Thursday, February 25, 2010

Two Experts Talk Literature In Film

Our colleague, Kevin Johnson, of Royal Books in Baltimore, recently participated in a video about literature in film produced by Walter Reuben, the highly respected Los Angeles-based movie poster dealer-scholar. It deserves to be seen by anyone even remotely interested in the intersection of the written word and celluloid.

Kevin has been, and continues to be, one of the most respected rare book dealers in the world specializing in cinema-related volumes and books into film. He is also the author of the acclaimed The Dark Page: Books That Inspired American Film Noir, in two volumes covering 1940-1949 and 1950-1965, respectively. Beautifully produced, it has become an essential reference.

Walter Reuben, with whom Kevin shares the spotlight in the video, has been involved in the trade in movies posters since Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery was released in 1903, or so it seems. He appears to have been doing it longer and better than anyone else in the world. His name invariably comes up when movie posters are discussed. He's The Man.

I recently moderated a panel discussion on this subject at the 43d California Antiquarian Book Fair. Kevin was one of the panelists, along with another noted cinema book specialist, the highly knowledgeable and esteemed James Pepper, and Los Angeles Times and NPR Morning Edition film reviewer, Kenneth Turan. An excellent seminar, its themes are picked up and expanded upon in this video.

This is a very fluent and fluid discussion, highlighted by to-die-for vintage movie posters and other cinema rarities, between two masters who stand at the top of their fields.

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