(Lire en français)
In France, the new cultural season is usually literary.
This year, on both sides of the channel, it is also a new season for books about the Hammer studios.
In the U.K., prolific Wayne Kinsey (1), with his new epic HAMMER FILMS - THE UNSUNG HEROES, pays tribute to the technicians and artists who shaped the Hammer style. Film after film, the firm hired the best production teams of the time. That certainly accounts for their sustained quality, in spite of budget restraints and a very steep production schedule through more than a decade.
The book is illustrated with many rarely published on-set photographs. It is prefaced by actress Barbara Shelley. For 2011, Wayne Kinsey prepares another book about the shooting locations of Hammer productions.
On the other hand, Marcus Hearn (2) publishes a book about Hammer film posters : THE ART OF HAMMER.
It is essentially based upon the works of English, American and Belgium poster designers. The beautiful French posters by Guy Gérard Noël might have deserved a better place.
As for me, I found a real curiosity in the book : the Danish poster of BRIDES OF DRACULA, from David Peel’s personal collection. Surprisingly, it provides David with top billing, before all other actors.
In France, DANS LES GRIFFES DE LA HAMMER, the first book entirely devoted to the studios, has just been republished in a more complete version. The author, Nicolas Stanzick, whom I had the pleasure to meet at this opportunity, is a young journalist with a passion for the famous film company. His richly documented book proposes to discover Hammer films through the controversial articles of the French critics at the time of their release. It is also an homage to the early supporters of Hammer films. The annex contains very in-depth interviews with, among others, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou and Gérard Lenne.
These books are rather large ones and fit to fill the long winter evenings of all those who master Shakespeare’s language as well as Molière’s.
(1) Author of HAMMER FILMS, the Bray studios years, and the Elstree years.
(2) Author of THE HAMMER STORY