Friday, 2 January 2009

A couple of new Hammer related books

Music in film is often dismissed as having little cultural significance. While Hammer Film Productions is famous for such classic films as "Dracula" and "The Curse of Frankenstein", few observers have noted the innovative music that Hammer distinctively incorporated into its horror films.This book tells how Hammer Films commissioned composers at the cutting-edge of European musical modernism to write their movie scores, introducing the avant-garde into popular culture via the enormously successful venue of horror film. Each chapter addresses a specific category of the avant-garde musical movement. According to these categories, chapters elaborate upon the visionary composers who made the horror film soundtrack a melting pot of opposing musical cultures.

This is a strictly limited edition. Last year, a box of never-seen-before photos of Hammer Films productions was archived by Hammer expert Wayne Kinsey for the British Film Institute. Kinsey and the BFI were so impressed by the collection, that it was agreed the best should be published. Through these rare and mostly previously unseen images, this book tells the visual story of Hammer's output. You will be guided through this wonderful collection of photos by Kinsy himself, the celebrated author of "Hammer Films: The Elstree Studios Years" and "Hammer Films: The Bray Studios Years". The book explores the wider and fascinating side of one of the British film industry's greatest success stories, showing once and for all that Hammer was not just a purveyor of cheap horror pictures.In fact, they made films in a number of different genres such as war thrillers, gritty dramas, comedies and colourful swashbuckling adventures. Some of these were among their best films; 1959 is a case in point which included such classics as "Never Take Sweets from a Stranger", "Hell is a City" and "Yesterday's Enemy", the latter of which earned Hammer BAFTA nominations for best picture, best actor and best supporting actor. Hammer's films also benefited from an expert team of actors and technicians, including big names that on first glance would never have thought to be associated with Hammer including Robert Aldrich, Ken Adam, Joe Losey, Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Donald Sutherland, Joan Fontaine, Richard Widmark, Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch. This is a limited edition hardcover book that is destined to become a highly sought-after collectors' item.

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