Friday, 11 January 2019

Reading in films

A light start to the new year. Among the many things that intrigue me in films is what books characters are reading and what it might mean and what the books are like. Sometimes they can be real books that were popular at the time, sometimes they are self-referential, sometimes they are jokes and sometimes they are fake, just a title and a cover created for the film. I can also be fascinated by books being written by fictional characters that are authors. In Finding Forrester (Gus Van Sant 2000), the character played by Sean Connery wrote one novel once upon a time, which was considered a masterpiece and won the Pulitzer Prize, but he has written nothing since. It is called Avalon Landing and I am desperate to read it, even though I know it does not exist outside the frame of the film. To add to its allure, the book is briefly shown in the film and it is in the same style as Penguin Books of the 1950s, a design I find irresistible. I even have a small collection of Penguin books from that series, such as this one (which was adapted into a film by George Cukor in 1956):


But back to books being read. Here are five examples that have always excited me for one reason or another:

Grace Kelly in Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock 1954)

Jayne Mansfield in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (Frank Tashlin 1957)

Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million (William Wyler 1966)

Claude Jade and Jean-Pierre Léaud in Bed & Board (François Truffaut 1970)

Chris Eigeman and Allison Parisi in Metropolitan (Whit Stillman 1990)

That was just a small collection; a starting point for a conversation, for further research and for the year of 2019. Let's get going! 

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