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Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only: The Life of America's First Black Filmmaker

McGilligan, Patrick

45 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0060731397 / ISBN 13: 9780060731397
Published by Harper Collins, NY, 2007
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From On The Road Books (Waynesboro, PA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

DJ has thin touch of rubbing on top edge of DJ spine. 402pp with Index. Black cloth. Stated 1st Ed. with complete number line. Bright, tight, square copy with firm corners. No remainder mark. No internal names, notes or markings. Crisp, unclipped pictorial DJ in Mylar cover ($29.95). Photo illus. in b&w. Pictorial EPS. Signed presentation copy by the author in ink on a Half-Title Page - "To David Doheny, All the best.Patrick McGilligan, March 23, 2008". USPS tracking provided. (H) Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 18521

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only: The Life...

Publisher: Harper Collins, NY

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Cloth

Illustrator: Photo Illus. In b&w

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Almost Fine

Signed: By Author

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Movies

About this title

Synopsis:

Oscar Micheaux was the Jackie Robinson of film, the black D. W. Griffith: a bigger-than-life American folk hero whose important life story is nearly forgotten today. Now, in a feat of historical investigation and vivid storytelling, one of our greatest film biographers takes on one of the most talented and complex figures in the history of American entertainment.

The son of freed slaves, Micheaux grew up in Metropolis, Illinois, then roamed America as a Pullman porter before making his first mark as a homesteader in South Dakota. Disaster and defeat there led him to forge a career publishing a successful series of autobiographical novels. Ever the entrepreneur, when Hollywood failed to bid high enough for film rights to his stories, he answered by forming his own film production company. Going on to produce or direct twenty-two silent and fifteen sound films in his lifetime, Micheaux became the king of the "race cinema" industry at a time when black-produced films had to scrounge for venues in a segregated society.

In this groundbreaking new biography, award-winning film historian Patrick McGilligan offers a vivid and fascinating portrait of this little-known pioneer. Part visionary, part raffish Barnum-like showman, Micheaux was both a maverick filmmaker and an inveterate hustler who used every weapon at his disposal to break the color barrier and thrive in a profession he helped to invent. He made a fortune and lost it again, and launched repeated con games that were followed by public arrests and bankruptcies. He eagerly took credit for the work of others—including his unsung-heroine wife. In his desperate later years, he even sunk to plagiarizing his final novel—a discovery McGilligan reveals here for the first time.

In this searching exploration, McGilligan tracks down long-lost financial records, unpublished letters, and unmarked pauper's graves, pinpointing Micheaux's birthplace, his tangled personal life, and the circumstances of his tragic death. The result is an epic that bridges a fascinating period in American history, and offers lessons for anyone who would understand the role of black America in forming the culture of our time.

About the Author:

Patrick McGilligan is the author of Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light; Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast; and George Cukor: A Double Life; and books on the lives of directors Nicholas Ray, Robert Altman, and Oscar Micheaux, and actors James Cagney, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood. He also edited the acclaimed five-volume Backstory series of interviews with Hollywood screenwriters and (with Paul Buhle), the definitive Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not far from Kenosha, where Orson Welles was born.

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