Yo, Cineastes!

I have found a series of books for you film-lovers! The protagonist is named Valentino and he’s a film archivist at UCLA. As the author’s website says about him: he’s “a film detective for UCLA who inadvertently becomes an amateur sleuth.” More than that, he’s found an old 1920s theater he’s hell-bent to restore, and it’s costing him dearly in every possible way.

When the site was last updated there were four books. It hasn’t been updated to reflect the fifth, published six months ago. I’ve read the first two and enjoyed them. What really makes them stand out is the bibliography and other source material listed at the back of each book. For example, there are fifteen pages of discussion about books and films whose subject is Greta Garbo, whose letters and initial screen test provide the building blocks of the second book. It’s cleverly titled “Alone” and refers, of course, to Garbo’s famous (and always misquoted) wish. She did not say “I want to be alone.” She said “I want to be let alone,” which is entirely different. I didn’t know that until I read the book.

Anyway, they’re wonderful entertainment, chock-full of historical tidbits about The Golden Age of Hollywood. If you like movies and film history, you’ll enjoy these books.

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