For no other reason than just for fun, the idea of exploring early influences on both my writing, as well as my love of movies that resulted in Lee Marvin Point Blank, is something I decided was worth exploring just a little more.
I have a vivid memory of watching Richard Schickel’s PBS series The Men Who Made the Movies back in the 70s when I was VERY young. Up until then, I never even gave much consideration to the importance of the director to a film and the concept changed my thinking, dramatically.
In fact, Some of the subjects in Schickel’s series, such as Raoul Walsh and Bill Wellman, proved even more fascinating than the films they made!
An even greater example of early influences is a series of books put out by Citadel Press entitled “The Films of…” and the very first one picked up was the beat up hardcover seen below….
The entire series (each title of interest of varying quality) was a revelation to this young star struck movie fan. Imagine for a moment you’re looking for any well illustrated information on the stars, genres, and periods of filmmaking that you love, long before the days of the internet, and you stumble up this rack at the local mall’s book store….
I was so enthralled by these titles, I even sent away for the full catalog so I could discover what all the titles were that existed and find out what they had to offer….
I was so bold at such a young age, I even went so far as to write the publisher and ask if I could write book called The Films of Steve McQueen. I was politely told that one was in the works but thanks for the offer. They were right, of course. One did come out…about ten years later.
The existing titles varied in quality, as I said, but I noticed several of the best were authored by the same very prolific writer. His name was Tony Thomas and for reasons I can no longer recall, I was fortunate to meet up with him in his home in southern California.
Talk about early influences! I was extremely impressed with his kind demeanor, countless soundtracks shelved on the wall (many produced by him!) and his amazing patience with me. In fact, He simply handed me several soundtracks as we spoke and signed them all! As you can see by the scans below, I still have them. What he wrote remains a treasured possession. I wonder if anybody does that kind of thing any more…..
– Dwayne Epstein