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Synopsis: One of the most original and unsettling filmmakers of all time -- the
creator of the horror classics Dracula and Freaks, among others-- Tod Browning is also one of the most enigmatic directors who ever worked in Hollywood. A complicated, troubled, and fiercely private man, he confounded would-be biographers hoping to penetrate his secret, obsessive world -- both during his lifetime and afterward.
Now, film historians David J. Skal and Elias Savada, using newly discovered
family documents and revealing published interviews with friends and
colleagues, join forces for the first full-length biography of the man who
earned a reputation as "the Edgar Allan Poe of the cinema." The authors
chronicle Browning's turn-of-the-century flight from an eccentric Louisville family into the world of carnival sideshows (where he began his career literally buried alive) and vaudeville, his disastrous first marriage, his rapid climb to riches in the burgeoning silent film industry, and the
alcoholism that would plague him throughout his life. Browning's legendary
collaborations with Lon Chaney, Sr., and Bela "Dracula" Lugosi are explored in depth, along with the studio politics that ended his career after the bizarre
circus drama Freaks -- a cult classic today -- proved to be one of the
biggest box-office disasters of the early thirties.
Illustrated throughout with rare photographs, Dark Carnival is both an
artful, often shocking portrait of a singular film pioneer and an illuminating
study of the evolution of horror, essential to an understanding of our
continuing fascination with the macabre.
Review: Although Tod Browning directed the 1931 classic Dracula and some of Lon Chaney's best movies, he is better known today for Freaks, which effectively sank his film career. Judging from the evidence in Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning: Hollywood's Master of the Macabre, this probably wouldn't have mattered to him. Authors David J. Skal (Screams of Reason and The Monster Show) and Elias Savada faced a difficult task in recounting the life of a man who "reveled in disturbing and provoking the public ... from a position of obsessive privacy," apparently caring nothing for posterity or even his reputation during his lifetime. Because Browning chose to reveal so little of his private self, any biography of him must by default focus on his career--which is itself strange and unsettling.
As a filmmaker, Browning established a reputation as a teller of pessimistic, even perverse tales, often featuring physically deformed characters (Chaney's specialty), which doubtless reflected his youthful experiences performing in carnival sideshows. Following the enormous success of Dracula, he assembled a cast of real sideshow performers to make Freaks, which appalled nearly everyone and was quickly removed from circulation. He soon found himself being quietly pushed out of filmmaking, and spent his final years leading a reclusive, slightly paranoid existence.
Readers of Dark Carnival should not expect to come away with a very clear picture of the intentionally shadowy Browning. Skal and Savada do an admirable job of showing us both the demanding "sadist" and the "great humanist" described by his colleagues, but for the most part, Browning's own thoughts and feelings must remain mysterious--which is just what he wanted. Dark Carnival includes photo sections, a genealogy, and filmographies that incorporate contemporary reviews. --Mary V. Burke
Title: Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod ...
Publisher: Anchor Books / Doubleday
Publication Date: 1995
Book Condition: New
Book Description Anchor Books / Doubleday, 1995. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # S_208998597
Book Description Anchor Books / Doubleday, 1995. Hardback. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st. 0385474067 Minor edgewear, but tight and clean. DJ shows tiny sticker residue, one tiny closed chip. Seller Inventory # 190660
Book Description Anchor Books / Doubleday, Bx-80, 1995. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. DJ in VG shape with light shelf-wear present to the DJ. No ownership marks present. Text is clean and free of marks, binding tight and solid, boards clean with no wear present. Photos sent upon request. Bx-80; 8vo 8" - 9" tall. Seller Inventory # 50962
Book Description U.S.A.: Anchor Books / Doubleday, 1995. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Near Fine in a Fine jacket. 1st Printing. 359pp 8vo. Seller Inventory # 133407
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. 1st. Seller Inventory # K-422-409
Book Description Anchor Books / Doubleday, 1995. Hardcover. Condition: Used: Good. Seller Inventory # SONG0385474067
Book Description Anchor Books / Doubleday, 1995. Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory # 0385474067-2-4
Book Description Anchor Books / Doubleday, 1995. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition; First Printing. Fine stated first edition hardcover in like unclipped DJ. Appears unread. A square tight unmarked copy. ; 9.40 X 6.20 X 1.40 inches. Seller Inventory # 22022
Book Description Anchor Books / Doubleday, 1995. Condition: UsedAcceptable. book. Seller Inventory # M0385474067_4
Book Description Anchor Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1995. Trade Paperback. Condition: Very Good. Advanced Reader's. advance uncorrected proof. light cover wear. clean, tight. Seller Inventory # 023112