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A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli
     

A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli

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by Mark Griffin
 

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He was the acclaimed director of such cinematic classics as Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris, and Gigi, and equally well known for his tumultuous marriage to the legendary Judy Garland. But to say that Vincente Minnelli's conflicted personal life informed his films would be an understatement. As Mark Griffin persuasively demonstrates

Overview


He was the acclaimed director of such cinematic classics as Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris, and Gigi, and equally well known for his tumultuous marriage to the legendary Judy Garland. But to say that Vincente Minnelli's conflicted personal life informed his films would be an understatement. As Mark Griffin persuasively demonstrates in this definitive biography of the Academy Award–winning director, Minnelli was not only building a remarkable Hollywood legacy, but also creating an intriguing autobiography in code.

Drawing on more than 100 interviews with such icons as Kirk Douglas, Angela Lansbury, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis, and George Hamilton, Griffin turns the spotlight on the enigmatic “elegant director,” revealing long-kept secrets at the heart of Minnelli’s genius.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Robert Hofler, author of Party Animals and The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson
“Finally, the definitive biography of Vincente Minnelli. Mark Griffin has put in the necessary leg work interviewing many of Minnelli’s colleagues, and as a result, A Hundred or More Hidden Things is much more than an analysis of the director’s work. It is a full-bodied portrait of a most fascinating and complex artist.”

Foster Hirsch, author of Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King
“[A] sharp, forthright, swiftly paced critical biography….Deftly drawing connections between the director’s life and his films, Griffin maintains a difficult balance: he is a fervent but objective critic.”

Connecticut Post, 1/8/2010
“A smart new biography…Griffin puts the life and the films together in a fresh manner…Griffin makes a pretty good case that the deeply closeted artist was able to express many ‘hidden things’ in his films…The book is a fine combination of scholarship and film criticism.”

Booklist, 3/15/10
“This highly readable volume about Hollywood director Vincente Minnelli deftly balances Griffin’s strong emotional connection to Minnelli’s work, which he celebrates generally in the heartfelt introduction, and a scholarly desire to unearth the truth abut the man and critically analyze the work. By turns gossipy and informative, catty and objective…Griffin reveals fascinating details of Minnelli’s early life and artistic development…Griffin’s informative discussions of Minnelli’s masterpieces and misses go a long way toward showing why Minnelli should be remembered for more than his ill-fated marriage to Judy Garland (and more successful fathering of Liza Minnelli). Griffin’s book will satisfy both readers hoping for Hollywood dirt and those hoping for a deeper appreciation of Minnelli’s work.”

Lewiston Sun-Journal, 2/20/10
“Like a woodworker stripping the varnish off a piece of fine furniture, biographer Mark Griffin of Lewiston spent the last three-and-a-half years stripping away the layers of Hollywood glamour and fantasy surrounding director Vincente Minnelli.”

Boston Globe, 3/11/10
“Devotes as much time to Minnelli’s marriage to Judy Garland as his work, and documents the turmoil of Minnelli’s first wife and ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’’ star…Griffin is quite good on Minnelli’s brilliant 1958 drama ‘Some Came Running,’ and its haunting carnival sequence.”

Now Playing, Turner Classic Movies, April 2010
“As author Mark Griffin persuasively demonstrates…Minnelli, in addition to building a remarkable Hollywood legacy, was creating nothing short of an autobiography in code…Drawing on more than 100 interviews…Griffin turns the spotlight on Hollywood’s ‘elegant director,’ revealing long-kept secrets at the heart of Minnelli’s true genius.”

Out magazine, April 2010
“This comprehensive biography traces [Minnelli’s] success in Hollywood’s studio system and describes how, by channeling his complicated, closeted personal life into his art, he was able to create a beloved Garland classic and two Best Picture Oscar winners.”

EDGE, 3/310
“Griffin deserves honor for piecing together the fascinating back stories of [Minnelli’s] many productions—including hitherto unknown information on aborted efforts…Fans of old-time Hollywood will enjoy this visceral peek into the rather non-glamorous efforts that went into creating memorable works of glittering entertainment.”

Sacramento Book Review, March 2010
“Griffin’s book is a dazzling up-close parade of some of the most beloved movies of all times…Who got the lead, offstage back-stabbing, production issues—all of these are covered in rich detail…A great book if you are interested in the man’s movies.”

Bookgasm.com, 3/2/10
“Griffin reveals long-kept secrets at the heart of the enigmatic Minnelli’s genius.”

Irish Times, 3/4/10
“The author spoke to Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Nanette Fabray, Angela Lansbury and many other Hollywood names and…they supply many a sparkling anecdote.”

Internet Review of Books, January 2010
“Not your traditional tell-all gossip feast…Instead, the book offers the reader a meticulously researched chapter-by-chapter portal to Minnelli’s thirty-three films…One of the pleasures of Griffin’s book, which essentially ends more than thirty years ago with Minnelli’s final film, is the joy of discovery. We can now see for ourselves overlooked masterpieces in film on DVD…Mark Griffin has pointed the way to 33 fascinating other movies worth watching.”

