"Dudley Murphy, Hollywood Wild Card"


The Soul of the Cypress (1920)
size: 4.3 M

Danse Macabre (1922)
size: 4.3 M

  Ballet mécanique (1923-4)
size: 4.3 M

Archival films discussed by Susan Delson

Blues legend Bessie Smith. Novelist William Faulkner. Artist Man Ray. They’re just a few of the people that filmmaker Dudley Murphy collaborated with in the course of his idiosyncratic career. Swerving in and out of Hollywood, Murphy ricocheted from the avant-garde Ballet mécanique, “one of the first films to be considered a work of art,” to studio hack jobs like Confessions of a Co-Ed to the tenacious independence of The Emperor Jones.

Murphy could always be found at the center of the cultural scene: Greenwich Village when it was bohemian, Jazz-Age Paris, Hollywood in its golden era, Harlem at the height of its Renaissance. Part adventure hero, part slapstick comedian, part techno-geek, part playboy, he was a complete visionary with a directing style that was decades ahead of its time.

Dudley Murphy, Hollywood Wild Card is his story.

ISBN 0-816646546
LIST PRICE: $27.95

10% DISCOUNT: $25.15

Buy Now

“Such a cogent, intelligent book about such a splendidly messy life…Dudley Murphy seems more like a wacky fictional character than a real person.” —Kurt Andersen

“Susan Delson's poignant look at the life and work of Dudley Murphy, one of cinema's seminal talents, is both comprehensive and integral to the understanding of early American Film.” —Alexander Brinkman, GreenCine

A balanced portrait of a man and a panorama of his times, told with exceptional grace…The author displays a scholarly grasp of the facts, but also the fluid, resonant prose to animate them. —Kirkus Reviews

“When Murphy decided to break into the business in the 1920s, his idea was to meld music, dance, and the visual arts into experimental short subjects. His avant-garde short subjects, among them The Soul of the Cypress, Danse Macabre, and especially the classic Ballet mécanique proved to be successes.” —Library Journal

“What a pleasant surprise to find a book about someone who has always intrigued me, a shadowy figure in film history whose name is attached to a handful of wildly different but significant movies.” —Leonard Maltin