A New Book on Tennessee Williams’ Movie Colleagues

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In Tennessee Williams and Company: His Essential Screen Actors (Hansen Publishing Group), John DiLeo presents his study of 11 actors, including Marlon Brando, Madeleine Sherwood, and Anna Magnani (see cover photo, left, where she appears with Williams on the set of The Fugitive Kind in 1959) who starred in more than one of the Williams movies, forming an unofficial stock company. DiLeo, the author of And You Thought You Knew Classic Movies (St. Martin’s, 1999), which Pauline Kael hailed as “the smartest movie quiz book I’ve ever seen,” 100  Great Film Performances You Should Remember But Probably Don’t (Limelight Editions, 2002), and Screen Savers: 40 Remarkable Movies Awaiting Rediscovery (Hansen Publishing Group), has also been a contributing book reviewer for Washington Post Book World and now writes DVD and film-book reviews in monthly columns for Milford Magazine, Allegany Magazine, and Central Voice (Harrisburg, Pa.). He also frequently hosts classic-film series, appears on radio programs, conducts film-history seminars, and interviews figures like Farley Granger, Arlene Dahl, and Marge Champion on the festival stage at the Black Bear Film Festival in the Pokonos.

John DiLeo describes his archival work on Tennessee Williams’ company: “Though the Williams films were not difficult to find, there were so many other movies that required re-watching because I was tackling my 11 subjects’ entire acting careers. So, that meant Ebay and YouTube and renting old VHS copies from libraries. Out-of-print books (for research) were often inexpensive on used-books sites, but libraries rescued me by tracking down books that would have been exorbitantly expensive to purchase. When it came time to choose stills, I went to Photofest in NYC. (They provided the stills for three of my four books.) This can be done online, but it’s so much more enjoyable and satisfying to go through stacks of stills, hunting for treasures. Film books often use the same tired old stills, and so my quest is always to try to find stills that haven’t been overused, ones that provide a freshness and spark the imagination (like the wonderful shot I found for the cover).”

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