On The Bedside Table - New Books

Just a quick drive by to highlight a couple of new books.  The first will be published in October, just in time to start your Xmas shopping. 

Just when you thought nothing more could have been discovered, or written, about the Marx Brothers, Robert Bader has proven the naysayers wrong with what looks to be an exhaustive and epic look at their stage career in Four of the Three Musketeers.  This is a subject that, more often than not, is touched upon or completely overlooked when talking about The Marx Brothers. 

This is a very important book to add to the canon of Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo.  With recommendations by Dick Cavett and Leonard Maltin at the publisher website, I do not need any more nudging than this to pre-order it.

From the publisher website:

Before film made them international comedy legends, the Marx Brothers developed their comic skills on stage for twenty-five years. In Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage, Robert S. Bader offers the first comprehensive history of the foursome’s hardscrabble early years honing their act in front of live audiences.

From Groucho’s debut in 1905 to their final live performances of scenes from A Night in Casablanca in 1945, the brothers’ stage career shows how their characters and routines evolved before their arrival in Hollywood. Four of the Three Musketeers draws on an unmatched array of sources, many not referenced elsewhere. Bader’s detailed portrait of the struggling young actors both brings to vivid life a typical night on the road for the Marx Brothers and also illuminates the inner workings of the vaudeville business, especially during its peak in the 1920s.

As Bader traces the origins of the characters that would later come to be beloved by filmgoers, he also skillfully scrapes away the accretion of rumors and mythology perpetuated not only by fans and writers but by the Marx Brothers themselves. Revealing, vital, and entertaining, Four of the Three Musketeers will take its place as an essential reference for this iconic American act.

Newly listed on amazon and on the publisher website is a delightful new book by author (and blogger) Jennifer Ann Redmond is Reels and Rivals: Sisters in Silent Film.  Some names Jennifer has explored in the book may be unfamiliar to you.  In their heyday, they were big stars. If you love the silent era,  if you have a sister, well, this is a must read!

From the publisher website:

Female silent film stars possessed beauty, persistence, flair, and probably a sister in the business.
You may have seen Mae Marsh in The Birth of a Nation (1915), Constance Talmadge in Intolerance (1916), or Lillian Gish in Broken Blossoms (1919), but their sisters also starred in major motion pictures, such as Marguerite Marsh in The Master Mystery (1919), Norma Talmadge in The Battle Cry of Peace (1915), and Dorothy Gish in Orphans of the Storm (1921).
These six appeared in countless movies. Most of their films are lost, but their legends remain.     
Few knew at the time that these extraordinary women were more than just faces on a screen; they were complex and human, with sometimes strange parents, body image issues, and relationship struggles. Their mistakes and triumphs often mirrored our own, though they were miles away in Hollywood. Their stories of violent marriages, heartbreaking tragedies, drastic surgeries, and secret identities are finally revealed in a candid exposé of the truth behind the tinsel.
Sister stars in Reels and Rivals that are profiled include: Norma and Constance Talmadge; Lillian and Dorothy Gish; Edna Flugrath and sisters Shirley Mason and Viola Dana; Helene and Dolores Costello; Poly Ann and Loretta Young with sister Sally Blane; Constance and Faire Binney; Priscilla and Marjorie Bonner; Grace and Mina Cunard; Alice and Marceline Day; Marion and Madeline Fairbanks; Laura and Violet La Plante; Mae and Marguerite Marsh; Ella, Ida Mae, and Fay McKenzie; Beatriz and Vera Michelena; Mary and Florence Nash; Sally O’Neil and sister Molly O’Day; Mabel and Edith Taliaferro; Olive and Alma Tell; and famous Vaudevillians The Duncan Sisters and The Dolly Sisters.


Tinky said…
They both sound pretty terrific! I hope reviews will be forthcoming....

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