Also of interest… in tales of Old Hollywood
Hitler in Los Angeles
by Steven J. Ross (Bloomsbury, $30)
When Nazis plotted to seize control of 1930s Hollywood, their scheme was “utterly cinematic,” said Liel Leibovitz in TabletMag.com. In historian Steven Ross’ telling, the mostly forgotten conspiracy unfolded in a Los Angeles rife with fascist sympathizers, including a group of Hitler loyalists who hoped to trigger armed uprisings in multiple cities. Fortunately, a Jewish lawyer had set up a local spy ring that was able to infiltrate the Nazi cabal. The war, and the spy chief, were just getting started.
Hank and Jim
by Scott Eyman (Simon & Schuster, $29)
Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart shared more than a knack for playing noble everyman characters, said Jay Strafford in the Richmond, Va., Times-Dispatch. In this “keen and nuanced” double biography, informed by interviews with Jane and Peter Fonda, author Scott Eyman charts a long friendship that survived political differences and personal turmoil. The lives the two stars led onscreen and off “affirm the complexities and contradictions of human existence.”
by David Thomson (Yale, $25)
“I can imagine only one thing more pleasurable than reading this book: writing it,” said Dennis Drabelle in The Washington Post. Critic and film historian David Thomson “takes palpable delight” in recounting how the studio founded by four sons of a Youngstown, Ohio, shoemaker developed into a hit factory capable of producing such classics as Casablanca. As the story unfolds, Thomson piles in sideshows galore, including a wry appreciation of contract player Joan Blondell.
by Tippi Hedren (William Morrow, $16)
Tippi Hedren’s memoir “puts gossips out of their misery early,” said Tom Shone in The New York Times. The book, now out in paperback, barely begins before the screen icon introduces Alfred Hitchcock and proceeds to confirm that the director sexually assaulted her, then blackballed her when she fought back. But she did have a second act: creating a lion sanctuary and surviving a brutal leopard attack during the 11-year filming of a reckless passion project. ■