Saturday, November 26, 2016

Interview with author Alan J. Whiticker

 The Classics: The Greatest Films of the 20th Century 

1.What inspired you to write your book?
I have had a lifelong interest in classic film, pulling together a personal library of books, DVDs and video (remember them!) over the past 40 years that tell the story of classic Hollywood films, especially from the 1930s to the 1970s. When I found these images from the Mary Evans Picture Library I knew there was a great book there and was careful to choose rare images and posters and then choose the best films representative of the Hollywood experience over the past 100 years.

2. What is it about?
The Classics is a collection of great movies from the Silent Era through to the 1990s. The majority of films featured in this book have their origins in Hollywood, but British films that proved successful in the US also filter through. The captions and detailed backgrounds to the movies provide the reader with many of the qualities that make these films ‘a classic’ … the actors, writing, direction and production.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
The Classics provides the reader not only with the opportunity to revisit many of their favourite films, but also to appreciate more fully the rich history of films over the decades. The book is not meant to be a definitive history or text book of film, although I would be surprised if many of the greatest films from the respective eras are not represented … Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Ben Hur, Sound of Music and many, many others.

4. What advice do you have for writers?
As the author of more than 40 books on a wide variety of subjects (history, biography, sport, true crime and pop culture) it’s important to know you subject – research and read extensively – and also to write with an authoritative voice. One goes in hand with the other, but it’s important that your knowledge, passion and understanding of the subject shines through in the writing. Writing is also a skill and craft … keep writing, keep practicing and use everything!

5. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Books are under fire at the moment from the internet, on-line publishing and distribution ( and the disappearance of the corner bookstore! All have a roil-on effect that makes not only publishing, but also distribution and finding an audience in a saturated media landscape, all  the more difficult. However, you will never be able to replace the portability, giftedness and whole body experience of reading and re-ready a hardcopy because reading is a very tactile activity.

6. What challenges did you have in writing your book?
It would have been easy to just write about who was in each movie and what the film is about – sourcing info from Wikipedia and the internet – but I really wanted people to know why these films were classics. Having referenced and researched widely, I re-watched many of the films again to try and discern each film’s innate ‘greatness’ and to place them in the historical context of the film industry and the respective career of the participants.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
In the introduction I write that revisiting a favourite film is like having a conversation with an old friend … imagine having all your old friends in one place! That’s The Classics  … all the greatest films of the 20th Century in one great book. I hope though that younger film fans can tap into this book and discover the joy of many of these films for themselves. I believe The Classics lays down a great pathway for film appreciation that will lead the reader to a deeper appreciation of many of these long-forgotten films.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.
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