Stuntman! My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life, by Hal Needham (Little, Brown, 2011).

The autobiography of the leading stuntman-turned-movie director. Packed full of anecdotes, this gung-ho version of events emphasises can-do attitude while giving plenty of insights into moviemaking and into what’s involved in executing high falls and car crashes. Lots of fun, even if you’re left wanting to know more about the stuff (and movies like Megaforce) that gets glossed over.

_

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Getting Away With It, by Steven Soderbergh (Faber and Faber, 1999)

Subtitled “The Further Adventures of the Luckiest Bastard You Ever Saw”, this balances a twelve-month journal of the film industry – there’s a lot here about Soderbergh juggling projects and writing-related procrastination – and a series of interviews with fellow film director Richard Lester. The book’ll make you want to go back and revisit Lester’s work: from the Goons to The Beatles to Superman via the best Musketeers movies. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

How to Stunt in Hollywood, by Amy Johnston (Amazon Createspace, 2018)

A series of interviews with Hollywood stunt performers. A stunt performer themselves, Johnston offers both a thematic and a stunt person-by-stunt person pathway through these interviews. Useful in giving insights into stunt folks’ perspectives on career-building, on storytelling through action, on working collaboratively in Hollywood, and on wider motivational and healthy living advice. Niche, perhaps, but informative and accessible.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

On Directing, by John Badham (Michael Wiese Productions, 2020)

The veteran film and television director on working in the industry. This second edition covers working with actors, directing action and suspense, TV and its differences to cinema, and preparation for shooting. An excellent personal perspective with practical value for any collaborative creative practitioner, drawing on a host of professional viewpoints and texts. Recommended.

_

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure, by Dan O’Bannon and Matt R Lohr (Michael Wiese Productions, 2012)

A guide to three act structure, and why it works for narrative cinema: including the Alien screenwriter’s own variant. Completed posthumously, this is an accessible, lightly erudite and fun guide to onscreen storytelling. One third structural analysis, one third application of O’Bannon’s version of the three act template to selected movies, one third industry observations.

_

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

An Illustrated History of Filmmaking, by Adam Allsuch Boardman (Nobrow Books, 2018)

An overview of the development of motion pictures, from pre-photographic days to the present. Good-looking but insubstantial introduction: the scope of the subject renders this patchy despite its intentions. A sense of Boardman working towards something: the follow-up volume (on UFOs) is a more focused beast. The images are great though.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Made Men: The Story of GoodFellas, by Glenn Kenny (Hanover Square Press, 2020)

A history of the making and reception of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film, itself based on Nicholas Pileggi’s book Wiseguy. A swaggering, exhaustive and detailed account of the movie, with new interviews accompanying archive material. A great book for anyone who’s a fan of the film and/or its director, and tons of fun in its own right. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Thunderbook: The World of Bond According to SmershPod, by John Rain (Polaris, 2019)

An overview of the Eon James Bond films to date. And not a very good one, either. Unlike the genial podcast which this book spins off from, this film-by-film precis doesn’t add much more than scattershot snark and the same overworked observations. A few useful bits of trivia emerge, but this is a disappointing, laboured, and repetitive effort.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Shining [Devil’s Advocates], by Laura Mee (Auteur Publishing, 2017)

A monograph on the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of the Stephen King novel. And a good one too; a smart, detailed and perceptive commentary on the movie, its production and reception. Academic but accessible, and even-handed in its analysis of the continuing significance of the movie as a popular culture touchstone. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England