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.

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