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Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murakami
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A new paperback edition created and printed by MZS Press, this book is scheduled for release end of January 17, 2023!!
A Walter Hill Film is the first critical biography of Walter Hill, the legendary writer-director producer whose filmography includes 48 HRS. films, The Warriors, The Long Riders, Southern Comfort, Geronimo, Streets of Fire, Wild Bill, Broken Trail, the Alien films, and the pilot for Deadwood.
The author is Walter Chaw, film critic for Film Freak Central and a contributor to The New York Times, Vulture, NPR and many other publications. The James Joyce of crime fiction James Ellroy wrote the introduction. The foreword is by Larry Gross, Hill's writing partner on 48 HRS. The book also includes a note from Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Last Night in Soho.
From the author: "A Walter Hill Film is a 400-page critical study of Walter Hill’s films and early screenplays that began, as a lot of these projects do, with a question. I had recently gotten the opportunity to watch The Warriors and Streets of Fire on 35mm archival prints and even though I had seen them before, revisiting them at this time, in that format, was… visceral? Kinetic? Exhilarating. All of those things in a way almost physical, and I wanted to know what it was about these pictures - and their director, Walter Hill, that could inspire so specific a response. I felt like I was on fire. Along with a couple hundred devotees, I floated out of the auditorium. Who the hell was this guy?
So I looked for books about Hill and discovered that there was one - but it was in Italian. There might be another in German, I’m not sure. But there had been no serious critical studies of him in English. Charles Taylor wrote an incredible essay about Robert Culp’s Hickey & Boggs, Hill’s first produced screenplay, but aside from a few rich interviews and archival videos, there wasn’t much scholarship. Part of that has to do I think with Hill’s own aversion to dwelling too much on his own work; but mostly, I think Hill’s films are seen as merely action movies, ‘guy flicks’ easily digestible and just as easily disposable. The more I watched his movies, though, the more I saw Hill as continuing in the tradition of filmmakers like Nicholas Ray, Sam Peckinpah, Howard Hawks and, especially, Robert Aldrich. Aldrich who, born to wealth and privilege, gave it all up to make ‘guy flicks’ that were nonetheless rooted in social awareness and protest.
I’m not an archivist, not a historian, really, and though I enjoy interviewing my heroes, I wouldn’t say I have a particular gift nor interest in it. What I can do, though, is watch a body of work and identify throughlines in it that speak to me. I can, in other words, write about myself. I think that’s what good critics do. A Walter Hill Film is a study of a career that has revealed itself to me as extraordinarily sensitive to issues around race and gender; a “man’s man” director actually brave enough to show things as they really are in our world: broken, hostile towards culturally-proscribed underclasses. with pieces consistent through what is now a seventh decade. Of course James Ellroy wrote the introduction for it.
I spoke with Hill throughout the long, four-year process of this volume, and to a few of his collaborators as well, but this isn’t
a “behind-the-scenes” or 'making of' memoir. It’s a process of unpacking the life’s work of an important American artist. It’s a book about figuring out something about these movies that set me on fire."
A Walter Hill Film is being published by MZS Press, Matt Zoller Seitz's arts books imprint. The store is offering a limited number of these paperbacks!
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
"That's why her hair is so big. It's full of secrets."
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and the forthcoming The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently working on a memoir about his marriages and a feature-length documentary about his father, jazz musician and composer Dave Zoller.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. He has the attention span of a gnat.