cover image Talking Pictures: With the People Who Made Them

Talking Pictures: With the People Who Made Them

Sylvia Shorris. New Press, $25 (372pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-175-8

Featuring the unvarnished recollections of producers, directors, scriptwriters, film editors, camera operators, technicians and others, these 38 interviews provide a marvelous behind-the-scenes look at the creative alchemy that fueled Hollywood's golden age. Among the interviewees are assistant director Arthur Jacobson ( Miracle on 34th Street ), visual effects specialist Linwood Gale Dunn ( Citizen Kane ), producer Jack Cummings ( Kiss Me Kate ), Edward Bernds, soundman for Frank Capra's movies, composer Jule Styne and lyricist Sammy Cahn. Cameraman George Folsey explains how he brought the softness of muted light to black-and-white cinematography starring Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. Screenwriter John Bright recalls tailoring the scripts that made James Cagney a star. The reminiscences of all are spiced with shoptalk, juicy anecdotes and candid glimpses of moguls like Darryl Zanuck, Irving Thalberg, Louis B. Mayer, Harry Cohn and David Selznick--the legendary names are ever-present. Shorris, former assistant to Twentieth Century-Fox president Spyros Skouras, co-edited a study on Reaganomics, While Someone Else Is Eating . Bundy co-edited Fire in the Hills , a book about the 1991 Oakland/Berkeley firestorm. Photos. (June)