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VOLUME TWO OF TWO. France. Germany. Italy. Russia. Poland. Czech Republic. Romania. Mexico. Japan. Iran. All over the world — everywhere except in the U.S. — the legendary Jean Gabin continues to be considered one of the greatest movie stars of all time. In the U.S., he’s definitely considered to be a cult figure (in 2002, twin Gabin festivals were presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and at the Walter Reade Theatres in New York), but for the vast moviegoing public, and just like a lot of the greats, he’s fallen off of the radar.
That’s about to change, however, because in 2008, Allenwood Press presents the very first English-language (and two-volume!) book about Jean Gabin, ever. (There’s not even an old, out-of-print book about Gabin in English, if you can believe that!)
WORLD’S COOLEST MOVIE STAR: THE COMPLETE 95 FILMS (AND LEGEND)OF JEAN GABIN by CHARLES ZIGMAN VOLUME TWO, which has been subtitled “Comeback/Patriarch,” covers Films 47 through 95, which Gabin made between 1954 and 1976. During this period of his career, instead of playing his famous tragic drifter character, he played a series of mega-cool gentleman-criminals, and world-weary (yet life-loving) patriarchs, and he even turned out some hilarious comedies during this period, which are criminally unknown in the U.S. The tone of the book is “fun,” as opposed to “academic” and “pretentious,” and its goal, is to introduce as many people as possible to the films of Gabin; to that end, this book is loaded with rare photographs, many of which have never appeared even in previously published French-language books about Gabin.
This is a book for Jean Gabin ‘newbies’ and ‘completists’ both: For the uninitiated, there are some biography and ‘intro’ chapters which place Gabin, and his famous big-screen persona into perspective. For the completists, I (the author) have ‘unpacked’ every single one of Jean Gabin’s ninety-five theatrical feature films, even the more than fifty pictures which have never been subtitled into English before, so that readers can feel, by poring through the chapters, that they are actually seeing the films, first-hand. Excerpts from newspapers written ‘back in the day,’ both in the U.S. and in Europe, show how prominent movie critics received Gabin’s pictures the day they were first released, in the 1930s through the 1970s.
In short this two-volume book is for everybody. Besides being the first books about Jean Gabin in the English language, WORLD’S COOLEST MOVIE STAR is also a first, because it happens to be the very first filmography book related to Gabin in any language: Even in France, where there have been many published biographies of Jean Gabin, there has never been a book concentrating on each of the actor’s ninety-five films.
Brigitte Bardot contributed an original foreword to Volume Two. (VOLUME ONE IS AVAILABLE SEPARATELY – ISBN #978-0-9799722-0-1.)