Letters from Hollywood


By Bill Krohn

Subjects: Film Studies, American Culture
Series: SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Paperback : 9781438477640, 324 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438477633, 324 pages, August 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



1. How I Became the Los Angeles Correspondent for Cahiers du cinema

2. On Daney (1977)

3. Serge Daney (1944–1992)

Directors Who Started in Silents

4. Allan Dwan: The Cliff and the Flume

5. Raoul Walsh: Objective, Burma!

6. Haunted Hollywood: 1979

7. John Ford: December 7: The Movie

8. Hawks at Work: The Making of Land of the Pharaohs

9. Alfred Hitchcock: Shelling the Lifeboat

10. Alfred Hitchcock: Dark Carnival

Directors Who Started in Talkies

11. "All This Is So": Orson Welles's Shakespeare Films

12. Ulmer without Tears

13. Phil Karlson Confidential

14. Nicholas Ray: We Can't Go Home Again

15. Robert Aldrich: Sodom and Gomorrah

16. Blake Edwards: Skin Deep

17. Sergio Leone: Once Upon a Time in America

Directors Who Started in Television

18. Lucille Ball: I Love Lucy

19. Le Cas Wood

20. Robert Altman: Prêt-à-Porter

21. Stanley Kubrick: Full Metal Jacket

22. John Frankenheimer: Jonah

23. Monte Hellman: Iguana

24. Monte Hellman Today

Directors Who Counterattacked

25. Woody Allen: Zelig

26. William Friedkin: Cruising

27. Francis Ford Coppola: Peggy Sue Got Married

28. Richard Brooks: In Cold Blood

29. Star Wars: Reversing the Signs

30. Dante's Inferno

31. John Landis: The Stupids

32. Ang Lee: The Ice Storm

33. Tim Burton: Ed Wood

34. David O. Russell: Flirting with Disaster


Engaging essays on a wide spectrum of Hollywood directors and the films they created.


Journalist and filmmaker Bill Krohn has been the Los Angeles correspondent for the French magazine Cahiers du cinéma for over forty years. Letters from Hollywood brings together thirty-four of his essays, many of them appearing in English for the first time. Focusing most pieces on a particular director and film, Krohn uses his inside knowledge of the studio system to illuminate an art that is also a multibillion-dollar business. He connects currents in French film criticism and theory with an unfolding account of American cinema past and present, offering penetrating insights into directors and their work. Beginning with Allan Dwan, who learned how to make movies before Hollywood was born by watching D. W. Griffith, Krohn presents a panorama that encompasses Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick and Sergio Leone, Star Wars and I Love Lucy. He covers everything from gangsters to gremlins, from blockbusters to no-budget cult films like Moon Over Harlem and Plan 9 from Outer Space, in a style that is accessible to anyone who loves movies, or has a passion for writing about them.

Bill Krohn is the Los Angeles correspondent for Cahiers du cinéma. He is the author of Hitchcock at Work, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock.


"For more than four decades, Bill Krohn was the Los Angeles correspondent for Cahiers du cinéma, a prestigious role—and one he was more than equipped for. Letters from Hollywood collects 30-plus essays from throughout Krohn's career. The writing is razor-sharp, and demonstrates that the author is adept at engaging with complex, thorny topics. " — The Film Stage

"Living and working as a freelance writer outside of university teaching, Krohn has forged his own path and his own framework of understanding cinema. The book offers one of the very best examples I have ever encountered of a fertile space intermixing popular-journalistic and intellectual-critical modes of writing about and analyzing cinema. " — Adrian Martin, author of Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art

"Letters from Hollywood is a thrilling, gripping, and lucid account of a passion for cinema and of what analysis and appreciation can do with it. " — Tom Conley, author of Film Hieroglyphs: Ruptures in Classical Cinema