Am I giving away my age if I say that I grew up watching the marvellous Margaret Rutherford on TV in those wonderful Miss Marple movies, not to mention other British gems such as The Importance of Being Earnest, Passport to Pimlico and An Alligator Named Daisy? A new biography of the grand lady is just one of a number of new books hitting our performing arts shelves.
One of the most beloved of all English character actresses, Margaret Rutherford’s private life was darker than her various screen personas let on. Family tragedy and a “difficult” marriage to Stringer Davis (who costarred with her in many films) didn’t get in the way of a series of quirky and endearing portayals of uniquely British types.
To say that the academic industry has finally caught up with popular film genres would be to put it mildly! Since its earliest days the film industry has capitalised on its ability to recreate life on a grand scale, and this isn’t the first volume to cast a critical gaze over epic cinema.
Of all genres, the horror film has surely been the focus of the most extraordinary array of critical, social, historical and philosophical investigations. This collection of essays ranges from films such as The Black Cat (1934) to recent gore-fests such as the Saw franchise, and attempts to explain what these and other films say about their contemporary societies. Maybe we shouldn’t ask!
From the sublime to the sublime! Lofti Mansouri has been involved in the operatic world for over 40 years both as a director and manager, and his autobiography apparently isn’t shy about setting the record straight about the divas, divos and other assorted sacred-monsters he’s worked with over the years. It’s also a chronicle of the life work of a man who, apart from other achievements, commissioned important works from the likes of John Adams, Jake Heggie and Andre Previn. Not a bad legacy.