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Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento [Paperback]

Maitland McDonagh
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £14.33 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press; Expanded edition (22 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081665607X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816656073
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 997,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Critic, lecturer and TV commentator Maitland McDonagh is the author of "Movie Lust," "Filmmaking on the Fringe," "The 50 Most Erotic Films of All Time" and "Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento," and has contributed essays to books ranging from "The Time Out Book of New York Walks" to "Zobie.". Formerly TV Guide's Senior Movies Editor, she writes for Time Out New York, Film Comment and other magazines, has been interviewed for many film-related documentaries and is currently preparing to publish the first of a projected series of vintage gay adults-only novels through 120 Days Books. The first two-in-one tete-beche volume features the 1970/'71 thrillers "Man Eater" and "Night of the Sadist," available November 2012 on Amazon.com.

Product Description

Synopsis

Traces the career of the Italian horror film director, Dario Argento, discusses each of his films, and looks at his approach to film making. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep Read 25 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
At the very least, I give credit to Maitland McDonagh for viewing films that I've not bothered to see in an attempt to understand Argento in relationship to other film-makers. But she also helps explain why Argento should be considered important, which is how it should be. Probably the most praiseworthy statement I can make is that before finishing her book, I went to my favorite video store and rented the uncut version of "Terror at the Opera", and will probably rent the Argento produced "The Church" soon. I also felt like I wanted to know more about the history of Italian horror films from Mario Bava to the present ("Black Sunday" is a favorite film). Also, I wish there were biographical material concerning Argento's parents, their influence, directly and indirectly; as well as more biographical material that may explain other narrative or visual aspects to the films. One proof error: Larry Cohen's film is "Q", not "O". And if you're reading this Maitland, Ric Menello was the one who introduced me to Argento. One final note, there is a cool web site that features a snippet of music by the band "Goblin".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Argento introduction 2 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
McDonagh provides an excellent introduction to Argento's films. I found it very helpful in writing my book on the Poe cinema. Her critiques are insightul and on the mark.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at the Gialli Rancher 23 Sep 2001
By C. Fletcher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great book. If you're a fan of Dario Argento, the Italian maestro of horror, or if you're just a fan of well-made, artistically-minded horror films, you should read this book (and should take a closer look at the films of Dario Argento).
"Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds" is out of print, but you can buy a used copy through Amazon.com (as I did) for a cheaper price. But then you must prepare yourself for a whirl-wind.
This book discusses in intimate detail the films of the great Dario Argento. The introduction gives us some context of who he is (ex-film critic, master of the beautiful and profane), where he came from (an Italian movie-making family and the tutelage of spaghetti-western-maker Sergio Leone), what he does (makes a particular style of thriller called a giallo and often draws on the broken imagery of dreams for his most effective material).
Then we're off on a film-by-film analysis of Argento's career. We study the films he's made, the choices he's made within those films, and gain an appreciation, if we don't already have one, of why this Argento is such a unique, talented film-maker.
"Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds" often reads like the film school thesis which it is. Words and phrases like "diegetic," "filmic," and the old favorite "mise-en-scene" abound. But you shouldn't let that deter you, even if you aren't of the overly critical, or analytical stock. There is a lot of fascinating stuff in this book, and you're sure to walk away from it with a bigger, more profound appreciation for the films and career of one of the greats in the horror field, Dario Argento. And if you haven't seen all of Argento's films, or if it's been a while, reading this book is a great excuse to catch up on them.
What surprised me most about this book was that it was written by a woman. I didn't realize until I turned the last page of the book and read the "about the author" section that Maitland McDonagh has two X chromosomes. I guess I assumed because of the subject matter--the deliriously violent, at times arguably woman-unfriendly world of Dario Argento's deep red "filmic" nightmares--that a man must have written the book. But what a great perspective is given from the eyes and mind of a woman writing intelligently about horror films. You must go get this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing work on an interesting filmmaker 11 Feb 2002
By Steven Grogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Maitland has written a very admirable study of one of the world's most interesting horror filmmakers. She even goes to the trouble of defending the more nonsensical moments of Arengto's films. For example, the scene in Suspiria where a murder victim stumbles across a room full of barbed wire makes no logical sense, but after you read Maitland explain how Argento works (kind of like surrealists, he uses a technique called "Automatic writing" which involves very little, if any, editing) you begin to understand that maybe Argento isn't neccesarily TRYING to make sense. At any rate she does a fine job of defending him, as well as delving into recurring themes. One of the better books on a director you will ever read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep Read 25 Mar 1998
