Review: Another Fine Mess – Saul Austerlitz


Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1556529511
ISBN-13: 978-1556529511
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This book is a collection of essays on many of those from throught the history of film who made us laugh. It covers actors such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, The Marx Brothers, and others. It also covers directors such as Ernst Lubitsch, and the Zucker brothers.

I enjoyed the different essays and learned a lot about the different personalities. For example, Buster Keaton got his name from Harry Houdini, and one thing I’d never known is that there were Hollywood reports that Cary Grant was involved with Randolph Scott.

The author knows a lot about film, and it shows throughout the essays. He givs an in depth description of the plots of the major films. The one drawback I felt the book had, is that at times, it feels like the author is talking down to his audience. I have what I consider to be a large vocabulary, and there were times words were used that were beyond my knowledge, and I had to look up. I think that’s a mistake, and that books such as this should be written for anyone to be able to pick up and enjoy, and not sure that would be the case here. But it’s a little drawback, and could just be my own personal view.

Some comedians, are left to mini essays. Comedians such as Abbot and Costello, Jim Carey, Mike Myers, and others get very little in comparison said about them. I did notice that some were left out entirely, such as Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey from The Bowery Boys. While Hal Roach is mentioned, no mention is made of the little rascals. I think having multiple volumes would have been ideal to cover more.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves comedy films. I’m sure you’d find some of your favorites here. If you are a fan of film comedy, whether silent era, or more modern, then definitely pick this up. I think you would be proud to have it on your bookshelf.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

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