A mixed bag from the new books shelf this week; just the way I like it!

That movie book : awesome, weird and wonderful movies for every weekend of the year by Marc Fennell

HarperCollins Publishers, 2011

HarperCollins Publishers, 2011

I used to enjoy Marc Fennell’s enthusiastic movie rants on the revamped (and sadly shortlived) SBS Movie Show (you know, after Margaret and David jumped ship). Since then he has continued to provide his own brand of movie-mania across a variety of different television and radio shows, and this book manages to capture his endearing, if somewhat loopy, style; and I mean that in a nice way, of course! He’s a fan of two favourites of mine, Big Trouble in Little China and Silver Streak, so really that’s all you need to know….

The Cambridge companion to Australian art edited by Jaynie Anderson

Cambridge University Press, 2011

Cambridge University Press, 2011

This diverse collection of essays from 24 authors range from rock art and bark painting to photography and new media in the 21st century. Growing out of a 2008 international art history conference held at the University of Melbourne titled Crossing Cultures. Conflict, Migration and Convergence, these scholarly essays explore Australian art within a number of fascinating contexts.

The book of the wind : the representation of the invisible by Alessandro Nova

McGill-Queen's University Press, 2011

McGill-Queen's University Press, 2011

The question of how art depicts the invisible is creatively dealt with in this beautiful “biography” of the wind. The author uses everything from classical monuments to mediaeval manuscripts to Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculpture and beyond to tell the life story of something we all take for granted, except when it turns nasty on us! Very clever.

MGM : Hollywood’s greatest backlot by Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester, Michael Troyan

Santa Monica Press, 2011

Santa Monica Press, 2011

If you’re a movie buff then this book will have an almost hypnotic appeal! The major Hollywood studios all created vast backlots during their heyday, and there was no studio more major than MGM and no backlot more vast. This profusely illustrated book is a virtual history of the studio told through the life and death of its extraordinary series of backlots, from the New York street scene, to the quaint French village, to the African jungle set, to the Roman amphitheatre, to Esther Williams swimming pool palaces, and beyond! This really is a lost world, overtaken by special effects and computer generated environments, and seeing it here in glorious black-and-white makes you marvel yet again at the remarkable achievement of the Hollywood studio system.

Something windy from our Picture Collection

Two men walking against the wind

Two men walking against the wind

This article has 3 comments

  1. Are you sure those two men in the photo are not just French mimes pretending to walk against the wind? From the famous French Antarctic Mime Expedition of 1922?

  2. The MGM backlot was an amazing place, a self-contained city. Highly recommended.

  3. Thanks for the kind words and the feedback regarding IE, but we can’t spot the problem and we’re using Internet Explorer too! Can you or the other readers fill us in on this issue?

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