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Zero Mostel Reads a Book [Hardcover]

Robert Frank

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Book Description

Nov. 21 2008
The female subject absorbed in a book has prompted masterworks from Vermeer, Monet, Vuillard and Matisse, among many others. Less often portrayed are men in the act of reading--even Manet's portrait of Emile Zola depicts the writer staring away from his open volume. Is it the supposed passivity of this act that has discouraged men from modeling it? This mini-genre remains even less explored yet by photographers, though it surely offers the supreme opportunity for coaxing subjects of either sex into unself-consciousness, if not outright reverie. In Zero Mostel Reads a Book, Robert Frank takes a male comic actor for his subject but flouts the genre's quietist sobriety in every way possible. Mostel is depicted in cartoonish dimensions, bemused, baffled and apoplectic, as he makes his way through an unidentified hardback volume, while seated at a table or on a sofa in a large lounge area. First published in 1963 by The New York Times "for the fun of it" and a collector's item ever since, this lovely publication relates a series of theatrical and playful vignettes in which Mostel's most famous roles--Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Max Bialystock in The Producers--are clearly signaled. It is a delightful moment of slapstick in the Frank oeuvre.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Steidl (Nov. 21 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3865215866
  • ISBN-13: 978-3865215864
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 15.2 x 0.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,053,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Collection of Photos May 18 2010
By V. Voss - Published on Amazon.com
Seeing is understanding--a comedian in his full power, making faces over coffee and newspapers, making every photo a humorous narrative in a European flat!
5.0 out of 5 stars A visual peak into the great clown Dec 17 2011
By Chris bct - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There's barely any text. It's all about the 30 or so pictures of Zero reading a book. About once you can see, sorta, what he's reading. Meanwhile, it's all about his facial expressions and his body positioning. The comic master at work. Well worth getting if you are a fan of his work. Also be sure to get his book of villans, an indispensible visual delight. Neither book is particularly well known these days. Treat yourself if you love Zero Mostel doing his delightful, delicate, memorable and joyful portrayals. It's a small book, about 9" x 4" and pictures of varying sizes. His spirit lives forever in this comedy project. Black and white photos.
0 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars will never do it again! March 18 2009
By Mona - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book by mistake. Wanted to buy Peru by the same author. I think the web site was misleading. It was a birthday present, so I was very unhappy. Sent it back and found out that the postage was $8 to England. The book is tiny and thin and never worth the money of around $20. Now the additional expense and will only get a small refund.
I don't know why I always fall into the same trap and get a book from this place in England. This is the second time!

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