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Very Witching Time of the Night Paperback – 30 Jun 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 443 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Co Inc (30 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786449551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786449552
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 884,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not all films in the book are genre horror, but still a very interesting book, especially the chapter on my favourite film - Frankenstein meets the Wolfman (I've heard a full length book on this film is in the works)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
incomparable fund of diverse, yet coherent content on horror films 23 July 2014
By Henry Berry - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mank brings to this work the view of an insider combined with the enthusiasm of a fan. He's acted in more than 100 stage productions, and he is a freelance writer. The book is not a history or chronology of horror films, nor a tightly focused scholarly study on an aspect of the field. Though seemingly sprawling with its countless specifics and anecdotes that "cried out for...attention," overall this book by Mank with its "tangential" point of view gives a coherent, revealing look at the history and popularity of horror films. Previous books of his have looked at the various Frankenstein films over the decades and the eight movies the two major horror films stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff made together.

As in this work, Mank is not interested in film criticism per se nor so much in film history or cultural study; although these subjects are inevitably bound into his interests. Mostly, he's interested in the personalities, circumstances, working relationships, and varied activities including colorful and notable incidents entailed in production of horror films.

One would not think there was so much of this apparently ancillary material for a work of this length. However, as the reader soon finds, Mank has an inexhaustible, kaleidoscopic knowledge of horror-film lore. This knowledge is imparted mostly by attention to the personalities and biographies of central figures and also many secondary and satellite ones and to different horror films that are both representative and unique in what they tell about the field. On nearly every page, the reader is taken to different individuals and different subjects as if doors opening up onto the inner parts of a film and all that went into making it; which particulars are also telling about the enterprise of moviemaking. It all might seem like a collection of trivia except for Mank's attraction to horror films keeping all that he is imparting in order and irrelevant.

The reader comes away with an incomparable understanding of horror films and the field of films.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Another good book from Gregory William Mank 11 Aug. 2014
By Chard - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another good book from Gregory William Mank. His Karloff & Lugosi tome is his Magnum Opus, but this one has plenty to keep the horror fan interested. He investigates some rare films here... "Svengali" and "Hitler's Madman", for example. I found it a soild nostalgic romp and it was money well spent.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Greg Mank has another hit. 18 Jun. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another great book from Mank, one of the 2 or 3 best film historians working today. The chapter on John Barrymore is worth the price of admission on its own.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
... again brought to the classic horror film lover a wonderful present. This Immaculately rendered and researched work rates ... 26 Oct. 2014
By kgmonster12 - Published on
Format: Paperback
Greg Mank has again brought to the classic horror film lover a wonderful present. This
Immaculately rendered and researched work rates as the Genre Movie Book of The Year.
It's amazingly simple: If you love stories of early Hollywood,if you are nuts about classic
horror movies,if the minutiae of moviemaking in the pre-code era floats your boat waaay
Above the crest of the wave,it's all right here.If the real stories about Helen Chandler,
John Barrymore,Lionel Atwill and others of that era are not your meat,look elsewhere.
Otherwise, RUN toward this book.Many hours of pleasurable reading await. Get this book,
Lock the door,turn off the phone and throw away those remotes...and hope that Mr.Mank
has more up his sleeve just like this one.
Classic Hollywood History 6 Sept. 2014
By Brad Baker - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gregory Mank's "The Very Witching Time of Night" is not a film history, but a series of well-written essays on personalities and events from the early American, sound horror-movie cycle. It's good. Very good. The first chapter is a biography of 1931 "Dracula"s Helen Chandler, a delicate, disturbed actress who abused alcohol, married three times, and lost her career. Eventually, her brother had her committed to a sanatarium. Tom Conway, Bela Lugosi, Mae Murray, and King Baggot are part of a list of celebrities who also tasted Hollywood success but ended their days in poverty and obscurity. In another chapter, Mank looks at the troubled 1943 production of "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman". During shooting, Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein passed-out on a studio-set bed, and had to be revived. Later, Maria Ouspenskaya and Lon Chaney Jr. were riding in a cart-wagon through the countryside when Ouspenskaya fell out of the wagon. She had to be rushed to the hospital. Another chapter is an interview with the son of Lionel "Pinky" Atwill. Once a major star(and director), Atwill fell from grace after a 1940 Pacific Palisades sex-party. Charges were filed, and the scandal would tarnish and ruin Pinky's career. Another chapter looks at John Carradine's Shakespeare career. Funded by himself, Carradine pledged "I'm through with Hollywood forever!". When his stage ambitions tanked, Carradine went back to making movies. He would act in films almost to the day he died, in 1988, at age 82. Carradine died in Milan Italy, while attending a film festival for his finest director, John Ford. "The Very Witching Time of Night" fashions many intriguing episodes of Hollywood horror, and Mank has assembled a classy cluster of photographs(many of which I've never seen). Still another chapter revolves around Warner Bros.' "Svengali(1931)" and "The Mad Genius(1931)", both starring John Barrymore. In the beginning of this chapter, Mank envisions Barrymore waking at dawn(hardly) in his legendary" Bella Vista" mansion, which he bought from director King Vidor. Bella Vista sat on a high hill-top at 6 Tower Road. A few years ago, I was staying in Beverly Hills, and I decided I must see John's Bella Vista. Armed with maps and an old history, I drove up Benedict Canyon, behind the Beverly Hills Hotel. The road winds higher and narrows, and almost seems to want to lose you.Finally, I found Tower Road, a steep little impasse that finally winds and turns into a dirt road. At the very top of this hill, Tower Road is erased, and becomes Seabright Place .6 Tower Road, or properly 9941 Tower Lane, is now 1400 Seabright Place. Bella Vista, that sturdy classic, was torn down years ago. And on that very spot, at the top of the hill, is a shining, fence-enshrouded new mansion, glaring in the hot California sun. To the left and to the right are imposing signs: "Stay Away. Visitors Not Wanted. No Stopping. Prosecution." Of course, I sadly did not stay...I was sad that day...What would John have thought?
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