Lewis Milestone: Life and Films
The first full-length biography of Oscar-winning Hollywood film director Lewis Milestone, director of All Quiet on the Western Front.
“A welcome biography of a man whose films remain better known than his name… Robinson concentrates on the key aspects of Milestone’s life and career, never getting bogged down in plot synopses or other minor issues. Rather than shoveling up endless rubble, he offers us the milestones of Milestone. Robinson’s story is as tight as most classic Hollywood films, and that deserves to be heralded. This is a book equally as valuable to film buffs as to academic scholars, speaking to readers inside and outside the academy.” ―LA Review of Books
“Harlow Robinson’s comprehensive and highly readable biography, Lewis Milestone: Life and Films (University Press of Kentucky), covers his trajectory from birth in Russia in 1895 to death in the United States in 1980.”―Sheldon Kirshner Journal
Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography
“One is grateful for Harlow Robinson’s Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography…“
“… which is about as good as a musical biography gets: Robinson illuminates the artist’s character, penetrates the human significance of the music, demonstrates an easy command of Russian political and cultural history, and writes with clarity and vigor. Anyone thinking about Prokofiev is deeply in his debt.” —Algis Valiunas, The Weekly Standard
Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians
A history of Russian emigres in Hollywood, and of the representation of Russians in Hollywood cinema.
“Hollywood has long been a melting pot, drawing talent from around the world in response to wider changes in history. This proves a very appropriate starting point for Harlow Robinson’s “Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians,” perhaps the most comprehensive work to date on the place of Russian emigres in U.S. and world cinema. It also leads to Robinson’s second, and more interesting, focus: how the image of Russia has fluctuated depending on political currents and allegiances.” —Moscow Times
“Robinson fell in love with Russia watching “Doctor Zhivago” at the little theater in Elmwood, Conn., in 1965. For him, Russia would be forever after associated with “waltzes, wars, gigantic hydroelectric dams, endless train trips, ice palaces, flowering Siberian fields and humorless revolutionaries equipped with dramatic facial scars.” Affectionately and in great detail, Robinson describes the careers of several Russian filmmakers, as well as Hollywood’s changing portrayal of Russians, in all their poorly accented, grossly caricatured glory. (He also dwells at length on Russian scores — a mysterious obsession until you remember he’s written a biography of Prokofiev.) He shows how Hollywood has responded to the ideological battle between the free market and Communism with graceful films like “Ninotchka” (1939) as well as ludicrous ones like “Red Dawn” (1984), in which a former high school football player (Patrick Swayze) saves a small town from a Russian invasion. Not surprisingly, at the end of most American films about the Soviet Union, “steak, swimsuits and sex have prevailed over socialism.” Today’s Russian characters are liable to “sweat profusely and smoke far too many cigarettes,” but Robinson predicts an ever-evolving characterization of Russians in future Hollywood films, one of which will apparently star Johnny Depp as the poisoned former spy Alexander Litvinenko. One thing’s for sure: Depp is bound to do a better Russian accent than Sean Connery.” —New York Times Book Review
Selected Letters of Sergei Prokofiev
Letters of Sergei Prokofiev translated and edited with commentary and notes.
One of the most important and influential composers of the twentieth century, Sergei Prokofiev was also a prolific and gifted writer. This volume collects for the first time in English the most representative and enlightening of Prokofiev’s letters, including some previously suppressed by Soviet censorship. Among the correspondents are ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev, theatrical director Vsevolod Meyerhold, Soviet critic/composer Boris Asafiev, composers Vernon Duke and Nikolai Miaskovsky, conductor Serge Koussevitsky and film director Sergei Eisenstein.
The Last Impresario
Biography of the arts impresario Sol Hurok, presenter of the leading performing artists of the twentieth century.
Almost single-handedly, from the 1920s to the 1960s, Sol Hurok introduced American audiences to ballet and brought live dance, music and theater to small towns and cities across the country for the first time. Among those whom he brought to the American stage, and to all social classes, were Isacc Stern, Isadora Duncan, Marian Anderson, Rudolf Nureyev, Van Cliburn and ballet companies from the Royal to the Bolshoi to American Ballet Theatre. Hurok’s career came to a brilliant climax with his presentations of Soviet attractions in the post-Stalin Cold War era.