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VOLUME ONE OF TWO. (VOLUME TWO AVAILABLE SEPARATELY.) 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., Gabin is 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!) It's WORLD'S COOLEST MOVIE STAR: THE COMPLETE 95 FILMS (AND LEGEND) OF JEAN GABIN by CHARLES ZIGMAN.
VOLUME ONE, which has been subtitled Tragic Drifter, takes us through Gabin's first forty-six films, including the internationally renowned Grand Illusion and Pepe Le Moko, a period spanning the years 1930 to 1953, during which time he played movie history's most famous tragic drifter. During the 1930s and 1940s, Gabin's popularity in the U.S. nearly eclipsed that of Bogart, James Cagney, and Bette Davis. (Ever heard anybody say, Come with me to the Casbah. We will make ze beautiful muzeek togezaire? It was famously attributed to the character Jean Gabin portrayed in the 1937 gangster classic Pepe Le Moko, even though he never actually uttered those words. In fact Gabin's 'Pepe' character even inspired Warner Bros. to create its legendary cartoon skunk, Pepe Le Pew, whose looks and voice were modeled on the actor.)
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, it's 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, author Charles Zigman has 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 one can feel, by poring through the chapters, that one is actually 'seeing' the films, firsthand. Excerpts from newspapers written 'back in the day,' both in the U.S. and in Europe, demonstrate 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 ever, WORLD'S COOLEST MOVIE STAR is also a first because it is 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, in great detail on each of the actor's ninety-five films. The legendary actress Michele Morgan, who appeared with Gabin in five feature films, has written the foreword to Volume One. ALSO AVAILABLE: VOLUME TWO (ISBN # 978-0-9799722-1-8).