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A reading list for film geeks

"Hollywood Dogs: Pictures from the John Kobal Foundation" by Robert Dance (Antique Collectors Club) Credit: Handout

Attention film geeks: You can immerse yourself in the world of moving images -- even when you're nowhere near a theater, not a remote control or flat screen in sight. Here's a roundup of screen-centric books:

85 YEARS OF THE OSCARS: The Official History of the Academy Awards, by Robert Osborne (Abbeville Press, $75). Six-and-a-half pounds of movie history, packed with photos, facts and essential Oscar info, from the ceremonies' first year (1927) all the way to last February's star-studded lovefest (best picture: "Argo"). Film scholar and Turner Classic Movies host Osborne contributes thoughtful commentary to the newly revised edition, and the decade-by-decade lists of nominations and winners, illustrated with key art, candids and production stills, are essential for any cinéaste completist's library.

THE CG STORY: Computer Generated Animation and Special Effects, by Christopher Finch (Monacelli Press, $75). A comprehensive, colorful coffee-table tome that delves deeply, but not too geekily, into what is arguably the most momentous change in filmmaking since the advent of sound: digital visual effects. Finch traces the development from the first motion control shot (in 1977's "Star Wars") through the landmark computer-animated Pixar hits ("Toy Story," "The Incredibles") to the latest digitally rendered magic-scapes of "The Hobbit" and "Life of Pi." The book is huge, the images -- from movies famous and forgotten -- exquisite.

THE FILM CREW OF HOLLYWOOD: Profiles of Grips, Cinematographers, Designers, a Gaffer, a Stuntman and a Makeup Artist, by James C. Udell (McFarland, $39.99). A film school must-read, Udell's in-depth survey of 10 below-the-line talents who worked on such pictures as "Bullitt," "Chinatown," "The Hustler," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Searchers" offers insights both technical and artistic -- and great behind-the-scenes shots of the likes of Steve McQueen, Sylvester Stallone, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis and Janet Leigh. You'll never make jokes about gaffers and key grips again.

GEORGE HURRELL'S HOLLYWOOD: Glamour Portraits 1925-1992, by Mark A. Vieira (Running Press, $60). Many of the most iconic images to come out of Hollywood, from the silent era until well after World War II, were the work of the great studio photographer George Hurrell. This handsome 416-page collection offers one breathtaking shot after another -- sophisticated, luminous portraits of Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy and Norma Shearer, plus scores more of super-stylish, seductive images. For decades, from his Sunset Boulevard studio, Hurrell turned out unforgettable, unabashedly romantic photographs. To have so many of them in hand, from heretofore closely held collections, is a thrill.

GUILLERMO DEL TORO CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions, by Guillermo del Toro and Marc Zicree (Harper Design, $60). Del Toro, the life force behind "Pan's Labyrinth" and the "Hellboy" franchise, has long kept notebooks and sketchbooks crammed with beautifully drawn creatures and exotic, otherworldly tableaux. Page after page of his wild imaginings are reprinted in this elaborately packaged book. Also: photographs of his house, chockablock with props, paintings and cinema collectibles. The director as fanboy pack rat!

HOLLYWOOD DOGS: Pictures from the John Kobal Foundation, by Robert Dance (Antique Collectors Club, $45). A teenage Elizabeth Taylor shampooing her cocker spaniel, Rock Hudson nuzzling with his schnauzer, Bogie and Bacall and their boxer basking in a black-and-white magic-hour glow. . . . For dog lovers and vintage movie junkies, the dream book: photo after classic photo of movie stars and their mutts or, more often, their purebred terriers, hounds, setters, herders and lap dogs. Culled from one of the great old Hollywood photo collections.

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION, by Matt Zoller Seitz (Abrams, $40). You'd expect a book about the movies of Anderson -- from his first, 1996's "Bottle Rocket," to his 2012 gem "Moonrise Kingdom" -- to be quirky and gorgeous, fetishistic and full of oddball surprise. This hefty coffee-table book is all that and more. Critic Seitz's interviews with the writer-director are woven through chapters on each of Anderson's seven features to date ("The Grand Budapest Hotel," coming this year, is not included.) The pages are packed with photographs, production stills, illustrations, sketches, objects, and whatnots -- offering insights into this unique filmmaker's trademark aesthetic.

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