Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Welcome to the gentleman's library. The shelves groan under the collective weight of paperbacks drooling over 1980s vhs gore movies, sharing space with as yet unread hardback biographies of such luminaries as Clint Eastwood and outlaws such as Lucio Fulci along with a multitude of magazines, old and new. A guide to the written word on the visual thrills of cinema is what this column intends to be, a weekly look at tomes newly pressed and to those yellowed and creased, bought on amazon marketplace for 50p.
We start with a treat, a wild informative trek through the film career of one of the wild beasts of cinema, a man who turned away no job offer if the cheque came through the post on time, one Klaus Kinski, star of many a midnight movie. The book in question is Real Depravities by Troy Howarth. Unlike some biographies, which includes Kinski's own deluded auto biography, this book is less concerned about the gossip, sleaze and nefarious deeds that always pop up around the actor like a black cloud. The author ,Troy Howarth, is rather more concerned with the cinematic journey of the man. It is a 534 page odyssey through post war German cinema and beyond. Euro-cult, westerns, war movies, art films, prestige dramas, international exploitation and everything in between all feature at some point. Real Depravities is jam packed with information, about time and places and people I had no previous knowledge of, especially the aspects of Kinski's early career and hell, central European in general. Howarth excells in making the seemingly mundane interesting, the reporting of a minimal Kinski role in a 1950's German drama becomes fascinating. Howarth uses facts, stories, people and history to paint a picture of a particular time and place in cinema history and wrap it around Kinski's film roles like a glove.
Howarth is a skilled and honed writer, having already produced several books on Italian genre cinema and it shows in this book. Lavishly illustrated, incredibly detailed but also briskly paced and does not overstay its welcome on certain films when attention is not warranted. Howarth says what he needs to and moves on and with some of the pieces of shit Kinski was in, this is no bad thing. We live in a golden age of film books, with Real Depravities Troy Howarth and Wildside publishing just gave us another classic for the list.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Real-Depravities-Films-Klaus-Kinski/dp/1537349279/ Published in paperback only.
Posted by Charlie Parker at 5:43 PM