Playbill magazine theatre reporter Harry Haun turns his attention to the silver screen for a new softbound movie history book, "The Cinematic Century," being released Dec. 10 by Applause books. Subtitled "An Intimate Diary of America's Affair With the Movies," the black-and-white-photo-filled book takes a month-by-month approach and addresses lesser-known milestones in movie history, underscoring factoids and trivia about production details, backstage doings and the link between movies and history. For example, Oct. 26, 1881, is the date of the famous gunfight at O.K. Corral, and Haun documents the films that address the shootout.
Sample entry: "May 5, 1958: 'Damn Yankees' begins batting out a 43-day production schedule on this day, with most of the cast recruited from the original Broadway show, from its trio of Tony-winners (Ray Walston, Gwen Verdon and Russ Brown) on down. The principal Hollywood addition (Tab Hunter) does surprisingly well as the soul-selling Joe Hardy, a role Warners had planned for James Dean. The highlight: 'Who's Got the Pain?,' mamboed out by Verdon and hubby, choreographer Bob Fosse (their only screen dance together)."
Major films and lesser films and celebs -- and all the surrounding facts and gossip -- are addressed in the tome, which offers 1,000 photographs. "The Cinematic Century" retails $25.95.
New Yorker Haun is a veteran theatre and film journalist who was amusements editor for the New York Daily News, where he also wrote a weekly Q&A column ("Ask Mr. Entertainment") and a series of critic-at large columns on theatre and film. His "On the Aisle" and "Theatregoer's Notebook" features appear monthly in Playbill.
-- By Kenneth Jones