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Down But Not Quite Out in Hollow-weird: A Documentary in Letters of Eric Knight
     

Down But Not Quite Out in Hollow-weird: A Documentary in Letters of Eric Knight

by Geoff Gehman, Eric Knight
 
Eric Knight once dismissed biography as "the bunk." Yet the internationally renowned author of Lassie-Come-Home and scores of movie reviews left a trail of letters that stretched over 6000 miles and many years which speak with their own distinctive voice about the life of this enigmatic writer. Eulogized as "two hundred pounds of boiler under a thousand pounds of

Overview

Eric Knight once dismissed biography as "the bunk." Yet the internationally renowned author of Lassie-Come-Home and scores of movie reviews left a trail of letters that stretched over 6000 miles and many years which speak with their own distinctive voice about the life of this enigmatic writer. Eulogized as "two hundred pounds of boiler under a thousand pounds of pressure," Knight first made his name known as a spunky film reviewer for The Public Ledger, a Philadelphia newspaper. In the 1920s and 30s, debates swirled around Knight and his daily column. He asked his readers to voice their opinion about "assassinating" Betty Boop in favor of the much more "earthly" Mae West. Knight predicted the death of over-packaged gaudy film experience, and championed the texture of silent black-and-white films over the colorful talkies (or "squawkies" as Knight termed them). Knight brought films to his readers with personal anecdotes and champagne personality, converting anything and everything into newsprint, peppering an entire generation of young readers with reasons for loving film.

Editorial Reviews

Ray Bradbury
Great!
Rapport
...an indispensable close-up look at Hollywood in the 1930s.
Joseph McBride
Geoff Gehman does a splendid job of bringing Eric Knight back to life. The novelist and screenwriter, who unfortunately died too young as a casualty of World War II, is a delightful and rich subject for a biography. Gehman's approach utilizes Knight's own words as much as possible, allowing his letters to give us his take on his own life. Gehman expertly puts all this in the context of the times and of the Hollywood factory system. The book, like its subject, is witty and warm. It's filled with insights into the various characters Knight encountered in his busy and productive life. One of them, Frank Capra, is a man whose biography I've written, and there are new facets of Capra here. The test of a good book to me is that I learn new things from it and that it doesn't simply repeat what others have written. Gehman's life of Eric Knight fits that description and more.
Classic Images
...excellent...Knight's...observations are...incisive, crackle with wit, and cheerfully deflate Hollywood's pretensions and insincerity...Geoff Gehman, who writes every bit as well as Knight did, has created a very readable account of an interesting man...this highly recommended book offers a fascinating portrait of a film critic/screen writer/novelist and gentleman of considerable style and integrity.
The Silent Film Monthly
Once you start this book, you won't put it aside.
Past Times
Geoff Gehman lets Knight tell much of his own story in letters to friends; his fierce intellect, and his 'champagne personality' come through vividly...this book is a fine testament to [Knight's] intellect and his integrity.
Roddy McDowall
Riveting!
Booknews
Correspondence of Eric Knight, a Hollywood writer and film critic, offers insight on the assembly line of the 1930s screenwriter and the 1940s American military-propaganda industry. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810834460
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
05/07/1998
Series:
Scarecrow Filmmakers Series , #62
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.84(h) x 0.83(d)

What People are Saying About This

Roddy McDowall
Riveting!
Ray Bradbury
Great!

Meet the Author

Geoff Gehman is an arts writer for The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., a county from where Eric Knight wrote portions of Lassie Come-Home. He is writing an oral history of a town in County Clare, Ireland, where the traveling picture show was always welcome and storytelling is an art and a gift.

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