Monday, August 8, 2016

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Bronson Is Loose.... Again


By Paul Talbot

456 pages; softcover edition (also available in hardcover); B/W; first edition 2016

Paul Talbot has amassed Good Bronson, Bad Bronson, and Ugly Bronson for his newest volume that could have easily been titled 'Everything You Wanted To Know About Charles Bronson Movies But Didn't Know Who To Ask'. Over 450 pages, you'll read about Bronson's cinematic highs and lows; varying opinions from those who worked with, and were close to him; how Silvano Gallardo felt about shooting her infamous rape scene in DEATH WISH II; the original scripted ending of 10 TO MIDNIGHT; how The Giggler got his game for DEATH WISH 3; and in one of the book's greatest assets, the most intimate document into the lives of Bronson and Jill Ireland thus compiled. The man's TV work is given extensive coverage as well. Bronson's Loose Again, so don't let this warmhearted, yet burly book get away. 

There are some books that are so well-mounted, so rich with content, they're analogous to trying to decide which food items to first fill your plate at one of your finer restaurant buffets. A cursory glance at the Table of Contents of Bronson's Loose Again and you don't know where to begin. Paul Talbot's second book on one of cinema's most recognizable faces is comparable to one such culinary conundrum.

Like any good sequel, this followup maintains the spirit of the original while adding some new additions that only complement what came before. If you already own Talbot's previous foray into vigilante nirvana (Bronson's Loose! The Making of The Death Wish Films), Bronson's Loose Again! On the Set With Charles Bronson divulges enough new information about DEATH WISH parts 2 and 3 to get friends and family reminiscing about good ole uncle Wildey. 

Regarding the Kersey sections, special emphasis is placed on DEATH WISH II (1981) in an 18 page interview with writer David Engelbach; 11 pages for Robin Sherwood and Silvana Gallardo discussing their experiences filming their controversial sequences; and 5 pages with Robert F. Lyons relaying his encounters with Bronson prior to, and after, DEATH WISH 2; as well as his positive and negative experiences with director Michael Winner. 

Anecdote-filled chapters on a few of the actor's better known Kersey-ish style cop-thrillers are included (10 TO MIDNIGHT; MURPHY'S LAW; KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS), along with some of the best (HARD TIMES), and lesser known (CABOBLANCO), less successful entries (FROM NOON TILL THREE) of Bronson's filmography. If you've never seen any of the actor's television work (ACT OF VENGEANCE; YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS; THE SEA WOLF), they get the same exhaustive treatment that the theatrical presentations do.

Arguably the book's most fascinating attribute is how well it captures the romanticism, the private life, of the Bronson family more so than was ever imagined when they were alive. For those who have only seen the movies, read remarks from critics, or one of Bronson's few interviews, you never got a genuine feeling of who the man really was. There's an intimacy permeating every chapter (especially in the absolutely wonderful 23 pages devoted to FROM NOON TILL THREE [1976]) that unveils what Bronson was like off-camera... granted, not all of it is genial. Bronson's Loose Again is equal parts the big screen superman and the off-screen, and very human, former coal miner from Pennsylvania.

If a third volume is forthcoming, it will be a near impossible feat to top considering the peak of the printed page on one of cinema's most venerable actors has just been reached.

Click HERE to purchase this book (soft or hard cover) direct from the publisher.

Click HERE to purchase this book (soft or hard cover) from Amazon.

To read a review of Paul Talbot's Mondo Mandingo click HERE. You can purchase it HERE.

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