LAMBRAY, Maureen

The American Film Directors Volume 1

New York: Rapoport Press. 1976.

First edition. 330x260mm. Unpaginated. 94 leaves. 3pp preface by Maureen Lambray followed by 82 black and white photographs of American directors with a list of their films. Signed by over 800 actors and directors. Bound in black morocco for Herb Yellin of the Lord John Press (whose name is stamped in gilt to the foot of the spine). The title "Film Directors" is stamped on the upper cover and the business card of Herb Yellin is taped onto the front pastedown. Marbled endpapers. Hinges reinforced although a number of gutters are cracked. However, the condition is immaterial because this book is, essentially, a high-class, top of the range, premier league autograph album which Yellin carried with him for many years, pressing it on Hollywood A-listers and getting them to sign their names. And what names they are! We have counted 860. Here, as a taster, is a quick A-Z: Woody Allen, John Boorman, George Clooney, Judi Dench, Clint Eastwood, Federico Fellini, Jeff Goldblum, Tippi Hedren, Alfred Hitchcock (signed under his photograph and with a little sketch - and yes, two "Hs" we know but come on, these two, can you blame us?), Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, Jack Lemmon, Ian McKellen, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Leni Riefenstahl, Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Turner, Liv Ullmann, Jon Voight, Fay Wray, Michael York and Terry Zwigoff. More names on request - just ask.
Herb Yellin (who died in 2014) was one of the most creative publishers of the second half of the twentieth century, issuing beautifully printed and bound limited editions of brief works such a single poem, an essay or a short story. Although his firm, Lord John Press, took its name from the most famous literary Johns of the age (Cheever, Updike, Fowles), Yellin specialised in off-beat, lesser-known authors and his books were aimed at the curious and specialist collector. Yellin's own collecting was of autographs. As a boy in Boston, he started with baseball players before moving on to writers - he had a fine collection of signed first editions. But this collection of autographs of actors and directors is an astonishing act of devotion. Of course Yellin was well connected and, from the warmth of many of the inscriptions it is clear that a lot of these people were friends of his, but even so, he must have carried this book (not small) everywhere for years. It is an extraordinary object, a bringing together of the great names of twentieth- and early twenty-first century cinema. Film history, glamour, scandal and artistic brilliance radiate from every page.

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