Library Journal, 2/15/10
“Scores of interviews and intensive research provide the basis for this biography…Griffin explores Minnelli’s childhood in a family of traveling tent performers through his illustrious days in Hollywood and offers thoughtful commentary on how and why his films both closely reflect this history and hold a key to the man…This well-written and tasteful work contributes yet another perspective toward illuminating the life of this enigmatic film director. It will be a valuable addition to the recent literature.”

Q Syndicate, 2/22/10
“[A] compelling biography…Effervescent.”

Palm Beach Post, 3/24/10
“Minnelli wrote a vague autobiography, and there have been several other books about him, one as recent as last year, but Mark Griffin’s new biography is by all odds the best book on the life as well as the work…The writing is felicitous and sympathetic without any special pleading, the research innovative—Griffin turns up a developmentally disabled brother no one knew Minnelli had—and the quotes are grabbers…Griffin’s excellent book makes you realize how hard it must have been to be Vincente Minnelli.”

The New Yorker’s Front Row Movie blog, 3/4/10
“Offer[s] a wealth of information about the filmmaker’s private life and about studio politics.”

Echelon magazine, 3/20/10
“A well-written biography…If you’re a theatre fanatic, old-movie buff, or if you want a fascinating biography that accurately depicts a time long gone, look for this one.”

Bookviews.com, April 2010
“[Griffin] piece[s] together every facet of Minnelli’s life to understand how it was reflected in his movies…A comprehensive biography that will please anyone who is a fan of his films.”

Santa Ynez Valley Journal, 4/1/10
“If you’re a theatre fanatic, old-movie buff, or if you want a fascinating biography that accurately depicts a time long gone, look for this one.”

South Florida Gay News, 4/11/10
“Griffin invites you into the life of an artist of few words, who invited moviegoers into worlds that he wanted to bring to the silver screen.”

Milwaukee Shepherd Express’ “I Hate Hollywood” blog, 4/16/10
“Griffin not only makes his case entertainingly but with a determined sense of commitment. After all it’s one thing to profoundly respect the work of a director. To have a “life altering experience” at his hands is something else again.”

Delaware Gazette, 4/10/10
“Reveals previously unreported details about Minnelli.”

Directors Guild of America Quarterly, Spring 2010
“[An] enlightening new biography of the director…Griffin chooses to approach the director through his work, in hopes of discerning biographical or confessional impulses. At the same time, his method expands our understanding of the movies…Griffin, a talented and sympathetic writer, colors and shades our hitherto murky understanding of the man who made those movies.”

LambdalLiterary.org, 4/14/10
“Pleasurably paced and always readable.”

Salt Lake City, Desert News, 4/25/10
“Lots of wonderful anecdotes about Hollywood in its prime…A good read for fans of vintage moviemaking.”

The Independent (UK), 4/30/10
“[An] enjoyable biography…Viewing him with a sympathetic eye, Griffin displays a neat turn of phrase even for Minelli’s less distinguished efforts.”

CultureGuide.com, Australia, 6/7/10

“A very readable book detailing background information about this accomplished filmmakers work…I urge anyone interested in the man to read this book. Some of Mark Griffin's writing is so smooth you may be surprised at how quickly you reach the end. It is certainly a good read, and in many ways better than the book Vincente wrote himself I Remember It Well…[An] excellent book.”
 

Lewiston Auburn Magazine, July/August 2010
“The book demands you neither be overly familiar with Minnelli’s body of work nor that you be an over-analyzing, academically-advanced student of old Hollywood to enjoy.”
 

Gay City News, 6/24/10
“Undeniably well-researched…An ambitious biography…A worthwhile read, shedding light on Minnelli’s beginnings as a theatrical wunderkind before hitting Hollywood.”
 

Library Journal
Scores of interviews and intensive research provide the basis for this biography in which journalist Griffin shows the impact of director Vincente Minnelli's personal life on his work. From Meet Me in St. Louis to On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, his accomplishments were fueled by innovative approaches to lighting, color, and directorial techniques. Griffin explores Minnelli's childhood in a family of traveling tent performers through his illustrious days in Hollywood and offers thoughtful commentary on how and why his films both closely reflect this history and hold a key to the man. The author does not shy away from Minnelli's conflicted sexuality, his four marriages (one to a troubled Judy Garland), the inequality in his relationships to his daughters, and his interactions with film stars. VERDICT This well-written and tasteful work contributes yet another perspective toward illuminating the life of this enigmatic film director. It will be a valuable addition to the recent literature (e.g., Emanuel Levy's Vincente Minnelli: Hollywood's Dark Dreamer and Joe McElhaney's Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment).—Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786720996
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
03/09/2010
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author


Mark Griffin’s essays, film reviews, and reporting have appeared in the Boston Globe, MovieMaker, Genre, and in several anthologies. He lives in Maine.

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Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vincente Minnelli was one of our greatest film artists and this book is a wonderful tribute to his talents.