By P.S. Nellhaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
At the very least, I give credit to Maitland McDonagh for viewing films that I've not bothered to see in an attempt to understand Argento in relationship to other film-makers. But she also helps explain why Argento should be considered important, which is how it should be. Probably the most praiseworthy statement I can make is that before finishing her book, I went to my favorite video store and rented the uncut version of "Terror at the Opera", and will probably rent the Argento produced "The Church" soon. I also felt like I wanted to know more about the history of Italian horror films from Mario Bava to the present ("Black Sunday" is a favorite film). Also, I wish there were biographical material concerning Argento's parents, their influence, directly and indirectly; as well as more biographical material that may explain other narrative or visual aspects to the films. One proof error: Larry Cohen's film is "Q", not "O". And if you're reading this Maitland, Ric Menello was the one who introduced me to Argento. One final note, there is a cool web site that features a snippet of music by the band "Goblin".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychoanalyzing the Giallo Master and His Films 26 July 2013
By John Stewart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I must say I have not read the added material in this new edition of Maitland's study on Argento and am not eager to - not because of her but because of him - Argento, Giallo Master. I read Maitland's original hardcover and bought it when she and Argento appeared together at a Brooklyn series of screenings of some of his films many years ago. She kindly signed my book which was a red and white hardcover of a knife slashing down as I remember, from Suspiria no doubt - as was the title which I recognized and loved immediately. It promised a serious, in depth study of his films,(one of the first to do so), placing them in the revered canon of greatest horror films. The study is so well written and interesting and I like how she went chronologically from film to film and plumbed the depths of each one, offering myriad insights and discussing influences on certain films from other directors, i.e. the maid waiting in the park in Four Flies/the lover waiting in the graveyard in Lewton's The Leopard Man. It seems Argento is half influenced by Val Lewton and half by Mario Bava (which he oddly denies) - both terrific influences but Argento makes his own unique films with his own energy level second to none. She also mentions Bird is adapted from the great mystery writer Fredric Brown's classic The Screaming Mimi. Though Brown is uncredited. Since Maitland's book was originally published, scores of unseen giallos became available for viewing and I found many more influences on Dario's films from them. But during his great years he remained the master. Maitland takes a look at his work from an intellectual, scholarly viewpoint which I am fascinated by big time. At last she was legitimizing his films as having artistic merit and recognizing his unrelenting baroque style as a major technique in genre film making of the 70's and 80's. Her book ended with Two Evil Eyes (of which I recall she viewed a bit suspiciously) and apparently in a revision, she reviewed Trauma, which I did not read. Argento became an uninteresting filmmaker to me after the last of his masterpieces OPERA, so I do not know this author's take on his later oeuvre; the only work Argento did after 1987 that I liked was the rather charming/inoffensive Do You Like Hitchcock? and Insomnia, his so called return to pure giallo, with its several legitimate set pieces, but it still is not one of his greats, but a decent offering at least (minus the Deep Red rip off sequence). His other films from 1987 on are complete washouts IMHO. But Maitland captures his years of greatness beautifully - from Bird to Opera - in the version of her book that I read.
4.0 out of 5 stars The killer inside 20 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
With Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds Maitland McDonaugh has attempted what I though was the impossible: she has rendered a scholarly, coherent, cogent analysis of a film director whose work tends to defy such an approach. Argento is a little known Italian director, revered in horror aficionado circles but little known anywhere else. McDonaugh has afforded serious film viewers a chance to get to know his work and even made his worst films sound attractive with her commendable and - thankfully carefully tempered -enthusiasm. I myself was losing faith in Argento as a talent but this book has forced me to review his films (all of which I own) and see within them things that had previously never manifested themselves. This book is a must for anyone interested in Argento (however I must stress that many of his fans may find it a little too academically orientated and in depth). She also touches on aspects of the horror films as a genre and includes a great deal of highly useful ! and interesting information on film itself. The film by film approach to the analysis is not constrictive, she interrelates ideas and information throughout whilst maintaining a focus on the movie concerned. The interview at the end is particularly revelatory. However a criticism, if it has to be made, is that McDonaugh can sometimes, although her writing and style is excellent, appear a little smug and occasionally excessive in her praise - a little more tongue in a little more cheek may have been in order.
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