Wednesday, January 23, 2008

THE WARNER BROS. STORY by Clive Hirshhorn

The Book: Clive Hirshhorn, THE WARNER BROS. STORY: The Complete History of the Great Hollywood Studio; Every Warner Bros. Feature Film Described and Illustrated. Crown Publishers reprint, 1981. Very good book, fair dust jacket; dust jacket is chipped and torn at bottom of the spine.
First read: 1985
Owned since: 1985

This book was a gift from my then-boyfriend, but I no longer remember the occasion; it might have been Valentine's Day. In any case, it was a lovely present, and it's a book I'm still glad to have. It lists every Warner Brothers move from 1918's My Four Years in Germany to 1978's Superman: The Movie (illustrated with a full-page photograph of Christopher Reeve in costume that now seems unbearably sad).

What's fascinating about this book is the sheer volume of films the studio produced in the years before television, movies most of us have never heard of, featuring actors whose names have long been forgotten. I've talked about this before, but it's a subject that fascinates me -- the ephemeral nature of fame and success, the near-randomness of what gets remembered and what doesn't.

Twenty years from now, will we remember Heath Ledger? If we do, will we remember his performance in Brokeback Mountain, or his tragic death? Either way, he won't be making movies 20 years from now -- the way he should have been -- and that makes me angry. What a waste.

I am back in the land of the living today, after a visit to the doctor and some shockingly expensive prescriptions -- including an $87 bottle of cough syrup that was worth every penny. This stuff is miraculous; I've barely coughed in ten hours, and got the first full night of sleep I've had in weeks. Thanks, TussionEx!

Five Random Songs

"Blacklisted," Neko Case. A live recording from Mojo's in Columbia, MO. After the song, she talks about her bad day with hilarious frankness and the band tunes their instruments.

"First Time I Met the Blues," Buddy Guy. Buddy Guy puts on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. If you ever get a chance to see him, don't miss it.

"Wasting Time," The Judybats. The album's called Pain Makes You Beautiful, and most of the songs are about the virtues of doomed love affairs. (But as a friend of mine says, aren't they all? Love affairs, I mean ... doomed.)

"Revenge," Whiskeytown. It's an alt-country set this morning -- although this song is straight-ahead, pissed off guitar rock.

"The Old Main Drag," The Pogues. I would like to learn to play the mandolin. Anyone got a cheap used mandolin for sale?


Ed Lamb said...

Glad to see you're feeling better. But careful with that Tussionex. It's got the opium (hydrocode, specifically) in it. Don't become a Laudanum addict, like so many of those women in those books you persist in reading.

AnswerGirl said...

No worries -- the bottle is plastered with yellow warning labels and came with a three-page handout about its potential side effects and addictive properties. Almost enough to make me wonder about its street value...