Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ready for his closeup



A longtime fan of old Hollywood, Lewiston native Mark Griffin views famed director Vincente Minnelli's story as one ripe for the telling.

March 28, 2010
By Ray Routhier
Staff Writer

It makes sense that Mark Griffin turned out to be a film writer.

Growing up in Lewiston, Griffin often stayed up late to watch old movies, and became fascinated by the grand Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and '50s. But while other kids might have just fixated on the stars – Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly – Griffin became fascinated with director Vincente Minnelli.

Minnelli directed classic musicals such as best picture Oscar winners "An American in Paris" (1951) and "Gigi" (1958), and dramas including "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952) and "Lust for Life" (1956), both starring Kirk Douglas.

Griffin continued to be fascinated with Minnelli as he grew up and wrote about contemporary film. He finally got his chance to really delve into the director's life and career by writing a book, "A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli" (Da Capo Press, $15.95).

The book, released March 1, follows Minnelli's long career and explores his marriage to Judy Garland and his relationship to daughter Liza Minnelli. Vincente Minnelli died in 1986.

Griffin interviewed more than 100 people for the book, including Kirk Douglas, Angela Lansbury, Tony Curtis and Lauren Bacall. It was picked as book of the month for April by the Turner Classic Movies cable channel.

Griffin's writings, including film reviews and essays, have appeared in the Boston Globe, MovieMaker magazine, Genre and other publications.

Q: How did you pick Vincente Minnelli to write about?

A: It's always been a magnificent obsession of mine, old movies, since I was a young child.... CLICK HERE to continue reading Q & A.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Palm Beach Post: New bio the best yet on Vincente Minnelli

New bio the best yet on Vincente Minnelli

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What the critics are saying about Mark Griffin's new book on Vincente Minnelli

Sacramento Book Review, March 2010

“Griffin’s book is a dazzling up-close parade of some of the most beloved movies of all times…Who got the lead, offstage back-stabbing, production issues—all of these are covered in rich detail…A great book if you are interested in the man’s movies.”


Bookgasm.com, 3/2/10

“Griffin reveals long-kept secrets at the heart of the enigmatic Minnelli’s genius.”


Irish Times, 3/4/10

“The author spoke to Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Nanette Fabray, Angela Lansbury and many other Hollywood names and…they supply many a sparkling anecdote.”


Boston Globe, 3/11/10


“Devotes as much time to Minnelli’s marriage to Judy Garland as his work, and documents the turmoil of Minnelli’s first wife and ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’’ star…Griffin is quite good on Minnelli’s brilliant 1958 drama ‘Some Came Running,’ and its haunting carnival sequence.”


Now Playing, Turner Classic Movies, April 2010

“As author Mark Griffin persuasively demonstrates…Minnelli, in addition to building a remarkable Hollywood legacy, was creating nothing short of an autobiography in code…Drawing on more than 100 interviews…Griffin turns the spotlight on Hollywood’s ‘elegant director,’ revealing long-kept secrets at the heart of Minnelli’s true genius.”

Wisconsin Public Radio: Mark Griffin Interview

Earlier this month, Greg Berg interviewed Mark Griffin for The Morning Show on WGTD 91.1FM - Wisconsin Public Radio.

Listen to his interview at this link. They talked about Mark Griffin's new biography about Hollywood director Vincente Minnelli titled A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli, published by Da Capo Press.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Griffin is quite good..." - The Boston Globe

"Griffin is quite good on Minnelli’s brilliant 1958 drama Some Came Running, and its haunting carnival sequence...."
~ Saul Austerlitz, The Boston Globe

Mark Griffin at the Maine Festival of the Book







On Saturday, April 10 at 11:00am, author Mark Griffin will read from his new book A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli at the Maine Festival of the Book. He will share his experience interviewing celebrities for this new book on the Academy award-winning filmmaker who was also the husband of Judy Garland and father of Liza Minnelli.

Mark's reading will be held at the Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. Directions at this link.

In its three years of existence, the Maine Festival of the Book has featured more than 200 authors, including four Pulitzer Prize winners. This event brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, unticketed seating, and are free!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The New Yorker

“Mark Griffin's A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli…a wealth of information about the filmmaker’s private life and about studio politics…” ~ Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

Laura's Miscellaneous Musings is written by a blogger with a love of classic films. She just read about A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli in the April edition of the Turner Classic Movies "Now Playing" guide. This new book is featured in the "Book Corner" column.

She writes:

"The author conducted an impressive number of interviews and...the book has a great deal of fresh primary source research on its subject; for instance, the chapter on THE BAND WAGON has quotes from the author's interviews with James Mitchell and Nanette Fabray."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Edge - Mark Griffin's new book

Check out what The Edge has to say about Mark Griffin's new book A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli.

A Hundred Or More Hidden Things
by Phil Hall, EDGE Contributor
Wednesday Mar 3, 2010
If Mark Griffin’s biography is any indication, Vincente Minnelli lived a life full of contradictions. Despite confirmations by several men that Minnelli was openly and unapologetically gay, he was married four times--and if you don’t know who is first wife was, you’re on the wrong web site!... CONTINUE READING

Booklist: Review of Mark Griffin's new Vincente Minnelli biography

Check out A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli on Amazon .
“This highly readable volume about Hollywood director Vincente Minnelli deftly balances Griffin’s strong emotional connection to Minnelli’s work, which he celebrates generally in the heartfelt introduction, and a scholarly desire to unearth the truth abut the man and critically analyze the work. By turns gossipy and informative, catty and objective…Griffin reveals fascinating details of Minnelli’s early life and artistic development…Griffin’s informative discussions of Minnelli’s masterpieces and misses go a long way toward showing why Minnelli should be remembered for more than his ill-fated marriage to Judy Garland (and more successful fathering of Liza Minnelli). Griffin’s book will satisfy both readers hoping for Hollywood dirt and those hoping for a deeper appreciation of Minnelli’s work.” — Booklist

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Q Syndicate: Review of new Vincente Minnelli biography

“[A] compelling biography…Effervescent.”
~ Richard Labonte, Q Syndicate

There's not much gossip about director Vincente Minnelli's queer
proclivities in this otherwise compelling biography. That could be
because there's not much to gossip about. Last year's leaden
biography, Hollywood's Dark Dreamer by Emanuel Levy (the first
full-length study of Minnelli and his movies), referred to dalliances
with a bit player and a gardener while he was married to Judy Garland.
There's not much more on the sexual side in Griffin's more
effervescent bio - a "perhaps" reference to something physical with a
Japanese valet - though Minnelli's schoolyard sissiness, adult
penchant for discreet eyeliner and often fey on-set behavior are part
of the life story. Though he married three more times after he and
Garland dissolved their union, that Minnelli was gay is a given for
Griffin; his approach to "hidden things" is to assess several of the
director's films - most notably his first, Cabin in the Sky, along
with the notorious Tea and Sympathy and the late-career Goodbye,
Charlie through a deductive queer prism.

Richard Labonte has been reading, editing, selling, and writing about queer literature since the mid-70s. He can be reached in care of this publication or at BookMarks@qsyndicate.com.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Library Journal: Mark Griffin's new book on Vincente Minnelli

"..well-written and tasteful work..."
~ Carol J. Binkowski, Library Journal

Read the full Library Journal review of Mark Griffin's new book A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli at this link.

Published by Da Capo Press
Biography / Film
$15.95 | $20.00 (Can.)
ISBN 978-0-78672-099-6
E-BOOK ISBN 978-0-306-81893-6
6 x 9 | 320 pages | 70 B&W photos