Duryea: The Movies by Joseph Fusco
Written and Posted by Sarah (Saturday, February 15, 2014)
Dan Duryea has finally made it into the world of Classic American Film books and histories. This marks the first time that he's received more than a few pages in encyclopedia-type books covering different aspects of the film industry.
The book itself is a nice paperback of 305 pages — including a comprehensive index. Photographs are printed throughout the text, and while they are not the best quality of prints, there are a nice variety of hard-to-find images. It is very like the old ‘The Complete Films of . . .' series, if anyone remembers those fabulous books.
A brief introduction gives the reader an idea of Duryea's acting style, varied appearances and a short biographical sketch. The author does a nice job of condensing Dan's acting style into a few descriptive paragraphs. This is particularly well achieved with the first sentence: 'Dan Duryea was a rare actor who had the knack of creating an impressive array of characters from a limited range of emotions.'
Duryea: The Movies is not a biography or personal sketch of Duryea, rather, it is an illustrated and ‘narrated' catalog of every film throughout his long career. Each film is presented, in basic chronological order, within chapters devoted to certain genres (e.g. The Little Foxes, WWII, Loose Screwballs, Crime, Fritz Lang, The Korean War, Sidekicks, The Hired Gun, etc.). Each chapter begins with a few paragraphs about the specific topic or genre, then the films are described with very detailed synopses and photos. Even the hard-to-find and never-before-released-on-home-video films are included! Fifteen pages at the end of the book are devoted to film credits.
All in all, this is a very nice reference book for a Duryea fan. The author does a very nice job of presenting the films from as unprejudiced a viewpoint as any one person is capable of doing. He obviously admires Dan's talent, even when the film was less than wonderful. I would definitely recommend this to any Duryea fan or serious Classic-Film-book enthusiast.
Add this new volume to the short biography of Duryea in Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir by Karen Hannsberry, and you have a winning combination!