Book Review: DARIO ARGENTO - THE MAN, THE MYTHS AND THE MOVIES
 By Jonathan Stryker

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Source: Jonathan Stryker (Facebook); Jonathan Stryker (Twitter)

Feb 16, 2013, 2:0 AM

Second, updated edition of PROFONDO ARGENTO, published in 2012

When I saw my very first Dario Argento film in the summer of 1985, I knew that he was a director to be reckoned with. The cinematic style of CREEPERS, the significantly edited  American version of the much longer international cut of PHENOMENA, made me eager to seek out his previous work up to that point. I simply had to see his other movies. I also had a very strong desire to read about him and his films, although I was hard-pressed to find anything in writing as there was a dearth of material available to me. With the exception of several back issues of Fangoria magazine, I could find literally nothing on the Italian maestro.  At that time, the Internet was not available to the public, so there was no such thing as typing his name into a search engine to locate articles or criticism on his work. I would have given anything for a hardcover copy of Alan Jones's DARIO ARGENTO: THE MAN, THE MYTHS AND THE MOVIES in my hand.  Nearly three decades after I stumbled out of the multiplex filled with excitement after having seen CREEPERS, unfairly labeled by critics and even die-hard fans as one of his worst films, Mr. Jones's book, published near the end of last year, is quite simply the definitive book on Mr. Argento, and a true valentine to his favorite film director. 

PROFONDO ARGENTO, published in 2004

For those of you who purchased PROFONDO ARGENTO in 2004, this is essentially the same book, however it has been updated to include Mr. Argento's work since then.  The original manuscript has been left completely intact along with all of the beautiful photographs that illustrate the now 400-page second edition. 

While other brilliant works have been written about Dario Argento by writers as diverse as Maitland McDonagh, Chris Gallant and James Gracey, Mr. Jones goes the extra step of including lots of in-depth interviews with not only Mr. Argento himself, but those closest to him who worked with him over the past 40 years.  Mr. Jones is not just an interviewer. He has visited the set of just about every project that Mr. Argento has worked on since OPERA was filmed in the early summer of 1987. 

Mr. Argento began his career in the industry as a film critic for a local Italian newspaper in the 1960's.  It helped enormously that his father Salvatore was already in the film business and he managed to get his son a contract to make his very first film, the highly cinematic THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE.  It's amazing to me that this is the very first film that Mr. Argento has directed. Most people make short films or mess around with their closest friends and a camera prior to making even a short film.  BIRD solidified the director's signature style which is evident from the very first frame. Architecture and off-kilter camera moves are just some of his trademarks that would find their way into his successive films.

If you are a fan of Mr. Argento's films, you owe it to yourself to have this new edition in your collection. 

Click here to order the hardcover book from Amazon.com.



 

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