  Left, is the cover of my much-thumbed paperback bought in 1996. See the current cover below. Why is this book so special? The characters are so real, the situation so real. We are used to reading great American novels about family. Well this is a great British novel about family and friends, their lives, the inter-connections, the squabbles and the love. And it takes place over the course of one day. Brief summary: butcher Jack Dodds has died and he requested his ashes be scattered at Margate. So his three best friends and his son drive to the Kent seaside town and along the way we see Jack’s life story, his war service, hop picking and meeting Amy, and finally struggling with the finances of his butcher’s shop. From the first line, the voice of Jack’s friend, Ray, is so clear: “It ain’t your regular sort of day. Bernie pulls me a pint and puts it in front of me. He looks at me, puzzled, with the loose, doggy face but he can tell I don’t want to chit-chat. That’s why I’m here, five minutes after opening, for a little
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Mobile Library

Stuffed with book and movie references – from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe to The Terminator – if Mobile Library by David Whitehouse was a film it would be described as a ‘road movie’. Really, it’s a book about running away to find yourself. Chapter One, titled ‘The End’ is reminiscent of Thelma and Louise and The Italian Job. A mobile library van stands at the edge of cliffs, surrounded by police. Inside are Bobby, Rosa and Val. We don’t know who they are or why they are there: such an incentive to keep reading. Twelve year-old Bobby lives with his father and his father’s girlfriend Cindy, a mobile hairdresser who paints a look of suspicion onto her face every morning with her foundation. Bobby misses his mother and saves anything of hers he can find: hairs from her hairbrush, scraps of paper. When his schoolfriend, Sunny, offers to protect Bobby from the bullies by turning into a cyborg like The Terminator, neither of them realize what that really entails. Bones are broken, blood is spilled, until Phase Three when Sunny ends up in hospital and disappears. Bobby, alone, passes the time by peeling wallpaper off his bedroom walls.
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Categories: Book Love.

#Flashfortnight… Movies

The theme for the fourth day of #Flash Fortnight was Movies. A passenger steps into Jarek’s black cab and enters a world of movies and double-meanings. Click here to read Movies for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Coming tomorrow… Home.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

I agree with… Chris Pavone

“My intention with the book was always to put ordinary people into extraordinary situations. I think there is a remarkable amount of fiction that is about incredible, superheroic people doing these amazing things that strain credulity to the point where I don’t want to read them. My books are about people who could be your neighbours who suddenly find themselves in these incredible situations.” Chris Pavone talking about ‘The Accident’, in an interview with ‘Kirkus Reviews’ [March 10, 2014] And that, I think, is what makes readers identify with literary characters: that they are ordinary people. That’s why Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey – a book that should be on the shelf of every novelist and writer of screenplays – advocates establishing the protagonist’s ‘ordinary world’ before the main action starts. It is difficult, reading The Accident, to accept that he has read little crime fiction but Pavone has worked in book publishing in the US for 20 years as an editor at Clarkson Potter specialising in cookbooks. So something must have rubbed off. To read my review of The Accident, click here. To read the full article at Kirkus Reviews, click here. To read an excerpt of The Accident,
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Film/Book: ‘All the Birds, Singing’ by Evie Wyld

There is to be a film of All the Birds, Singing, the captivating novel by Evie Wyld [below]. The tale of mysterious Jack unfolds between Australia and England. The film rights have been bought by Capa Pictures and Asylum Giant. Carola Ash [below], producer and CEO at Capa Pictures, is a former head of production for Warner Brothers International Television while CEO at Asylum Giant, Mark Lo, worked on films such as The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.  To read my review of All the Birds, Singing, click here. To listen to Evie Wyld talk about why working in her bookshop, Review, in London, is a good grounding for a hopeful author, click here. Read The Guardian’s review of Evie’s book here Visit Evie’s website here.   ‘All the Birds, Singing’ by Evie Wyld [UK: Vintage] Buy now Read about these other books, made into films:- ‘Last Orders’ by Graham Swift ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Film/book: ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING by Evie Wyld #books & #film via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-Qg
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Categories: Book Love.

↑↓ Going Up Going Down 16

↑ Dark Matter to be filmed Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter is a creepy ghost/thriller book that I loved. And now it is to be made into a film by DNA Films, which is developing the project with Film4. Screenwriter Dennis Kelly is adapting the screenplay. The novel tells the story of a 1937 British expedition to the high Arctic which takes a hugely sinister turn. Click here to read about how Michelle researched the book:- http://www.michellepaver.com/researching-dark-matter/ ↑ Gaiman on getting kids reading Thumbs up to fantasy author Neil Gaiman who lambasted book snobs in a recent lecture given on behalf of The Reading Agency. People who decide children should read only worthy books are misguided, he suggested, when the motivation should be to get children reading something, anything, first. Then, they can discover reading. That is why our public libraries are so important. “The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them. “I don’t think there is such a thing
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Categories: Book Love.

New books coming soon….

Three new novels from fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie. The first, Half a King, will be published by Harper Collins next year and is a coming-of-age tale aimed at young readers. It is the story of Yarvi, youngest son of a warlike king, and is set in an alternative historical world akin to the Dark Ages. Yarvi, born with a crippled hand, cannot live up to his father’s expectations. The three new novels are standalone stories, but are inter-connected and aimed at 12-16 year olds.   The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings will be published in June 2014 by Cutting Edge Press. Her debut novel, Sworn Secret, published by Canvas, has high ratings on Goodreads as a difficult and emotional read leaving some readers in tears. Faber will publish Hanif Kureishi’s new novel in February 2014. The Last Word tells the story of Mamoon, an Indian writer in his seventies, based in England, who faces falling book sales and a wife with expensive tastes. Harry, a young biographer, commissioned to write a book which will revitalise Mamoon’s sales, prompting a struggle to tell the truth. Later this year a film will be released, written by Kureishi, called Le Weekend and starring
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Categories: Book Love.

If books were real, Bella Swan…

Bella Swan… would be a vampire and live in Forks, she… would wear edgy Chanel make-up and… Victoria Beckham dresses every day.   ‘Breaking Dawn’ by Stephanie Meyer [UK: Atom] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Mr Wickham in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Sarah Burton in ‘South Riding’ Torak in ‘Wolf Brother’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, what would Bella Swan wear? BREAKING DAWN by Stephanie Meyer via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-no
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Categories: Book Love and If books were real....

If books were real, Jack Ryan…

Jack Ryan… would watch the car advertisements on TV and buy his daughter Sally a brand new VW Polo to go away to university.   ‘Patriot Games’ by Robert Ludlum [UK: Harper Collins] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Hercule Poirot in ‘Death on the Nile Mr Wickham in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Jackson Brodie in ‘Case Histories’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Jack Ryan would buy a #VW Polo: PATRIOT GAMES by Tom Clancy via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-bu
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Categories: Book Love and If books were real....