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By James Whittington, Thursday 18th April 2013
Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths & The Magic
One of the first books I reviewed was Profondo Argento some 9 years ago. This large softback from Alan Jones was a stunning and candid look at the work of Dario Argento and in my humble opinion raised the benchmark for such titles. Now Jones has returned to his celebrated book, added brand new chapters and re-issued it under a new title and has done the impossible; improved what was already a stunning a book.
Now split into two parts, Primo Tempo (the original text) and Secondo Tempo (the new bits) Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths & The Magic grabs the reader by the hand and takes them on an unprecedented over-view of one of the most debated film directors ever to grace the horror genre. Jones has had access to many of Argento’s film sets, (Opera was his first) but this book looks at every picture of which the great director has been part, from his early and rather short acting career right up until his latest release, Dario Argento's Dracula 3D. Everything you wanted to know about Argento can be found within this wonderful book, written with style, wit, intelligence and great knowledge.
There's hundreds of candid snaps culled from Alan's personal collection that illustrate just how much Argento trusts him, not only a journalist but as a friend. They have built up a mutual respect for each other; I guess something rare these days and this is the best thing about this book. Even though it's an entertaining celebration of Argento's career, Alan is always honest and doesn’t pull back in using negative but always constructive comments when needed. For evidence of this you only have to look at the section on the movie Giallo, probably the worst film of Argento’s whole career.
The book also contains shedloads of stills, posters and masses of interviews with some of the actors and crew that have worked alongside Argento over the years. His television career is also covered; something I know little about, as well as giving full cast and crew lists on everything, a true horror fans dream.
The book is littered with sumptuous anecdotes, delicious pieces of trivia and satisfying stories all about one the last great enigmatic people of the film industry. Argento has left his mark producing a body of work that many will strive to match, but few will be able to replicate his highly visual and elegant style. One only has to read about the often talked about Suspiria remake, which is touched upon at the back of the book to realise such a movie would never match the original.
Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths & The Magic is a beautifully assembled book from one of the most respected journalists of our time. Anyone thinking of attempting to cover Argento's career might as well stop now. This is the ultimate dissection of a true original.
Bravo, Alan Jones, bravo.
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