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Friday Night Dialogues: The Golden Age of Movies with John DiLeo

COURTESY PHOTO | The cover of John DiLeo’s latest book, ‘Ten Movies at a Time: A 350-Film Journey Through Hollywood and America 1930-1970.’
COURTESY PHOTO |  The cover of John DiLeo’s latest book, ‘Ten Movies at a Time: A 350-Film Journey Through Hollywood and America 1930-1970.’

Six-time film book author John DiLeo presents the companion video program to his new book “Ten Movies at a Time: A 350-Film Journey Through Hollywood and America 1930-1970” at the Shelter Island Library’s Friday Night Dialogues program on April 6 at 7 p.m. The book and video illuminate Mr. DiLeo’s alternative and idiosyncratic examination of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Telling a parallel story of America itself, DiLeo presents a vibrant vision of how the movies evolved over four decades, from the talkies to the ratings system, from the Depression to the Cold War, from “Little Caesar” to “Little Big Man.” Mr. DiLeo will bring his story to life with movies clips of films spotlighted in his book including scenes featuring Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, James Cagney, Doris Day, Gene Kelly, Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen.

Mr. DiLeo is a contributing book reviewer for the Washington Post. He is also a weekly regular on the Arlene Bynon radio show in Toronto on SiriusXM. He frequently hosts classic film series, conducts film-history seminars and has been an annual participant in the Black Bear Film Festival in the Poconos where he has interviewed Farley Granger (2005), Arlene Dahl (2006), Marge Champion (2010), Keir Dullea (2014) and Jane Powell (2015) on the festival’s stage.

Born in Brooklyn in 1961 and raised on Long Island, Mr. DiLeo graduated from Ithaca College in 1982 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Arts. After 13 years of on-and-off stage acting he switched to writing about film.

Mr. DiLeo’s previous classic movie books have all garnered outstanding reviews from movie insiders. Particularly interesting was the Washington Post’s reaction to his second book: “Not only is this helpful criticism, but ‘100 Great Film Performances’ can serve as a balm for anyone who has ever been disgruntled by the Academy’s choices on Oscar night!”

And the reviews of his latest “Ten Movies at a Time” follow suit. From Newsday: “A nostalgic trip well worth taking,” and from San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter: “DiLeo’s knowledge is encyclopedic, his opinions informed, his humor pointed.”

Mr. DiLeo has the gift of being able to share with readers what he has been lucky enough to discover within these movie treasures, the effect is that of a film encyclopedia in friendly conversation. His other film books are “And You Thought You Knew Classic Movies,” “100 Great Film Performances You Should Remember But Probably Don’t,” “Screen Savers: 40 Remarkable Movies Awaiting Rediscovery,” “Tennessee Williams and Company: His Essential Screen Actors” and “Screen Savers II: My Grab Bag of Classic Movies.”

So for movie-goers of all persuasions, please join us at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Shelter Island Library on Friday, April 6. After the presentation, Mr. DiLeo will sign copies of the book. Admission is free, donations welcome.

Next Up: On April 13, the Shelter Island Poetry Project Presents: “Friends of Frank … Frank O’Hara and the poets of the New York School.”