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Kenneth Anger (1930 - )

Related: American cinema - avant-garde film - director - underground film

Books: Hollywood Babylon (1959)

Jayne Mansfield on the cover of the Italian edition of Hollywood Babylon I
image sourced here.

Hollywood Babylon (1959) - Kenneth Anger [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Kenneth Anger (born 1930) is an underground avant-garde film-maker and author. As a child he played the child prince in the 1935 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream and attended the Maurice Kossloff Dancing School with Shirley Temple. He gained fame and notoriety from the publication of Hollywood Babylon in 1958, a tell-all book of the scandals of Hollywood's rich and famous. He became fascinated with the supernatural and Aleister Crowley sometime in his late teens and many of his films reflect occult themes. He began making films around age 11, but his early films were mostly destroyed. His first film to see distribution was Fireworks in 1947. While most of his films are short subject (ranging from 3.5 minutes to 30 minutes) mood pieces, in 1955 he made a documentary film of the ruins of Crowley's magical abbey in Cefalu, Sicily. During the late 60's he associated with The Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger did the music for Anger's 1969 film Invocation of My Demon Brother. Several of his films are collected in the 4 volume Magick Lantern Cycle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Anger [2004]


  1. Hollywood Babylon : The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets - Kenneth Anger [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Hollywood Babylon is a book by Kenneth Anger an ex-child star, avant garde filmmaker, occultist, and author, which details the sordid scandals of many famous and infamous Hollywood denizens from the 1900s to the 1950s. It was originally published in 1959 by J.J. Pauvert (Paris, France). Anger wrote a sequel, Hollywood Babylon II, in 1981 and has frequently mentioned that Hollywood Babylon III may be on its way. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Babylon [Feb 2005]


  1. Anger 1 [1947] - Kenneth Anger [Amazon UK]
    Dubbed the Godfather of "Queer Cinema" and a legend in his own life-time, multi-talented Kenneth Anger is, among other things, an avant-garde film-maker, the author of the seminal dirt-dishing book Hollywood Babylon, a self-confessed Satanist, a former child star (he was the beautiful Indian prince in the 1935 Max Reinhardt version of a Midsummer Night's Dream), and the inspiration for a whole generation of film-makers, including such diverse talents as Martin Scorsese, Todd Haynes, David Lynch, John Waters, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Kathryn Bigelow. All his ultra low-budget but extraordinarily inventive films, many of which were once banned and impossible to see, are now available on video. Fetishistic and mesmerising, Anger's films prove that you don't need an Arts Council grant, Lottery funding, or even more than a few bucks and some friends to blaze new trails in the realms of technique and taste.

    Volume One contains his first film "Fireworks", made at the age of 17 while his parents were away for the weekend, of which poet and film-maker Jean Cocteau was described as "coming from that beautiful night from which emerge all the true works". It touches the quick of the soul, and this is very rare. Also included is the dress-fetishist fantasy "Puce Moment" and "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome" featuring a performance by the writer Ana´s Nin. --Leslie Felperin, Amazon.co.uk

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