January 2, 2017

Hammer Films – The Unsung Heroes


When offered the choice to review a new book on the history of Britain's legendary Hammer film company, I jumped at the chance � I've had a soft spot for cheesy horror films for a number of years, and have often wanted a broader knowledge of the Hammer House of Horror's Gothic classics. Sadly, and with no disrespect intended to the book, this really wasn't the place for me to start. Let me begin by saying that this book is hardcore. Focusing not on the actors and familiar faces of the … [Read more...]

Will Hay by Graham Rinaldi


Once in a while, you come across a biography of a film star written not by an accredited film historian, or a professional writer on an assignment, but an uberfan. You can tell them by the copious illustrations sourced from "Authors Own Collection", a tendency towards hagiography, and a tedious writing style, such that you imagine meeting the author in the pub; he starts to tell you of his subject, you feel compelled to edge away before escaping through the toilet window. Well, while Graham … [Read more...]

Whatshisname: The Life and Death of Charles Hawtrey


Though Hawtrey�s face and voice are familiar to anyone who has even flicked past a Carry On, few are familiar with his personal history or private life (ergo the title, Whatshisname) or the length and depth of his career. In truth the actor�s seedy and quite miserable private life are a great contrast to his charming onscreen persona and modestly impressive achievements in an acting career which started young, though never reached the heights he so desperately craved. These contrasts and … [Read more...]

All My Shows Are Great – The Life of Lew Grade by Lewis Chester


Lewis Chester hasn't got a background in Film or TV History; he's an old-fashioned proper investigative journalist, an ex-member of the Sunday Times' Insight team; this background gives him two things....an ability to tell a story well, and an inherent sympathy towards the subject matter, whose generosity towards journalists was the stuff of legend....and that legend, amongst others, is the story that Lewis Chester is telling. At the centre of the legend is Lew Grade, the eldest of - in … [Read more...]